DC Recap Round-Up 3, SPECIAL EDITION: CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (PART 1)

13 Dec

Welcome to the first of our special Recap Round-Ups on Crisis on Infinite Earths! There’s gonna be a lot of ground to cover, lots of team ups, lots of cameos, lots of surprises, and lots of deaths to cover for this one (making up the first three parts of this epic crossover), so let’s just get the basics out of the way. For the last year or so, we’ve had appearances by an alien being known as The Monitor, warning our heroes of a threat so immense it could destroy all of the multiverse! And now, things have lined up where that threat has come.

In the build-up, the Monitor recruited Oliver Queen and his friends (even bringing his grown children, Mia and William, from the future into the present) to prepare for the eventual multidimensional fight. Barry Allen has been living with the spectre of knowing The Flash will die because of this Crisis, and been preparing for that eventuality. And now, one of the Harrison Wells of the multiverse, Nash, may have just released said threat from its prison by accident! So, now the Crisis has begun!

“Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One”

After a brief tutorial on what the multiverse is from The Monitor, we see that the skies all over multiple Earths has turned fiery red. On Earth-38, the Earth of our Supergirl, there are massive planet wide earthquakes happening, leading Kara and friends to figure out what is causing them. Brainy figures there is a wave of anti-matter making its way towards them, decimating everything in its path. But before it gets to their Earth, Kara is distressed to find the wave is about to end up swallowing Argo City! We find Clark and Lois on the Kryptonian planetoid, handling their little baby Jonathan (aww), when they learn of the antimatter wave. Kara’s mom shuttles the family to a shuttlecraft that can only carry Jonathan away, leaving everyone else behind to die. And then, Argo City is destroyed!

Meanwhile, Lyla (recently changed into an agent of the Monitor known as Harbinger) starts collecting heroes from Earth-1, like The Flash (Barry Allen), Batwoman (Kate Kane), White Canary (Sara Lance), The Atom (Ray Palmer), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and his grown daughter Mia, and she transports them all to Kara’s Earth, along with Clark and Lois, saved from Argo City. There, everyone gets quickly acquainted before Lyla gives them all the scoop to what’s happening: mainly this antimatter wave is just one of many set to destroy every universe in the multiverse, and that it will take them all to stop it, which is why the Monitor has picked this Earth to make a stand. A giant tower appears in National City, called an Quantum Tower, that seems to halt the reactions of the antimatter wave. This is only temporary, and just in case, plans are made to get the populace of Earth-38 off world to safe harbor on another Earth, which means pulling in help of the planet’s alien populace and their ships, and the help of Lena Luthor to make a portal to send the exodus through safely.

Meanwhile, Brainy is recruited to help find baby Jonathan Kent, whose craft has fell into a wormhole that sends them to a Star City on a different Earth…but also to a different time, being the year 2046! Sara, Lois, and Brainy go on the rescue mission there, and find the baby has been saved…by the Oliver Queen of 2046. Old Man Ollie is thrown off by Sara (because she is dead in his time), but Sara reassures him he is a good man in any Earth (Earth-X doesn’t count, because that evil Ollie is dead). Speaking of Ollie, he takes this time to present Mia with her own Green Arrow suit, and let her know to contact Felicity and say that he loves her. Nothing ominous there. Also, when hearing Barry is supposed to die in the Crisis, Ollie gets to confront the Monitor, thinking their agreement has been broken where he sacrifices himself to keep Barry and Kara alive. Well, the agreement was to keep them alive to fight in the Crisis, not keep them alive through it. Yeah, Mar Novu is a bit of a jerk.

Welcome to the only bright spot of this day.

While Lena works with Alex to get that giant portal working (albeit on shaky ground, if you’ve been following Supergirl of late), and the world’s populace is being put onto all the aliens hips available, our heroes head to the Quantum Tower to secure it from any attack. There, they find giant swarms of flying shadow demons there, meant to destroy the Tower. Our heroes fight them, making sure the Tower is working long enough to evacuate as much people as possible, and during the massive fight, The Monitor arrives to tell them they can’t protect the Tower and save any more people from the antimatter wave. So, Mar Novu sends our heroes away, but Ollie temporarily stops the Monitor from sending him away, wanting to save as many people as possible. So Ollie fights down to his last arrow, rushing in to fight an impossible amount of shadow demons…just before the Tower falls and Earth-38 is no more!

On Earth-1 in the Arrow Bunker, all our heroes are there, as the Monitor returns with a mortally injured Ollie. Novu says Ollie saved over a billion more people with his sacrifice, which altogether with the other two and a half billion rescued, makes up over half of Earth-38’s population! Ollie can barely speak, but he tells Mia goodbye…and he dies. For real. Oliver Queen is DEAD.

