At the end of "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the surviving heroes of The CW's Arrowverse came together to form something of a crisis team that would be ready to come together again to fight for the world should the need arrive. With their own special headquarters, the team was the Arrowverse's answer to the Justice League. Two years on, the Arrowverse has seen a lot of changes and that league changes with it and now, in the wake of the Season 2 finale of Superman & Lois we have just one question: what's next for the Arrowverse's team of heroes?
Warning: spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Superman & Lois below.
When the Arrowverse's Justice League was founded, it comprised of the major heroes of the universe, a makeup aligned with the heroes of the various shows that made up the shared universe: The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Black Lightning and seemed to offer up a lot of opportunity for future adventures and crossovers. But one by one, the Arrowverse landscape began to change and each of those shows, except for The Flash, ended essentially taking with them the potential for team ups, though with Superman & Lois on the air, fans still held out hope.
This week, however, Superman & Lois finally clarified its place within the Arrowverse and revealed that it doesn't actually have one. The series takes place on an entirely different world — one in which there are no other heroes, only Superman. It would seem, then, that when it comes to the Arrowverse Justice League, functionally The Flash is alone.
From a story perspective, it is probably safe to say that the Arrowverse will never genuinely explore its Justice League potential. The heroes, while they still exist in terms of the story, they are no longer part of the network lineup. It's unlikely that we'll see those characters return. Yes, we did get a little bit of a taste of what a Justice League could be when Barry sought the help of Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning during Season 8's "Armageddon" but a true team up never happened, and the situations of the others don't lend to one. The Legends are in jail. Last we saw Supergirl she was now a very public figure, and Batwoman has Gotham. Now, it seems we don't know exactly what Superman is up to.
While we thought he was living his life in Smallville, the revelation about Superman & Lois being on a separate Earth leaves that hero's fate a question mark. Maybe he is doing the same and is in Smallville with his family. Or maybe he's off world. Whatever it is, the net result is the same: The Flash and Team Flash more broadly is what the world has to protect it now.
While that is what the television aspect offers us however, it would seem that in terms of overall universe canon, we do know that the League exists and has even expanded in membership on the pages of comics. Recently, the Earth-Prime comic series expanded on the stories of the Arrowverse over the course of six issues, the final of which saw Black Lightning, Superman, The Atom, Sara Lance, Supergirl, Jay Garrick, The Flash, and Kid Flash all coming together at the Hall of Justice in the wake of a battle with Magog in the future when Oliver Queen — who died in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" — returned to warn of an impending crisis. While this story is set in 2049, the stories in the comic are considered canon for the Arrowverse. The League lives.
And, ultimately, it's that comic that likely gives us our best clue about what's next for the Arrowverse's Justice League. The Flash is now the last Arrowverse show on air with the revelation that Superman & Lois is part of a different Earth so a live-action team up is probably not in the cards — there's a lot of speculation that The Flash's ninth season will be its last. But the pages of comics provides nearly endless opportunities to tell stories with the whole team — including the establishment of the big bad level system that Bart and Nora reference in Earth-Prime #6.
The establishment of the Arrowverse's answer to the Justice League was a thrilling moment for fans and it's sad that it's one that has never really been used to its greatest potential. But even with the landscape of The CW's heroic shows changing and the possibility that it's wrapping up sooner rather than later, in comics anything is possible. With any luck, a world – or even a multiverse – of adventure awaits.0comments