While DC Comics is having difficulty getting their act together on the silver screen, their television properties are coming up all aces. The CW Network’s yearly crossover event premiered last week as Crisis on Earth-X saw the heroes from all four “Arrowverse” television shows battle Nazis from Earth-X.
A little history lesson. There are 52 versions of Earth in the multiverse. The heroes from Arrow, Flash, and Legends reside on Earth 1 while the crew from Supergirl live on Earth 38. Interdimensional travel called breaches allows the heroes to travel between parallel Earths where they sometimes meet different versions of themselves, aka doppelgangers.
The Nazi’s arrival on Earth 1 revealed the existence of the multiverse to the uninitiated while simultaneously revealing to the enlightened the existence of a 53rd Earth. No one travels there because it’s ruled by a Nazi regime that won World War II. The baddies are led by SS clad opposites of Supergirl and Green Arrow and Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash.
Thawne’s reemergence was a nice touch because he’s from Earth 1 and supposed to be dead. This was a nice twist because it was assumed that we would be getting an evil version of Barry. Matt Letscher does a good job playing Thawne, but I’m glad they had Tom Cavanagh suit up because it was a great call back to season one.
Many characters had to be juggled here. We’re talking about a dozen heroes and their evil counterparts. Everyone received the proper amount of time to shine that was in line with their respective shows’ overall importance. The action was incredible; seeing the characters out of their element provided new and daunting challenges.
Humor was spot on, especially with villain turned good guy Mick Rory pointing out he kidnapped Katlin once upon a time and how he was seated next to a befuddled chief of police at Barry and Iris’ wedding. For all the good Mick has done on Legends, it’s easy to forget that he’s still a wanted man in Central City.
Emotional moments tugged at the heartstrings, including the will-they or won’t-they, again, between Felicity and Oliver. Gray’s untimely passing was a shock. It was known that actor Victor Garber was leaving the series, but we assumed that his character would retire off into the sunset to be with his wife, daughter, and newborn grandson as he was already looking for a way to get rid of his powers.
Stephen Amell and Melissa Benoist have a lot of screen time playing both the good and evil versions of themselves. Amell delivered with his heel persona. Benoist, not so much, which was surprising since she did it so well in an episode during season one.
Now it’s time for the nerdy! Green Arrow shooting Overgirl with a Kryptonite arrow was surprising because it doesn’t make sense. As far as we know, Oliver has never been to Earth 38, and there are no Kryptonians on Earth 1.
How would he even know of Kryptonite’s existence?
Hopefully, it will be explained in a future episode. The scene drew inspiration from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight when Oliver shot Superman with the same arrow type. Also, Overgirl and Supergirl’s reaction made it sweeter.
Richard Donner’s Superman II received a nice homage when Melissa Benoist delivered Christopher Reeves’ line, “General, would you care to step outside?” I geeked out hard for that moment. Wentworth Miller’s (Prison Break) Captain Cold was another well-executed return, including the comic book accurate coat and glasses. The Ray made his Arrowverse début, which was a nice surprise, and it will be interesting which show he’ll find residence on.
I could gush over Crisis on Earth-X all day. Besides one little thing at the end involving Flash, there is nothing to nitpick or complain about. It was a fun story that fleshed out the characters beyond the scope of their normal surroundings. None of the four episodes felt like an episode of their respective namesake, which made the crossover as a whole more fluid from a narrative perspective. This was the best superhero crossover since The Avengers. Everyone at the CW should be proud of what they accomplished.