The Supers And Bats Were The Focus Of Crisis Part 2 And It Was Perfect

The Supers And Bats Were The Focus Of Crisis Part 2 And It Was Perfect
A very baby Superman. (Photo: The CW)

Yesterday I complained about the breakneck speed of the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The scope was incredible, the wide array of heroes on call was impressive, and the Easter Eggs were plentiful. Yet there seemed something soulless at the heart of Part 1—it moved so quickly that the catastrophes never quite resonated. Instead, they were just big blobs of CW-level CGI bolstered by Melissa Benoist’s ability to cry on command.

Benoist’s eyes stay relatively dry in Part 2 (a Batwoman episode), but her family and adjacent family (because the Bat-family is inextricably tied to the Super-family in our collective consciousness) are the focus of the episode. This instalment slowed things down, cut way back on the action, and gave us everything we want from a big crossover like this.

OK maybe not everything we want. Everything I want.

While big crossovers are expected to have huge action set pieces I’m ok with skipping them when they come on a CW budget. The best parts of the previous crossovers haven’t been the fights on Vancouver rooftops, or fights in Vancouver warehouses, or fights in abandoned Vancouver lots. They’re the character moments—the rare chances these characters get to interact with one another.

Photo: The CW

So a talk heavy hour where Lois Lane had to talk an alternate Superman out of a Herculean murder fugue and Kara and Kate had to verbally confront a grizzly Frank Miller-inspired Batman are going to be a lot more entertaining—particularly when interspersed with an assortment of heroes playing hot potato with Lois and Clark’s crying baby while an irritated Monitor tried to get through some hokey exposition.

The exposition was crucial though. The Monitor revealed that across the multiverse there are seven Paragons who are pure of will and together can battle, and perhaps even stop, the Anti-Monitor and his wave of destruction.

They are:

  • Paragon of Hope — Kara Danvers of Earth-38

  • Paragon of Destiny — Sara Lance of Earth-1

  • Paragon of Truth — A MYSTERY SUPERMAN

  • Paragon of Courage — A MYSTERY BATMAN

  • Paragon Five — A MYSTERY

  • Paragon Six — A MYSTERY

  • Paragon Seven — A MYSTERY

Kate and Kara decided to pursue the Paragon of Courage while Lois and Clark opt to pursue the Paragon of Truth. Oliver is still dead at this point and thus opted to pursue no one, but his daughter, Mia and Barry both agree that bringing Oliver back is crucial if they want to win and that finding a working Lazarus Pit on another earth is the best plan for resurrecting him. Sara, being the only one with much actual Lazarus Pit experience, decides to join them just to make sure they don’t bring back a monster that murders them and makes the groups future fight even harder.

Oh, and the Monitor introduces Kara to a resurrected Lex Luthor who she very nearly melts with her eyeballs. Lex then promptly escapes with the Book of Destiny (that the Monitor also saved by going back in time) and makes his way across what’s left of the multiverse to murder as many Supermans as possible. Because Supergirl’s Lex Luthor is a wonderful villain.

Photo: The CW

While you, I, and the assorted heroes are horrified by Lex’s existence, the Monitor is much more cagey and implies that Luthor’s murder spree is all part of his plan to save the Multiverse. This sounds great until Lois and Clark land in a Metropolis moments after Lex has murdered their Superman.

Realising they’re racing Lex across space, they grab Iris for back up and head to the next universe and find…Smallville’s Clark Kent. Tom Welling is grayer than he was nearly 10 years ago on Smallville, but still carries himself like a Superman would, and doesn’t blink when Lois and Clark try to explain the plot of Crisis but are then whisked away by a murderous Lex who then tries to murder ol’ Smallville.

It doesn’t go well because Welling’s Clark Kent gave up his powers to have children with Lois. If that leaves old Smallville fans scratching their heads know you are not alone. I am like 98-per cent sure the last two seasons of Smallville were entirely about him learning to accept his destiny and give up a normal life. But whatever because Tom Welling! Playing Clark Kent! With a nod to Christopher Reeve’s Superman II! In 2019! And smugly beating Lex!

Fed up and furious, Lex leaves Clark with the knowledge that death is coming for them all anyway. Then just before we leave Clark, Erica Durance’s Lois Lane (not to be confused with Erica Durance’s Alura Zor-El) calls Clark back to the house. Their moment together is brief—and it’s annoying we don’t get a shared moment between the two different Lois and Clarks—but its a welcome bit of fanservice.

