With the Warner Bros. film division on catch up mode, Invasion marked the closest we’ll come to a shared universe fully coming together a la The Avengers.
The first real installment on The Flash hit all the right marks feeling like an epic comic book crossover come to life. This is the stuff fanboys’ dreams are made of and Invasion delivered in the best manner possible.
Everything about Invasion’s opening act felt right. From the crazy opening sequence finding Green Arrow and The Flash facing off against their friends, the terrific character interaction and the action worked.
Sure, we’ve had superhero team-ups before. Notably with Green Arrow and Firestorm lending The Flash a hand against Reverse Flash and the prototype Legends team uniting to battle Vandal Savage. But this was the first full-fledged worlds uniting characters from four shows.
Ok, maybe character in Supergirl’s case. Martian Manhunter would have just gotten knocked out as soon as the fighting got started anyway; Mon-El was probably hung over and what good is a guy with a shield against an alien invasion anyway?
Moving right along…
Probably what stood out most was the obvious care put into the crossover. This wasn’t some slapped together ratings grab, but something the Arrowverse crew made sure was done correctly.
Events going on in the separate shows like Wally’s desire to be a hero, Stein seeing visions and even Vigilante running loose were incorporated. The showrunners could have set Invasion in a bubble, but they deserve major credit for working all these elements into the crossover.
Ten hours before the mind control heroes started attacking, all was quiet in Central City until an alien craft landed and unloaded a slew of aliens. The Dominators looked decent enough, but some of the creep factor from the comic version was lacking for a more generic look. Flash’s decision not to immediately round them up was a little strange, but let’s chalk it up to him not boning up on intergalactic arrival policies.
One ARGUS briefing from Lyla later revealing the threat of the alien Dominators menace, Barry realizes he needs some help. From Team Arrow, Green Arrow, Spartan, Felicity and Speedy return. Yeah, we could get bogged down on Thea’s decision to retire as a vigilante, but who wouldn’t want to fight aliens?
The Legends representatives were Sara, ATOM, Firestorm and Heat Wave with the weak explanation that Steel and Vixen were watching the ship. Their absence as well as the Outsiders wing of Team Arrow would be weird if the trailer didn’t reveal they’ll be included later. Besides, Barry and Cisco recruited Supergirl.
With the excessive hyping ever since Supergirl arrived on CW, I was worried she was going to be the focal point of the crossover. Instead, the writers weaved her in well. She was special, but not positioned so omnipotent that the other heroes weren’t needed.
It didn’t make a ton of sense as to why this new location popped up, but logic goes out the window when the team trains in the Hall of Justice. The hero interaction was spot-on. Supergirl was perky and sunny; Oliver wanted no parts of being the face of the hero contingent and endorsed a reluctant Barry to lead. I loved the CW Big Three’s moment as it played up Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell and Melissa Benoist’s perfect handle on their characters.
As much fun as seeing all the heroes coming together, it was equally enjoyable watching the sidekick characters play off each other. I did felt bad for Winn since this season’s version would have actually made for a cool addition to the tech wing dynamic.
Some dangling plotlines were addressed specifically Jax and Stein giving Barry and Oliver future Barry’s message. It was odd how Jax had a more significant role here than in many on Legends of Tomorrow. Barry had to fess up to how Flashpoint might have changed their lives. I got a laugh out of the Legends getting indignant about Barry messing up history since that’s all the team does every episode.
Some commentators speculated but the woman Stein started getting visions was of a daughter he never knew about brought about from Flashpoint. That’d be a cruel blow for most characters, but Stein constantly neglects his wife so it’s not like he missed out on Father of the Year award. Diggle’s anger was a little harder to explain though since it wasn’t like he lost a child. Maybe another unexplained change in Flashpoint is Sara became a full-fledged lesbian instead of being bisexual.
And while this was a big team up episode with over 20 characters, I was really glad Invasion worked in time for Barry and Oliver — the foundation of this CW universe to have multiple scenes without a slew of other heroes around. Despite the spectacle, the episode’s best moment might have been when Oliver shares with Barry how his parents died. The Green Arrow/Flash bond remains my favorite of all the CW heroes.
I was glad Wally wasn’t completely ignored despite not yet being Kid Flash. He had some nice moments from calling out Iris for her lack of faith in him and getting HR Wells to train him. That should make for a very interesting pairing.
Wally also provided invaluable aid for Flash and Green Arrow before we got to another crossover staple — the hero vs. hero fight. The effects’ budget definitely got a boost as there was no shortage of powers on display for a change.
Keeping the possessed heroes to one episode was a smart decision. And this allows for a more interesting split of the remaining heroes. For the unofficial kickoff of Invasion, I don’t know what more this episode could have done. This was immensely entertaining and furthers my hopes that other classic DC storylines could be done on the shows.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW