The Arrowverse is essentially television’s (and DC’s) version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Having started eight years ago with a barebones but ambitious take on fan favourite vigilante Green Arrow with Arrow. Heavily influenced by the direction of the decade-long series Smallville, Arrow gradually upped the stakes with new characters and spin-offs.
And it has paid off well. With six shows contributing to the different aspects of the DC/CW multiverse, the Arrowverse has delivered some of the best comic book-inspired entertainment this decade.
And as with a all true-to-comic content, a little bit of research and explanation can be pretty handy.
What is a Crisis?
We’ve been hearing this term a fair bit since the beginning of The Flash. Set-up very early on by Eobard Thawne, Crisis is more than just a fancy way to say “we’re in deep shit, now!”
Dating all the way back to 1961 with The Flash #123, the seminal Flash Two Worlds not only introduced the concept of Earth-Two, it also helped reintroduce the Golden Age versions of characters.
Referring to characters that existed from the late 1930s to early 1950s, these characters were mostly forgotten or (almost) unrecognisably re-conceptualised for a new audience in a period referred to as the Silver Age, or better known as Earth-One. Characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and—of course—Green Arrow, were some of those that were more or less kept them same.
Following Flash of Two Worlds, DC committed to an annual crossover between the Golden Age Justice Society of America on Earth-Two and the Silver Age Justice League of America on Earth-One. Each of these stories were often branded as a Crisis and gave cause for the scale of heroes needed to come together.
Until 1985… until Crisis on Infinite Earths!
What’s the Big Deal with Crisis on Infinite Earths?
In 1985, DC figured that it may—literally—have an infinite version of heroes in their hands. Between unofficial reboots, retcons, continuity disregarding tales, and straight up batshit crazy plots (mostly involving Batman), the company was truly suffering a crisis.
Enter Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Written and pencilled by comic book legends Marvel Wolfman and George Perez, Crisis on Infinite Earths (CoIE) served the triple purposes of cleaning up editorial content, offering closure for the heroes of old (and their fans), and providing readers with a superhero tale of epic proportions.
Uniting heroes with their alternate-reality counterparts, this superhero army was tasked to take on the Anti-Montior! The evil-counterpart to the Monitor, an infinitely powerful cosmic being, the Anti-Monitor wanted to wipe out all of existence.
The good guys manage to defeat him, but at great cost—including the loss of many Earths, the deaths of the Earth-One Supergirl, and the Earth-Two Wonder Woman.
And Barry Allen. Hence all the drama with Team Flash… in addition to all the usual drama they already have every week.
As for the Crisis itself, the result was a new reality (literally named, New Earth), that unified aspects of the different realities.
The Justice Society was no longer a superhero team from an alternate Earth, but now heroes from the ’30s and ’40s, while the Justice League were the beginning of a superhero reemergence in the ‘80s.
Okay, so maybe Crisis does essentially mean “we’re in deep shit, now!”
How do I Watch It?
On a television… or your computer… or your phone.
As for in what order, we’ve got you covered, too:
Chapter 1: Supergirl on December 8 2019
Chapter 2: Batwoman on December 9, 2019
Chapter 3: The Flash on December 10, 2019
Chapter 4: Arrow on January 14, 2020
Chapter 5: Legends of Tomorrow on January 14, 2020