The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event wrapped up last night and… you did it, you crazy bastards actually did it.
Comparatively speaking, this epic 5-part crossover between the majority of the CW’s DC superhero shows was just as ambitious as the MCU’s Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. A bold statement, I know. There will be people rushing to comment that the special effects work was a little dodgy in parts and the final battles took place in a rock quarry and…parking lot respectively but those are minor quibbles compared to what the crossover gave us. Let’s run down some of my favourites.
The Flash of Earth-90
Way, way back in prehistoric times DC was riding high on the success of the 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie which spawned dozens of similarly styled imitators. Some enterprising soul at the TV arm of Warner Bros had the great idea of doing a weekly TV show that would give viewers their dark superhero fix on a weekly basis and they decided on…The Flash?
Complete with his own Danny Elfman theme music and a city that was modern but with anachronistic Art Deco styling and cars from the 1950s The Flash sped onto TV screens in the Fall of 1990…and I was completely enraptured with the show. The first half of the season had The Flash fighting gangsters and other street-level criminals (much like Batman) but the second half of the season started dipping into the more fantastic elements of the character by giving us Rogues like Mirror Master, Captain Cold, and most importantly Mark Hamill’s The Trickster.
Then, after one brief and glorious season…it was gone. Deemed too expensive to produce it was put out to pasture by Spring 1991.
When the CW’s The Flash went into production I was ecstatic that John Wesley Shipp was joining the cast as Barry’s father, Henry Allen (and later as the Earth-2 and later still as…Barry Allen). The show went to amazing lengths to include actors from the 1990 TV show and wormed its way into my heart by beating the holy hell out of my nostalgia.
This all culminated last year when they put Shipp back into his old Flash costume during the Elseworlds event and having him once again play Barry Allen from Earth-90…which I can still barely comprehend. The Flash-90 reappeared during Crisis and made the Ultimate Sacrifice to stop the Anti-Monitor in a sequence reminiscent of Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. The sequence provided an amazing coda to the 1990 The Flash series by incorporating footage from the old show and was a fitting send-off for a show that never got one thirty years ago.
I think we can all agree that the hands-down best part of the 2006 Superman Returns movie was Brandon Routh’s portrayal of The Man of Steel. The general consensus was that we all wanted to see MORE of Routh but WB seemed intent on making Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and…Green Lantern. Eventually, Routh was cast as Ray Palmer/The Atom on Arrow which spun him off into Legends of Tomorrow and it was cool to see him playing a superhero once again but there was always that “what if?” floating around in the ether.
During previous CW crossovers jokes were made about Supergirl resembling Ray Palmer’s cousin and they seemed intent to dangle that carrot in front of the audience…until this year. When it was announced that Routh was once again putting on the blue tights at last year’s SDCC people (myself included) flipped out…and did so again when they released the first promotional photo of him as a Kingdom Come-inspired, older Superman.
Seeing Routh in action again as Superman was a rare glimpse at what could have been…and what could have been was awesome.
THAT Flash Cameo
Probably the most surprising element of the whole event from a “how the hell did they pull this off?” perspective was Grant Gustin’s Flash crossing paths with EZRA MILLER’S Flash insides the Speed Force. I consider myself fairly unflappable but I was indeed flapped when the DCEU’s Flash appeared on-screen about 20 minutes into Part 4 of Crisis. Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch the scene later because my brain blew a fuse and couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
The cameo was staggering from just a logistical standpoint considering the WB won’t allow its golden goose character Batman to appear on TV unless it’s as Bruce Wayne OR in shadow. Secondly, the fact that they kept this information under wraps was an impressive feat. During the break between parts 3 and 4 it was said that even more cameos were being filmed in secret…well I guess this was it.
While I wasn’t particularly a fan of the Justice League movie I enjoyed Miller and their portrayal of The Flash and the wait for the DCEU’s Flash movie is maddening. To put things in perspective it was announced before the current TV show started and probably won’t hit theatres until after the show has concluded its run. Miller seems to really love the character and I feel that they were totally on board with doing the cameo. There was an interview from several years back where Miller was asked about being one of two actors currently playing The Flash. In their answer, Miller referenced the multiverse and kind of won me over all while speaking this cameo into existence.
To say that my Twitter timeline burst into flames when the cameo happened would be a vast understatement. It was nice, as a comic book fan, to see the multiverse realized in such a way.
Bringing it all home to Earth-Prime, there were several other amazing moments and surprises scattered throughout Crisis on Infinite Earths. The CW had to stick it to the MCU by having Oliver Queen out-Tony Stark Tony Stark by giving him not one BUT TWO dramatic death scenes. We got KEVIN CONROY playing an older Bruce Wayne! They used The Superfriends theme music! GLEEK! How is any of this real?
Crisis on Infinite Earths was amazingly fun and everything I ever wanted out of a live-action DC comics adaptation. Who would have thought it would have aired on network TV?