As the final two episodes of The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover draw ever nearer, the network has done a reasonably good job of preventing fans from guessing most of what happens in the mega-event's final night. One thing that does seem sure is that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), now in a new role as The Spectre, will be playing a significant role in turning back the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) and presumably rebuilding the shattered multiverse. What that role is has not yet been made explicit, but if you try to put some clues together, it's likely we can make some educated guesses.
First of all, a quick rundown of The Spectre. The character is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, and one of the oldest characters in the universe's magic corner. He serves as the spirit of divine vengeance, serving an unseen being known as The Presence, which is basically the closest thing a mainstream superhero comic is going to get to the Judeo-Christian version of God. The being itself has to be anchored to a human soul to keep it balanced, and during his publication history, there have been three main hosts: Jim Corrigan, a former Gotham City cop; Hal Jordan, a then-former-and-now-current Green Lantern; and another cop, Crispus Allen. In the previous episode of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," Jim Corrigan (Stephen Lobo) appeared in Purgatory to retrieve Oliver Queen's soul, explaining to him that he needed to become the host of the Spectre in order to save everyone and stop the Anti-Monitor.
How is he supposed to do that? There are two big clues we have seen so far in officially-released promotional material.
The first is a teaser trailer released recently, in which Oliver (as The Spectre) tells the six paragons (and Lex Luthor) that the "eight of us" might not be enough. While there is no post-script to this comment, it's worth noting that Oliver does not actually appear beside the Paragons at the Dawn of Time battle, materializing only in a single shot, beside the Anti-Monitor.
Given that "Crisis on Infinite Earths" began with Oliver Queen saying, during that first meeting around a table on Earth-38, that "we're going to need a bigger team," essentially setting the stage for the heroes of the Arrowverse to come together, it seems like an obvious kind of bookending if The Spectre was the one who gathers the forces for the final battle with the Anti-Monitor.
So, maybe he's "gone" in that battle because while the paragons keep the Anti-Monitor busy, he is somehow bringing in reinforcements.
Another possibility could be something that we noticed when the second poster dropped: a cosmic armwrestling match.
How so? Well, in the first poster for "Crisis," we got a look at LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor, with his hands upturned as if he were in a meditative position. Its second poster reversed a lot of things -- it was dark instead of bright, it features a single, burned-out world instead of a number of vibrant ones...and the Anti-Monitor was holding his hands aloft, palms down, kind of like he was operating a marionette.
You could view his and The Monitor's hands together as though The Monitor was reaching upwards, while the Anti-Monitor was trying to force his hands down. That imagery might be familiar to longtime comics readers, who will remember that a hand poking through space at the dawn of time was the image of the DC Universe's creation. In the Crisis on Infinite Earths comics, The Anti-Monitor tried to stop that hand from spreading life, and ended up essentially in an armwrestling match with The Spectre for the fate of all life.
Given that The Spectre's most significant contribution to Crisis on Infinite Earths was that scene, and that comics writer Marv Wolfman is coming in for tomorrow's episode of Arrow, in which Oliver Queen will likely meet his final fate (only because having it happen on DC's Legends of Tomorrow would be jarring on the DVD collections), it is not too far out to assume that maybe the positioning of those characters on the poster -- which is obviously deliberate -- has a specific, predictable meaning.
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.