A review of tonight’s The Flash — the proper start of a crossover between all of the CW’s DC Comics shows — coming up just as soon as we take one sci-fi problem at a time…
When I’m reading comics, few phrases chill my blood more than “crossover issue.” Even when I happen to enjoy the crossover in question, it frustrates me that the individual series I’m enjoying have to put their own stories on hold for a few issues a year so they can play along with DC or Marvel’s next big event — and that those issues often feel incomplete, because they’re designed to make me want to buy all the other crossover issues of books I don’t otherwise read.
With the various CW/DC crossovers over the years — of which “Invasion!” is by far the biggest, since it involves four shows in one week — I’ve had the opposite reaction: I generally enjoy them more than regular episodes of the respective series because they usually put various angst-ridden story arcs on hold in favor of having fun with the idea of Green Arrow’s sidekicks reacting to the Flash’s speed, or Barry getting Kara and Jimmy some ice cream:
I’ve enjoyed both Flash and Arrow a lot at various times, but all of the Berlanti-verse shows have a tendency to get too bogged down in darkness and/or repetitive villain arcs (all the shows would benefit creatively from doing fewer episodes per season), so here I welcome the individual stories being put on hold in favor of an opportunity to let superheroes be super together.
The Flash‘s contribution to “Invasion!” didn’t entirely fit that pattern. The parts about Iris and the others trying to discourage Wally’s superheroics were fairly dull (as is most of what the show’s done with Wally, who’s blander than someone getting so much story burn should be), and then it was a relief when Barry started racing around to recruit Team Arrow, then the gang from Legends of Tomorrow, and then Supergirl (repeating a scene from last night’s Supergirl which — because that show takes place on a parallel Earth — was otherwise crossover-free) and we got to enjoy all the culture clashes, whether a giddy Thea unretiring because she wants to go fight aliens, Kara getting a close-up look at Oliver’s intensity, or Kara and Mick Rory setting up what I hope will be a long-running Supergirl & Heat Wave spin-off series. All of that was fun, and the action sequences as Barry and Oliver battled their mind-controlled friends managed to look both pretty and coherent at the same time, despite the sheer number of characters and powers on display in any one action beat.