It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, even the Monitor said so. At the end of the first hour of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” the long-awaited mega-crossover of the Arrowverse family of shows on The CW, fans bid adieu to one of the most important characters in the ever-expanding DC television multiverse.
Warning: Spoilers for “Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 1” ahead.
On Sunday, Supergirl took point as the first show to kick off the five-part crossover. The special begins with the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter waves engulfing different Earths, including Earth-89 (the universe of Tim Burton’s Batman movies), Earth-66 (the universe of the classic Batman series, with guest cameo Burt Ward as Dick Grayson), Earth-9 (the universe belonging to the DC Universe series Titans), and Earth-X.
Eventually, the crisis hits close to home — or homes — with Earth-1 (the home of Arrow, The Flash, and Batwoman) and Earth-38 (the home of Supergirl) also plagued by red skies. Lyla, now Harbinger (Audrie Marie Anderson) and assistant to the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), unites the heroes and springs them into action.
Their first mission: Evacuate the billions of people on Earth-38 to Earth-1.
It goes… poorly. While three billion Earth-38 inhabitants make it out alive, billions more die when Earth-38 is lost. But that any people were saved at all was because of the selfless actions of one hero: The Green Arrow (Stephen Amell). To continue the evacuation of Earth-38, the Green Arrow fights nigh endless waves of the Anti-Monitor’s shadow demons — alone, with an empty quiver. The Monitor, deeming the battle “lost,” forces a retreat of the other heroes, but he’s unable to reel in the stubborn Emerald Archer.
Disabling the Monitor with a special arrow, the Green Arrow makes a final stand in order to give Earth-38 its one and only shot at survival.
In the Arrow Cave, the other heroes gather to witness the death of the Green Arrow. The Monitor coldly tells them, “He fought to his last breath, knowing every moment was a life saved. I calculate one billion saved due to his noble sacrifice.” When Queen draws his final breath, the Monitor tells them, “It was not supposed to be like this. This is not his ending I foresaw.”
The Monitor is right in more ways than one. It wasn’t the Green Arrow who died in the original comic. Not only is his death a big departure from what fans might have expected, but it also has significant ramifications for the future of the Arrowverse.
Who died in the original “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic?
In the original 1985 event miniseries of the same name, Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, the biggest, most notable casualties were Supergirl and The Flash/Barry Allen. Both deaths left a lasting impact on the DC Universe for years, some still felt to this day.
Barry’s death allowed his sidekick, Wally West, to take over as The Flash, which he did until 2009’s The Flash: Rebirth. (It’s worth pointing out that a Green Arrow still died in the comic book Crisis — Earth-2’s Green Arrow, a middle aged Oliver Queen already past his prime when the comic’s events took place.)
By having Earth-1 Oliver Queen die in place of Kara and Barry (who has spent all season long of his TV show preparing for his own prophesied doom), Oliver has made the events of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” so unpredictable even the Monitor isn’t sure what will happen next.
So, does Oliver’s sacrifice mean no one else in “Crisis” will die? Does his death negate Barry Allen’s as foretold by the Central City Citizen headline? Or does Queen’s death mean the Arrowverse is now short-handed and vulnerable when the crisis begins again?
Luckily, just because Oliver Queen is dead doesn’t mean there’s no more Green Arrow. As fans saw in the episode, Oliver officially passed down his mantle of Green Arrow to his daughter, Mia (Katherine McNamara), with “Crisis” being her “debut” as the new Emerald Archer. A spin-off series, Green Arrow and the Canaries is currently in development at The CW, and is slated to star McNamara.
With four more hours of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” left to go, one thing’s for certain: The adventures of the Green Arrow will continue.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” continues tonight, 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.