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Arrow Mythology

March 11, 2013

I find how the CW is using DC mythology on Arrow fascinating.  Yes, they are using a lot of Green Arrow mythology in interesting and unique ways, but they are also pulling from other DC franchises to add some spice.  For those who don’t know, I’m a huge comic book nerd, or at least I was.  I collected comics for about 8 years, only stopping recently.  While I mostly collected Batman and Batman-related titles, I was also an avid follower of Green Arrow.

Let’s start with the beginning.  Green Arrow’s origin is exactly as stated on the show: shipwreck, learn to shoot, rescue, superhero.  Of course, they’re adding a LOT of additional stuff to Ollie’s time on the island, like introducing Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), a general DC villain to the mix and having China White (an actual Green Arrow villain, played by Kelly Hu) on the island as well.

Meanwhile, back in the present, Ollie (Stephen Amell) has returned, and we are introduced to his sister, Thea (Willa Holland).  In the comics, GA didn’t have a sister, but he eventually had two sidekicks named Speedy, the latter of which is a girl.  In the show, this is his nickname for his sister.  I really really hope they do what I think they’re going to and have the sister become a sidekick, especially since they’ve introduced her character to a boy named Roy Harper (Colton Haynes).  In the comics, Roy Harper was the original Speedy, who now goes by the name Arsenal.  We have yet to see if Ollie’s son in the comics, Connor Hawke, will make an appearance as well.

The show features Ollie’s family prominently, but they really don’t have anything much to do with the comics.  But Ollie’s friends, Laurel Lance and Tommy Merlyn, are definitely characters from the comics.  The show’s Laurel (Katie Cassidy) has the middle name of Dinah, and Dinah Lance in the comics is Black Canary, a martial arts experienced, sonic scream producing, kick ass superhero all on her own.  She and Ollie have a long history of being on-again, off-again, a tension which is present in the show from the beginning.

Merlyn, on the other hand, is a very interesting adaptation.  In the show, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) is a villain, just like in the comics.  However when DC did a complete reboot, they made Merlyn Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), an old friend of Ollie’s.  The show uses this too, making Tommy Malcolm’s son.  It’s only a matter of time before Tommy takes up his father’s mantle in the show.  Exciting stuff.

Now we get to the stuff that has almost nothing to do with Green Arrow.  The Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw), is a Batman character, borrowed for interests sake.  They’ve never been able to do a live action serious Batman adaptation on TV, but boy they do keep trying to bring Batman mythology to life (Birds of Prey, anyone? Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) on Smallville?), and I anticipate much more of this. (Fingers crossed for Nightwing!!!)

They also brought into play a very obscure comic book reference, Nanda Parbat.  It is a mystical place that allows some to stay youthful looking despite their age (perhaps trying to explain why John Barrowman doesn’t look old enough to be Colin Donnell’s father?), where many DC heroes have gone to train or learn something important about themselves.  It currently has nothing to do with Green Arrow’s mythology, but perhaps the show will take us there.

I’m sure there are things I’m missing.  There are almost 100 years of comic book history so far, and I don’t know it all.  But I’m excited to see what else Arrow will bring in as it continues on into a second season.

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