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Crisis on Infinite Earths: Review and Reference Guide – Part 2

What started on Supergirl now rolls into Batwoman for the second act of our Crisis on Infinite Earths theatre. If you missed yesterday’s review of Part 1, you should catch up here before continuing. Oh, and spoilers… duh!

Earth-1 – Arrowverse Prime: We begin on Earth-1 with the ladies of the group, Sara, Kara and Kate, drowning their sorrows over the death of Oliver Queen. Or, rather, Sara is drowning her sorrows… Kate wants to keep her mind clear to deal with continuing crisis and Kara is too busy wallowing (seriously, annoyingly wallowing) in self pity to even process the fact that both Oliver and her Earth are dead.

Earth-74 – Alternate Legends Reality Earth: Next up, Lyla/Harbinger decides they need a Waverider to be their base of operations. Sara repeats the wonderful piece of fourth wall breaking that was introduced on Elseworlds in which she promised that the Legends would never have to do a “crossover” again. Fantastic. Lyla travels instead, then, to Earth-74, a reality in which the Legends team broke-up after the death of a team member. The Waverider of this Earth has now become the batchelor pad of Mick Rory, catered to by the ships AI, Leonard. That’s right, Wentworth Miller reprised Leonard Snart to be a computer. Mick, henceforth, takes his place in this crossover as the unlikely babysitter of Jonathan. Neato.

Whilst being constantly interrupted by baby Jonathan, The Monitor revealed his plan to defeat The Anti-Monitor. The team must seek out the 7 Paragons, as revealed by the Tome of the Guardians* via the Book of Destiny, which he saved from demise after Elseworlds… probably in the same anal cavity as the Quantum Towers. Luckily for our heroes, two of the seven are right in front of them as Kara is the Paragon of Hope, and Sara Lance is the Paragon of Destiny. Still to find are the Paragon of Truth, the Paragon of Courage and three other untitled Paragons. The Monitor reckons Mr. Courage is a Batman of the Future and Clark/Lois are led to believe that another Earth’s Superman is the Paragon of Truth.

*The Tome of the Guardians, by the way, belongs to a group called the Guardians of the Universe – the creators of the Green Lantern. In some mythologies, John Diggle IS the Green Lantern and so we may see our favourite Arrow-buddy suit up within this Crisis!

Just before the team can set off on their respective missions, Lex Luthor turns up, brought in by The Monitor. Kara, obviously, continues her consta-rant going in the face of this news but Kate recruits Kara to find the Batman of the Future on Earth-99. Inevitably, Lex Luthor steals Book of Destiny and portals away, vowing to kill ALL of the Superman, everywhere. Monitor shrugs. Kara keeps moaning.

Earth-99 – Batman Beyond-ish Earth: Kara and Kate travel to Earth-99 to find the Batman of the Future. Interestingly, Batman of the Future was the name of the Batman Beyond animated series in markets outside of America. The series debuted in 1999, hence Earth-99. That animated series is the basis for this world, then, even if some of the elements are vastly different (there’s no actual Batman of the Future, Terry McGinnis, for starters). Kara and Kate approach Bruce Wayne’s house which looks a lot more like the house from Big Bad Beetleborgs than Wayne Manor, and find Kate’s Earth-1 assistant Luke Fox. Kate is taken aback by Luke’s six pack and he isn’t interested in what the ladies are offering. Kara busts down the door and they are greeted by clanky, cyborg Bruce coming down the stairs. Wayne recognises Kate; Kate is dead on this Earth and it turns out ol’ Batman is an homicidal “broken pissed off, old hermit”.

In the other room, Kara finds Bruce’s trophies – themselves a treasure trove of references: a bloodied Joker card, Riddler’s cane, a snow globe (Mr. Freeze), a plant (Poison Ivy) and the broken glasses of Superman, whom put Wayne in the exosuit. In the Bat Cave, Kate tries to convince Bruce he’s a hero, Bruce tries to convince Kate he’s not. Kara turns up and takes Bruce’s side – she agrees that the guy is dirt – and he goes on a crazy rant before attacking Kara. He turns his attention to Kate but is bounced into a generator and electrocuted. With his dying breath, he tells Kate “there is no hope.” Well, you would say that wouldn’t you… you murdering sack o’ douche.

Some other references of note here are the Earth-1 style Batman suit in cobwebs, the Gotham Gazette (again), the Batman: The Animated Series theme song and the Batmobile from the 1989 movie hidden under a cover.

Earth-75 – Superman Dies Earth: Clark and Lois Lane travel to Earth-75 in search of the Superman Paragon but Lex Luthor has beaten them to it and killed the Superman of that Earth. This Earth is named after the Superman comic book, issue #75, in which Superman is killed by Doomsday. The shot of Superman dead on the rocks with Lois grieving over his broken carcass is replicated directly from the issue. Stellar work.

