As The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover came to its reality-shattering cliffhanger tonight, the good guys took on heavy losses. Some of those might or might not stick, but there were a few that seems far more likely than the others to remain off the board. One, in particular, seems all-but-guaranteed. In a multiverse of possibilities, it seems virtually impossible to make such a prediction with 100% confidence -- but that's more or less what the narrative is asking us to do right now and, like with Oliver Queen's death in the first part of the crossover, this feels like the "real thing," even if it turns out not to be the whole story.
So what do the comics tell us about what's next? Who will live, who will die, and who will never be the same? Read on...
Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of The Flash, titled "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Three."
Tonight on The Flash, Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson), in the thrall of the Anti-Monitor and acting against her will, returned to the Waverider where The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) had assembled his heroes and murdered The Monitor himself, echoing the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths #4.
In the comics, it played out slightly differently: Harbinger used her powers to create duplicates of herself, which she would send out around the multiverse to do multiple things at once. One of them was "infected" by a shadow demon during a fight, and when it rejoined her main consciousness, she fell under the Anti-Monitor's control. The rest is pretty much the same: she killed The Monitor while under the influence of the Anti-Monitor, just as the remaining worlds of the multiverse blinked out of existence.
The upside, for Lyla and the multiverse, is that it was all a part of The Monitor's inscrutable plan. Just as Lex Luthor's duplicity in last night's episode was key to The Monitor's search for the paragons, his death was key to the salvation of the remaining worlds of the multiverse in the comics.
Slowly dying and sensing that he was outmatched by the Anti-Monitor, The Monitor allowed himself to be killed so that his remaining energies could create a safe space, hidden from the Anti-Monitor's view, for the remaining Earths to go while his heroes mounted a final, desperate offensive.
It was that battle -- one that took place at the dawn of time -- that brought The Spectre into the fight, and stood as the final test for the heroes who had united against the Anti-Monitor's relentless march to destroying all existence.
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 event is the most ambitious thing DC has ever attempted in live action, bringing 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.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" kicked off this week with Sunday night's episode of Supergirl, ran through last night's episode of Batwoman and tonight's episode of The Flash. That serves as the midseason cliffhanger, as the shows go on hiatus for the holidays and return on January 14 to finish out the event with the midseason premiere of Arrow and a "special episode" of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which launches as a midseason series this year and so will not have an episode on the air before the Crisis. And while Black Lightning's midseason finale -- which aired last night after Batwoman -- is not technically part of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," there are red skies, and the episode's title is "Earth Crisis." So things are not too far removed.