Comic Vine Review

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Arrow #201 - City of Heroes Review

4

Oliver is back! How is the city reacting after what went down in the last season's finale?

*This review contains some spoilers*

So begins Season Two of Arrow. Season One's cliffhanger was massive and this premiere wastes no time showing that the earthquake device didn't only damage properties -- it destroyed and completely changed lives, too. Almost everyone's direction has been altered after Starling City was hit last season, opening the door for brand new characters to step into the limelight and for previously established characters to take a path which leads them closer to their comic counterparts.

A big gripe I had with the show at first was some stiff acting, but it's clear the chemistry has since grown by leaps and bounds between these actors. The relationships they share come off as far more believable and the end result allows for some really satisfying moments as these individuals are forced into a more than ample amount of drama and even resolutions. Much to my surprise, the most gripping and heartfelt one happens to be with Thea, a character who the creative team is clearly maturing a whole lot.

One thing everyone is sure to appreciate is the overwhelming amount of fan service packed into this episode. From new locations to new faces, it's more than transparent Season Two is making a strong effort to really dive into the source material and play around with as much as possible. I'm a sucker for good references and there's certainly a lot of promising concepts tossed around and teased in this episode. Seeing as new characters were previously revealed to help promote the show, there's A LOT to look forward to, especially if they keep moving at this pace.

While I do have some small gripes about how characters act when 'the Vigilante' goes on the offensive, there's no denying the stunts are done pretty darn well, and despite some moments that make me scratch my head, they really are a blast to watch. And speaking of 'the Vigilante,' it's awesome to see he FINALLY has a name! You'll never guess what it is! Okay, it's impossible to get wrong, but the name change is implemented well and is absolutely a logical decision after everything which goes down in this episode.

Also great to witness was the focus on Oliver's morals, seeing as they were all over the place last season. The finale definitely impacted Ollie for the better and has forced him to reevaluate what he's doing, allowing him to make the transition from an anti-hero/vigilante to a more "traditional" hero. The backstory had a moment to help further cement this point, but it came off as forced when they decided to hit us with the message yet again while Oliver's dealing with a member of the Hood gang. Dude, you may think he's a killer and rightfully so, but he's not a troll. He's not going to say, "take my hand!" and then pull it back at the last second and have a laugh while you fall to your demise. And while we're on the subject of the Hood gang, the premise behind them is strong but the actual amount of attention they were given was pretty lackluster (understandable considering the amount of content they had to tackle, though). Here's hoping the plethora of villains who will appear will be given more focus and love. I'm still hurt over how swiftly Constantine Drakon was removed from the picture...

As for complaints, there's a whole lot of exposition thrown in and it sometimes comes off as forced and unnatural. On the plus side, it's getting mandatory/basic facts out of the way for new viewers, but on the downside, it feels out of place, especially since the show kicks off with a detailed recap. Additionally, the final melee suffered from some super quick cuts and random shaky cam. The tension right before it was great, but then it's all kinds of hectic and over before you can really appreciate what just happened -- and I say this as someone who rarely has an issue with this method. It's too bad because it's not only another chance to let Roy shine (fingers crossed for his eventually transformation into Arsenal/Red Arrow), but it also throws a hugely anticipated character into the fray. Lastly, while the backstory had one moment to help the episode's narrative, the rest kind of felt glossed over. It would have been rad to see more with Slade and Shado, so hopefully that'll get more attention in the future.

The last finale wasn't just there for shock value -- it has instilled a lasting impact on operations in the city and has brought about some major changes in the cast. Arrow's universe continues to expand and, based on what they've already released, it looks like it's going to get even bigger and even better from here. I was pretty mixed on Season One, but this is a strong return for the show and did a thorough job presenting us with plenty of new and fitting storylines that are sure to be interesting. 'City of Heroes' is a solid episode and definitely left me more than interested enough to tune in again next week.

Oh, and if you're digging the show you should really check out the GREEN ARROW comic, too. The latest issue is a jumping on point and is seriously fantastic stuff. Anyway, what did you all think of Arrow's return? Let us know!

45 Comments
Edited by TheFirstLantern

West coast, Darn you!!!!!

