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A classic image from the comics appears in the latest teaser trailer for The CW‘s “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” revealing the death of a Superman. It is an extension of something seen in a previous teaser — the tattered Superman cape blowing in the wind that is as familiar to ’90s kids as any other single image in comic book history. The shot — which features Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois Lane mourning the loss of the love of her life — is a direct callback to Superman #75, “The Death of Superman,” by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding. The issue was one of the best-selling comics of all time and remains a cultural touchstone to this day. The story of Doomsday’s rampage through Metropolis and Superman’s sacrifice have been retold numerous times, including two animated movies (Superman: Doomsday and The Death of Superman) and a live-action blockbuster (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
While the Lois here is played by Tulloch and it looks like the Superman is Tyler Hoechlin, it’s very unlikely that this is the Earth-38 Superman, as that version is set to have a spinoff pilot shooting in a few months.
Superman’s torn and tattered cape, blowing in the wind and hanging on a stick or branch stuck in the ground, is an iconic image that DC has called back to numerous times even independent of the stories that directly tie into “The Death of Superman,” of which there have been many. The cover is a striking image that is devoid of the action and brutality of the other covers in the “Doomsday!” story that culminated with Superman’s death.
You can see the trailer above, and the image itself below.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” has loomed over the Arrowverse for years. The series premiere of The Flash featured an allusion to the hero disappearing amid red skies in the year 2024. During the original comics event, red skies were a sign of doom to come to a world during the Crisis. At the end of last season, a couple of things happened: The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), who had appeared in “Elseworlds,” reappeared and revealed that Oliver Queen was destined to die in the Crisis…and the future newspaper at STAR Labs rolled back the expected date of the Crisis from 2024 to 2019.
In the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths centered on a battle between the combined superheroes (and even some villains) of the DC multiverse and an immortal, cosmic threat known as the Anti-Monitor. Like The Monitor, the Anti-Monitor will be played by LaMonica Garrett in the Arrowverse. As the Anti-Monitor destroys realities, he replaces their positive matter energy with antimatter, growing his own power and sphere of influence. He was eventually stopped by the sacrifices of several heroes, including The Flash and Supergirl, as well as the merging of multiple universes to save reality by becoming a single, unified timeline. Fans have long wondered whether the events of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” might bring Supergirl and even Black Lightning to Earth-1, where the rest of the series take place. The crossover will also feature guest appearances by Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, John Wesley Shipp as the Flash of Earth-90, Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, and Ashley Scott as The Huntress.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicks off on Sunday, December 8 on Supergirl, runs through a Monday episode of Batwoman and that Tuesday’s episode of The Flash. That will be the midseason cliffhanger, as the shows go on hiatus for the holidays and return on January 14 to finish out the event with the midseason premiere of Arrow and a “special episode” of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which launches as a midseason series this year and so will not have an episode on the air before the Crisis.