Ever since Arrow started all the way back in 2012, DC fans dreamed about a day when it would start to introduce other major characters from the comics. That started with the 2nd season of the show, when Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen was introduced. Fast forward five years and now we have a living, breathing universe including major characters from DC comics such as The Flash, Supergirl & Superman. This year’s crossover, Elseworlds, introduces us to even more characters in this shared universe, such as Batwoman & The Monitor. The CW’s 3-part crossover manages to tie all of these story threads together nicely, giving us one of the biggest Arrowverse crossovers to date.
Starting off with The Flash, Elseworlds begins with Oliver Queen waking up in Barry’s bed. Wrong as that may sound, he realizes that everybody on the S.T.A.R Labs team, including Iris, believes him to be Barry Allen. Concurrently, Barry finds himself in a similar situation, with everybody on team Arrow thinking that he is Oliver. Both heroes have not only swapped lives, they’ve also gained each other’s abilities. Which leaves us with a speed force powered Oliver & Bow-and-Arrow wielding Barry.
Now, I won’t lie by saying that I’d never imagined such a situation to grace the screen eventually. In fact, ever since the first Arrow/Flash crossover, I’d hoped about this very premise being delivered on in an eventual crossover. And I’m glad to say it’s just as fun, if not more than I expected it to be. Seeing Stephen Amell play out Barry’s antics is astoundingly funny, as well as Gustin’s occasionally dark Green Arrow.
The episode establishes The Monitor as the one pulling all the threads, as well as making John Deegan aka Doctor Destiny the chief antagonist of the crossover. Eagle-eyed DC fans will recognize said characters, as for viewers who don’t know either of them, the show manages to explain them in a reasonable fashion. Jeremy Davies’ performance as Deegan can get a little too mustache-twirly at times, & LaMonica Garret’s The Monitor does have a good ominous presence on screen. However, much of that is saved for the final episode, as most of the crossover deals with Barry & Oliver’s (mis)adventures.
The second part of the crossover, on Arrow, sees the introduction of Ruby Rose’s Batwoman, as well as the most number of nods to the Batman mythos the shows have ever given. Figuring out that Deegan is based in Gotham, Batman’s home city, the team sets out to find him. Gotham is established as being a city that has seen far worse than Star City from Arrow. Elseworlds makes it clear that the Gotham city of Earth-1 is a living hellhole. Crime runs rampant, with the absence of the Dark Knight not helping the case. Culminating in a great set-piece set in Arkham Asylum, the show gives us our first look at Kate Kane – the Batwoman.
With this comes some long-awaited answers about the absence of Batman from the Arrowverse. It’s revealed that Bruce Wayne left Gotham city 3 years ago, along with his alter ego. Not much is said about how or why such events transpired, but what we do know is that Kane is presumably Gotham’s sole protector. Rose does a decent job at portraying the first major lesbian superhero in the show. The second part of the crossover also provides a nod to the Batman’s rogues gallery, with many such as Nora Fries also appearing.
Finally, we come to the resolution, which takes a lot from the Injustice & Crisis storylines. The third part of the crossover packs in a lot of converging storylines, and also includes some fun surprises from Supergirl, seeing as it is a Supergirl episode after all. Seeing Hoechlin play the two vastly different versions of the Man of Steel is certainly a testament to his talents. Ultimately though, Elseworlds feels like a 3-episode trailer for next year’s bigger (and hopefully better) crossover event. Hell, even the inclusion of John Wesley Shipp’s Flash from Earth-90, or the use of the Smallville theme song feel a little contrived.
But in traditional CW fashion, Superman is once again bested by Supergirl. Why? To make her look more superior I assume. They even put in an explanation as to how she just might be more stronger than her cousin, and that the world just might not need Superman if she’s there. Seriously? Oh and as for the various Crisis nods the shows have been dropping lately? Yes, it is confirmed that next year’s crossover will indeed adapt the famous storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths!