The Crisis expands the Arrowverse multiverse by touching on characters from 1966's "Batman," 1989's "Batman" and even DC Universe's "Titans" series.
Fans knew to expect anything and everything in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," the five-show crossover dominating The CW this week before returning for its grand conclusion in January 2020, but they had no idea how much loss they'd be facing in just the first hour.
Technically an episode of "Supergirl," this kickoff episode proved to be a pivotal episode for that series the likes of which we've never seen before, while setting the stage for a new era of excitement and craziness for Kara. It also sets up a whole new possibility for the forthcoming series featuring Lois and Clark.
But most importantly -- it is a crossover after all -- it brought together all the heroes of the Arrowverse including Batwoman, The Flash, a couple of Legends, a couple of Green Arrows and that aforementioned Super-family.
There were also a few key cameos which established the scope of the DC multiverse, of which the Arrowverse is just one small part. As promised Burt Ward showed up from Earth-66 (named after his "Batman" series premiere year), but he wasn't the only Gotham representative.
A quick visit to Earth-89 brought Robert Wuhl's Alexander Knox from the Tim Burton films (which kicked off in 1989). Even more fun, the bat symbol blasting into the sky behind him was more reminiscent of the "Batman Beyond" symbol, which fans know is a series that takes place a generation after Bruce Wayne, starring an older Bruce mentoring a young kid to take on a new version of the Bat.
The timeline of this universe, with Batman at his prime in the late '80s and early '90s, makes it a perfect place for a modern-day "Batman Beyond," and you know fans are already going to be clamoring for it. Even better, we already know Kevin Conroy is taking part in this "Crisis," and keen to do more. The voice of the Caped Crusader in "Batman: The Animated Series," among others, Conroy would be perfect for the grizzled veteran Batman.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, for fans of the DC Universe streaming service was the quick appearance of characters from "Titans," firmly establishing them as part of the larger multiverse. Of course, they were then wiped out by the crimson wave, so what that means for the already greenlit 3rd season remains a mystery. In fact, all of the came universes are now gone, though we hope perhaps not for good.
Perhaps some version of the multiverse will survive this "Crisis" -- which would allow us our "Batman Beyond" series, too -- or perhaps what happens here will have no impact there. We kind of hope not, because with a multiverse such a huge part of the DC Universe in the comics, it would be an absolute blast to imagine the various shows and movies also sharing that same storytelling DNA.
It's not that hard to manage a multiverse, considering it's rare that stories or characters would cross over. That said, the DCU has had to manage the occasional "Crisis" to straighten things out from time to time, but who's going to get mad about crossovers as fun as we've seen so far.
Honestly, we're still a little shaken by just how much the "Crisis" creators have taken from us so early in this crossover. We can only hope the reality-altering nature of this saga might mean that not every bit of this sticks. After all, if reality is rewritten or reset at the end of this, heroes could live again? Perhaps even whole universes?
We kind of don't expect that to happen for Supergirl, though. Long predicted, it does indeed look like "Crisis" is the writers clever way of combining the Arrowverse heroes onto one earth, and they did it by literally transporting billions of people from Earth-38 to Earth-1 before obliterating Kara and Kal's home universe.
Luckily, both superheroes made it, along with what appears to be their entire supporting casts. But talk about a major show makeover if this sticks, they'll have to rebuild their lives in a whole new world. No more DEO, no more Luthor billions, no more anything familiar. There are apparently three billion souls that survived the transport, which creates a whole different problem when it comes to resources on Earth-1.
Now, all of this could be tweaked by a rewrite of reality where perhaps Supergirl and Superman always existed on Earth-1, but it would be much more creatively challenging and interesting to have the Earth-38 denizens be refugees from a lost world. There would surely be doppelgangers among them, which could only add to ongoing story potential.
One major element of "Supergirl" that didn't make it, was the other Kryptonians, as Argo City and it's 4.53 billion citizens, including Kara's mother Alura, did not survive the red wave of death scouring the multiverse. If the writers are willing to wipe out an entire universe we've spent years on, what else will they do?
The biggest surprise turned out to even be a shocker for the Monitor, who revealed things have not played out as he imagined. Showing up in the death throes of Earth-38, the Monitor plucked our heroes from this reality to prepare them for the next battle, but Oliver resisted. Instead, he shot the Monitor and continued fighting.
The Monitor got him in the end, and credited him with saving about a billion lives, but his wounds were too severe and the first hour of "Crisis" ended with the death of a hero. And it's not one who died at all in the original comic book version of the series. In fact, Oliver told Supergirl and The Flash that his intention was to die so they didn't have to.
But perhaps more importantly, it was the passing of the quiver for Oliver to his daughter Mia, who will take up the mantle in her own series spinning out of "Crisis." What's intriguing, though, is that "Arrow" still has a chapter in this "Crisis" -- more on that in a second -- and then two more episodes beyond that. One of those is a backdoor pilot for Mia's series, but what about the series finale?
How will they end "Arrow" without Green Arrow? Or will they? One again, we're reminded that reality is in flux and we're even supposed to get a Felicity Smoak appearance in this one. Is Oliver's journey truly over? Will the Monitor intervene and find a way to save him? Perhaps they'll pluck him from the timeline, or maybe the distraught older Oliver from Earth-16 (who got a beautiful closure with Sara) will step in.
We already know there are plenty more DC characters to come, including Brandon Routh's version of Superman, Kevin Conroy's Bruce Wayne and many more that have remained a secret, but in the "Crisis" after-show, we learned something surprising about the fourth hour of this crossover event.
It's going to be largely a flashback episode, and it just happens to be the one earmarked for the "Arrow" show itself. We supposed that's one way to deal with the fact that you already killed the main character.
But this chapter, according to series architect Marc Guggeheim, will feature the backstory of both the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. Did we need this backstory? We didn't really need one for the original comic book version of "Crisis," so hopefully they've got some reason to take a step back.
As the schedule is set up now, though, that means we'll return from the holiday hiatus with this fourth hour before wrapping the whole thing up in a special episode of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow." Does that mean the crossover will end on a lighter note, as that is easily the silliest of these Arrowverse shows?
Probably not, but "Legends" is also the wildest and most unpredictable of the shows, so why not wrap up a universes-shattering epic on a series that's not afraid to jump through time, alter history and travel to parallel worlds. If nothing is off-limits, then the possiblities are truly endless.
The cameos, casualties and calamities continue to pile up as "Crisis on Infinite Earths" continues Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.