Why Arrow is not Green Arrow?!

Arrow was one of the surprise hits of last fall season. Bring something new and something old to the television world. The premise was simple, adapt the DC comics billionaire emerald archer, Green Arrow/Oliver Queen into a CW soap opera which sees him take down the corrupt of Starling City via list given to him by deceased father.

Simple superhero origin story, yes, but does it stay true to its comic book origins and the way the character of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen and his own mythology. Well no. Through out this article I'll explore why Arrow is a poorly adapted version of the character and the ones who surround him and where they could improve that (because in all honesty I feel like none of the producers/writers have read a comic book or took advice from Bruce Timm/Paul Dini.

Green Arrow the progressive hero

One thing that has always strikes me about Green Arrow is his openness to impress his own political views on the DCU compared to the likes of Batman or The Flash. This is good thing because up to the 1950s, he had been seen as a Batman knock-off complete with a arrow-car, arrow-cave and a sidekick which was not far from being exact clone of Dick Grayson. However thanks to the hand of Dennis O'Neil, Green Arrow shifted from being this silly B-hero to one whose morals are based on the political period that the USA was going through between the 1960s and 1970s. He and Green Lantern went a road trip across America and saw the racism, drug use and political views. He also had to deal with his own sidekick going downhill with the abuse of drugs on himself. This progressive Green Arrow has never changed from this point onward even in the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini cartoons of JLA and JLU still used this model of Green Arrow, he tells Captain Atom that he probably would've protested him at College and in his appearance in The Batman series, he believes that he fighting against Bruce Wayne because people are getting sick by chemicals at his labs (it turns out that Bruce didn't know about it.) He's the big man fighting for the small. However I haven't seen none of this political openness in Arrow, in actual fact Oliver Green hasn't opened up to any politics or even mentioned it. Isn't politics allowed in the CW but allowed on HBO, that is odd. They could at least have some episodes that at least wouldn't turn into after school special where we dealt with his political spectrum but no this will probably ever happen.

He can take a joke and make light of a situation

Okay, I praise any character who has the heart to call DC iconic superheroes as the Hitler twins. And that he has no shame of saying this. Even in the animated versions of Green Arrow, he isn't ashamed of calling the JLA Watchtower "Olympus," which in all ways and less way it is.

He is also open to criticism such as well in the Injustice comics, when Harley Quinn complains that his cave cannot be called the Arrow-cave because they are immovable objects as opposed to Bats who actually live in the caves. Then suggests that it should he called the Quiver instead and he actually agrees to that.

Also in Injustice he also makes a comment "Yeah. Don't they know Alien invasions always start near famous monuments?" Not only is he making light of the already dark situation with Superman and Batman, he also proving that he human and understands the nature of the events at hand and sometimes stupid they are. And he's right on that point.

In Arrow, he does make these occasional light-hearted remarks but it seems that the producers want him closer to Nolan's Batman, which he is not. He isn't stoic, he often gets angry and cracks snarky jokes. One such example in JLU, he sings his own theme song while he takes people down on a ship. Not only is he making the situation funny but also poking fun at the stupid theme songs that his superheroes get. Arrow producers, he isn't Batman with bows. He is own character.

An Arrow for every need

There's one thing that makes Green Arrow that makes himself outside the billionaire playboy set, he has all of that money to create endless gadgets or armoured suit. And with all of this he uses one of humanity's basic and most successful weapons, arrows. But none of these are your run-of-the-mill arrows. They've got everything from bombs to as shown boxing gloves to nets created by five arrows to even arrows that provide you with food (donut arrow, bubblegum arrows) to the bizarre (bloodhound arrows anyone?) Nevertheless in Arrow, his arrows are ordinary. Plain in simple, twenty four in a quiver. I know network television must have a budget for these things but where is the fun in that if you can't see a boxing glove arrow at least make a cameo appearance!

Pretty Bird

She's one of the most popular characters in the DCU and has a favourite of numerous comic book artist and writers, animators and cosplayers everywhere. One of the few popular woman characters in the DCU to reach the same heights as Wonder Woman and Catwoman. And was even the inspiration for Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons's Silk Spectre. She would seem like a prime candidate to finally get a starring role within a television show. However the Black Canary has an confusing place within the Arrow universe.

Black Canary/Dinah Laurel Lance played by Katie Cassidy within the Arrow universe is a lawyer, not a crime fighter and has a past relationship with Oliver Queen just prior to him going to the island and has a sister. Black Canary is often a strong independent character, however due to weak writing and poor planning the Arrow universe version of the Black Canary has become something of a joke to non-comic reader/animated series fans of the series. And it doesn't help that they are actually introducing the Black Canary in the form of her sister. This is silly and makes no sense since there had been hints that the Laurel which eventual become here.