Posted by Fallschirmjager

Was pretty awesome 9/10.

Anyone else catch the Central City reference? BARRY!!!!! Still not sure how Powers will work in this universe, but I love the character too much to not have an open mind until I see it.

Posted by Knightfall225

The action scences were pretty well done. This guy needs to play Green Arrow on the big screen

Posted by patrat18

9.5/10 loved it.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Yay Arrow is back!!! Screw Agents of SHIELD

Posted by CheeseSticks

Wow this was a very good opening episode, i want MORE!!! There's so much going on.

9,5/10

Posted by War Killer

I love the explanation as to why Oliver is now choosing not to kill anymore, it felt very realistic and believable and further shows how his character has grown and developed since the series began. Great start to Season Two! ^_^

Edited by kilowog52

@fallschirmjager: And yup, in the same line they mentioned a particle accelerator. I'm guessing that means they're ditching the traditional origin of him being struck by lightning while doused in chemicals to go with an accident regarding this device. Sort of like how yesterday's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave Graviton a new origin.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode and can't wait for more. It's so exciting. Also noticed the expanded main cast. I really wasn't paying attention to the opening credits until is started listing guest stars, but I noticed that Manu Bennet was listed before that, and since I didn't notice Emily Bett Rickards or Colton Haynes after that point either, I'm assuming they're now main cast members as well.

Posted by Fallschirmjager

I love the explanation as to why Oliver is now choosing not to kill anymore, it felt very realistic and believable and further shows how his character has grown and developed since the series began. Great start to Season Two! ^_^

Agreed totally. I personally feel like Season 1 was his entire origin story and this episode sort of hits on that. He wasn't really a hero last season...but he will become one this year! =)

Edited by Gotham331

FINALLY... ARROW HAS COME BACK TO TELEVISION!

This is how you make a comic book television show. Take notes marvel/Disney

Posted by Trevel8182
Posted by War Killer

@fallschirmjager: And yup, in the same line they mentioned a particle accelerator. I'm guessing that means they're ditching the traditional origin of him being struck by lightning while doused in chemicals to go with an accident regarding this device. Sort of like how yesterday's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave Graviton a new origin.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode and can't wait for more. It's so exciting. Also noticed the expanded main cast. I really wasn't paying attention to the opening credits until is started listing guest stars, but I noticed that Manu Bennet was listed before that, and since I didn't notice Emily Bett Rickards or Colton Haynes after that point either, I'm assuming they're now main cast members as well.

I didn't catch this, I caught the part of the Particle Accelerator, but I like the idea of it being possibly how Barry becomes the Flash in this universe. Personally, whether it were in a movie or on TV, the Flash's origin was going to need a bit of modernizing as the whole being caught in a bath of random chemicals, that just so happen to get struck by lightning, all while inside just felt...unrealistic. xD But I like idea of Barry getting caught in some form of accident with this accelerator.

Edited by Fallschirmjager

@war_killer: Agreed. I'm just not sure how I feel about adding people with Powers in the universe. It feels better toned for no-powers.

We'll see though. I believe Barry is suppose to show up in episodes, 9, 10 and 20. With 20 being the backdoor pilot.

Edited by Saren

Yeah, the main sticking point for me with this episode was the exposition. It should have been unnecessary considering they released a Year One special a week before this episode that summarized everything that happened in the first season within 40 minutes for new viewers.

It was good otherwise. You can expect some amount of exposition in a season premiere, but then again I watched the season premiere of Supernatural yesterday, and they kept the exposition about last season's finale to the bare minimum while focusing on advancing the plot. Oh well.

I have also learned to live with 'Stralyan Slade.

Moderator
Posted by evilvegeta74

It was okay!

Posted by SynCig

This was a fantastic episode. One of my favorites from the entire series.

Posted by CuddleBear

I don't get who this format of show like this and Smallville appeal to? is this some kind of "get a new demographic" into our product thing? Like are these attempts to get females to watch? Do teenagers watch this? please i want to like this its about a dc superhero and it has crixus playing deathstroke i should like this WHY DONT I? please somebody make me believe... does this season feel like a step up at least? sooooo many questions so much time and so little to do. impeccably beautiful 20 somethings saying dialougey dialogue all the live long day

Posted by War Killer

@war_killer: Agreed. I'm just not sure how I feel about adding people with Powers in the universe. It feels better toned for no-powers.

