Crisis is a crossover of five DC comics shows that run on the CW network and form the so-called "Arrowverse": Arrow, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Batwoman. The plot follows a comic icon of the same name and deals with the possible destruction of each dimension or the "multiverse". (Disclosure: CW is jointly owned by ViacomCBS, the parent company of CNET.)
The stakes are so high.
But the plot is not what got me so excited. While Avengers has carefully built Marvel Studios' characters over the past decade with a unique vision, Crisis pays tribute to and draws from several iteration of DC projects over the last few decades, regardless of who worked on them.
Who is in this crossover? Everyone, apparently.
Smallville fans will appreciate that Tom Welling and Erica Durance are reinterpreting their respective roles as Superman and Lois Lane – another variation of Superman and Lois Lane, which can now be seen in Supergirl, played by Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch. Confusingly, Durance turns up as another Alura Zor-El, Supergirl's birth mother. Kevin Conroy, who starred in Batman's classic 90s cartoon, will make his live-action debut as Bruce Wayne. Cress Williams, featured in CW's last DC show, Black Lightning, and played by Cress Williams, will meet his network mates for the first time.
Brandon Routh, who plays the Atom in Legends of Tomorrow, will wear another Superman suit in reference to Bryan Singer's 2006 Superman Return. (Images of him in a costume inspired by Kingdom Come trigger already nostalgic goose bumps.) Also seen are John Wesley Shipp, who played the Flash in the early 90s in the short-lived series; Burt Ward, who played Robin in the Batman series of the 1960s; and Ashley Scott, who played Huntress from the failed Birds of Prey series in the early 2000s.
As someone who has watched or at least heard of each of these projects, I am excited about the prospect of swimming through this intoxicating nostalgia stew.
The crossover starts on Sunday evening and lasts three nights before ending with the last two episodes in early January.
A fitting end
The crisis also serves as a capper for Arrow, the first of this latest wave of DC shows. The success of Arrow, anchored by a hero of the same name played by Stephen Amell, allowed The CW to expand into several shows in which his characters could move from one series to the next. Even as Warner Bros. sought to create a DC Extended Universe on the big screen, he managed to assemble the arc verse on the small screen.
So it is fitting that much of Arrow's shortened season served as a gigantic prelude to Crisis. Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) was commissioned by an almighty named Monitor, who works to prevent an antagonist, the Anti-Monitor, from destroying everything. Along the way, he had the opportunity to emotionally showcase key characters from the series. As a longtime Arrow fan who takes the show through the ups and downs, there is no better way to say goodbye to the "Emerald Archer".
My interest in Arrow is an anomaly at this point. As The CW expanded its list of DC heroes on screen, I struggled to keep up. I've seen the first season of almost every show, but with two little kids I've reached my limit. At The Flash, Black Lightning and Supergirl, I'm way behind and I did not even bother to see Batwoman. The only exception was DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which are proving to be crazy and amazing.
Thankfully, it does not look like I need to get caught up in these shows to follow Crisis. When the showrunners are smart, they keep the story under control and allow us to appreciate the characters' interactions without getting too deep into the luggage of their respective shows. I do not care if Supergirl has a feud with a character or who is Flash's Big Bad for the season.
All I need is a concentrated, wild adventure that balances a massive cast with fantastic special effects and a fitting completion for some of my favorite cartoon characters.
It worked for Avengers: Endgame, right?