It’s a Crisis
Although we’re getting an adaptation of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Crisis on Infinite Earths with next year’s crossover, there was a bounty of references to the highly influential 12-issue limited series in “Elseworlds.” For starters, there’s the inclusion of red skies, which have become something of a staple when it comes to DC’s crises. We first get a mention of them when Cisco attempts to reach A.R.G.U.S. but is unable to do so due to the interference from the red skies and yellow lightning. The Monitor even uses the word “crisis” at the end of Part Two, while Oliver says it in Part Three.
As far as deaths go, we don’t get any of the casualties from the comics. We do, however, hear Superman tell Barry and Kara that he foresaw their demise in the Book of Destiny.
Perhaps the biggest nod to Crisis on Infinite Earths, though, is when Felicity, Curtis, Diggle and company try to determine who’s attempting to breach into their world. In doing so, they discover it’s John Wesley Shipp’s Barry Allen/The Flash from Earth-90, who appears through a portal much like Barry did when he was trying to reach Batman in the source material.
Then again, one could argue that the most glaring allusion to Crisis comes at the end of Part Three, when Psycho Pirate quotes the source material almost verbatim by telling Deegan, “worlds will live, worlds will die and nothing will be the same."
One of the biggest selling points heading into “Elseworlds” was the debut of Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, which meant the Arrowverse would finally start acknowledging the Batman mythos outside of the occasional “Bruce Wayne” or “Gotham City” name drop. It begins with Oliver whipping up a quick sketch of Wayne Enterprises, and by the time Part Two of the crossover arrives, we’re met with Batman references left and right.
Oliver adamantly telling Barry that he is the original vigilante is a clever way of acknowledging that Green Arrow was essentially created as a Batman pastiche. Then, at Wayne Enterprises, you have Kate telling Barry, Oliver and Kara that the wifi password is “Alfred,” and we even get a glimpse of the Batman ’66 Shakespeare bust in a box in Bruce’s old office.
Of course, no trip to Gotham would be complete without a pit stop at Arkham Asylum. There, in addition to the names of some heavy hitters from Batman’s rogues gallery printed on the cell doors, we also find Nora Fries rummaging through a shelf that includes a handful of Easter eggs. There’s a set of dentures (a nod to The Joker’s chattering teeth?), the mask Tom Hardy’s Bane wore in The Dark Knight Rises and a box with “1994” printed on it, which is the year Batman took back the mantle of the Bat from Azrael (it’s also the year Zero Hour took place, for what it’s worth). It then culminates with Nora assembling her husband Victor’s (aka Mr. Freeze) freeze gun. And while these references alone would be enough to satisfy most Batman fans, there’s also a shout-out to Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow, whose fear toxin infects Barry and Oliver.
The Gotham excursion closes with Batwoman referring to her and Supergirl as the “World’s Finest,” which, of course, is the nickname of their male counterparts and at one point, the title of an ongoing series.