Earth-167 – Smallville Earth: The next Earth in the Superman search is Earth-167, home of Tom Welling’s version of Clark Kent slumming it sans-powers on Kent Farm. Clark, Lois and Iris are just explaining everything to other Clark when they’re vanished away and Lex turns up. Smallville Clark doesn’t recognise him, obviously… wrong actor. Clark reveals he gave up his powers and has children instead. Lex, realising this guy isn’t much of a threat, leaves. Erica Durance’s Lois Lane comes outside to tell Superdad that, dagumit, the kids’ve made a mess! “Sounds like a job for… us,” Clark retorts. I don’t think I need to tell you the reference there. Why Earth-167? Well, that took a little more digging than the others but apparently the 167 is short for 1967, the year in which Smallville creator, Al Gough, was born.

Earth-96 – Kingdom Come / Superman Returns Earth: Following Lex Luthor’s breaches, the trio head to Earth-96 where they bump into a Brandon Routh faced Clark Kent. They give him the rundown on Lex before Lois notices plaques of dead names on the wall from when a “reject from Gotham” gassed the building and killed a lot of people. Based on the exreme loss this Superman has dealt with, they believe him to be the Paragon of Truth and recruit him. Lex arrives, turns Routh Clark nasty and sets him on Earth-38 Superman. Are you keeping up? They fight in the skies but Routh Clark turns his attention on Lois and Iris, to take away the thing that Clark-38 loves. This distraction allows the ladies to get the upper hand in Lex, knock him out, steal the Book of Destiny and fix Routh Clark. Job’s a goodun.

The lore of this Earth seems to be a portmanteau of the 1996 (Earth-96!) comic book series, Kingdom Come and the 2006 film, Superman Returns. The Superman suit is a direct Kingdom Come translation, adorned by a different than familiar “S” symbol adopted following the death of Lois Lane. In the comic book, she was killed by Joker – whom one would assume is the Gotham reject Routh Clark mentions.

As for Superman Returns nods, there’s plenty of that here, too (Brandon Routh himself obviously being the first). Routh Clark is dressed in a brown suit, for which it is noted he has an affinity for in Returns. Later in this episode, Routh Clark notes how Jonathan Kent is a spitting image for his own son, Jason, whom is the child conceived in the film. During the sky fight, Routh Clark’s heat vision doesn’t look like his Earth-38 counterparts; the heat vision, instead, looks like it did in Returns and the Reeve Superman movies. Furthermore, given that Returns is supposed to be a continuation in the story of the Christopher Reeve lineage of Superman, it explains Routh Clark’s quip that it wasn’t the first time he had gone crazy and fought himself. This references Superman III, in which Superman literally splits in two and fights with himself.

It makes you wonder what role Christopher Reeve would have played in Crisis in Infinite Earths were it not for his unfortunate accident and untimely death. Perhaps there exists a world in our actual multiverse where that question is answered…

Earth-18 – Wild West Earth: Barry and Mia want to take Oliver to another Earth’s Lazarus pit. They enlist John Constantine to help find said Earth. He also promises to try help bring back Oliver’s soul. It seems fitting that the Earth they find seems to have remained in the Wild West period (from the 1800s, hence Earth-18) because this Lazarus plan is about as good an idea as a mass shootout.

When they get there, Sara and Mia run into this Earth’s Jonah Hex. Hex is less than receptive to them being there and tries to proposition Mia; he’s knocked out for his troubles. Barry and Constantine arrive with dead Ollie and into the water he goes. Oliver surfaces eventually, sans soul, and Sara tranqs him. Constantine struggles to do the deed of restoring Oliver’s soul, apparently the anti-matter swirling around the multiverse has caused him to lose his mojo. Sorry John… it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it is a big deal!

Earth-74 Waverider over Earth-1: Back on the waverider, Kara and Kate return and Routh Clark gets acquainted with some of the other heroes, including his nerdy Palmer doppelganger, whom has finished his paragon detector. While not a DC thing, this sequence made me think of the Spiderman pointing meme; I kinda wish they’d pointed at each other at some point.

The detector reveals that Kate is, in fact, the Paragon of Courage and we didn’t need to go see Batsh*tcrazyman at all. Heh. Speaking of batsh*t crazy… Kara is going to channel her inner Barry Allen and use the Book of Destiny to try and bring back Earth-38; sounds like a swell idea in which nothing can go wrong, don’t you think?

To close out the episode, Lyla/Harbinger hears a relentless voice in her head and is whisked away in a flash of light. She arrives in a corridor with a shadowy figure whom reveals himself to be The Anti-Monitor.

Auntie Monitor would make a great agony aunt, don’t you think?

Jump Around

While there was a lot less action and larger plot points in this episode than in part 1, the cameos and references kept on coming! I was slightly troubled by the layout of this episode as it seemed to jump around the different Earths and groups a lot more than was comfortable. Given that the passage of time in each setting was fairly linear, I’d have much rathered they stayed in one place, played that act out, and then moved on to the next. This said, it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of this episode and I’m glad young Kate got a bulk of the focus in this hijacked episode of Batwoman. Still lots to happen before we get to the final battle and loads more heroes to encounter. My eyeballs are ready for Part 3.

What did you think of Crisis on Infinite Earths, part 2? Leave me a comment on social media!