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Spoilers ahead for the first three parts of the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover.
The Arrow-verse pulled out all the stops for the massive, five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover involving heroes from all six of its superhero shows, and the final episode of 2019 introduced a character from the pages of DC Comics by the name of Spectre. The character didn't get a ton of screentime in the first three episodes of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," but Spectre is poised to be much more important to the Arrow-verse when it returns in 2020 to wrap The CW's adaptation of the iconic DC Comics arc.
First, though, let's run down how Spectre joined the Arrow-verse in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and why he's so much more important than other Arrow-verse crossover newcomers, which included Lucifer's Lucifer and Smallville's Clark Kent with a surprising twist. Spectre appeared in Purgatory, when Constantine, Diggle, and Mia brought post-Lazarus Pit Oliver to try and restore his soul and bring him back to life as a whole man. He showed up with glowing green eyes and introduced himself as Jim Corrigan, a former police officer who became something else after being "called to a higher purpose."
He then told Oliver it was his turn and his destiny. Oliver accepted, and when last seen, Oliver and Jim Corrigan/Spectre were alone in Purgatory together. So, what do we know from DC Comics about Spectre and what his role could be in the wrap-up of the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover? Read on to find out!
Who Is Spectre In DC Comics?
The hero known as Spectre debuted in DC Comics back in 1940, when police detective Jim Corrigan was murdered on his way to his engagement party. Instead of going to the afterlife in heaven, his soul was bonded to God's spirit of vengeance and he was sent back to Earth to punish wrongdoings by evil men. As the host of the vengeance spirit, Corrigan's conscience and will power were enough to stabilize the Spectre with a human perspective.
Although his identity as Spectre ultimately cost him the life he had with his job and the woman he loved, he became a member of the Justice Society of America. Jim Corrigan was also not the only person to die and be brought back as the host of Spectre, although he is the best-known, longest-running, and the version who appeared in the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover for the introduction to Oliver Queen in Purgatory.
Other heroes who worked as Spectre for a time were the temporarily dead Green Lantern Hal Jordan and a detective by the name of Crispus Allen. Notably, the reason why John Constantine says that the Jim Corrigan (played by Stephen Lobo) he meets in the third episode of the "Crisis" crossover isn't the Jim Corrigan he knows is that Constantine encountered a Jim Corrigan played by Emmett J. Scanlan back in the days of Constantine on NBC.
What Are Spectre's Powers In DC Comics?
Spectre is obviously a big enough deal that he's been around on the pages of DC Comics since the 1940s and made his way into arguably the biggest event in Arrow-verse history with the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, so why is he such a big deal? As it turns out, Spectre's powers make him a formidable force. In fact, he has the powers of more or less a god.
These powers include the manipulation of time and space, limitless strength, control over all matter, and immunity to most attacks (usually including mind control) other than powerful magic. There's no much that he can't do, even if there are limits to how much he can do without powers being lessened. With his abilities coming from a higher power, he's not a hero who can be easily beaten. That said, there are weaknesses.
The most notable of his weaknesses is undoubtedly that Spectre needs a human host to be stable and effective. There are boundaries that Spectre, despite his immense power, can't cross. In the comics, the force that bestowed that powers of Spectre could also limit what he could do with them. The more he uses his powers, the more vulnerable he is to magical attacks. He's incredibly powerful, but not infallible.
What Part Did Spectre Play In DC Comics' Crisis On Infinite Earths?
The "Crisis on Infinite Earths" run of DC Comics went from April 1985 - March 1986 and changed DC canon forever, and not just because of major deaths like The Flash and Supergirl. Spectre didn't have a huge role from start to finish, but he was key to the end of the Crisis and the defeat of The Anti-Monitor.
In the comics arc, the heroes were facing off against The Anti-Monitor even while the villains of the DC universe schemed under Braniac to conquer what Earths hadn't been destroyed in the multiverse by that point. Spectre came in to unite the heroes and the villains against The Anti-Monitor by telling them of The Anti-Monitor's plan to go back in time and prevent the creation of the multiverse.
Then, Spectre goes on to create an energy that overloads and serves to shatter time and space, merging the remaining earths into one universe. While that wasn't the very end of Crisis, it was a turning point, and the heroes would not have triumphed over The Anti-Monitor without his contribution.
What's In Store For The Arrow-verse's Spectre In Crisis On Infinite Earths?
The Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is already pretty different from the "Crisis" arc of the comics, not least because the biggest comics heroes aren't the stars of the Arrow-verse series with the exception of The Flash, and the Barry Allen that died in the crossover isn't the one that fans have been following for years on end. Viewers shouldn't expect the final two parts of "Crisis" to follow the events of the comics precisely. That said, Spectre is likely to still be key.
The appearance of Jim Corrigan as Spectre without a whole lot of explanation for who he is, Oliver's decision to stay in Purgatory and accept his "destiny," and the trailer for the final two parts all suggest that Oliver -- likely Spectre-Oliver -- still has a part to play despite his death and manner of his resurrection. The situation is extremely dire for the Paragons who survived the destruction of the entire multiverse as of the end of Part 3; they could use a Spectre.
What's extremely unclear at this point is what the post-"Crisis" future holds for Oliver. Arrow will run for only two more episodes following the end of the "Crisis" crossover, and one of those will be the spinoff backdoor pilot that doesn't feature Oliver at all. Could Arrow actually keep Oliver in a Spectre state through the series finale?