Arrow: All hail the green hero

Kyle Francisco
An unknown comics hero rises from the ashes with a little help from a new television series

MEET ARROW. It's Oliver Queen's time to shine. Image from the 'Arrow' Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – TV series Arrow explores the origins of DC Comics’ premier sharpshooter of the same name.

The hardest part about working with the best people in your field is perhaps the fact that, well, you’re working with the best people in your field. Being handy with a bow isn’t exactly impressive when you’re on a team with the super-powered sole survivor of a dead planet, an intergalactic law enforcer wielding the most powerful ring in the universe and a master detective proficient in every martial art known to man — aka Justice League.

Getting the shaft

Despite being an active character as early as 1941, billionaire archer Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) never really stood out as part of DC Comics’ Justice League. Various attempts were made in the comics over the years to make him a bigger player in the DC universe: he lost his wealth, became a spokesperson for the poor, got married, became mayor of his hometown, and even got killed and resurrected.

All of these were met with varying degrees of success, but were not enough to put him squarely on the map. 

Green Arrow recently got a much-needed shot in the arm thanks to DC’s company-wide reboot, yet still trails behind Aquaman — a hero whose aquatic powers have been ridiculed in various mass media for decades — in popularity. It doesn’t help that his purple-clad counterpart over at rival publisher Marvel Comics, Hawkeye, got a recent PR boost after appearing in two movies, most notably the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers.

Aiming for the bull’s eye

DC Comics, Warner Bros. Television, and Berlanti Television seek to remedy this with Arrow¸ a new live-action television series spotlighting the Emerald Archer. Starring Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and boldly doing away with the “Green” adjective, Arrow follows in the footsteps of its commercially successful and wildly popular predecessor, Smallville — a reinterpretation of the Superman mythos — and puts a new spin on the titular hero’s origin story.

Joining Amell are Katie Cassidy as Queen’s girlfriend Dinah “Laurel” Lance; Willa Holland as Thea, Queen’s younger sister; David Ramsey as Queen’s bodyguard Diggle; and Colin Donnell as Queen’s childhood best friend, Tommy.

While there are significant departures from the source material (such as the name of the fictional city the hero resides in) the basic story remains the same: A pampered socialite finds himself forced to hone his skills to survive being stranded on an island, and takes up a life of costumed crime-fighting upon his return to civilization.

Comics fans would also appreciate the nods to the character’s 4-color adventures; Thea’s nickname “Speedy” is also the codename used by Green Arrow’s sidekick, and his girlfriend Dinah is known in the comics as Black Canary, a costumed hero with sound-based powers who eventually became Green Arrow’s wife.

Anchor point

By giving Oliver Queen his own series, the problem of him being overshadowed by his colleagues is quickly eliminated, allowing the archer to really shine. If the series episodes are any indication, this latest effort to raise his profile has definitely been successful.

Statistics show that Arrow’s premiere episode had 4.1 million viewers and was the top premiere on American television network The CW in 3 years since The Vampire Diaries

More than anything else, Arrow seems dead-set on proving that a protagonist doesn’t need to be able to fly or move faster than sound to be an effective super-hero; maybe all he needs is a good eye and a steady arm. – 

‘Arrow’ airs in the Philippines on Jack TV every Sunday at 8 pm.