It also doesn't help that Laurel is past between two guys like she's a doll. That has never been her. Black Canary/Dinah Lance has always been independent even when she's with Oliver (okay maybe not in the wedding special but still). I honestly wished the producers looked at her Bird of Prey days or even the animated versions such as Young Justice where she's part den mother, trainer and psychologist to the Young Justice, sure she's still with Ollie but he's never there to control her and he only shows up if the team needs him.

The Villains

Sure Green Arrow and company don't exactly has the most iconic enemies in the vain of Batman. But his enemies are gaining attention, but when it comes his villains they are less open to interpretation than Batman or Superman or even Spiderman's. One such villain who got such a bad makeover within the Arrow universe, is Count Vertigo. To me personally he is a older almost Hammer Christopher Lee figure who wants to attempt take over his homeland, Vlatava with his powers of Vertigo not a drug lord with a oddity of an accent. Seriously, where does he come from? I also disliked how he got the title of "the count," because he's like a vampire, that makes no sense even for a drug lord. Then there is also the Dark archer aka Merlyn. While I like John Barrowmen, I feel that they've undeveloped man and turned him Lex Luthor, he's a equal archer to Green Arrow, they duel often either one can win. That is how he should be. I can only hope that Deathstroke is going get his awesome orange and blue costume, eye patch and long white hair since he's only viable villain that has made sense in this Arrow universe.

The City

It's called Star City not Starling City, and it ain't Gotham.

What could they do to improve this?

  • Bring a politician which Oliver could potentially side with, influence political ideals.
  • If you're bringing The Flash/Barry Allen then make Oliver weary of powers (he always has).
  • Get rid of his family or better just make Thea as Mia Dearden
  • Lose his fortune, he's far more interesting when he's lost it.
  • Bring in Wild Cat/Ted Grant and get him to train Laurel.
  • Cupid could be fun!
  • CHECKMATE and Chesire to ruin Roy Harper and bring Lian Harper.

Or maybe just make Chili

16 Comments Refresh
Posted by ownagepants

@lyrafay: to be honest i like kind of like that they arent following arrows origin story and are being creative with it its made it more un predictable and episodes that had me on the edge of my seat

Edited by novi_homines

I disagree wholeheartedly with every single thing you said, and I don't know how you came to those conclusions.

-Oliver in Arrow has consistently been showed to fight for the small. From putting an end to the extremely dangerous drugs that has taken young people by storm. To attempting to help firefly change his ways, as well as the huntress. Not to mention saving roy and others from murderers within the glades (basically the slums part of starling). Ever since the show started all he has done was help the everyday people of the city, so i'm actually baffled by that criticism. And there's plenty of time for him to have political missions. The first season was all about the list, so it's pretty clear as to why they couldn't deviate from that. This is his origin season. There is still much more stories to dive into.

- He isn't as serious as batman. But he's not spiderman either. I think a more accurate comparison would be tony stark. And that's how I see him in the show, which is also more in line of how he is in the new 52. So it makes sense to keep that personality the same.

- Laurel has been shown to kick some ass. She was attacked by 2 - 3 muscular goons at her house and she fought them off for a while, without the training or special abilities. That's something, clearly they're going towards that direction. And I don't know where you got her sister being Black Canary from. It couldn't be farther from the truth.

- The Count was a great unique version of the character. And Dark Archer was awesome. Underdeveloped? They had at LEAST 2 to 3 episodes going deep into his plans and WHY he's doing them.

Overall, I completely disagree. Arrow is the best superhero show on television. And at this rate, it'll be the best one ever.

Edited by The_Tree

Agreed. They could've done a lot better.

Posted by Fallschirmjager

- Laurel has been shown to kick some ass. She was attacked by 2 - 3 muscular goons at her house and she fought them off for a while, without the training or special abilities. That's something, clearly they're going towards that direction. And I don't know where you got her sister being Black Canary from. It couldn't be farther from the truth.

Sorry if this is a spoiler for you, but its been confirmed that Black Canary (a no powers version perhaps) will be appearing as Laurel's sister.

That's not to say Laurel can't eventually become Black Canary herself (sister coming back from the dead only to die again is not exactly original) but I can see it happening.

To the OP.

While many of your suggestions are valid. Keep in mind. Its been ONE season. He isn't even referred to as Green Arrow in season 1 yet (except for one instance as a joke). You could argue even he hasn't even accepted what it is to be a hero at this point. His goal first and foremost at the start of the show is revenge. He even struggles to balance between getting revenge and helping people in the city. He obviously helps much much more as the season goes on. The teaser trailer for Season 2 even showed he is coming back from a 6-month break after season 1 after apparently giving up as the arrow because he got his revenge.

Its quite possible Season 2 will turn him into the more hero Green Arrow instead of the revenge-seeking-hood.

So again...my impression so far is Season 1 is more-or-less an origin story.

