A ‘Crisis’ Brings Together Many DC Comics Heroes


Who could have imagined back in 2012 when CW debuted “Arrow,” about a middling superhero unfamiliar to many viewers, that it would eventually spawn a rich prime time world encompassing several series and featuring dozens of colorful champions?

The Marvel universe has dominated multiplexes with 22 films (and counting), but DC has been less successful with its own cinematic combo platters — the rumored “Snyder cut” of “Justice League” notwithstanding. But on TV it’s been a different story, as the “Arrowverse” has expanded to include multiple CW series, adding “The Flash” in 2014, “Supergirl” (which began on CBS) in 2015, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” in 2016 and “Batwoman” this year.

Along the way it has also leaned into its comic-book roots, fully embracing many of the art form’s shenanigans: Time travel! Doppelgängers from parallel worlds! Unexpected (and expected) resurrections!

All of this comes to a head in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” a five-part crossover story that begins Sunday in “Supergirl,” then continues Monday in “Batwoman” and Tuesday in “The Flash” before concluding on Jan. 14 in “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.” The story is inspired by 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, a 12-issue comic book series about a cosmic villain out to destroy all parallel worlds. The story, which was published to help celebrate DC’s 50th anniversary and to bring in new readers, united heroes cherry-picked from the company’s five decades to stop the threat.

The TV “Crisis” is going a similar route, incorporating heroes from more than just the component series. “We’re not only seeing our various Arrowverse characters, but you’re also seeing characters and actors and concepts from a whole host of other DC properties,” said Marc Guggenheim, an executive producer on “Arrow” who is the showrunner for the crossover.

This includes Burt Ward, who portrayed Robin in the campy 1960s “Batman” show, in a cameo appearance, and Kevin Conroy, who has voiced Batman in many animated series, in an in-the-flesh featured role. Conroy will play a version of Bruce Wayne and his caped alter ego, making him CW’s first live-action Batman. There are three Supermen, including Tom Welling, who spent a decade starring on “Smallville.”

Here are some of the key players in “Crisis,” as well as reminders of where we left off with most of them. If you’re not caught up on the Arrowverse, be aware, possible spoilers ahead.

The archer (played by Stephen Amell), who began his solitary crusade in 2012, is now surrounded by friends and family, including an adult son and daughter who recently arrived from the future. He has vowed to sacrifice himself to save Flash and Supergirl from their prophesied deaths in the Crisis. With “Arrow” ending after this season, will he get his wish?

A glimpse of the future showed the scarlet speedster (Grant Gustin) that he would vanish during the Crisis, but his attempts to alter destiny only moved up the threat to 2019 from 2024. He should proceed with caution: The Flash died in Crisis No. 7, one of the most significant deaths in the history of comics (until it was undone in 2008).

Whereas Superman and Lex Luthor were nearly always enemies, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Lena Luthor (Cassidy Freeman) were friends — until the heroine recently revealed her true identity, leaving Lena feeling foolish and betrayed by the ruse. In the comics, Supergirl died in Crisis No. 8, to save her cousin Superman. (She later returned, too, but in a more complicated manner than the Flash.)

Similar to her cousin Batman, Batwoman (Ruby Rose) prefers fighting alone, but she encountered some of the Arrowverse heroes in the 2018 crossover, “Elseworlds,” which aired on “The Flash,” ”Arrow” and “Supergirl.” In her Gotham City, Bruce Wayne is missing. Will she learn anything from meeting Kevin Conroy’s Bruce Wayne, who is emotionally and physically scarred from his battles?

There have been references to other heroes on “Black Lightning,” starring Cress Williams, which premiered last year, but mostly in comics read by his daughters (who fight crime alongside him as Thunder and Lightning). “Crisis” will be Black Lightning’s first interaction with the Arrowverse.

Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has a history of escaping death, so her odds of surviving the Crisis are high. She has evolved from a supporting character on “Arrow” to leader of the Legends, whose mission is to stop evil forces from changing the past for their future gain. She’s also another example of the Arrowverse’s notable commitment to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender representation.

The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) has made cameo appearances on the Arrowverse shows to warn the heroes about the impending doom. By his side are Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson), who, like the Monitor, can travel between worlds, and the remorseful Pariah (Tom Cavanagh), who accidentally set free the villain behind the destruction.

After playing Clark Kent for 10 seasons of “Smallville,” Welling will reprise his role during the Crisis. A trailer shows a glimpse of him on the Kent family farm, approached by another, younger version of Clark.

That younger Clark is the CW’s current Man of Steel. This Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) were last seen on Argo City, one of the last remnants of Krypton, as they prepared for the birth of their child. Promotional photos for “Crisis” reveal that this Superman will battle an older version of the hero.

That older Superman, played by Brandon Routh, is based on a comic book story in which he retires after Lois dies during an attack on The Daily Planet. Routh is also the Atom on “DC’s Legends,” but putting on the S-costume is a reprisal of sorts, as he portrayed the Man of Steel in 2006’s “Superman Returns.” Great Krypton!



The article was originally published by Newyorktimes

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/arts/television/crisis-on-infinite-earths.html

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