Three living Supermans, two dead ones, and a Batman walk into a crossover.
Okay, so that was a trash joke, but it’s okay because Crisis Part Two picked up right where Part One left off with ten times more superheroes and more cameos.
Still mourning Oliver, the heroes aren’t given much time to breathe as the Monitor and Harbinger crash their mourning ceremony to inform them that they have to now go and find Paragons, seven special heroes that can stop the destruction of the multiverse. Two of them are already part of the team: Kara as the Paragon of Hope and Sara as the Paragon of Destiny.
Thanks to Felicity who read the Tome of Guardians (potentially an older Felicity, given that time has no meaning), the Monitor reveals that he has clues about two of the remaining five unknown Paragons. The Paragon of Truth is another Kryptonian who has suffered an unimaginable loss and the Paragon of Courage is someone known as the Bat of the Future.
So, much like last night, we’re breaking up into teams! Except, I enjoy this team structure far more than last night’s. Kara and Kate go to seek out the Bat of the Future, while our Clark and Lois try and find another Kryptonian with the help of Iris West (Candice Patton)! Except, things are off to a rocky start for Team Superman, as the Monitor brings Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) onto the ship.
And, as Lex is wont to do, he steals the revived Book of Destiny (yes, last year’s crossover essentially means nothing now) and goes on a literal Superman killing rampage in an effort to beat out the anti-matter wave and personally kill as many universes’ Supermen as possible.
Now you might be wondering, hey, where are the other characters? Well, the death of Oliver hit everyone hard, but for Barry, Oliver’s protege, and Mia, Oliver’s daughter, they’re having a hard time focusing on saving the universe when they’re the main obstacle is their grief. Instead of helping to find the Paragons, they decide to team up and find a Lazarus Pit to revive Oliver. In the process, they rope in Sara and John Constantine (Matt Ryan). Now, as much as I love Constantine, anyone can tell this is a bad idea.
While Team Superman tries to save as many Kal-El’s as possible and Team Lazarus Pit hunt down the last remaining working resurrection spas, Team Batman arrives on Earth-99 to seek out a future version of Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy). Arriving at Wayne Manor to find a gothic mansion straight out of a Bram Stoker novel, Kara and Kate are greeted by an alternate Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson) who could be a future Batwing given his location in the Manor or just squatting because Gotham City is probably awful. It’s a bummer we don’t get to spend a little more time with him and Earth-99 Bruce Wayne.
Or maybe we wouldn’t want to. The Earth-99 Batman is similar to the one we know from Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come storyline (coincidentally published on their Elseworlds imprint). Bruce is an older man here and has been jaded and broken by his years of being a vigilante, both physically and mentally.
Kate learns that this is not the Bruce she knows, not the cousin she looks up to and writes to every day, definitely not the man she is emulating. This Bruce Wayne has left his no-kill code behind and in the wake of this loss of morality, he’s not only killed countless villains but the Man of Steel himself. And when he pulls out some kryptonite to take out Supergirl as well, Kate steps in and protects Kara while killing her alt-world cousin in the process.
Although this trip only leads Kara further down a path of mistrusting the Monitor, he omnipotent being is quick to point out that the point of the exercise was not to find Bruce Wayne and bring him back from the future to be the Paragon, but instead to reveal to Kate that she was the Paragon all along. But the fact that she had to kill her cousin (or at the very least, incapacitate him), reaffirms that the Monitor is not in the business of sparing one life or two to save the trillions at stake.
That just leaves the Paragon of Truth. A Kryptonian who has suffered more than any other. Who could suffer more than after losing your entire planet? What about all of your friends, co-workers, and wife? But, before they can find the right Kal-El, Team Superman is continuously thwarted by a bloodthirsty Lex, who is leaving a trail of bodies across the multiverse as he wields the Book of Destiny with cavalier bloodthirstiness.
Seriously, Monitor, we can’t bring back one earth with the Book of Destiny, but we can let Lex kill every Superman?
Making their way to Earth-167, we can all cue up our “Save Me” Smallville theme song, because Earth-167 happens to be the home of the original WB/CW Man of Steel aka Tom Welling’s Clark Kent! It’s a shorter cameo, but delightful nonetheless. I particularly appreciate Lois’ obvious attraction to every version of Superman, especially Welling’s wood chopping Clark.
