Tag Archive: Crisis on Infinite Earths


We’re three episodes into the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event, sixth of the now annual efforts to get interest from the audience of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman, or Black Lightning in more than just one of their several adaptions of DC Comics.  The Crisis crossover has so far aired during Supergirl, Batwoman, and The Flash, and is now streaming on the CW app, continuing January 14 with episodes on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.  If you’re able to not be critical of all its flaws, you may be able to sit back and have fun with all the cameos and guest stars.  But the clunky writing and even clunkier dialogue may also leave you thinking about what could be–what could be done with the DC characters if only someone would put forth some extra effort.  Nobody expects TV series to produce the results you get with a movie budget, yet so far CW’s series have been more faithful to the spirit of the comic book source material than DC at the theaters (this year’s movie Shazam! as the welcome exception).  With all the money going into so many related series, why not cut a few of the series and combine efforts to focus more on compelling combined team scripts?  The actors are great, a cut above the material they’re working from, and it’s difficult to watch the crossover event and not wish executive producer Marc Guggenheim & Co. would give the actors something more.

Sure, it’s tough to cram so many characters into so few minutes.  But you also don’t want your fans making excuses for you.  We like fan service, a term host Kevin Smith uses a few times in his after show to describe this crossover, but how about that extra push to boost the quality?  That said, there is something for every taste in the Crisis crossover, and if you’re willing to sit back and let it all come at you, you’re going to find some great efforts to pull at your nostalgia strings.  Everyone involved, especially as they discuss their efforts in the after show, seem to love the material.  The overall big wins include John Wesley Shipp, who still holds the title for all-time best superhero adaptation, returning again for some scenes as the Flash from his 1990-91 series, Brandon Routh playing both his regular series character The Atom and donning the cape again he wore as the big-screen Superman in Superman Returns, and Matt Ryan, who couldn’t be more dead-on from the comics in his performance, reprising his role as John Constantine (more Justice League Dark, please!).

In part, the CW is stuck because of deals and studios, which (sort of) explains no Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, (yet two Supermans?) or big-screen Batman actor–although voice actor Kevin Conroy has a legion of fans who are probably more than happy to see him take a turn as a Kingdom Come-inspired Bruce Wayne.  Having a voice actor who doesn’t look like any comic version of Batman is just something you have to go with here–maybe close your eyes and imagine him in the animated Batman series.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For all the hype, CW Network’s latest series adapting DC Comics had an uneventful start this week.  After Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning, and several crossovers, Batwoman is the next crimefighter to throw her dagger-lined gloves into the ring.  The pilot is a straightforward introduction following the Greg Berlanti model of the other CW Network shows:  A voiceover by the caped hero/heroine, backstory training in a far off strange land, and a tidy origin tied up in a bow with a closely-connected villain, to be the focus of conflict over the course of the first season.  And like the other series, excepting the later introduction of Superman in Supergirl and crossovers, there’s no expectation that one of the biggest characters of the DC line-up will ever show.  In this case, that means Batman, but the set-up for the first episode of Batwoman pretty much requires an appearance at some point in the show’s future.

Batwoman is Kate Kane, played by Ruby Rose, who has had cameo appearances in the other CW series, starred opposite Jason Statham in last year’s summer action flick The Meg, and she got to show her skills as a badass character in John Wick: Chapter 2, the last Resident Evil, and appeared opposite Vin Diesel in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.  She brings an edgy quality that matches the comic book superheroine, complete with tattoos that would distract from any other character but works for Kate Kane.  Batwoman changes the course for the CW Arrowverse, with real-world issues of lesbians in the military, gender identity, and bias, so hopefully the series ultimately finds the right balance to match that edginess.  The first episode very much reflects that less-than-edgy quality of Arrow.  But it’s only the beginning, and the other series in this genre took some time to get going, too.  Sorry–Rose doesn’t don that cool red supersuit in the first episode.

The only question is whether Ruby Rose, who seems to fit perfectly into the superheroine role and this take on the comic book story, can match the charisma and acting of series antagonist Rachel Skarsten, who plays Alice, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired villain who isn’t really who you think she is.  It feels early to let loose an identity bombshell, but Batwoman’s writers jump right in, revealing what you’d think would be big secrets (we won’t disclose them here).  Skarsten has had her share of fantastic badass roles, too.  She was Dinah Lance in the original Birds of Prey, Tamsin the Valkyrie in Lost Girl, and she was the young Queen Elizabeth on Reign.  Skarsten’s Alice has some similarities of the Arkham Asylum variety as that millennial-favorite character Harley Quinn, but Skarsten’s level of acting is more subtle and polished than we’ve ever seen Harley portrayed.

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If you enjoy Batman and especially if you read Batman comics, there’s one series you should be reading right now.  And if you’re a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, there’s one event you can’t miss this year.  It’s Crisis in a Half Shell, the third crossover/team-up series of writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II.  We previewed the series here at borg back in April.  It’s the most fun extension–after a lot of creators have tried–to the actual Crisis on Infinite Earths, with a Batman-centric tale including a host of Bat-villains.  Two issues into the series with a third issue arriving at comic book stores today, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III also has that classic space fantasy look from its multiverse plot, stirred by ultimate villain Krang.