We'll see though. I believe Barry is suppose to show up in episodes, 9, 10 and 20. With 20 being the backdoor pilot.

At this point, as long as they take slow and work their way into these more super-powered characters, I feel that it will work out. Having some one Barry Allen appear first as a normal guy, but later transform him into the hero we know him as in the comics. My only concern with Flash is that, at least in television, super-speed has never been a very...cool power, at least to me, when done for a TV show. Looking back at previous shows like Smallville where we saw such powers, it just comes off as cheesy. That's really my only fear. But overall I welcome the idea of expanding the universe to include super-powered characters.

Edited by TheFirstLantern

Can't wait for episode 2! China White and Bronze Tiger. Game over man, game over.

Posted by superior_prime_maybe

Do i have to watch the whole season 1 or can i just jump in from here?

Posted by mkukie68

@superior_prime_maybe: if you could find a couple episodes online, maybe even just the last couple and it should be fine. I recommend that, but it seems like u can jump in. Guarantee you that it'll make you want to watch the first season

Posted by mkukie68

@madeinbangladesh: yea the best thing about that show is Skye. Otherwise it's kinda stale. Go Green Arrow

Edited by Zadoulo
Edited by MrMazz

Ah it feels good for Abs....I mean Arrow to be back on TV. The show really came into its own tonaly around the half way point and has developed a good house style. Like all premiers they are more plot driven and have a lot of table setting to get to but hey that's the nature of storytelling. I am really digging the casting of Summer Glau as basically an Ice Queen at best.

cheap plug to user review with much longer form thoughts

Now if you don't mind I'mma sit back and see CV slowly tear itself apart in banal and futile debates over which show Arrow or SHEILD is better when they clearly are going after two different things.

Posted by DougCL

this show is too slept on. i hope that the first season getting up on netflix gets more people paying attention. one of my favorites on TV right now. so glad this came back right when Breaking Bad ended.

Posted by scouts1998

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being S.H.I.E.L.D. Arrow is about 10000000001

Edited by tikhunt

Watching this as soon as I get back from college in an hour and a half, missed the show too much.

Posted by SupBatz

As somebody who was highly critical of the first season...I must say that I am impressed. This episode is exactly what I wanted to see. And I like that a lot of comedy was thrown in ("Since you majored in dropping out of college..."). It helped to offset the overly-dark tone of the first season. I like the progression that all of the characters are making. And there is a lot of very exciting set up for the next season.

10/10 for me. The bar has officially been raised.

Posted by Commander_Kane

I prolonged watching this show for so long, I finished the 1st season last week and honestly, I'm glad I waited. After watching this shows first season, and it's premier, feels good knowing I don't have to wait lol.

Wonder just how they'll do Barry's costume. Hope it's not to over the top, but from what I've seen with the other characters on the show..don't think I'll be dissapointed

Edited by Shallbecomeabattoo

I just started to watch Arrow on DVD last week. As a huge DC fan I was kinda scared of this show, since I really hated Smallville on the CW. But now that I have actually tried it... WOW!!! What a great show! Sure, the casting is CWish in some parts, but almost all male parts are really good, after they found their way a bit, especially Amell as Ollie.

And what a break neck speed the show has... my god! They almost resolve every new story thread in the next episode! There is none of that "lets stretch this out over the first four seasons" kinda crap Smallville did, and I am glad about it! I just finished episode 13 and wil watch more later. Really really cool show! I am almost sad that it took me this long to give it a shot.

And wow... Slade is a badass. I hope he gets some time as Deathstroke in the second season.

Posted by CitizenJP

I love Arrow :)

Posted by Guardiandevil83

Love it always have!!

Posted by Ben049

Arrow is back!!!! :D Now that's what I call a TV show!

Edited by fallbrigade

Twas an awesome episode! Can't wait for the rest of the season and seeing Flash show up eventually, same with the...um real...? Black Canary.