On this earth, Clark has chosen to give up his superpowers in lieu of starting a family with Lois and keeping them safe. Before the team of heroes can try and warn Welling-Clark about murderous Lex, he arrives and wooshes them off of the earth for a little one-on-one time with Clark. We quickly learn on this Earth, Lex has become president, a pretty consistent canon in the comics, but I think I speak for many of us when I say that I wish that we had gotten some shot of Michael Rosenbaum as this world’s Lex.
Instead, we’ll just have to settle for the image of Tom Welling tossing a piece of kryptonite into a cornfield like he’s skipping stones and punching out Lex Luthor with absolutely no powers, just Brawny man strength. And, of course, what kind of Smallville scene would it be without Lois there to tease Clark? Say hello again to Erica Durance!
Will they ever explain why Earth-167 Lois looks like Earth-38’s Kara’s mom? Or why Earth-96’s Clark looks like Earth-1’s Ray Palmer? Nope, and honestly, who cares? If this is viable, that just means when they toss Keanu Reeves up there next to Matt Ryan no one will blink an eye. I’m talking to you, Marc Guggenheim.
A few world’s later and they end up at Earth-96, with Brandon Routh’s Superman. Again, we have a meet-cute moment with our Lois, before we learn that this Clark lost legitimately everything after a terrorist attack on Metropolis left everyone he cared about dead. But, there’s no time to reminisce or convert him to the cause, because hello! Here’s Lex!
Tired of simply just killing Supermen, he decides to have Superman kill himself. So he pits our Superman against Routh-Superman and before anyone can blink, Superman is again responsible for large amounts of property damage to the city. As the two Clarks fight it out in the skies, Iris and Lois manage to knock out Lex and get their hands on the Book of Destiny. They talk down Routh-Superman from his manipulated rage and clear his head up before returning to the ship with Routh-Superman and the Book of Destiny in tow.
No word on Lex, but he’ll find his way to breach out of there, we’re sure.
Meanwhile, the D team, aka the leftover people, are on Earth-74, where the Waverider has been decommissioned after the Legends have all retired. Now, it only houses a Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) and a Gideon that’s actually just Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller). He’s turned the ship into his writing cave/bachelor pad, but the heroes invade and Ray is put to work making a Paragon finder. No real idea how this works, but it basically works after it identifies Kate as a Paragon, so let’s just believe it because it’s comics and loose science fiction.
During all of this superhero action, on Earth-18, we have Team Lazarus Pit. Sara summons Constantine to find an earth with a surviving Lazarus Pit, and they end up in North Dakota. While Barry and Constantine breach back for Oliver’s body, Mia and Sara meet an alternate pre-scarred version of Jonah Hex (Johnathan Schaech). This Hex is mildly better looking but ten times more lecherous, so it’s a good thing that Mia and Sara are quick to knock the creep out before Constantine and Barry return with Oliver’s body.
Okay, so anyone who has watched Arrow knows that the Lazarus Pits are a bad idea. The horcrux of jacuzzis essentially takes your soul and turns you into a bloodthirsty killing machine in exchange for resurrection. So while Oliver will be alive after taking a dip, he’ll be a monster. And Constantine is quick to caution Sara that he might not be able to bring Oliver’s soul back.
The episode ends with Oliver alive, but Constantine unable to use his magic due to the anti-matter wave. Kara tells Kate that she wants to bring back Earth-38 with the Book of Destiny, even if the Monitor told her that that would be catastrophic. Kate reveals that she snagged the kryptonite off of Bruce’s sleeve. And Lyla has been taken and controlled by the Anti-Monitor in order to wipe out life as we know it.
So… no big deal!
The third act continues tomorrow before we take a month-long intermission!
By the way, Black Lightning also tied in the Crisis in their episode tonight, as the anti-matter wave knocked out everyone on their earth including Anissa (Nafessa Williams), Lynn (Christine Adams), and Gambi (James Remar). And while Jefferson (Cress Williams) was wooshed out of there by the Monitor, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) was left unaffected by the anti-matter wave. Although Cress Williams was always confirmed to join the crossover, perhaps we’ll see China Anne McClain as well before the year is out?