written by Kate Danvers
I’m so sorry for the fangirl screaming you’re about to read. [EDITOR’S NOTE: No she’s not.]
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
In S.T.A.R. Labs, Sara pours one out for Oliver. Kara mopes about Oliver sacrificing himself for her and Barry, but Sara reminds her that he sacrificed himself for billions of other people too. Lyla/Harbinger pops in from not telling John about Oliver’s death, because secrets always work out on these shows. The Monitor wants the Waverider, but Sara already promised her crew they would never have to do another crossover. All right, that was pretty damn funny.
Off to Earth-74 to borrow their Waverider! The only inhabitant is Mick Rory. The Legends all retired after Leonard died and now Mick lives on the Waverider writing romance novels. Leonard – now the ship’s A.I. – says Mick’s basically living out of his car. This was a very nice surprise, as I hadn’t heard anything about Wentworth Miller (his voice, anyway) coming back for this crossover.
So now they have a time ship littered with empty beer bottles. Well, if they need improvised weapons, they’re right there. The Monitor tells the heroes of seven Paragons who can defeat the Anti-Monitor. He learned about the Paragons from the Book of Destiny, which he stole from the timeline before it was destroyed. The Monitor knows of four so far: Kara Zor-El, the Paragon of Hope; Sara Lance, the Paragon of Destiny; and two unnamed Paragons – a Kryptonian who suffered a great loss is the Paragon of Truth, and the Paragon of Courage is “The Bat of the future.”
THE MONITOR: “Earth-99 exists in a future time where Bruce Wayne has dedicated himself, body and soul, to fighting crime.”
RAY: “I’m sorry, go back. Bruce Wayne is the Dark Knight?”
KATE: “If we could all keep that to ourselves, that’d be great.”
Don’t worry, Kate. Bruce’s secret is safe with everyone else’s indifference. Kara is upset by the Monitor bringing Lex back to life, but “everyone has a part to play.” The Monitor restored Lex before the Crisis diminished his power, so convenient resurrections are hand-waved away. Kate threatens Lex with that fact, only identifying herself as “new and unfriendly.” I love Kate. Lex goes to the library and steals the Book of Destiny to go on a multiverse Superman-killing spree. Priorities, Lex!
Speaking of priorities, Barry and Mia want to use a Lazarus Pit to bring Oliver back to life because that’s never gone badly in the history of ever. Sara thinks it’s a horrible idea, but recruits John Constantine to do it right. They search the multiverse for an intact Lazarus Pit because all of the ones on Earth-1 are destroyed and they don’t have a time machine. OH WAIT, THEY DO but…look, this is going to give me something cool in a bit, so just ignore that.
Kate and Kara hop over to Earth-99 to find the Paragon of Courage. Y’all, they’re already playing the Batman: The Animated Series score and I’m freaking out. They go to a run-down Wayne Manor where they’re greeted by Earth-99 Luke Fox, who shuts the door in their faces. Kara says Luke is “cute” and Kate nopes out of further conversation with Kara, trying the door again. Kara kicks the door in, and before Luke can shoot them both, an aged Bruce Wayne walks down the stairs wearing a robotic exoskeleton.
I have to pause for a second here to have a fangirl moment. I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s reading comic books and watching cartoons. There was a cable channel that ran two episodes a day of the ’60s Batman series, and in 1989 I saw the Tim Burton movie. But on a Saturday morning in September of 1992, I watched Batman: The Animated Series for the first time. I was hooked instantly. Adam West may have been my first Batman, but Kevin Conroy was who became the definitive Batman in my head for the next twenty-seven years. I still imagine his voice in my head whenever I read a Batman comic. I say all of this to let you know just how much I love this casting, because Kevin Conroy is my Batman.
Kara and Luke go to another room while Kate and Bruce talk. Apparently Kate died five years ago on this Earth. She tells him about the multiverse. Bruce thinks the Paragon of Courage stuff is nonsense – he’s gone lethal, giving up his no-killing code. His Kate tried being Batwoman, too, and died doing it. He’s just a tired, grumpy, cynical old man.
Clark and Lois begin searching random Earths for the Paragon of Truth. They start on Earth-75…oh, this bodes poorly. Iris calls to warn them about Lex, but it’s too late. For this is the day…that a Superman died.
Our (Earth-38) Lois and Clark are fine; this is Earth-75 Clark. Sorry Supes-75, but it ain’t a Crisis until someone gets Pietà’d. Jokes aside, that’s a really well-done shot that recreates an iconic comic book panel. This crossover is just full of Easter eggs and references.
Racing against time, Clark, Lois, and Iris go to Smallville on Earth-167. There they find a buff, older Smallville Clark Kent (played by Tom Welling) chopping wood. They warn him about Lex, but he thinks they mean his Lex, who is apparently the President on that Earth. Oh sure, when Earth-167 elects a supervillain businessman to the presidency, they go with one of the smartest villains in the world, but when we do it, it’s a bigoted carrot who makes Bizarro look like a rocket scientist. Earth-38 Lex arrives and breaches our trio of heroes back to the Waverider while he deals with Clark-167.
Somebody saaaaaaaaaaaaaave him!
