WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Infinity #7, on sale now from DC Comics.
The DC Animated Universe created something amazing out of DC's characters. Shows based on Batman and Superman, as well as its own original series and spin-offs, captivated many fans over the years before ending with the spectacular Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Though they faced any number of large-scale threats, one thing the DCAU never went through was its own Crisis, the apocalyptic reality-altering mega-events from the comics.
These animated series adventures continued though in Justice League Infinity #7 (by J.M. DeMatteis, James Tucker, Ethen Beavers, Nick Filardi, and AW's DC Hopkins). The comic book continuation of the DCAU saw the Justice League finally traversing the multiverse, though not by choice. It burst into a full-blown Crisis this issue, with all of reality, across the entire multiverse, being completely undone by the Anti-Life Equation.
There were only five heroes left alive in the infinite nothingness of this final ending. Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and the Flash were being protected by John Stewart and his Green Lantern Ring. However, it wouldn't last forever and they would soon be erased too. They had to somehow restore all of reality, with only each other to count on. If this sounds familiar, that's no surprise.
The climax of this epic tale bears a striking similarity to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. In that Earth-shattering story, the entire infinite multiverse was wiped out by the Anti-Monitor. Only five Earths remained, which fused together to become one "New Earth" that was an amalgam of each of the remaining five Earths' histories. Here, however, everything was destroyed except for these five heroes as nothing survived outside of their protective bubble.
It's true that both of these stories were centered on multiversal threats, and this is often the defining trait of a "Crisis" event in DC Comics, but there are many differences. The death toll here was nowhere near as high as it was in the original Crisis. A couple of characters have died throughout Justice League Infinity, true, but not entire worlds. None of them were major characters like Supergirl or the Flash either. Most important of all though is that once reality was wiped out here, it was restored in its entirety thanks to the heroes' efforts. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, there was no going back. Although the reality was reset, those who died stayed dead, including the multiverse.
Perhaps what sets Justice League Infinity's Crisis apart, not just from Crisis on Infinite Earths but from every Crisis that's come after it, is the effect it has on reality. These events have served as reboots for the DC Universe. They were ways to get rid of any narrative inconsistencies and continuity errors that had plagued the DCU over the years. However, the DCAU has no major continuity errors to change, so everything was put back exactly how it was. What really changed were the characters who went through it. Having experienced something deeply life-changing, these events have brought Bruce and Diana together, in a romance that was teased a few times in the animated series. As well as that, the android Amazo, the cause of this Crisis, finally found peace and companionship because of it all. That's something he was unable to do during the original show.
The DCAU's Crisis moment isn't as big as any of those that have come before in the comics then. However, what happened throughout the story has been significant. This Crisis led the DCAU's characters to their very own multiverse and had some major moments of character development. That's why it's important that the DCAU had its own Crisis moment. The effect these events have on characters pushes them to their limits and often takes them to places they would never have gone to otherwise.
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