Decades after it was first published, Crisis on Infinite Earths is still one of the biggest DC stories of all time. The crossover featured almost every character that was available to DC at the time, leading to one of the most epic battles in the history of the publisher. The story, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, led to the (at least temporary) destruction of the DC Multiverse and the creation of a new Earth-Prime.
That seminal story will also serve as the inspiration the next annual Arrowverse crossover later this year, promising to make major changes to the future of the CW superhero landscape. Even though it won't start for a few months, we can already tell some characters will be major players in the crossover based on their roles in the original story. We can also make some educated theories about which heroes will have more to do than they did in the original 1985 comic. Now, CBR is looking back at the original comics Crisis to see how the Arrowverse heroes fared, and how likely they are to play those roles again.
Unlike in the Arrowverse, Green Arrow didn't play much of a role in the original Crisis storyline. Green Arrow wasn't as central to the DC Universe as he is to the Arrowverse, and he really only appeared in a handful of panels in the story. In fact, the Earth-2 version of the hero briefly appeared during a battle with the villainous Shaggy Man, only to be later killed by one of the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons with little fanfare.
It's unlikely that the Oliver Queen of the Arrowverse will have such a small role in the upcoming version of the crossover. The end of Arrow season 6 revealed that Ollie's deal with the Monitor to save Flash and Supergirl during the Elseworlds crossover means he has a major role to play in the story. Monitor has also quietly confirmed that while Ollie will die during the story, meaning his death will have more meaning and impact than just being killed off randomly.
Famously, Barry Allen plays a major role throughout the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Trying to avoid waves of anti-matter, Allen accidentally gets himself unstuck in time. He runs through much of the DC Universe, trying to warn heroes of the pending danger before getting captured by the Anti-Monitor. Although Barry is eventually able to free himself, he tries to overload the anti-matter cannon that was aimed at the remaining worlds. Although he succeeds and saves what remains of the multiverse, Flash is overwhelmed in the act and dies.
The Arrowverse has long hinted that the Flash will disappear during the events of some massive "crisis" in the future. The rewriting of history at the end of season 5 of Flash repositioned that event to the near future, likely the upcoming crossover. It's unknown if Flash will have to fully die to help save the world, but the idea of Crisis on Infinite Earths is synonymous with a dead Flash. However, Oliver's deal could have altered Barry's fate.
Like the Flash, Supergirl has an ultimately tragic role in the original Crisis storyline. She's among a group of heroes who are sent into the Anti-Monitor's world. When the Anti-Monitor confronts the heroes, Supergirl manages to go one on one with the villain. She's able to hold her own against the monster, even destroying some of his weaponry and irrevocably damaging his armor, but she's seriously injured in the process. When Doctor Light tries to save her, she chooses to stay behind so Doctor Light can save Superman instead. While her cousin survives, Supergirl is finally overwhelmed and murdered by the Anti-Monitor.
Like Flash, Supergirl might have some extra security going into Crisis due to them headlining their own series that will continue after the crossover. While Flash might want to watch his back, Supergirl will inevitably have to face the Anti-Monitor. While it may be possible that one of the two Supermen plays a role in saving her life instead of the typical other way around, Kara still might be in trouble.
As the core of the DC Universe, Superman plays a major role throughout the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. In fact, two versions of Superman play major parts in the story. The Earth-1 version of Superman and the older Earth-2 Superman both serve as major heroes in the story, and the Golden Age Superman brings down the Anti-Monitor once and for all, before he and a handful of other characters leave reality for a seemingly endless paradise.
As in the original Crisis, the Arrowverse crossover will feature at least two versions of Superman.Tyler Hoechlin will reprise his role as Superman from the Supergirl series, and Brandon Routh will return to the role of Superman, who he portrayed in Superman Returns. Routh has also revealed that his Superman will be inspired by the older Superman from Kingdom Come, the seminal Mark Waid/Alex Ross story about a dark and depressing future of the DC Universe. This character could easily take the place of the Earth-2 Superman, and could end up being a huge part of the final battle.
Legends Of Tomorrow
The Legends of Tomorrow team is comprised of various DC heroes from across multiple corners of the universe. So while some members of the team were established enough characters to be featured heavily in the original story. Firestorm and Atom are both among the armies of heroes who fight back against the Anti-Monitor and his shadow demons. John Constantine was among the people, while Hawkman was among the heroes seriously injured while fighting the Shadows.
The Legends of Tomorrow will probably absorb various characters roles, especially for the characters like White Canary and Gideon who didn't exist outside the series. Meanwhile, it's possible if someone like the Hawks or Kid Flash could return for the crossover to be among the heroes helping to try to save all of reality.
Other Super Teams
As the biggest crossover at the time by DC, there were a number of different teams and groups that made appearances or played some small role in the story. The Legion of Super-Heroes, the JSA and the Time Lords all appeared, doing their part to try and save the world. At one point, the Legion even teams up with the Time Lords and proves invaluable to uniting the various heroes together. Meanwhile, Earth-2 is among the worlds transformed into the new Earth-1, bringing the JSA formally into the mainline DC Universe.
Something similar could be in the works for Supergirl and Black Lightning, both of which technically take part of different Earths within the Arrowverse multiverse. It also wouldn't be surprising to see the Legion make an appearance as some of the allies called upon to have to fight the Anti-Monitor, giving the heroes an advantage as they fight the Shadow-Demons that the Anti-Monitor is able to create.
Scheduled to air this fall on The CW, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will involve Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman. Returning Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Katie Cassidy as Black Siren, Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke and Ben Lewis as William Clayton-Queen.