WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Arrow, the second part of "Elseworlds," which aired Monday on The CW.
Although we knew which heroes would be involved in "Elseworlds," we had little idea about the actual story, outside of the broadest strokes. While fans welcomed the return of Superman, and the introductions of Batwoman and Lois Lane, the cosmic entity the Monitor represented a wildcard for the Arrowverse crossover.
In DC comics, the Monitor is typically on the side of good. And yet, on "Elseworlds," we saw him destroy the superheroes of Earth-90. Why? On this week's episode of Arrow, the Monitor's plan is finally revealed, and it's a bit more complicated than we realized. Yes, he may appear to be a villain, but he's actually doing all of this to save the multiverse.
When the Monitor comes face to face with Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, Kara Danvers and John Wesley Shipp's The Flash (from Earth-90), he reveals his alterations to reality, made utilizing the Book of Destiny, serve a greater purpose. He's not just toying with the heroes, he's looking for the best of the best, testing them so he may find his champions. That's because, according to the Monitor, an even bigger threat is coming -- a crisis heralded by a villain he does not name.
Of course, comics fans likely assume he's referring to the Anti-Monitor, the ultimate source of villainy and power in the DC Universe. The Anti-Monitor was at the heart of perhaps the biggest DC crossover, 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, where he annihilated one parallel Earth after the next.
It would seem that, in "Elseworlds," the Monitor has foreseen the coming of the Anti-Monitor, and the crisis that arrives with him. That means this is only the beginning of a massive story, and that we might see a proper adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths in next year's Arrowverse crossover.
However, this isn't the first time the Arrowverse has teased an adaptation of the classic DC comic. The very first episode of The Flash showed a newspaper page from the future that revealed Barry Allen had disappeared after such a crisis. As fans know, Barry Allen sacrificed himself in Crisis on Infinite Earths to save all of reality, by running so fast the he disintegrated into the Speed Force.
While the newspaper page comes from the year 2024, the timeline in the Arrowverse has been in constant flux because of the efforts of various speedsters and the time-traveling Legends of Tomorrow. It's, therefore, possible this crisis could arrive sooner rather than later.
It's doubtful The CW would wait another six years to be able to tell this event, especially with Arrow now in the middle of its seventh season. "Elseworlds" has shown how successful the Arrowverse can be with its annual crossovers, and the only way we can see producers top themselves next year is by paying off an event that's been teased for four years.
The three-night Elseworlds event concludes Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW with Supergirl.