Edited by bladewolf

Definitely a great start to the season! I'm really excited for the upcoming plotlines!

Posted by Seabats

Seriously, Arrow set the new bar for comics last year. After 10 years of cheesy Smallville, who always hinted and under delivered with Supes, how could we have ever seen this coming? Its clear that they wanted another take on how to bring Green Arrow to life and they killed it with Season 1.

With that being said, Its pretty obvious that there numerous 'rips' straight off Batman Begins over and over again on the show. I'll usually laugh when i hear them because its just insane, I'm not complaining, thats a huge part of why Arrow is so good.

Marvel might be leading the charge on the silver screen, but SHIELD doesn't have a clue what its doing right now, the show is amateurish and juvenile and the creators are adapting the MCU in as fans thought they might. Maybe they will, but its missing a huge element of badassery that Arrow owns.

This season promises a boatload of B-list DC supervillains and of course, the tease that The Fastest Man alive is coming was definitely the best easter egg ever placed on a TV show.

Comics rule.

Posted by Lurkero

The message about Arrow not killing anymore was very heavy handed. I get it, he saw his friend die and his friend thought he was a murderer. His friend also didn't know anything about what was really going on and his friend was also babied by his wealthy father. The reason why Oliver became Arrow is because of what his father revealed to him. Merlyn was getting ready to reveal the truth to Tommy but was prevented from doing so.

Arrow needs to kill or else nothing will get done. He shouldn't go around shooting arrows while running away from machine guns trying to avoid killing people. I can see this being a serious problem for the writing. They will rely on Arrow's reluctance to kill to build up drama, but they had more than enough good drama in season 1 when Arrow showed restraint only when he had the capacity to do so.

The last scene with Black Canary didn't bother me. I think it was meant to be quick cut because Roy was confused. It it wasn't intentional then it still worked out for me.

Posted by joshmightbe

Was I the only one nervous about Summer Glau being added to the cast? Shes a good actress but the chick is bad luck for tv shows.

Posted by ccrosby
Posted by fletcher78

I am finding it frustrating that people are comparing this episode to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and saying how superior it to Marvel's show. Arrow has had a whole season to refine and shape the show to where it currently is. S.H.I.E.L.D has had three epsidoes. Early on in it's first season Arrow concentrated more on the bad guy on the list with the undertaken being played slowly in the background. This seems to be what S.H.I.E.L.D is doing so far too. The early epsidoes are setting up the team and who they are and the Rising Tide and other threats are being brought in slowly.

People have moaned that they aren't dealing with supervillians. Well we have had the origin of one supervillian but if the show has Coulsen, Ward and all taking down supervillians such as Loki then that undermines the villians as threats to the super heroes in the cinema universe. Arrow didn't have Queen take on Merlin straight away or fight Deathstroke on the island. Heck teh first time he came up against both he was soundly beaten.

Anyway misplaced rant over!

Edited by kilowog52

Oh! and the news anchor who mentioned Central City, S.T.A.R. Labs, and the particle accelerator was Channel 52 anchor Bethany Snow. Now I know Channel 2 anchor Molly Mayne was an actual character in the comics. She was Alan Scott's wife. However, I don't know if Snow was a previously existing character or if she was just created for this whatever-it-is in the back of the New 52 issues. I know the rest of her team, Ambush Bug, Calendar Man, and Vartox of Valeron are all actual characters however. Is anybody familiar with a Bethany Snow character outside of the Channel 52 thing from any era of any DC Comic?

Posted by JLDoom

Awesome start for this second season! Specially loved the Barry Allen reference. Damn, stop teasing me! >:(

Interesting how he may be getting a new origin though. Oliver becoming more of a traditional hero was great as well. Overall, looks like this season will be even better than the first one, maybe even a lot more.

Edited by Saren

anybody familiar with a Bethany Snow character outside of the Channel 52 thing from any era of any DC Comic?

She used to be a minor supporting character from the Teen Titans books.

Moderator
Posted by loQ_on

The quality of this show (especially considering the production value is pretty low) constantly astounds me. I love it.