Call it the sequel to the DC CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, if you’d like. This week’s episode of HBO Max series Titans—titled “Dude, Where’s My Gar,” which both delights and enrages me—took Gar “Beast Boy” Logan (Ryan Potter) on a brief trip to the current DC multiverse, from live-action to animation to real life, the last of which happens to be the home of brilliant comics creator Grant Morrison.
A little background: first, here’s how Beast Boy got his glimpse of these various Earths. He’s been connected to the Red, a multiversal force that connects all animal life together, exactly like the Green does for all plant life (seen in the short-lived Swamp Thing TV series), and not unlike to the Flash’s Speed Force. As such, Gar is able to enter into its primordial nexus between universe, and get glimpses of the other worlds out there.
There, he finds a delightful montage of various DC properties, most of which also were part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries. The sequence kicked off with the Arrowverse’s Flash, but included glimpses of the aforementioned Swamp Thing TV series, the DCEU’s Shazam, Smallville’s Dr. Fate, the Animal Man hero Freedom Beast (introduced earlier in “Dude, Where’s My Gar”), and the Beast Boy from the Teen Titans Go! cartoon. Gar also hears voices from other universes, including Pa Kent from the 1978 Superman movie, Harley Quinn from her self-titled animated series, and not one but three Jokers—Jack Nicholson from Batman ‘89, Joaquin Phoenix from Joker, and Cesar Romero from the 1960s Batman TV series.
There are only three universes that contain unique footage, the first being Gar’s encounter with the CW’s Stargirl, played by Brec Bassinger, naturally. It’s fine, but the second is a fascinating and extremely satisfying appearance from Grant Morrison, who has penned about a million amazing comics and created the concept of the Red for DC. What makes it infinitely better is that Morrison stares at Beast Boy through the portal and says, “I can see you.” This is a reference to Morrison’s run on Animal Man, one of their earliest DC series, and a metatextual reference to a famed, metatextual scene where the real-life Morrison also spied on a fictional creation and said the same line. As the cherry on top, the sketchbook they’re holding contains a rough drawing of the DC multiverse they designed for their Multiversity comic event series in 2014.
The final cameo is the most confounding. As Beast Boy tells the Red to return him to his family (meaning his found family, the Titans), it instead spits him out in Doom Manor, where he’s discovered by the Doom Patrol TV series’ Cyborg (Joivan Wade). This could mean two things, because canonically, Titans and Doom Patrol take place in different universes, something also confirmed by the Crisis miniseries. This is despite the fact that the Doom Patrol first premiered in a season one episode of Titans, played by the same actors who later portrayed them in their TV series. This was explained away by saying these two universes just have remarkably similar teams... but Cyborg has never appeared on Titans, only Doom Patrol. So does the Titans universe also have a doppelganger of Wade’s Vic Stone? Maybe, because this Vic recognizes Beast Boy. But the Doom Patrol universe could have a remarkably similar Beast Boy as well, which would explain why this Cyborg is back in (or still in) his armor.
This mystery is made infinitely messier in that this week’s Titans episode also revealed that Niles Caulder, creator of the Doom Patrol in both realities, had been responsible for killing Gar’s parents in his quest for immortality. And let’s not forget that, in the Titans reality at least, Beast Boy was a member of Doom Patrol for a time. Do the showmakers have a plan that involves both universes? Is this all taking place in the Titans-verse? Or are they just playing fast and loose with continuity because it’s both series’ final seasons and they want to have fun?
I would like to posit this scenario: who cares? Maybe it’s just a bit of fun. Besides, the entirety of the current live-action DC multiverse is so close to being done. Titans only has three more episodes to go, and Doom Patrol is on its last legs. The Arrowverse officially ends when The Flash does, which also only has three more episodes to go. And we all know the DCEU has been flushed down the toilet. It simply doesn’t matter what happens to the canon of the current multiverse because it’s dying as surely as if there’d been another Crisis. And when it’s reborn, it’ll be overseen by James Gunn.
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