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Crisis On Earth X Review: The Ultimate DC Crossover is Here.

Marc Kaliroff, Staff Writer

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Television crossovers between multiple shows have never exactly happened. They tend to come out rather unsuccessful and sloppy. DC Comics stepped in during its peak time of animation with the crossover between Batman and Superman during the 1990’s. Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series crossed paths for what was expected to be a catastrophe. Mixing two different shows together was a massive risk that DC was willing to take. It was a  time where critics were not as valued as today, but it could have also ended up being a huge stab in the back to their major growing fan base. DC went beyond expectations and went on to create an entire television series called Justice League and its sequel Justice League Unlimited, after the massive success of the first installment. Once again, DC and the CW have accomplished what no other network has. Crisis On Earth X is the four way crossover between Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Crisis On Earth X is not just a victory for comic book fans, but rather, it’s a triumphant accomplishment for television itself. Never has a television show managed to create a four hour special across four completely different shows on the same network. DC has created practically a movie that is better than the majority of what they have put out in theaters since Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.

The CW crossover last year had several problems. To start, it did not live up to its initial promise. We did not get to see the character interactions we wanted, no major events happened, and the crossover was only three episodes rather than four; one completely focusing on Arrow’s one hundredth episode special, which had practically nothing to do with the crossover. While it was a good batch of episodes overall, it was definitely not what fans had hoped for. Besides the Arrow episode, there was nothing stellar to these episodes. There was far too much special effects going on and the ultimate team up fight scene was a tad disappointing. This year, on the other hand,  took all those problems and nearly fixed them completely. The CW shows are not perfect by all means. While being incredibly entertaining, they lack stakes the majority of the time and have several drama problems. The writers understand that the DC shows have jumped the shark in a way in some aspects. So, rather then jumping into the mouth of the shark, they tied a rope around it, jumped on its back, and rode it off into the sunset while conquering it like an Aquaman comic. Besides some noticeable CGI budget, never have I seen a show jump this much in quality before. The CW shows have continued to show a steady increase in quality and if Crisis On Earth X is just the beginning of what’s to come, then we are truly at the peak of comic book television. Whether you’re a fan of these shows or not, you absolutely need to watch this special at some point. If your looking for a fun batch of shows to tune into on a weekly basis or just binge on Netflix,  then DC has you covered. What you’re looking at is the most fun I’ve ever had watching a television show. It has the jokes, the lovable heroes, the villains you wanted to see return in some form, and the character interactions you have always wanted.

Finally.

It’s finally the wedding that we have been waiting for since the debut of The Flash. Barry and Iris are finally getting married and creating the path for some of the most beloved comic book heroes and storylines to come to life on the small screen. This is a comic book show, however. When a positive event happens, something terrible is bound to happen right after. It’s time for DC TV’s mightiest heroes to fight our reality’s most horrific and catastrophic part of history: Nazis. Earth X is the darkest area of the DC Universe. No time traveler nor breacher has ever once attempted to set foot into it due to how dangerous it is. Earth X is the fifty-third earth with a massive alteration in the timeline. The Nazis won World War II by completing the atomic bomb before the Americans could. A world was left in ruin with its last hope being the other Earths scattered across the multiverse. No other Earth dared to ever enter it due to the leaders of Earth X. Overgirl and Dark Arrow, the doppelgangers of both Supergirl and Green Arrow, along with the help of Earth One Eobard Thawne, pose the biggest threat to the multiverse. In search of a new heart for Overgirl, the Nazis create their own breach in order to travel to other worlds, seeking a Kara Danvers, or  Supergirl. Without any help from the other infinite earths, the surviving heroes created what’s known as the Freedom Fighters, a regime that aims destory the Nazi’s from ever being able to acess another part of the multiverse and save what’s left of their world.

Dark Arrow, Reverse Flash, and Overgirl

If you’re a fan of DC Comics, then you will absolutely geek out during the crossover. With several references to DC’s most iconic heroes such as Superman, all the way to its comic book one shots such as Multiversity, these episodes were jam packed with all sorts of neat Easter eggs and callbacks. Even while fixing continuity errors, Crisis On Earth X still continues to proceed the plots of the four shows it contains. It continues to develop characters that you already thought had reached their highest possible level. The best part about the crossover was its character interactions. You will get to see nearly everything you have wanted. The main characters all finally get to interact and team up on the same battlefield. My personal highlight of the crossover was the interactions between both Leonard Snart from Earth X and the main cast who previously mourned the deceased hero. I will not spoil the big interactions you have been waiting for, but what I can say, is that the long wait was worth it. There are plenty of laughs to be had and tears to shed. This crossover will hit you right in the feels in its fourth act with one of the saddest moments in the Arrowverse’s entire run so far. I nearly got a little choked up during its finale when one of its beloved characters is lost. There’s also a certain actor that shows up that will hit Arrow fans right in their softspots at the opening of the second episode. It’s hard not to be so grateful for his ephemeral yet bittersweet appearance.

