Elseworlds Review

Oliver Queen: We’re going to Gotham City.

Beware: Spoilers may follow.

Once again we have had the annual Arrowverse crossover. Crisis on Earth X would prove to be difficult to top with its large scale of heroes, strong action, a cinematic vibe, and emotional magnitude. This would prove to be even harder when it was revealed that the Legends would not be partaking in the event. While this crossover did not manage to top last year’s, it still proved to have a great deal of effort put into it making it a piece of memorabilia on the ever-expanding Arrowverse.

The story is that a mysterious being named Mar Novu a.k.a Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) has been testing the multiverse in order to see if there is an Earth capable of stopping an upcoming crisis. He entrusts a psychiatrist on Earth 1 named Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) with a book that has the power to change reality based on will. The following day Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and BarryAllen/Flash (Grant Gustin) wake up to find that they have switched identities and nobody on Earth 1 but them has knowledge of this. Thus they travel to Earth 38 to seek the help of their friend Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist)and with her help they travel to Gotham City to find whoever did this to them, get them to undo it, and hopefully subvert any other plans to change reality.

Much like last year’s crossover the best way to look at this is to look at each part.

Part one is a Flash episode. It mostly focuses on Oliver and Barry in their newly written lives as each other and them learning to adapt before they both go to Kara for help. You can tell Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin both were having the time of their lives with the role reversal. The Photoshop on Barry’s photos while Oliver is Barry looks laughably bad giving a great deal of intentional hilarity. There’s a hilarious callback to the first crossover of the Arrowversewhen Barry shoots Oliver in the back as payback for what the latter did to him four years prior. Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman and Elizabeth Tulloch in her debut as Lois Lane both bring a very likable life into two well-known characters. The action is well done. While there’s not much in regards to stakes they are well done in showing Barry and Oliver adapting to their new roles. The third one against A.M.A.Z.O was also well detailed. It ends on a very cryptic note with the Arrowverse finally mentioning that our heroes are going to Gotham City and a Batwoman cameo.

Part two is an Arrow episode and did an excellent job of weaving the three shows together, raising the stakes, and introduce a new character altogether. We get our first look at a run-down Gotham with Batman having gone missing and it really makes Star City look tame by comparison. We also get a glimpse of the inside of Arkham Asylum and there are many neat Easter Eggs all throughout (including one alluding to David Ramsey’s John Diggle being Green Lantern on another Earth). Scarecrow’s gas causing Oliver and Barry to hallucinate Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) gives a good insight for both of them realizing the burdens that the other carries. Ruby Ross as Kate Kane/Batwoman made the most out of the small amount of screen time she had. However, it’s not enough to judge the quality of the upcoming Batwoman show. If there is one real complaint I had about this part is that we finally get to see our heroes meet the Earth 90 Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) and we barely see him before The Monitor wipes him out, gives the reality book back to Deegan, and the latter rewrites reality once again. However, it sets the stakes for the next part with Barry and Oliver now as wanted criminals and Deegan now as the black-suited Superman.

Part 3 concludes the crossover as a Supergirl episode and it did so on an all-around amazing note. Seeing the powerless Oliver and Barry hold their own against Superman on wit alone was amazing. The Gary cameo was delightful and the character for what little screen time he had made his presence just as entertaining as he is on Legends. Hoechlin did a wonderful job playing Deegan as the Black Superman and the Superman vs. Superman battle was well executed (with it once again having a nice homage to the Donner Superman movies). Carlos Valdes seemed to have the time of his life once again this time playing a crime boss. The story also gives a great arc for Oliver Queen with him realizing that while he doesn’t instill hope his allies do and that they are the greatest hope to stop the upcoming crisis and begs for their lives to be spared. However, we don’t know what Oliver gave up in exchange for that and by the looks of things we are going to have to wait a year to find out. With that being said, it ended things just right. Whereas at the end of Crisis on Earth X when Kara and her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) return to Earth 38 it feels as if they hardly mattered. Here however we get a good prospect of the future with Lois revealing she is pregnant and that she and Superman will be going away to Argo City once again leaving Kara as Earth’s protector. Things get even better when we get a brilliant teaser of next year’s crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Elseworlds, while it doesn’t have the same emotional impact and large scale as last years crossover, does manage to hold its own as a behemoth in the Arrowverse. It knew how to make good use of its characters and pacing. With all of this, I can safely say I look forward to seeing Crisis on Infinite Earths next year.