So many journalists! (Photo: The CW)

Which is then heaped upon even further when Lois and Clark arrive on Earth-96 where they find Brandon Routh’s Clark Kent. It’s not meant to be the same Clark as Routh played in Superman Returns, but boy does he immediately and physically embody the character. When he and Lois find themselves attracted to one another as John William’s Love Theme plays it’s…look, sometimes—rarely I swear!—go full fangirl and that moment is when I found myself fully in the throes of unapologetic fangirlism.

It’s also when I finally found myself liking Bitsie Tulloch’s Lois Lane. Her sharpness in her interview of him and the quick way she cuts to compassion are two traits missing thus far (she’s been all sass in previous outings). If the CW Lois and Clark show are true comes to fruition this would be the sequence to point naysayers to.

Anyways enough of a fangirl tangent—Lex Luthor shows up. Again. He tries to murder Superman. Again. This time he pits one Superman after another and Lois has to knock him out and talks Routh’s Superman out of murder (he notes he’s had to fight himself before, perhaps a nod to Superman III). Iris is also there, but is given nothing to do…until she and Lois note that Routh’s Superman—who witnessed all his friends die at the hands of Joker—is likely the Paragon of Truth they need.

Iris and Lois recover the Book of Destiny AND save the day. (Photo: The CW)

Kara and Kate have no less a murderous time hunting their own Paragon down. They find him in a Wayne Manor, with a super glassless, shirtless Luke Fox manning the door. While Kara and Luke chat Kate tries to convince Bruce to join them in saving the multiverse. But this Bruce Wayne, played by Batman: The Animated Series’ Kevin Conroy, is not the Batman of any of our childhoods or the Batman of Kate’s childhood. He’s old, bitter, and an absolute hardliner that is content to murder problems that get too big. This is something Kara realises when she finds Clark’s glasses—still covered in blood—in Batman’s trophy room.

Usually, Batman’s trophy room is a fun little collection of Easter Eggs for Batman fans, but here the show turns it into something bizarre and macabre. Like—why are we ok not only with a billionaire who dresses like a bat and fights the mentally unwell, but keeps trophies from his fights? That’s probably not a great thing, and Kara immediately assumes Bruce is bad and must be stopped. He basically agrees as he promptly tries to murder her using kryptonite. It’s only Kate accidentally murdering Bruce that saves Kara. God, that whole thing was so dark.

Back on the Waverider (an alternative universe one they picked up because Sara told the Legends they didn’t have to do crossovers anymore—really), the Monitor confesses that Kate and Kara didn’t screw up when they killed Batman. Instead, they revealed another Paragon. By episodes end we have:

  • Paragon of Hope — Kara Danvers of Earth-38

  • Paragon of Destiny — Sara Lance of Earth-1

  • Paragon of Truth — Clark Kent of Earth-96

  • Paragon of Courage — Kate Kane of Earth-1

  • Paragon Five — A MYSTERY

  • Paragon Six — A MYSTERY

  • Paragon Seven — A MYSTERY

Not a Paragon—at least yet? Barry or Oliver. Their story is distinctly the “C-plot” in this episode and pretty perfunctory. Barry, Sara, and Mia recruit Constantine to find an active Lazarus Pit on a still existing Earth, cut up Jonah Hex until he agrees to help them find it, then drag Oliver’s corpse into the Pit. Sara wisely knocks him out when he’s revived and Constantine confesses that he’s not sure if he’ll be able to recover Oliver’s soul—which means Oliver is technically alive, but also technically an undead soulless monster.

And certainly not a Paragon.

Which leaves us with five yet unnamed Paragons. Will they end up including Oliver and Barry in their ranks? Maybe! Could Black Lightning be a Paragon? Felicity? The rest of the cast of Legends and Flash? Who knows! The third part of Crisis airs tonight and will hopefully reveal at least one more Paragon. Then we’ll have to wait until January to find out who the others are—and if Kara can do what she promises in this episode: resurrect Earth-38 with the Book of Destiny.

Assorted Musings

  • Again there are countless Easter Eggs I missed so list them below!

  • WILL Kara use the Book of Destiny or are we headed towards a merging of the multiverse?

  • If that happens are Routh and Welling’s Supermans boned?

  • Kara being confused by Routh’s Superman is the exact kind of awkwardness I need.

  • Lyla passes out and wakes up with the Anti-Monitor, and also has yet to tell her husband what has happened to her really or that Oliver is dead.

  • That should go great.