Not only has Arrow just finished its second season, the CW has picked it up for a third. Let that sink in a moment and think about what that sentence means. A show based on a comic book character that’s essentially Batman cosplaying as Robin Hood not only made it past pilot stage, but is thriving. In addition, it’s also more entertaining than the Agents of SHIELD TV show, and without a blockbuster movie franchise pedigree. I did not expect to live in this reality.
But as I alluded to earlier, Green Arrow comic books aren’t exactly the deepest well to draw inspiration from. This show has already borrowed characters and inspiration from the much more popular and expansive Batman and Teen Titans franchises. So where can it go from here? I’ve considered ten possible DC guest stars (Green) Arrow can add to its third season quiver to keep the show on target.
10. Connor Hawke
Season 2 revealed Moira had paid off some nameless woman that Ollie impregnated. Was this foreshadowing Connor Hawke, the heir to the Emerald Archer’s mantle? The problem with this theory is that the woman didn’t resemble Sandra “Moonday” Hawke, his Black-Korean mother, though if the show does go down that route it can always reshoot the flashbacks with an actress of the right ethnicity just as they recast Sara Lance. Alternately, they can reveal that this wasn’t Ollie’s only time at the “No Rubber Raincoat Rodeo” and Moira’s bank account breathed a hearty sigh of relief once he was presumed dead.
Whichever option they choose, eight-year-old Connor better be an archery prodigy by the time he shows up so he doesn’t become an albatross around the show’s neck. (It already has Laurel and Roy for that.) Young Connor can even have inherited vengeance playdates with the previously referenced Joe “The Ravager” Wilson.
J. August Richards’s season 1 hitman, Mr. Blank, was originally going to be Onomatopoeia, but the showrunners nixed that because they erroneously agreed with his co-creator Kevin Smith that the character’s signature quirk of speaking sound effects would be too ridiculous in live action. That misses the point that this silly tic becomes supremely disturbing whilst he coldly murders folks. Additionally, Onomatopoeia’s mask (created by Phil Hester) is one of those elegant designs that can be replicated well even on a CW budget; the white soundwaves on black hint at his name whilst also forming a bullseye.
The series could reinvent Onomatopoeia as a serial killer stalking The Glades to remind Oliver that it deserves top priority in saving since it’s a crime-ridden slum even when there are no earthquake machines or Mirakuru thugs around. Some noise-cancelling gear to make his movements silent would boost his danger and creep factors. As much as they love ripping off Batman, however, it is crucial that they don’t take any pages from Batman: The Widening Gyre. The onomatopoeia that describes what to do with that mini-series is “flush.”
8. Blue Beetle
Jaime Reyes is cool, but his morphing alien exoskeleton would probably eat the entire season’s budget. It makes more sense to use the Ted Kord version, since he and Kord Industries have already been namedropped a few times. As a lighthearted do-gooder without a grim/dark motive, Ted could be a refreshing contrast to Oliver (and Barry’s Geoff Johns retconned origin). As bonus, this goofy tech-head could cure Felicity’s heartbreak over being friendzoned by Oliver and Barry.
Of course, two non-powered CEOs fighting crime in colorful costumes with custom gear might feel a bit redundant. They’d probably just call him “The Beetle,” too, as this show has a weird ban on including colors in codenames aside from supervillains. Instead, he could use his acumen with gadgetry to become the show’s Q (James Bond’s, not the one who alters the very fabric of reality just to troll Starfleet). Those boxing glove arrows aren’t going to engineer themselves!
David Nykl’s Anatoli Knyazev surprisingly became one of the show’s most endearing characters despite not having much in common with the KGBeast of the comics. Besides not looking like a leatherdaddy Ivan Drago with a machine gun hand, he’s even managed to keep both his eyes and hands in a series that removes them like impacted wisdom teeth. That’s not to say the KGBeast’s intimidating qualities couldn’t be grafted onto Knyazev’s obscure prot?g?, the NKVDemon.
