Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Spectre Costume Is Comics-Accurate -- Just Not in the Way People Expected

Since the release earlier today of a new poster for The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, the excitement over what's to come has been mingled with one consistent criticism: that Oliver Queen's version of The Spectre doesn't look especially comics-accurate. And there's certainly an element of truth to that, if you look at the single, most popular take on The Spectre. Looking at the character's history, though? Well, Oliver's look actually makes perfect sense, and there's some comic book history that will back us up on that one. The image, which you can see below, features Oliver in what amounts to his Green Arrow costume, but with a pale complexion, dark around his eyes, and a green hooded cloak over the suit.

Fans have pointed out that this bears little resemblance to the classic Jim Corrigan Spectre costume, which features basically a speedo, gloves, boots, and the cloak. That, of course, was never especially likely to make its way to the screen, but it's easy enough to understand why fans are a little surprised that the Spectre costume is basically just Oliver's existing costume with some highlights.

But that's exactly what happened when Hal Jordan took over as The Spectre after Jim Corrigan gave up the role in the comics.

crisis-on-infinite-earths-oliver-hal-jordan-spectre

When Corrigan's soul finally passed on to Heaven, the Spectre -- who is the embodiment of divine vengeance -- was left without a host. Essentially unmoored, the power of The Spectre found itself briefly harnessed by Asmodel, a renegade angel who had previously faced off with the Justice League. In order to strip a profoundly evil being of basically infinite power, a handful of heroes essentially journeyed to Heaven in order to try to tempt Corrigan back to help out. After he turned them down, the heroes found themselves turning to purgatory, where they found the disgraced hero Hal Jordan.

Jordan had gone insane following the destruction of Coast City and the death of the millions of people he had spent much of his life protecting. Taking on the identity of Parallax, he tried to reset the universe so that he could be the one deciding how things would unfold. He was defeated but remained a villain for a few more years, eventually redeeming himself and sacrificing his life to defeat the Sun-Eater in The Final Night.

That's what led him to Purgatory, where he would volunteer to take on the power of The Spectre and the responsibility it brought with it. When he managed to expel Asmodel and become the host of The Spectre, though, the classic "speedo" look that had been in place since the Golden Age of comics was replaced by a variation on Hal Jordan's Green Lantern costume (albeit with a gray color palette and The Spectre's green flame powers emanating from the place on his chest where the Lantern logo would have been). Heck, he even kept the mask, in spite of the fact that Hal would have no identity to protect at that point, since almost everyone he knew and loved was dead; his best friend had written an in-continuity biography of him that outed him as Green Lantern; and he himself was undead and working as an agent of the cosmic order.

In short, this costume was just Hal Jordan's costume -- but slightly Spectre-fied.

Yes, Hal's look was a bit of an outlier -- when Asmodel took on The Spectre, he looked more or less like the classic Spectre, and when Crispus Allen (Jordan's successor) would take on the gig, he would have an updated/modern version of the classic look, but would retain his own facial hair.

(Oh, yeah, and Oliver kept his facial hair. It looks a bit weird on The Spectre in live action but, again...not unprecedented.)

Hal, though, was a former Green Lantern and has one of the strongest wills in the universe. He would leverage that into modifying the mission of The Spectre somewhat into something that made more sense for him (he was a bringer of redemption, not vengeance), and so the idea that he would be modifying the look to suit his new "take" on the power makes sense, just as it would make sense that Oliver Queen would do.

After all, he took on the power of The Spectre essentially so that he could fulfill his destiny of stopping the Anti-Monitor and sparing Barry and Kara's lives. He may remain The Spectre after the events of this storyline, but everything that Oliver is doing now is to serve that singular end: fulfilling a destiny that he forged as Green Arrow, while wearing that costume.

3comments

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.