Crisis on Infinite Earths Comic Book Tie-In Kills a Major Arrowverse Character

The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is on hiatus for almost another month, but that doesn't mean fans don't have anything to fill the universe-annihiliating hole in their lives. Today, Walmart stores in the U.S. finally got the Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant #1 -- and to the surprise of everyone reading it, there is actually what appears to be a major Arrowverse death which takes place within its pages. That's important, since the comic is at least theoretically canonical to the Arrowverse TV shows. There is also a character -- The Ray, from Earth-X -- who was seemingly killed on TV, who we learn was saved from annihilation at the last moment so that he can take part in The Monitor's plan to save the multiverse.

In case you couldn't tell by the headline and first paragraph, this is going to be a pretty spoiler-filled breakdown of a key plot element in Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant #1, out today in Walmart and available in comic book shops on January 15. So turn back now if you're shy about that kind of thing.

In the first issue of the two-part Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in comic book from writers Marc Guggenheim and Marv Wolfman and artists Tom Grummett and Tom Derenick, what fans will see is pretty standard "Crisis' stuff. More familiar Earths -- this time from worlds that the showrunner likely could not use, or would not be able to properly translate, on TV -- are snuffed out by an antimatter wave as Pariah looks on. A group of heroes is assembled and, since this is taking place in between parts one and two of the story, Felicity Smoak takes point on trying to figure out who the seven Paragons are.

Fans also get to see how Felicity discovers that her husband is dead, and confronts The Monitor about it. Harbinger/Lyla Michaels admits that she has not yet informed John Diggle about Oliver's death, and Barry Allen/The Flash is there to give Felicity a supportive shoulder. But none of this is the moment that Arrowverse fans are likely to be buzzing about after the issue is over.

As part of the story, The Monitor sends a group of heroes -- The Atom, Batwoman, The Ray, The Flash, Kid Flash, Nyssa al Ghul, and Harbinger -- to seek out Outkast, the antimatter universe doppelganger of Pariah (and a character with no direct corollary in the comics, as far as we could find). They trail him through the multiverse, finally catching up to him on Earth-D, a world created by Wolfman and the late artist Paul Ryan in Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1999. It's there that Outkast takes aim at Barry Allen, but before The Flash can be struck down, Wally West runs in front of Outkast's antimatter beam, vanishing into thin air and seemingly dying. Certainly that's the way Barry reacts, and at no point for the rest of the issue does anyone say anything to suggest that there is an alternative working theory.

While there is still a second half to this story, so it may be unwise to count Wally out just yet, going by the rules that TV's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" has established so far, it looks like Wally is probably gone. Yes, the whole multiverse is dead right now, and that won't stay that way forever, but so far, characters who died from causes other than the antimatter wave (Oliver Queen, The Monitor, etc.) are understood to be as dead as one can be in a comic book universe.

Killing Wally in the comic book tie-in would be a strange choice -- he was a huge character on The Flash for a while and briefly a member of the Legends, so giving him an off-camera death would be shocking and a disappointment for Wally fans. That said, the idea that Keiynan Lonsdale left the Arrowverse of his own volition and then elected not to come back for "Crisis on Infinite Earths" might suggest that he's done with the role. Certainly "Crisis" feels like the one thing that people might want to come back for if they were planning to come back and had the opportunity. We have no solid information that says Lonsdale was or was not invited to "Crisis," but we're just talking about speculative evidence here anyway. Fans on social media have pointed out that the character is expected to make an appearance in an episode toward the end of The Flash season six, which suggests that he will find his way back from the dead at some point, but that feels like it's far from a guarantee given how often the Arrowverse have used alternate Earths or flashbacks to bring back actors whose characters have moved on.

There's also the fact that Wally is frequently rumored to be headed to Titans on DC Universe. While it would be difficult to imagine anybody at Berlanti Productions or DC choosing Titans over The Flash -- which is effectively The CW's as well as Berlanti's flagship series at this point -- the Arrowverse does have a history of using characters and then losing them when somebody else (most notably the Suicide Squad movie) needs them. If they already knew that Lonsdale either wasn't coming back, or wasn't coming back for any stretch of time, it could be that taking him off the board in "Crisis" was a way to clear him up for Titans.

Either way, it will be another month before the second half of the tie-in comic is on Walmart shelves, and in the meantime, we'll have to keep Wally in our hearts.

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The "Crisis" event brings together the heroes from multiple Earths to battle against the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), a godlike villain who threatens to destroy all reality. In the comics, the story ended with the deaths of The Flash and Supergirl, and the destruction of DC's multiverse, leading to a single Earth with a complex history packed with hundreds of heroes. The battle brings together together characters from all six of the current DC Comics adaptations on The CW (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Black Lightning), along with characters and actors from Titans, the 1990 version of The Flash, the short-lived Birds of Prey, Smallville, Superman Returns, Tim Burton's Batman, and the iconic 1966 Batman series.

The first three episodes are available now, for free, on The CW app and CW Seed. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will conclude on January 14.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.