Clark doesn’t recognize him because his Lex looks like Michael Rosenbaum. Lex tries to weaken him with Kryptonite, but Clark just takes it from him and throws it away. He gave up his powers, so he’s not vulnerable to Kryptonite anymore. Lex can’t understand why – he was a god, he had super-strength, he could see through walls, he could fly…well, maybe not that last part. Lex steps on a toy and realizes why Clark gave up his powers. When Lex tries to punch him, Clark catches his fist and punches right back. Oh, Lex. No matter which Earth you’re on, you’re the Paragon of Getting Your Punk Ass Handed To You. Deciding it’s no fun to kill a powerless Superman, Lex breaches away, leaving Clark-167 and Lois-167 (played by Erica Durance) to go spend quality time with their daughters.
I was never really into Smallville, but that was a fun cameo.
On Earth-96, our Lois, Clark, and Iris go to the Daily Planet to meet a bespectacled Ray Palmer – or so it would appear. Actually, this is another Clark Kent who just so happens to also be played by Brandon Routh. Huh, wonder where they got that idea? Clark-96 is now the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet after an attack from the Joker killed Lois, Jimmy, Perry, and others. They convince Clark-96 to help save the multiverse, but Lex walks in with the Book and turns Clark-96 evil, making him attack Clark-38.
While the Supermen battle (to musical cues from the Christopher Reeve Superman films), Lois knocks out Lex, then she and Iris attempt to use the Book to free Clark-96. Lois gets him to remember the loved ones he’s lost and that snaps him out of it.
CLARK-96: “Actually, this is the second time I’ve gone nuts and fought myself.”
On Earth-18, Team “Resurrect Oliver” finds a Lazarus Pit and Jonah Hex in North Dakota. Fine, okay, ignoring time travel to pop over to the endless Western Earth to see Hex again is perfectly acceptable to me. Mia and Sara fight Hex while Constantine and Barry fetch Oliver’s body. Hex is knocked unconscious and the team dunks Ollie in the hot tub for dead people. He comes back to life, but he’s murderous and Constantine’s attempt to restore his soul doesn’t work.
Kara finds Bruce’s trophy case containing one of the Riddler’s canes, Mister Freeze’s snow globe, a Joker playing card, and a bloodied and cracked pair of glasses. Bruce killed Earth-99’s Superman after a fight between the two left Bruce in need of the exoskeleton. When Kara confronts Bruce with this information, he admits it. He killed Superman because he was always bowing to authority figures. Bruce also thinks that neither his own Earth nor the multiverse deserve to be saved. When he attacks Kara with Kryptonite, Kate fights back and accidentally pushes Bruce against a generator, electrocuting him to death.
Back on the Waverider, Clark-96 meets the gang. Kara awkwardly compliments her cousin from another Earth when she mistakes him for Ray. She also rightly points out that while Lex’s interference was part of the Monitor’s plan, it did get a bunch of other Supermen killed. The Monitor tells Ray to turn on the “Paragon Detector” that the latter invented to find the other Paragons. When he does, it only shows a light coming from the Waverider. Kate Kane is the actual Paragon of Courage.
Kara shares a drink with Kate and gives her a pep talk. Kate’s afraid of becoming like Bruce of Earth-99, but Kara doesn’t think she will. She gives Kate a photo she found in Bruce’s library of the Earth-99 Kate with Earth-99 Beth, who never became Alice. Kara then drops a bomb: she’s going to use the Book of Destiny to bring Earth-38 back. After Kara walks out of the room, Kate takes out a piece of Kryptonite she got from Bruce’s body.
Meanwhile, we see that Harbinger has been experiencing weird headaches and voices in her head. They call to her as she tries to resist, but she ends up back in S.T.A.R. Labs, where she comes face-to-face with the Anti-Monitor.
This was a lot. I mean a lot. There are so many references and Easter eggs that I could go on for another page and a half talking about them, but I’ll keep the wrap-up short. The Batman plot was great, if a little dark. This wasn’t the Bruce we’re used to seeing. This was a combination of Batman Beyond, Kingdom Come, and Dark Knight Returns Bruce with a dash of either Red Death or Flashpoint Batman thrown in. Now, I’m usually pretty vocal on the idea of Batman killing anyone, but it works here because this isn’t intended to be the mainstream Batman. In fact, the reveal of just how cynical, jaded, and a little evil this Bruce was really made for a good plot twist.
Brandon Routh deserved another shot at Superman and I’m so glad this crossover gave that to him. He’s so good at playing that Boy Scout-type pure goober that he’s a perfect fit for Superman and the CW version of Ray Palmer. Mixing the Superman Returns Superman (already a continuation of the Christopher Reeve Superman) with Kingdom Come Superman works spectacularly, though when he said that baby Jonathan looked like his son Jason, it made me think maybe he’s supposed to be more of the former than the latter.
The only thing in the episode I’m really “meh” about is Oliver’s resurrection. It cheapens what was already a kind of anti-climactic death in Part One. I honestly have no idea where they’re going with the no-soul thing unless he ends up being recruited or controlled by the Anti-Monitor. Until Constantine said his powers were dwindling because of anti-matter, I thought maybe he couldn’t bring Oliver’s soul back because he yeeted off this mortal coil back on Earth-38 and thus was in the Earth-38 afterlife.
Cameos, fanservice, action, and drama – Part Two is the kind of thing I was looking forward to with Crisis On Infinite Earths and I really hope they keep the momentum going for the other three parts.
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Batwoman airs Sunday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Kate can be found on Twitter @WearyKatie.