It’s a Barry Allen film all over again. The first part of the 2024 animated film, Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths, sends the DC Speedster on a mission to save the multiverse from an unknown enemy. While the main villain himself hasn’t made his appearance in the first part of the film, he is certainly going to make a grand entrance in the second part, where the combined forces of the infinite earths will stand against him. The events of the first part have been quite complicated for those who haven’t read the original comics (including me), and therefore I’ll try my best to explain the events of the first part as per my understanding. It is also to be noted that the animated film isn’t strictly following the comic book and therefore has a completely different chronology of events. So, without further ado, let’s follow Barry Allen on his mission to save the multiverse.
What Was Happening to Barry Allen?
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths begins with the moment Barry Allen got his powers after a fatal accident, which we have seen multiple times in movies and TV shows featuring the speedster. Barry heard a strange voice in his laboratory whose significance was explained at the end of the film. As the film moved forward, it was revealed that the Flash had been constantly shifting between two alternate Earths; the first one was Earth-1, where Barry got his powers and met Iris West, and later proposed the idea of forming a league of superheroes to save the planet from Lex Luthor’s evil android, Amazo. And the second reality was Earth-3, which was featured on Crisis on Two Earths, where Barry encountered the villainous version of the Justice League, whose planet was on the brink of destruction.
As these two different storylines progressed further, Barry encountered a strange beggar (probably Pariah in disguise) who informed him that the world was ending, and he was the only one who could save it. The Speedster had the ability to travel through time and across the multiverse, which made him a suitable candidate for the mission. Though Barry initially failed to understand the Beggar’s cryptic message, it all made sense when he came across the massive antimatter wave that completely destroyed Earth-3.
Who had unleashed the destructive wave, and why?
The Monitor (a version of Marvel’s The Watcher in DC Universe) had tasked its loyal assistant, Harbinger, with bringing the most powerful superheroes to his spaceship so he could explain the threat looming over the entire multiverse. Someone had unleashed a massive antimatter wave upon the universe, which was decimating everything in its path. So far, the wave had erased entire realities from existence, therefore disturbing the balance of the multiverse. It was for this reason that the Monitor gathered the superheroes so that they could help it stop the disaster and bring back balance.
The Monitor believed that the antimatter wave was a natural phenomenon and not a sentient foe, but he was completely wrong. Anti-Monitor, the villainous counterpart of the Monitor, had unleashed a world-destroying wave upon the multiverse in order to consume the energies of the populated planets. Perhaps it was the reason why it targeted the Earth in every universe, as it was the most habitable planet in the known universe. Additionally, when Earth’s superheroes tried to save the planet, Anti-Monitor accelerated the speed of his destructive wave so as to stop them from accomplishing their mission. Anti-Monitor wanted to become stronger than his counterpart and perhaps had a desire to rule the multiverse, which explains his motive to unleash such a destructive force.
How Did Barry Save the Earth?
The superheroes on Monitor’s spaceship started to brainstorm ideas to stop the force but were completely clueless until Barry Allen shared his Speed Force trick with them. As Monitor had mentioned earlier, the antimatter waves nullified time travel, but Barry was still able to vibrate across planes, separating the dimensions, which implied that the superheroes could use the same trick to survive the impact. It brought in the idea of a vibrational generator on each of the Earths; however, constructing such massive towers in such a short time span was nearly impossible. While the superheroes failed to finish the task, Barry Allen once again went back to Earth-1 and used his powers to slow down time. He took Iris with him to spend an entire lifetime constructing the tower and used Amazo’s abilities to power up the tower before the wave could completely destroy the earth. Iris died before the construction could be finished; however, Barry didn’t give up hope and fought till his last breath. He even gave Amazo the ability to redeem itself and serve humanity like its creator, Dr. Anthony Ivo, intended.
Due to Barry’s relentless efforts, few of the Earths survived the impact of the antimatter wave, but unfortunately, Amazo lost its life in the process. Barry, too, was taking his last breath when The Spectre, paid him a last visit and revealed that the danger wasn’t over. Even if the superheroes had survived the impact of the destructive force, the entity pulling the strings was still at large and needed to be stopped at all costs. The Spectre informed Barry that he needed to stop it before the “beginning of everything.” At first, Barry believed that The Spectre was talking about the beginning of his Speedster journey, which was why the older Barry went back in time to the night of the fatal accident—the scene we saw at the beginning of the film. However, older Barry quickly realized that The Spectre was talking about the beginning of humankind or something like that, which was why he went back further, only to vanish into thin air before he could deliver the message.
What to Expect Next?
The first part of Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths introduced some important characters like Doctor Light and Psycho-Pirate (the shady man who went into the costume-changing machine). These characters are most likely to play important roles in the second part of the film, where their actions will take the narrative further. As far as we know, Doctor Light will play a key role in the league of heroes who will try to stop the Anti-Monitor, whereas Psycho-Pirate will side with evil.
Additionally, the Anti-Monitor’s prime motive is to travel back in time and stop the creation of the Monitor’s universe so that he would be the sole entity ruling the multiverse. Maybe it was the reason why The Spectre wanted Barry to travel to the beginning of the creation of the multiverse so that he could stop Anti-Monitor from fulfilling his evil objectives. At the end of Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 1, we saw that Barry, along with several other superheroes and villains, vanished completely, which implied that Anti-Monitor had already accomplished what he had set out to do and that it would be really difficult for the superheroes to stand a chance against such a powerful entity. The Spectre and the Monitor are their only hope in these dark times, and it is most likely that these extremely powerful beings might help the superheroes travel back in time and stop the evil “from the beginning.” But what about Barry? The entire film runs from his perspective, so it wouldn’t be wrong to speculate that the heroic Speedster might somehow return in the second part and help the Earths’ superheroes stop the Anti-Monitor. The next installment of the film will tell better.