This post contains spoilers for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Check out our review for Part three here.
You ever find yourself on the brink of discovery when suddenly your towering ambition dooms everything? That’s basically what happened to Mar Novu. Part Four of the Arrowverse’s biggest crossover yet may have been its weakest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad episode of television. We got some solid time with Oliver as the Spectre, and a version of the Speedforce we’ve never seen before. Strangely, Lex Luthor got a lot of strong moments too.
We find the Paragons (Supergirl, Batwoman, White Canary, Martian Manhunter, Ryan Choi, The Flash, and Lex Luthor) right where we left them, but several months have passed since Pariah zapped them out of the Anti-Monitor’s reach. Ryan, the Paragon of Humanity, kicks things off with a little monologue. I’ll save you from having to read all of it, but it boils down to “we’re screwed”.
The Flash is notably absent for the first few minutes, but arrives shortly after a mostly useless teleportation attempt by Ryan and Lex. An exhausted and confused Barry admits that he can’t gain access to the Speedforce, but he’s willing to run until he dies if that’s what it takes. There’s a squabble that’s quickly interrupted by Oliver Queen’s entrance as The Spectre.
This is where the crossover starts to struggle with the old “show, don’t tell”. The Spectre’s powers are insane. As in they’re nearly limitless. Which you know if you’ve read the comics! But, if you haven’t, watching a tap to The Flash’s forehead and then being told “your potential is unlocked” is just kind of lame. All the same, this takes us to the next step to the unbreaking of the universe. Lex, Supergirl, and Ryan all head to Maltus to stop Mar Novu from going back in time and creating the Anti-Monitor while The Flash, White Canary, Batwoman, Spectre and Martian Manhunter all find themselves in the Speedforce.
Our heroes’ time in the Speedforce serves no real narrative purpose. Instead, it’s used as a highlight reel of some of the most impactful moments that Arrow sparked all those years ago. That acknowledgment aside, there were some fun parts to strolling down memory lane. There’s also a teensie, tiny cameo that shatters the ever-obnoxious wall between the DCEU and DCTV. Watching Ezra Miller and Grant Gustin’s Flashes play off one another was more fun than I could have anticipated. This was a nice surprise after years of pointless separation.
The Maltus situation also ends up being fruitless. But we do learn that Lex has given himself superpowers! Jon Cryer’s been a pretty exceptional Lex from the jump, and it was fun getting to watch him waltz through the end of the universe while screwing up whatever he possibly could. Their goal to stop Mar Novu from completing his mission is ultimately successful thanks to Ryan Choi’s unfaltering humanity. Problem is, they would have needed to stop infinite Mar Novus from infinite earths from going back to the beginning of time. What I’m saying is, there’s a whole lot of wheel spinnin’ in Part Four!
Once Flash rallies his troops, they all head to the dawn of time to have the showdown of showdowns. The Spectre is to face the Anti-Monitor while the Paragons hold the line against his dementor lookin’ minions. Both of those things happen! But, outside of a few choice one-liners, they’re not quite the epic battles they deserve to be. There’s a little zappy-zappy, some yelling, a boom, and then suddenly the Anti-Monitor is gone and Oliver Queen is dead again.
Of note: Spectre is immortal. He also has limitless matter control. What I’m sayin’ is keep your eyes open for a happy ending between Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak before Arrow concludes.
With an ending also comes a new beginning. Oliver Queen’s sacrifice results in a multiverse reborn. What that multiverse looks like is explored more in Part Five of Crisis. We’ll explore that more in that review, but first we have to acknowledge a couple of things that went down during and after this fight.
There’s a very specific word that Oliver uses to describe post-Crisis. He tells the Paragons that “the dawn of time is the only place where the rebirth can happen”. Not to sound like a conspiracy hack waving her comic books in the air, but I’m gonna go ahead and say “rebirth” was a pretty specific choice. It’ll be interesting to see which stories we pull from in the new era that this crossover has ushered in.
Oliver Queen's last words are, strangely, only to Barry and Sara. “Dying is easy,” he tells Barry for the second time. His brief monologue serves as a reminder that the two of them have to keep up their fight. Having all of the Paragons with him for this speech might not have been necessary, but I found it strange that Kara wasn’t up there with them. She might not have gotten her start on Arrow like the other two heroes, but he did sacrifice himself the first time for her.
Though a mostly weak addition to the crossover, Part Four acts as a strong reminder where the universe we all have fun playing in came from. Felicity Smoak was missed, and it could have gone harder on the action, but it’s still enjoyable enough to call a win. I want to hear your thoughts about Part Four in the comments!