Fans of original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman should take note–Tynion and Williams have cleverly tied original Eastman artwork created for this series into the story.  It works seamlessly and has a great Outer Limits/Twilight Zone impact.  As we expected from seeing the first images of the new character concept drawings of Batman, the Turtles, and the villains back in April, this series is both classic Batman and classic Turtles.  Fans of either–and fans of both–franchises will be impressed with every inch of each page, including Jeremy Colwell‘s coloring that makes for a perfect partnership with Williams’ vibrant, dynamic, wall-to-wall action layouts and painterly style.  And Tom Napolitano‘s lettering takes different turns to emphasize voices, with a great, evocating type especially for this new world’s Joker counterpart.

Today’s new cover art by Williams and Colwell just can’t be beat.  It’s flat out one of the year’s best covers.  Take a look at this big preview of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Issue #3/Part 3 of the Crisis in a Half Shell story, plus previews of the cover art to Issues #4 and #5, courtesy of DC Comics and IDW Publishing:

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Is a Crisis on Infinite Earths adaptation on its way at last?  Never before have all the pieces been laid out so well to adapt such a major comic book storyline.  We have key player Barry Allen from The Flash, which spun-out of the Arrow series, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow have enough timey-wimey time travel to be able to see, view, and undo anything, and then the CW pulled over Supergirl from ABC this year and brought Superman with her.  So the building blocks are ready.  Is CW and DC Entertainment willing and able?  Next week we’re going to see a step in the right direction with a mega-superhero week.

Monday, the CW begins a four-night crossover event with its four DC Comics-inspired series–and nothing screams comic books louder than a good crossover and major league team-up.  The villains are a bit obscure–the Dominators–aliens Supergirl will encounter Monday night.  The Dominators first appeared in the 1960s in Adventure Comics with a brief reprise in a mini-series called Invasion in 1989, and that’s the take-off point for the villains in next week’s event.

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So it’s “Heroes vs. Aliens,” comic books coming to life in perhaps the biggest character showdown ever, actors donning Academy Award-winning costumer Colleen Atwood’s pantheon of more than 17 hero supersuits (Green Arrow, The Flash, Diggle/Green Arrow 2, Supergirl, Superman, Black Canary, Vixen, The Atom, White Canary, Steel, Wally West, two Firestorms, Speedy, Death Stroke, Martian Manhunter, Heat Wave, and more).  We haven’t seen this many superheroes on TV since the animated Super Friends.

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In the middle of the week, Arrow will see its landmark 100th episode Wednesday night.  Who would have thought any superhero series would survive this long?  Take a look at these previews for crossover week:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

(with spoilers)

The best thing about The Flash #1, another of the re-started DCU titles published in the past few weeks, is that they didn’t mess around with which Flash they chose to move forward with.  To me, Barry Allen is always THE Flash.  Barry was killed off in 1985 in the Crisis on Infinite Earths series, which ended with Flash sacrificing himself to save Earth.  Before that, his long-time girlfriend-turned-wife Iris West was killed.   After 23 years Grant Morrison brought Barry back in Final Crisis, and via the Flashpoint mini-series this past year it was anyone’s guess where The Flash would be for the new DCU reboot.  Here, we’re at the beginning again, and with Barry and co-worker Patty Spivot dating it’s a refreshing place to re-start this series.

Issue #1 begins with Barry and Patty at a technology trade show.  A strange terrorist-like force that looks just like the Cobra Commander squad from G.I. Joe crashes the event leaving Barry to zip out  in Flash mode and stop the squad, one by one.  Just like a Clark Kent-to-Superman-and-back transformation, Barry walks in at the end to Patty having no idea that he even left.  But Iris West is here, too, this time as a reporter pursuing Barry.

This Barry story has the same nice tone that the short-lived The Flash TV series had.  The Flash series has always been an easy read–like any number of superhero titles, from Spider-man to Justice League of America to the Fantastic Four, you could just pick a copy off the rack and jump right in.  So the challenge for writer Francis Manapul and artist Brian Buccellato is creating something new with this well-known hero.  How can you raise the stakes for The Flash when he was already killed off and left for dead for 23 years?

Here, Manapul answers that by introducing a long-lost friend named Manuel who shows up as one of the dead shooters at the trade show, only to have Barry see him later, and in the last frame step into something he couldn’t expect, apparently a clone army of Manuels.

I wouldn’t say The Flash is one of the New 52 stand-out titles because there is not much new by way of art style, storytelling, or surprises.  Unlike similar classic Justice League reboot titles for Savage Hawkman and Aquaman, there is not a lot here to rave about.  Will diehard Barry Allen fans be happy with this approach or demand something more?  Too much change, as with the Green Arrow series, will put off readers, but retelling the same story as it has been told before will probably not re-ignite anything for the current DC fan base either.  For an audience of new readers, however, this series would be a good place to check out a solid, classic character, whose story, originally or retold, is worth reading if you just like the idea of “the fastest man alive.”

With a choice of 52 DC regular titles to choose from (and every other publisher’s product out there), unless you’re one of the rare ones reading them all or you’re just a tried and true fan of the character, it will be hard to keep this series on the shortlist unless the creators can amp up the action and creativity to compete with other titles.