Before we have a chance to mourn this monumental loss, The Monitor has another agent appear: Nash, now in a new funky suit and called Pariah, kinda based on the fact he unknowingly released the evil behind all of this and made witness to all this death by, the Anti-Monitor! Even the Monitor is disturbed by what’s happened, saying Ollie was never meant to die at this point in all of this. And Nash/Pariah can only add this is not a good omen for anyone and anything else surviving this. No kidding.

Well, we’re f**ked.

–Let’s talk cameos! Besides a brief appearance by Earth-X’s The Ray (who we have seen in Crisis on Earth-X), we get an appearance by reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) from the 1989 Batman movie on Earth-89 (get it? This’ll be a theme), Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) of the 60’s Batman TV show on Earth-66, and Hawk and Robin from the Titans show on Earth-9.

–Also among the cameos not related to any DC stuff, Wil Wheaton as the crazy doomsayer on Earth-38, who…well, turns out to be right. Who knew?

–So I know a lot of people (myself included) were expecting Ollie to bite the dust in this crossover, but I’m sure none of you thought, “yeah, they’ll definitely do it in hour one of this”. However, it has been hinted we will see Oliver Queen again before this crossover ends.

–Actually nice to see some of the supporting cast from Supergirl pop up after a few episodes off, like Nia/Dreamer and Kelly Olsen. Hell, Kelly even has her brother Jimmy’s shield for a brief moment. Speaking of, it is kind of glazed over who actually survived the end of Earth-38. I know our main cast has, but what about J’onn’s brother on Mars? And putting 3 BILLION people on Earth-1 doesn’t sound as easy as you might think, so…questions I have.

–Lena is still on the icy passive/aggressive drama queen thing with our heroes, even with Alex being all helpful in keeping her alive and whatnot.

–Kate suckerpunching Lyla was a nice beat. Also, maybe take Ray up on those suit enhancements. Worked for that Batarang.

–“I’ll deal with whatever crazy this is in a minute.”

–“She talks to rabbits?”

–“Well Ray, thanks to you changing history we just lost trivia night!”

–“Holy crimson skies of death!”

–“You keep me in your heart, ok?”

“Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two”

As Kara, Sara, and Kate grab a brief drink on Earth-1 in honor of dead Oliver Queen, Lyla drops in to tell them they need to set up a more mobile location, like say The Waverider. When Sara says her team opted out of using theirs, Lyla recommends one Waverider on Earth-73 might work to their advantage, and on it is Earth-73’s Mick Rory, still a drinker and still a failed Sci-Fi erotica writer. Our heroes meet up to hear The Monitor’s newest plan: they need to collect seven special heroes, “Paragons”, that can rally a counter-offensive against the Anti-Monitor. They have two of them now: Kara and Sara, so they need to find the other five. The two they have a lead on is “a Superman who has suffered more than any mortal could imagine” and “the Bat of the future”. Also, The Monitor reveals he recovered the Book of Destiny before it was destroyed in Elseworlds and also resurrected Lex Luthor!

Of course the first thought Kara and Mia is why cant they just use the Book to resurrect everyone lost like Ollie, or say go back in time to do that, but The Monitor is losing his power the longer the Anti-Monitor’s antimatter attack across the multiverse continues, so no dice there. Well, that doesn’t stop Mia from wanting to bring her dad back from the dead, so Barry and Sara are recruited to help out, along with John Constantine to help find a Lazarus Pit somewhere in the multiverse. They find it in a mine, and after fighting off the guard of it (a pre-scarred Jonah Hex!), they put Ollie’s body in, and naturally, he wakes up super blood rage and without a soul. Even worse, Constantine can’t put Ollie’s soul back into his body thanks to all the antimatter stuff, so…that may be a problem.

Speaking of problems, someone didn’t bother to lock up Lex on that Waverider, because the second he has the chance, he steals the Book of Destiny to start killing all the remaining Supermen of the multiverse, because, he’s nuts. Anyway, Clark, Lois, and Iris Allen start hunting down the Superman they need, trying to stay on top of Lex’s Super-kill spree, and after running into one Superman who is depowered, go to another Earth and find the Superman they’re looking for: a Clark Kent who lost his family and friends in one fell swoop, and looks like Ray Palmer! Lex shows up and being bored of killing Supermen, decides to use the Book to make Clark and…Clark…fight each other to the death! Good thing Lois and Iris knock out Lex, and manage to get that Earth’s Superman off Lex’s control. And yes, they FINALLY lock Lex up in the Waverider.

