This fall, the Arrowverse is getting a little visit from Earth-X, and the timing couldn’t be worse for The Flash‘s Barry Allen and Iris West. As revealed earlier this afternoon, the villains of Earth-X will descend upon the happy couple just in time for their wedding. To mark the occasion, The CW unveiled of a custom comic book cover by artist Phil Jimenez that evokes those DC crossovers of yesteryear — specifically 1982’s Justice League #207 cover by George Pérez — and raises more questions about the four-show crossover event than it answers.
Titled “Crisis on Earth-X,” this year’s Arrowverse crossover will find “all of the heroes in town to celebrate Barry and Iris’s wedding,” when “villains from Earth-X crash the festivities with a deadly agenda.” As seen in Jimenez’s cover, those Earth-X villains are the evil doppelgangers of the Arrowverse’s beloved heroes, who in DC Comics history are from a parallel world in which Germany won World War II. Beyond that, though, the cover contains a plethora of other clues that reveal some surprising facts about the crossover and pose questions that are sure to be answered only when the event airs in November.
First and foremost, let’s look at the inclusion of the Ray, who appears in the top left-hand corner above Supergirl and as a floating head in the bottom right-hand corner. The Ray’s appearance here is notable not only for the fact that this will be his live-action debut, but because this suggests he will make the leap from the CW Seed’s animated series. The CW announced last year that he would star in his own animated series titled Freedom Fighters: The Ray, becoming the first gay superhero to headline his own show. At the time, the Ray was announced only for animation, in a series that takes place in a parallel world called Earth-X. If that seems pretty removed, that’s because it is, and that makes his inclusion all the more shocking. However, since he will bring a few evil Earth-X doppelgangers with him, it makes sense that he would be involved. The Ray will be played by Russell Tovey, who also voices the character on the animated series.
The Earth-X Symbol for The Flash
Speaking of doppelgangers, we need to talk about Earth-X’s version of the Flash. Notably, Earth-X’s Flash wears a yellow-and-black costume, much like the Reverse Flash’s iconic suit. However, it’s the logo on his chest that provides a clue about the state of Earth-X. The symbol presents two red, back-to-back lightning bolts on a black field, which forms a kind of “SS” symbol. Seeing as how in comics, Earth-X is a world where Germany won WWII, this probably stands for exactly what you think it does: the “Schutzstaffel,” which is German for “Protective Echelon,” the name for Adolf Hitler’s bodyguards. While the official description for “Crisis on Earth-X” doesn’t specifically label Earth-X’s villains as Nazis, this logo certainly suggests that’s what they’ll be.
The Mysterious Archer
The comic book cover shows four of Earth-X’s villains, but one of those is not like the others. While Supergirl, Flash and Green Arrow all have distinct doppelgangers, the cover shows a fourth villain who doesn’t seem to have a direct analogue. This fourth villain is dressed like a classic archer and looks more like Malcolm Merlyn’s Dark Archer than an evil Green Arrow. Since this mysterious archer has a mask on, there’s really no way to tell who is wearing the hood. Though John Barrowman — who played Merlyn over five seasons of Arrow — has said that he was done with the series after his character’s death in the Season 5 finale, it’s possible he has since changed his mind and will return for a small part. This could also be another version of Prometheus, the primary antagonist of Arrow Season 5, who wore a similar costume. Alternatively, this could be a new character altogether, though this seems unlikely; there will probably be a familiar face under that mask, regardless of whether or not it’s one we expect.
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