Since Deathstroke killed the head of Starling City’s Bratva branch, it stands to reason that Knyazev would deploy NKVDemon to sort things out. The NKVDemon’s indomitable swath of gangland destruction would test both his friendship with Knyazev and his oath to protect the city. It’d be fine if they directly lifted some of the more memorably grisly scenes from “Ten Nights of The Beast” since it seems pretty low on the list of Batman stories likely to adapted in a mainstream movie or cartoon. The Soviet quips NKVDemon elicits from Felicity will either be charmingly anachronistic or jingoistically current depending on the geopolitical climate when the episode airs.
6. Captain Boomerang
“Hey! You got your The Flash season 1 list mixed up with your Arrow season 3 list! I say good day to you, sir!” Wait! I can explain! Captain Boomerang doesn’t feel like a good match for the superpowered Flash, but he’d make a worthy opponent for a human armed with his own signature projectiles. Since TV Deathstroke is an Aussie, they could even make him a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service teammate of his.
Besides that, Captain Boomerang was also a member of the Suicide Squad. His greed, cowardice, alcoholism, and casual racism could inject the necessary tension back into the team missing since Shrapnel went boom. And only after he proves a genuine threat to people who have to dodge boomerangs at regular action star speeds should he appear on a show where the hero can dodge boomerangs at supersonic speeds. Captain Boomerang should also avoid dressing like a ’60s stewardess in either program.
5. The Question
One thing that Arrow didn’t steal from Batman was his detective skills. Ollie is just too trusting. The dude had five years to read his dad’s ledger of one-percenterer nogoodniks and didn’t notice the names of Malcolm Merlyn, Isabel Rochev, and his own mom. That’s why he needs someone suspicious like The Question to dig through people’s trash for him for info that Felicity can’t hack. If they go with the ultra paranoid conspiracy nut version from JLU, it’d definitely make an impression. Wardrobe can definitely whip up a featureless mask , trenchcoat, and fedora to get the right mysterious look.
They probably can’t use the Rene Montoya incarnation because her inclusion in Fox’s Gotham will likely result in a Bat-embargo, but Vic Sage is still a classic. Better yet, use an androgynous voice synthesizer (similar to the multi-layered voice mix used for Ghost in the ’90s Iron Man cartoon) so viewers can decide for themselves who’s under The Question’s Pseudoderm.
4. Ra’s al Ghul
Characters have been talking about Ra’s al Ghul so much this season that he has to show up soon. That worries me a bit because there’s the possibility that they’ll just crib from the last live action Ra’s. Liam Neeson is a great actor, but The Demon’s Head should never be an lily-white guy dishonorably hiding behind a Japanese scapegoat, without even having a single Lazarus Pit! Although the show is definitely takes plenty of cues from Nolan’s Bat-trilogy, hopefully its showrunners have the good sense not to reinvent what O’Neil and Adams already perfected.
Cast a Middle Eastern actor who exudes gravitas and give him a devilish haircut and a green Dracula outfit. Just don’t have him try to overeagerly betroth Talia to Oliver and then get into a shirtless scimitar fight with him, because those should remain Batman exclusive plot points. Instead, have him chill out in Nanda Parbat dispensing sage relationship advice to Nyssa and Sara. Audience expectations will be so confused when they see that Ra’s al Ghul is the male equivalent of Moira Queen…but with more anecdotes about folks he met during The Crusades.
Even though the League of Assassins are a murder cult willing to die for a nigh-immortal ecologist, at least they operate under a code of honor. Cheshire isn’t bound by such scruples. She may be a manipulative psychopath but at least a clich? broken heart isn’t the driving force of her villainy. She’s a triple-jointed acrobat as well as a princess of poisons. The only person deadlier than Cheshire is Lady Shiva, who’s also welcome to appear next season – she’d make the perfect recurring archfoe for (Black) Canary.