Cue Remy Zero music.

As for our “Bat of the future”, Kara and Kate head to Earth-99 where they find a rather ripped Luke Fox and a mechanical harness wearing old Bruce Wayne. It seems odd this Bruce Wayne might be their Paragon, but as Kara and Kate learn while hanging out in this creepy Wayne Manor, he’s not. Point of fact, Old Man Bruce Wayne went a little mad after his daughter died wearing the Bat cowl, and started to murder bad guys, and then moved on to kill the guy who put him in that mechanical harness: Superman! When Old Man Bruce Wayne tries to kill Kara because she’s a Kryptonian too, Kate steps in and kinda kills him. So, who is the Paragon they are looking for? Turns out it’s Kate, sooooo…congrats?

We leave this with Ray making a device to find the remaining Paragons, Kara now convinced she’ll use the Book of Destiny to return her universe even though it might drive her mad doing so, Kate considering stopping Kara with that kryptonite she lifted off of Old Man Bruce, and we got a soulless Ollie to deal with. And just when you thought all that and the destruction of the multiverse was enough to worry about, Lyla has been having some peculiar headaches. That culminates in her being teleported to some lair where we think we hear the Monitor’s voice, but no…we see it’s the Anti-Monitor, taking control of her! Uh-oh.

The Anti-Monitor is definitely in need of some proper skin care more than destroying universes, I see.

–So, our cameos this time around are the Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Tom Welling and Erica Durance) from Smallville, Brandon Routh playing Superman from Superman Returns with a hint of Kingdom Come Superman in his look, Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in the classic animated series in the 90’s and beyond) as Old Crazy Man Bruce Wayne, Jonathan Schaech back as Jonah Hex, and a real surprise in Wentworth Miller (the long Dead Captain Cold) playing the Earth-73 Waverider’s A.I., Leonard!

–Clearly I missed the Smallville comics that continued the story after the series ended, because that was a surprise to see that Clark gave up his powers to stay with Lois and have some kids. It was real annoying for Lex, whose plans to kill that Clark got squashed because of that little turn. And anytime Lex can get punched (or in a later case, Lois bashing him in the head with a stick) is a plus for me.

–We get a reference to Felicity Smoak helping out The Monitor researching the Book and finding a lead on those two Paragons we find this episode. Of course, she also doesn’t know Ollie died and has been resurrected as a soulless version of himself, and probably for the best.

–Can we just mention the music drops of John Williams’ Superman theme during our Superman/Superman meeting and fight was really sweet?

–Earth-73’s Mick gets to be nanny for baby Jonathan this episode, even reading his self-published sci-fi romance novel to get him to sleep.

–Kate and Kara’s reaction to open shirted Earth-99’s Luke was quite hilarious. They both tried not to make it weird and were failing.

–“It’s either him or the buff guy on the paper towel rolls.”

–“You had me at ‘beer’.”

–“Wait, so Bruce Wayne is the Dark Knight?” “Why don’t we keep that to ourselves, okay?”

–“You’re basically living in your car!”

–“Whoaaaa, Ray, you are looking jacked!”

–“Can’t say I missed these chats.”

“Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Three”

With universes dropping out of existence at a steady rate, plans are made to deal with getting whatever refugees they can from other worlds to Earth-1 as soon as possible. While some of our heroes (like the Supermen) are out dealing with that, we get some support pop in, like Cisco, Caitlin, Ralph, and Diggle. Diggle gets to hear the double bad news of Ollie being dead but resurrected without a soul, but that Lyla has mysteriously disappeared. So, he decides to join Mia, Sara, and Constantine in heading to purgatory to recover Ollie’s soul (which oddly looks like Lian Yu), and after reasoning with him, seem ready to bring him back ala Search for Spock. BUT, a man named Jim Corrigan appears, a supernatural being known as The Spectre, saying Ollie can’t leave Purgatory, because he must become the new Spectre to fight the Anti-Monitor. So that leaves us still with a soulless Oliver Queen back on that Waverider to contend with. However

On the Waverider, Lois can only see the destruction of all these Earths as it’s winding down to Earth-1, and has a chat with the Monitor about of them losing family because of this Crisis, which ought to be a huge flashing sign that the Monitor is not long for the rest of this crossover. But on the Paragon front, the remaining three paragons have been found: Barry, J’onn, and…wait, who’s Ryan Choi? Whoever he is, he’s needed so Iris, Ralph, and Ray go to collect him, but he’s more concerned with being with his wife and kid for the end than anything else. Turns out a little convincing later gets Ryan onboard for whatever it is he’s supposed to do in this Crisis.

