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Captain Comics: Wrapping things up

Andrew A. Smith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Comic Books

Season finales usually wrap up all the themes and plots, maybe tack on a cliffhanger, and if we're lucky, toss in a hint of what's to come in the following season. The four "Arrowverse" shows did all that and more. With a hearty "Spoilers ahoy!" let's take a look:

"Arrow," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," "The Flash" and "Supergirl" -- dubbed the Arrowverse, because they are all interconnected and "Arrow" was the first -- all wrapped their respective seasons in May and left questions for next season to answer. But all of them also referenced next season's Arrowverse crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths."

First up is the season 7 finale of "Arrow" on May 13, which had a lot riding on it going in.

Back in March, series star Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver "Green Arrow" Queen, announced that "Arrow" would end in the fall with a truncated 10-episode eighth season. Then less than a month later, Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity Smoak, Oliver's wife and the show's MVP, said she wouldn't return after the Season 7 finale.

That's serious. Then it got bigger.

During the Arrowverse crossover last year (which excluded "Legends"), Oliver made a deal with The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) to save the lives of Barry "The Flash" Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kara "Supergirl" Danvers (Melissa Benoist), who were scheduled to snuff it in the upcoming crossover (now with added "Legends" and "Batwoman"). This was quite a twist on the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in DC Comics, where Barry and Kara did die, but Oliver Queen didn't.

We didn't know what Oliver's deal was, and as it turns out, neither did Queen. When The Monitor shows up at the home were Oliver and Felicity have essentially retired to raise their daughter Mia, Oliver asks (mirroring The Monitor's own words) "what does the multiverse require?" Turns out, Green Arrow shouldn't be buying any green bananas.

"I've seen your future, Oliver, inexorable and unavoidable," The Monitor intones. "I have watched you die." Not only that, but Oliver has to go with The Monitor right that very minute, and begin preparing for the Crisis, leaving a tearful Felicity behind. Later, she visits a tombstone that shows the year of Queen's death as 2019 -- which means the remaining 10 episodes of "Arrow" are likely to air before the new year.

So no more Team Arrow, or at least not one with its two core members. Four vigilantes do remain, and the season's flash-forwards assembled four children of the O.G. Team Arrow 20 years in the future -- but will we even see them in Season 8? Or will it be just Oliver and The Monitor on the weirdest road trip ever, bopping around the multiverse to prep for the apocalypse?

Or is this goodbye to all of them?

Which is what it looked like. "It does feel like the end of an era," said John "Spartan" Diggle (Michael Ramsey), as everyone teared up. (Some of those tears, according to the trades, were real -- many of these people have been co-workers for eight years.) "Let's just try to think of it as the beginning of a new one," Felicity says.

But with Amell's character facing imminent death, Rickards leaving and "Arrow" being canceled, who really believes that? This episode felt like a series finale, and it may well be.

Meanwhile, in the Season 5 finale of "The Flash" on May 14, the real big bad of the season -- and the Scarlet Speedster's big bad, period -- was revealed. Eobard "Reverse-Flash" Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) had been manipulating events to stave off his own execution in the future, where Flash's daughter Nora "XS" West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) is from.

Other surprises included Cisco Ramone (Carlos Valdes) curing his powers and leaving the team, Joe West (Jesse L. Myers) being promoted to captain in the Central City Police Department, Ralph "Elongated Man" Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) picking up a client with the same name as his wife in the comics and Sherloque Wells (Cavanagh again) returning to his parallel Earth.

And, oh yeah, Thawne's Machiavellian plans created a new timeline that erased Nora's very existence. Further, he escaped. "See you in the next Crisis, Barry," he taunts, which doesn't sound ominous at all.

Meanwhile, in Thawne's future-computer room back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the future newspaper that's been predicting Barry's disappearance in the Crisis of 2024 since Season 1 alters to reflect the new, Nora-less timeline. The date changes, moving the Crisis up to ... 2019. Yep, despite Oliver's planned sacrifice, there's still a chance that Green Arrow will have company in the post-Crisis graveyard.

 

Then came the May 19 season finale of "Supergirl," in which a storyline that seemed a lot like one comic book story turned out to be a lot like a different one.

Krasnaya Doch ("Red Daughter" in Russian) started out a like the main character from Mark Millar's three-issue miniseries "Red Son" (2003), which was essentially "What if baby Kal-El's rocket landed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas?" The obvious answer being, of course, that instead of fighting a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way, the Soviet Superman favors "Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact."

But Kronsnaya Doch doesn't follow the path of that character, but instead is duped by Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) into doing his dirty work. That sounds a lot more like a comics character named Matrix, a shapeshifting blob of goo created by a heroic Luthor from a parallel world. Matrix took the original Supergirl's place from 1988 to 2005, after the comic book "Crisis on Infinite Earths" killed the original (and wiped out her history). Matrix fell in love with our Luthor, who was at the time masquerading as his own illegitimate son (long story), until she discovered his villainous nature and left him. Krosnaya Doch isn't as lucky, dying at Luthor's hands.

Luthor's erstwhile assistant Eve Teschmacher (Andrea Brooks) isn't very lucky either, being revealed as an agent of Leviathan, a sprawling, omnipresent secret organization in current Superman comics that's even giving the Man of Steel a hard time. "Leviathan is everywhere," says a scary old lady as Eve tries to leave town. "Leviathan is everyone. And Leviathan is coming." ... In Season 5, one presumes.

Even Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) had a really bad day, murdering her brother and then finding out that Kara has been lying to her since Season 2 about her secret identity. I think it goes without saying that you should never tick off a Luthor.

Those issues will have to be dealt with next season. As will "Crisis on Infinite Earths," because The Monitor shows up here, too, depositing a new green Martian on Earth, referred to as J'onn J'onzz's long-lost brother. It's possible this characters is Ma'alefa'ak, introduced in 1988 as J'onn's not entirely sane sibling. But Martian Manhunter has had a long, strange history that's been rebooted a number of times, so it could be someone else, or someone original to the show. I'm pretty sure, however, that it's not J'onn's first brother T'omm (yes, "Tom Jones"), introduced in 1961 and immediately forgotten.

I seriously doubt that's who our newcomer is, so we'll just have to wait and see. That also applies to what The Monitor wanted with Luthor's corpse, which I assume will not remain a corpse much longer.

And lastly, the "Legends" season finale on May 20 wrapped up all the series plotlines in a neat bow, while shifting the membership a bit. More on that next season.

Meanwhile, The Monitor made his presence known once more. While the Legends battled a dragon at a talent show, the camera revealed our mysterious celestial guest in the back row of the bleachers. He was dark. He was ominous. He was ...

... eating popcorn. Hey, even cosmic buttinskis need a day off now and then.

Find Captain Comics by email (capncomics@aol.com), on his website (captaincomics.ning.com), on Facebook (Captain Comics Round Table) or on Twitter (@CaptainComics).

(c)2019 Andrew A. Smith

Visit his website at comicsroundtable.com.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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