Crisis On Earth X does suffer some noticeable CGI budget and a rather drama filled second act. The Arrow writers have not had a successful year, but they were able to pull through. Part two, is without a doubt, the worst part of the entire crossover. It’s a massive plot to device to help push certain relationships forward while also being able to cram in some of the most memorable moments in a television show. The CGI, on the other hand, is acceptable. This was a massive event and the shows are on a super tight budget. Some of the special effects, such as gunfire and the speedsters, look as great as usual, but there’s a particular scene that stands out like a sore thumb because of  how much CGI is used. At times, it looked like a last generation playstation game. It’s understandable and upsetting, but there’s nothing to fear. The rest of the practical stunts and amazing set pieces will absolutely make your jaw drop. Whoever did the choreography for these episodes deserves an award. The action scenes are impressively engaging and will definitely have you searching for a second look after you finish watching. One minor nitpick is the lack of conversations that the Legends had during their own episode. There are a massive amount of characters in the crossover and I’m sure a lot was left on the cutting board, but the fact still stands that certain characters did not get the screen time that they deserved.

Bettina Strauss
The team lines up for one of the final battles

Green Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, White Canary, Alex Danvers, Citizen Cold, The Ray, Citizen Steel, Atom, Firestorm, Heatwave, Killer Frost, Vibe, Vixen, Zari, Black Canary, Wild Dog, Harrison Wells, and Mr. Terrific are just a portion of some of the many characters in this crossover. The amount of characters in these episodes are overwhelming and it’s absolutely mind blowing that they were able to put this many characters in one crossover while also introducing multiple new characters from Earth X. Not a single character was shoehorned in. Every character has some purpose in the plot whether its being the driving force or just participating in an action scene. The introduction of the Earth X characters are also very welcoming. Once again,  Wentworth Miller knocks it out of the ball park as the hero Citizen Cold, the Earth X doppelgänger of Leonard Snart. Here, Tom Cavanagh’s performance as Eobard Thawne is just as menacing as it was during season one of The Flash. Not every character gets enough screen time, but in its massive run time, Crisis On Earth X does give each hero just a few moments to shine, even if there role in the crossover is so minimal such as Arrow’s John Diggle and Supergirl’s Winn. The only character that felt out of place was Felicity. It always seems like the Arrow writers just do not know how to use this character. She has far too much screen time and brings long, boring, and dramatic conversations. Not all the drama between the  characters are bad, but it’s the characters like Felicity that should have been left out of the episodes entirety. There are so many characters that could have used that precious screen time and it’s a shame that this is what they decided to keep in the final version of the episode. In better news, the dialogue between Barry and Iris has vastly improved from the beginning of season four of The Flash. Whenever the two are on screen together, their chemistry is always great.

As a longtime fan of the Arrowverse,  I have always wondered how much crazier these shows can actually get. This is the television series that gave you an episode where a telepathic gorilla controlled the mind of a previously deceased assassin that had been resurrected twice and was knocked out by Isaac Newton on a time ship in Vietnam. The Arrowverse continues to embrace its cheezyness by providing the most entertaining television shows currently available. Crisis On Earth X is dedicated to the longtime fans of this expanding universe. It will make you exhilarated, laugh, and upset all at the same time. It’s a punch to the feels and made me contemplate how long it’s been. I have been watching these shows since they first aired. The Arrowverse has been building on itself for over six years. Thats right, you have been sitting through these shows longer than Oliver’s time spent in Lian Yu, “Purgatory.” I was on the edge of my seat until the very last second of the fourth episode. This was just about everything DC fans wanted in a spectacular crossover. It might not be possible for a television crossover to ever top the success that is Crisis on Earth X. Television fanatics and fans of the shows should be both celebrating. This is an accomplishment for the history books and an event that will set the bar for all future television crossovers.

 

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

 

If you’re craving for more on this particular storyline,  then I highly recommend you check out the two graphics novels, Multiversity and Kingdom Come. Links to Amazon for both will be provided directly here, although I do recommend you go out and support your local comic shop if possible!

 

On a side note, a small prequel to the episodes will release early next year on The CW Seed Online focused on the Freedom Fighters. This show is called The Ray and I will definitely put out a review for it once it releases later on. You can find them when they launch at www.cwseed.com under the DC Spotlight section.

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Crisis On Earth X Review: The Ultimate DC Crossover is Here.