More importantly, she’d be a means of justifying (and hopefully improving) Roy’s continuing inclusion as the two had a torrid and ethically dubious love affair in the comics, and it’s essential that she comes kitted out with the neko mask she wears in the Teen Titans and Young Justice cartoons. It’s basically the only thing that justifies her otherwise arbitrary codename and a rad visual to boot.
2. Queen Bee
Remember how Deadshot keeps telling Diggle about H.I.V.E.? The Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination (or Holistic Integration for Viral Equality if you live in the New 52) has to be season 3’s Big Bad. Remember back in season 1 when a pair of elegant legs with a butler ordered Eddie Fyers to shoot down a Ferris jet? Let’s murder a couple of birds with a rock by making both HIVE and the gams property of Queen Bee. I’m partial to Grant Morrison’s and Howard Porter’s alien queen version from a visual standpoint, but the one that’s Queen of Bialya makes more sense for Arrow.
HIVE is sort of the DC equivalent of AIM, so expect plenty of mad science weaponry. Queen Bee could be the benefactress of the previously referenced Dr. Light, but his powers make him a better adversary to appear on The Flash. Actually, if they want to do a crossover between both shows uniting (Green) Arrow, Flash, and the Suicide Squad, Queen Bee would be the perfect threat as leader of both HIVE and Bialya. The past two seasons have been focused on mainpain-fueled revenge plots, so it’s about time we got a villainess who’s playing for all the marbles. After all, revenge is a sucker’s game.
1. Printer’s Devil
Printer’s Devil may be the best Green Arrow rogue you’ve never heard of – not that the his rogues are that infamous to begin with. Two different disgruntled newspaper employees donned the Printer’s Devil costume (hence the name) armed with a trident that fired flaming darts. How such a unique character fell into obscurity while DC keeps trying to make Hush happen is beyond me. The advantage to using Printer’s Devil on Arrow is that there’s carte blanche to adapt him, as the nerd-o-sphere isn’t filled with millions of die-hard Printer’s Devil fans that will boycott the show if they screw him up. This could be another golden opportunity to reinvigorate a character that is specifically tied to Green Arrow instead of Batman or Teen Titans, in much the same way they made Merlyn a villain worth caring about. Someone tell Jeff Lemire this theory also applies to working Printer’s Devil into the New 52 Green Arrow comics.
Why not draw some inspiration from Superman to remake Printer’s Devil into an evil Lois Lane who manufactures her own sensational headlines no matter who gets hurt? The trident can be an experimental weapon given to her by HIVE test out in the field with plausible deniability. The second version of the character caused mayhem with the electrified Bad Penny and the ball bearing shooting Pinball Wizard so they can be in her HIVE-empowered posse too. Even if they’re not the deepest foes, their gimmicks could still provide a new variety of action set pieces.
The Printer’s Devil costume is so pants-on-head crazy that it’d be a welcome change of pace from the gritty “realism” fad, but it’s still not so out there that it’d be cost-prohibitive. Even if they opt for something way toned-down like a nutter in a store-bought rubber ram mask stabbing citizens with a regular pitchfork it’d still be a palate cleanser from the show’s typical gamut of and rich dirtbags, assassins, and rich dirtbags that also happen to be assassins.
By this point, Arrow’s built up enough fan goodwill that making Printer’s Devil the villain of an episode wouldn’t be jumping the shark. It couldn’t be any worse than their take on Count Vertigo. At the end of the episode we’d still get a bow and trick arrows vs. trident fight. That’s exactly the novelty that makes for great television!
You may remember Matthew Catania from such Daily Lists as
:The 10 Worst Adaptations of X-Men on Film (So Far)
10 Ways to Make a Wonder Woman Movie Not Suck
Top Ten Reasons X-Men and Doctor Who Are Secretly the Same Franchise
Eight Reasons Why a Superman/Batman Movie Might Not Be Such a Great Idea