The remainder of Team Flash discovers that the Anti-Monitor antimatter machine is located under Capital City, in pretty much the same place Nash discovered it earlier this season on The Flash. Nash/Pariah shows up to help our heroes get into the room with the machine, which is helped by Cisco’s Vibe powers (oh yeah, almost forgot, The Monitor gave Cisco his powers back again earlier), and they find its being powered by a speedster on a treadmill…the Earth-90 Flash! The problem is they can’t break him loose without activating a failsafe that will make the machine just destroy all the Earths immediately. A surprise figure pops into the room: Black Lightning (which if you read the other Recap Round-Up post this week, now you know where we vanished to), who doesn’t have long to deal with the fact his Earth is gone before he’s asked to help out keep the antimatter generator failsafe from going off.

“Well this is some weird s**t!”

Both Flashes realize the solution involves running against the antimatter machine to destroy it, which Barry is willing to do (after all, he’s fated to die, right?). But Flash-90 refuses to let Barry die and siphons super speed from Barry to take his place in this sacrifice play. Our team gets out as Flash-90 gets back on the treadmill, basically running himself out of existence to destroy the antimatter machine. He succeeds, so threat is over, right?

Kara gets prevented from using the Book of Destiny by Kate, which may have been a good thing considering what happens next. All our heroes meet up from their little side quests on the Waverider, and suddenly, Lyla appears. She doesn’t know where she went and why, which is enough clue something’s up. That “something” is Lyla suddenly being possessed by the Anti-Monitor, and she’s seemingly unstoppable, so much so that she kills The Monitor and restarts the antimatter wave! Before the wave can reach the Waverider and after Earth-1 is destroyed, Nash/Pariah sends our seven Paragons of Kara, Sara, Barry, J’onn, Ryan, that Ray Palmer looking Superman, and Kate away, as everyone else gets wiped out by the antimatter wave!

Our seven arrive to find themselves in a wrecked superstructure that Sara immediately recognizes: it’s the Vanishing Point, the invisible point in time and space once held by the Time Masters (see Legends of Tomorrow season one). It seems they’ve all been sent there, out of view of the Anti-Monitor, hopefully to fight their enemy again. But before we can start thinking about that, the Alt-Superman begins to vanish, and in his place, Lex Luthor appears! Looks like Lex rewrote the Book of Destiny when he had it to make him the Paragon in Alt-Superman’s place! So now we got seven against the Anti-Monitor? Let’s see how our heroes pull victory out of the claws of defeat come January!

When you realize you have to rely on Lex Luthor to save the universe. Yep, we’re boned.

–Cameos this week include Black Canary (Ashley Scott) from the Birds of Prey TV show, John Wesley Shipp returning as the Flash of Earth-90, and the surprise cameo of Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) of Earth-666 from Lucifer, a non-CW DC related show.

–While this miniseries is flying by, I do appreciate the brief moments of character interaction, like Jefferson Pierce talking with Barry Allen and contemplating the end of his world and family. Too bad he gets wiped out by the antimatter wave by the end of this episode, but hey, I’m sure things will be fine when Crisis ends and his show comes back. Relatively, I mean.

–The Spectre, Jim Corrigan, has appeared in DC TV before, in Constantine. He’s played by a different actor here, but he is a spirit of vengeance, if you will. Sounds like a job right up dead Ollie’s alley.

–I love the explanation of why our Alt-Superman has a red “S” with black inside. Even in darkness, there can be light.

–It seems a little anticlimactic to have the Monitor give Cisco back his Vibe powers against his will immediately after spending a good while in The Flash deciding to not have them and living without them. Maybe a bit more anticlimactic than Barry being spared dying (although the caveat “Barry Allen, the Flash, has to die”, doesn’t say which Barry Allen), but fine.

–That brief clip of Earth-90 Flash with Tina McGee (who we learn married Earth-90 Flash and died) from The Flash TV show of 1990 really hit home for me. That was one of the first real superhero shows I ever watched, and seeing that Flash sacrifice himself was such an emotional gut punch.

–Watching Kate stand up to Kara like that was a great little bit of tension. But, she does let Kara know she did have that piece of kryptonite ready to go if she needed it. Who knows, she may still need it.

–Who knew the Book of Destiny could be rewritten with a sharpie?

–“That makes us even, John Constan-tyne!” “Constan-tine, Lucy.” “Really? Don’t care.”

–“Don’t mind him, it’s his first crossover.”

–“Keep riding the lightning, son.”

–“So, what do we do now?”

NEXT TIME: Well, we’re on a break until January, when we return with the last two chapters (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow) on Crisis on Infinite Earths! Happy Holidays!

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