Jessie Robertson reviews part four of Crisis on Infinite Earths…
Part 4 of this epic crossover begins with the “origin” of Mar Novu- he was a scientist, and his wife was the actual Monitor- but that’s about all we learn. His experiment (10,000 years ago) fated the universe to deal with the Anti-Monitor. We are given the phrase “towering ambition” as the reason for Novu’s hubris and why this has happened.
I actually wish we got more of a backstory on the Anti-Monitor- why these shadowy demons as minions, how did he know to enact this plan, etc. His characterization is a bit shallow, as is Monitor’s, but LaMoncia Garrett plays both with mystery, which is much needed. The paragons have been stuck at the Vanishing Point for months (it seems) and all hope is lost; nothing they try works. Until, we get our first full glimpse of Oliver Queen as the Spectre. This was a brilliant move, and such a cool play off of how the comics did a similar story where Queens’ on the page best friend Hal Jordan (another Green hero) became the Spectre at one point. Oliver lays the groundwork for the team and in a dizzying set of sequences, as they use the Speed Force to make their final stand against the Anti-Monitor, Oliver and everyone else gets scattered in the Speed Force as Barry traverses their greatest memories and defeats to find them all. (There’s an absolutely epic scene where both the DCEU Flash (Ezra Miller) and Arrowverse Flash (Grant Gustin) meet for the first time!).
During all this, Supergirl, Ryan Choi and Luthor break off to stop the Monitor from causing this horrible ripple to even occur- in these sequences, you basically learn (if you didn’t already know) that Jon Cryer is an amazing Luthor with both corny wry humor and cutting coldness all in one package. Once our paragons arrive at the Dawn of Time, the final battle begins. This is split into two fights, really: Oliver tackles the big bad, the Anti-Monitor (and delivers quite the cringy line of “You have failed this universe”) but otherwise, is an epic clash of special effects and bad dudes. As the rest of our heroes tangle with those shadow creatures in an epicly tame and corny fight on the ground.
From there, with the Spectre’s combined power and the paragons thinking only of their qualities together as one, the Anti-Monitor is no more. Oliver once again dies in front of his friends and the world seems back to normal. Quite an auspicious ending to Part 4 of a 5 part crossover. Honestly, everything to the buildup of the final fight was wonderful stuff, using old scenes and re-doing them under the Speed Force guise was brilliance. But, the final conflict itself was wholly underwhelming. Oliver does impart some wise words to Barry about his sacrifice which is fully revealed here: “the dead are at peace; the real heroes have to keep fighting.”
Rating – 8/10 – While not as steeped in Easter eggs, for the most part, this is a solid effort featuring 8 strong, strong characters who both engage in meaningful interactions with each other but also are weaved into the unique fabric of where Oliver’s character was going and how it was utilized.