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It’s been a while since we had a big Arrowverse crossover. The new season premiere of The Flash looks to change that with its Armageddon event, though they’re making clear to not call it a crossover. It’s a Flash event… that just so happens to feature fan favorites from several other shows along the way.
So as we get amped for Armageddon and all the guest stars it’ll bring — like Legends of Tomorrow’s Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Black Lightning (Cress Williams), Arrow’s Mia Queen (Kat McNamara), Supergirl’s Sentinel (Chyler Leigh), Batwoman (Javicia Leslie), Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) and Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) — we took a look back at the Arrowverse’s crossovers of yore.
Namely what worked? What didn’t? And which ones still stands the test of time?
Big crossover events have been a crux of the Arrowverse for the better part of a decade, dating back to the first season of The Flash and the third season of Arrow. And to be clear, they’re all a lot of fun — so even the “worst” is still not all that bad. We’re six crossovers in, and we’d probably have had a few more by now if not for the COVID-19 pandemic causing production headaches for pretty much everything.
So which Arrowverse crossover is the best?
6. Elseworlds (2018)
The "Elseworlds" crossover is a fun exercise its own right, getting Gotham City (and Ruby Rose’s short-lived turn as Batwoman) and Superman all into the mix as the team tries to grapple with a multiversal crisis and a book so powerful it can rewrite reality. The problem with "Elseworlds" is that all most anyone remembers about it was its final title card — which revealed the Arrowverse would be doing Crisis on Infinite Earths the following year. In hindsight, it made "Elseworlds" feel more like a run-up to the big prize, as opposed to an event in its own right. But still worth the ride, if only for the link rock outfits.
5. Heroes Join Forces (2015)
This second Arrowverse crossover aimed to up the stakes and scope after "Flash vs. Arrow" had to do a fair bit of heavy-lifting while also serving as a semi-backdoor pilot kickoff for Legends of Tomorrow. It still made for a fun event, with Team Flash and Team Arrow joining up with some of the eventual Legends crew as they first tussle with Vandal Savage (the first big bad on Legends of Tomorrow).
This event was caught in a weird spot of being entrenched in some ongoing Flash storylines while also moving the crossover/Legends narrative forward. Still fun, but it suffered a bit from that Iron Man 2 problem where it was trying to do too much too soon.
4. Crisis on Earth-X (2017)
The elevator pitch for this one was basically “What if super-Nazis showed up and crashed Barry and Iris’ wedding,” and hey, it worked.
The big hook here is seeing our favorite heroes face off against evil mirror versions of themselves, with Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow now the Dark Archer, joined by his wife, an evil version of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl. We get to see some twisted takes on our favorites, the surprise return of Colin Donnell’s Tommy Merlyn as Prometheus, and a big wedding to wrap things up. To up the ante, they even crossed over with the animated CW Seed Freedom Fighters: The Ray, as if all the live actions shows weren’t enough.
3. Invasion! (2016)
This crossover event drew inspiration from the old school sci-fi of the 1950’s, with the assembled heroes from The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow taking on an alien invasion from the Dominators, an alien race that should be familiar to DC Comics fans.
"Invasion" really started scratching the surface of how these could work as big event pieces, in the vein of the comic event crossovers fans know and love. We get to delve into some “What If?” kinda stories thanks to some alien technology building dream worlds, and some lingering timeline manipulation from The Flash’s mid-series run around Flashpoint.
2. Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019)
This marks the last big crossover we’ve had in the Arrowverse, though that’s obviously due more to the pandemic’s influence on big event shoots than an overall lack of ambition. But if we never do get a full-on crossover again, there’s no doubt Crisis sent things out with a bang. It wrapped up Arrow’s eight-season run, brought all the shows into the same universe, and literally rewrote the continuity of a half-dozen shows. It was epic, wildly-ambitious and a ton of fun. They worked in more cameos and connections than fans could’ve ever hoped for, all wrapped into a fitting adventure worth the stakes.
1. Flash vs. Arrow (2014)
It might feel quaint by today’s standards, when we’ve gotten used to the multiversal chaos and world-busting events like Crisis on Infinite Earths — but there’s something gloriously simple, joyous and fun about the very first Arrowverse crossover. The two-episode event in Arrow’s third season and The Flash’s first season connected both series and had the two flagship heroes and their respective teams join forces to take on Captain Boomerang and a meta human foe in Central City.
It was our first real chance to see how these worlds could fit together, and it worked perfectly — and the sparring match scenes made for some of the most fun in the Arrowverse.