Nerd Processor

The DC Superhero TV Shows Are About to Trump Marvel’s Movies

How ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths,’ one of the most important comic crossover events ever, will work on TV

Rob Bricken
Published in
7 min readSep 27, 2019

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Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

AAvengers: Endgame and the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity Saga” may have gotten all the attention this year (and definitely earned all the money), but there’s another live-action superhero mega-event happening this December. It’s the annual crossover of The CW network’s stable of DC Comics series. The heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and more will join forces this December to put one of comics’ most important and revered stories on-screen, creating an event that even Marvel, for all its billions, hasn’t pulled off.

To understand this achievement, you need to understand the original Crisis on Infinite Earths comics. Back in 1985, the DC universe — home to Batman, Superman, and more — was a mess. You know how the Marvel movies, despite the recent time travel shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame, have essentially told a single story with a unified continuity? DC Comics was doing the exact opposite. There were different continuities of characters existing simultaneously, some heroes had multiple origins that had never been addressed, and there were 50 years of different histories and different Earths that accumulated into one giant mess.

The original Crisis was created to reset the DC universe, leaving one world with a unified history and a comprehensible version of each character. DC Comics risked a lot by cleaning its muddy slate and wiping out decades of beloved continuity, regardless of how contradictory the revised stories were. It allowed new fans to start reading DC’s comics without being completely lost. While both Marvel and DC have “reset” their continuities many times since, also in hopes of attracting new readers, back in 1985 there was absolutely no comic event like it.

It’s going to accomplish something that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t.

The “Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event happening on The CW isn’t even the first crossover event for what’s generally known as the “Arrowverse.” Various…

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Rob Bricken
OneZero

The former editor of io9.com, Rob Bricken has been a professional nerd since 2001. He also often cries at children's cartoons.