Drake said it best when he coined the phrase “what a time to be alive”. Back in the 90’s comic fans were treated to subpar storyline adaptations of their beloved comics. From the laughable Captain America to the ambitious Mutant X. Now times are different and you can go into any Cinema and usually pick between Marvel and DC at the box office every summer. In 2019 thanks the box office success, TV and streaming to have an entertainment smorgasbord of superhero media. Despite this Fans tend to focus on the big-budget film stuff. Until the CW umbrella brought us the cult like successful world of shows, we dubbed the Arrow-verse: The CW’s sprawling universe of connected DC superhero shows that all came from the Arrow, a 2012 the gritty reimagining of the vigilante Green Arrow through of Greg Berlanti. Seven years later, that small-screen universe is achieving what its bigger more richer brother (DCU) could not do: Crisis on Infinite Earths, a five-part miniseries adapting one of the most influential and important comic book crossovers of all time.
Crisis (the show) is bold undertaking piece of television. Three of its five episodes have aired over the last three nights and are streaming now for free on the CW app, with the final two parts culminating in back to back episode after the holidays, what now seems soo far away January 14th. The first 3 episodes reads as a love letter to superfans,giving them and casual viewers what they sorely needed. Closure on story line dating back to the 90s (the 90s flash show). Also a much needed redo of Brandon Routh’s Superman. I remember going to a midnight screening of Superman returns and completely loving his take on the Man of Steel. I was overjoyed to see him grace the screen wearing the cape once again. The first 3 episode where jammed packed with scenes dedicated to loveable and memorable cameos, although characters are introduced with very little explanation it was a wink wink nudge nudge to the fans. This rare TV event appears to be a thank you for the fans who have followed the half-dozen of their shows for seven years, by design.
Crisis (the comic) was an equally audacious undertaking, albeit one with the very opposite motive. The fictional histories of DC superheroes were getting too complicated, too contradictory. The solution, then, was to end it all, then start fresh and a new. The comic book Crisis was an act of consolidation, letting the editors, writers, and artists of ‘80s DC decide what they liked and what they did not from the previous fifty years of stories so they could start fresh when a new vision.
On TV, it plays out differently, the seeds of this event were planted in last year’s Elseworlds crossover. Parallel Earths are being wiped out of existence one at a time, and now the heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-38 (the Arrow-verse, including but not limited to: Oliver Queen / Green Arrow; Barry Allen / The Flash; Kara Danvers / Supergirl; and Kate Kane / Batwoman) must hop from one universe to the next in order to find their champions or as called on the show their “Paragons” who will defeat the Anti-Monitor, the cosmic villain who began the eponymous Crisis.
The whole thing is a joyride through the DC universe, paying homage to every possible iteration it can. From Burt Ward, the Robin of the ‘66 Batman TV series, to scenes with Tom Welling, the Clark Kent of Smallville; Even Kevin Conroy, the voice of the ‘90s animated Batman got in on the fun; and of course as mentioned before Brandon Routh, reprising his role as the Superman of the Richard Donner / Bryan Singer universe. But the earnestness of it all it still has what DCU didn’t a heart you can’t replicate with an enormous budget.
Crisis On Infinite Earths isn’t going to win awards or even resonate with anyone who hasn’t kept up with the Arrow-verse. However, the first three episodes, delivered where the DCU has not. Even with superheroes everywhere, there is nothing true with its earnest to comic book as this out there, and I hope we’ll get something like this every few years.