While the event technically kicked off with Supergirl, it could be argued that episode was more of a continuation of that show’s current second season. It involved Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) investigating the shady CADMUS organization, that has a weapon based on Kryptonian technology that will kill every alien living in National City. While Supergirl ends up saving the day, it is not until the very last scene that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) from The Flash appear from an interdimensional portal to recruit her for a team-up on their Earth.
While overall this episode was very well done, it might have disappointed fans that hardly any of this episode was dedicated to the advertised four-part crossover. Some might even claim that this episode was not even crucial to watch for the crossover, as the same exact scene played the following night in The Flash.
Thus, the crossover event seemed to actually begin on The Flash, when an apparent space object crash landed in Central City. The Flash sped over to the crash site, which turned out to be a spacecraft with aliens called the Dominators. Realizing even he was in over his head, the Flash recruited Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Spartan (David Ramsey), Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and suprisingly Speedy (Willa Holland) from Arrow; the time-traveling White Canary (Caity Lotz), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), Atom (Brandon Routh) and Firestorm (Franz Drameh) from Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, using the previously noted scene from the night before on Supergirl.
The plot itself moved at a brisk pace, as there were a lot of plot and character introductions that had to be done. In fact, many plot threads from all four shows interwieved throughout, which might be confusing to those who only watch one or two of the shows.
Yet, the actors and their characters from all four shows had great chemistry together, even the ones who had not already appeared on each other’s shows. It was great to finally see Supergirl palling around with the Flash, and her reaction to the skeptical attitude of Green Arrow. Seeing superheroes from all four shows together really brought home that a fully realized DC Comics universe is playing across our television screens every week.
Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) finally got a chance to shine with his new powers, but quickly realized he has much to learn in the ways of the Speed Force. The final fight scene between Flash and Green Arrow against the mind-controlled superheroes was very exciting, and fans finally got to see a heart-pounding race between Flash and Supergirl.
Overall, it felt very much like a Silver Age comic book come to life, with the more lighthearted exchanges. The drama came more from the revelation that Barry Allen had changed the past and thus altered the present for most everyone there.
Speaking of the Silver Age, comic fans should be delighted that the STAR Labs facility the heroes meet-up in is the Hall of Justice from the classic Justice League comics, as well as the Super Friends cartoon show. In real life, the building is the Union Terminal of the Cincinnati Museum Center.
The episode ended with Green Arrow, Speedy, Atom, White Canary and Spartan being abducted by the Dominators, which led into the following episode of Arrow, which also happened to be the show’s 100th episode. Thus, this episode had both the responsibility of continuing the Invasion storyline and celebrating a milestone for the show that launched the Arrowverse.
The Dominators placed the namely Arrow heroes into a simulated reality, where they found themselves in an alternate reality where Oliver Queen, and thus also his father Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan) and friend Sara Lance did go through the sinking of the Queen family yacht. Thus, Robert, as well as Oliver’s mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) and fallen comrade Dinah Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) were able to come back. No doubt, this was both pleasing and heartbreaking for longtime fans of Arrow, as just about every major plot of the previous seasons were touched upon. The episode concluded with a climax of the heroes against previous Arrow villains Merlyn (John Barrowman), Deathstroke and Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough).
Meanwhile in the real Star City, Flash and Supergirl teamed up with Green Arrow’s vigilante crew of Mister Terrific (Echo Kellum), Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and Ragman (Joe Dinicol) to find alien technology that would lead them to the location of the abducted heroes. Once again, it was entertaining to see these different comic book characters interact, especially Mister Terrific geeking out over aliens, while the distant Wild Dog found respect for people with superpowers.
The Arrow heroes escaped and were rescued by the crew of Legends of Tomorrow in their time-travelling ship, the Waverider. Thus, this led into the finale of the Invasion crossover.
Once again, there was separate storylines of new superhero Citizen Steel (Nick Zano), Heat Wave and Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) had to abduct a Dominator in 1951 to interrogate. They were gleefully joined by Cisco and Felicity, not passing up an opportunity to travel through time. Meanwhile, the other heroes in the present prepared for the final battle against the Dominators, who were targeting Earth because they felt threatened by the rise of metahumans and Barry Allen’s reckless altering of the timeline.
This led to the thrilling climax where the superheroes from all four shows had to hold off the Dominators on the rooftop of a building, in true comic book fashion. As Flash and Supergirl zipped around or fired heat vision, Green Arrow fired his bow and Spartan his gun, and White Canary, Vixen and Citizen Steel struck down and pummeled aliens. All the while Heat Wave, Firestorm and the Atom blasted energy. The effects and choreography were top notch, nearly rivaling that of some superhero movies. There was clearly a lot of hard work and dedication put into this by the cast and production crew.
Overall, the Invasion crossover was a resounding and satisfying success for fans of the Arrowverse, DC Comics and superheroes in general. As well, the CW is probably very proud of all the positive attention these shows are bringing their network.
This crossover was based upon a three issue crossover event, published by DC Comics in 1989. Written by Bill Mantlo, it followed the similar presence that the Dominators were going to invade Earth due to the threat of unpredictable metahumans. There were also multiple tie-in comics starring Firestorm, the Flash and the Atom, as well as many others.
The producers of the Arrowverse have confirmed that a crossover will occur between all the shows at least once a year. Last year, The Flash and Arrow had a crossover that set-up Legends of Tomorrow and the previous year was the first official crossover between those two shows.