As far as the comparisons to Batman. Yes. This Ollie feels more liek a Batman than a true Ollie. But realize they want that to come across (at least initially). They want people to watch the show and its easier to be attached to a Batman type initially than it is anyone else. Its not to say he won't develop more into a true Ollie, but again. Its only 1 season. And even so, he's not quite as serious as Batman in terms of Nolanverse IMO. Although I really like the realism of it, and I'm skeptical of bringing in powered heroes and villians. I hope it doesn't ruin the tone- which imo is good.

Which also brings up Star City...which just sounds silly. Starling makes it sound more real. Nitpicking either way imo.

I do agree we could see some more diverse arrows. I think he's only used a couple different variations.

On terms of political issues. I think this is something they might be intending to do. After all, unlike all other heroes portrayed to date on TV or Movies...Ollie is connected with the Russian Mafia for crying out loud - being seen as a high ranking officer in that sphere. I think the likely hood of him getting involved in more politics - at least as far as Starling City goes - is very likely, if not certain.

Last point in terms of his family. Moira was all ready going to jail at the end of season 1, and his step-dad left the family IIRC. Its all ready basically just him and his sister. And given her nickname is "Speedy" as well as the fact that she's dating Roy Harper...I think its obvious where that is going.

Personally I really enjoy the show. No its not perfect, but it has a great tone imo. I loved Smallville but even when I was younger I had issues with shows that start during "teenage years" like Buffy for example. I always preferred latter seasons of these shows because the characters had matured. I love that we start off with an Ollie who is in his mid-late 20's.

I am somewhat concerned about a Barry Allen spinoff, as again, I really don't feel like Powers have a place in this universe, but I'll wait and see.

Posted by Ace20XD6

Well nothing has to be permanent, maybe there will be another Count Vertigo, one that goes to Starling city to make Vertigo into a weaponized drug to use on his neighboring enemies.

Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

Damn right Batmans the only one who can eat hot chili.

Posted by Jack Donaghy

I agree I like the show but I wish he had more of the egotistical liberal personality he has in comics, and they need to stop calling him "the Hood" luckily in the season 2 sizzle trailer he tells Diggle he doesn't want to be called that anymore. I know the show is on the realistic side but hopefully with the Flash coming this season they'll allow something more comical like the boxing glove arrow to be used.

Posted by ImagineMan16

I've only seen four episodes of the show, I couldn't really get into it... I mean, I liked it well enough, but it just didn't hook me. Maybe I'll give season 2 a shot just to see Flash on screen, and maybe I'll be more interested this time around.

Posted by lilben42

Well you know, when your being tortured on an island for years, see your father kill himself right before your eyes as you figure out he's done horrendous things. The first thing you would do when you get back is tell jokes.

Edited by WaveMotionCannon

I see a boxing glove arrow, I never watch again.

Posted by sinestro_GL

That's why it says "Based on the characters from DC Comics".

The same thing happens when real-life stories, and even novels, get adapted into films...they dramatize it to make it more appealing to individuals that wouldn't necessarily be interested if the adaptation was 100% like the source material.

Though there are some aspects which could be more true to the characters, I'm overly happy that DC have given attention to a character not called Batman or Superman.

Posted by Guardiandevil83

Only way to get something 100% like the books, is to either write and direct it yourself, or read the books. That's all I can say.

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Oh no, it's not exactly like the comics! Boo freaking hoo.

Even the comics aren't exactly like the comics. Green Arrow was in character during Cry for Justice, but people still lost their minds about him killing.

Most of the time a comic reader won't even know what they want. They just see a movie or TV show trying something different and go apesh*t.

Arrow is a fun show. It's not The Wire or Game of Thrones, but it's a lot better than most of the other crap on TV these days.

Posted by Pr0metheus

Maybe its cause Batman is my favorite character but i really like Arrow and his seriousness. I've always hated non-serious superheros. I dont mind him making the occasional joke but i wont want a Spiderman. I want him to take himself seriously and not really joke around too much.

It takes away from the source but i dont mind the girl thats playing Dinah in the show not becoming Black Canary. She just doesnt look like a Black Canary to me.

Starling city does sound better.

I dont want Flash. This arrow has shown to be realistic. Nolan's Batman survived in his world because there were no Superhumans. Arrow isnt as good as GA so him trying to fight a Superhuman villian would be pitiful. He got demolished by Merlyn even when Arrow had a bow and had caught him by suprise.

They even made Deathstroke a Non-Superhuman. Also i could be wrong but was withergreen more like an Alfred then a partner?

Do we really need policital views though? I mean i dont mind them as long as there not over the top.

Count Vertigo was a giant dissapointment. I hope Deathstroke comes back and becomes a Mercenary while Arrow has to kill his Friend/Mentor.

Posted by TekTheNinja

@the_tree said:

Agreed. They could've done a lot better.

Posted by Pokeysteve

@lilben42 said:

Well you know, when your being tortured on an island for years, see your father kill himself right before your eyes as you figure out he's done horrendous things. The first thing you would do when you get back is tell jokes.