Category Archives: ras al ghul

Arrow S02 E05: "League of Assassins"

We open on a Queen’s Gambit flashback, this one surprisingly from Sarah’s point of view, and turns out to be a nightmare. Girl has more PTSD and origin flashbacks in ten minutes than Oliver had all last season. Good thing an assassin in Dark Archer garb attacked to break the tension. Turns out he’s a member of the League of Assassins, yeah, Ras al Ghul’s League of Assassins, and in a fit of fashion faux pas, they all dress like John Barrowman in costume.

After the attack, in the Arrowcave with Diggle and Felicity, we get the lowdown. After the boat went down, Sarah was rescued and trained by the League of Assassins. The guy who attacked was called The First (who trained Merlyn), and was sent to take out Sarah. And, da da dum, the outfit of The Hood was first worn by Shado. I wonder where that little tidbit will go.

On the soap opera side of things, Moira is still coming up to trial, with Laurel prosecuting. It’s life with possibility of parole or the death penalty. Wow. It sounds like Starling City has the same corrupt and ridiculous legal system as Gotham City. Is Moira Queen worse than the Joker? Everyone is suitably whiny about this.

To protect her father, Sara reveals herself. She brings him to her watchtower and tells him she took the name Canary. There Sarah, her dad, and Oliver, just a little bit take down the assassins come to kill them. Good fight, but really it’s Sarah’s fight, and Quentin’s. Oliver just kinda watches, then shoots an arrow or two, like, “Hey, I thought this was my show.”

As if that’s not enough, Sarah’s flashback reveals she was rescued by Professor Anthony Ivo on his ship, the Amazo, and he’s going to save the human race. Oh boy. Time for a comics lesson. For the uninitiated, Ivo is a mad scientist, capital M mad with an immortality obsession. That’s not his claim to fame however. That would be Amazo, and it’s not a boat.

Amazo is a giant eight-foot tall android that Ivo created, super strong, near invulnerable, and a sociopath. As if that wasn’t good enough, he has these energy absorption powers, which allowed him to gain the powers of the Justice League, all of them, even Superman. Armed with a replica of Green Lantern’s power ring and Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, and all those powers, Amazo has terrorized the Justice League for decades. Yeah, that’s the legacy of Professor Ivo.

This kind of makes me wonder… how many big bads will we have this season? We have Brother Blood, possibly Ras al Ghul, possibly Suicide Squad coming, maybe Metamorpho, hell, maybe Trigon. And who knows what things will be like once the Flash shows up. One wonders how big this could be, will the rumored “Amazon” show, and the just announced “Hourman” series tie in as well?

I didn’t know what to think of the special mini-adventure “Blood Rush” with Felicity and Roy. In the space I took to explain it, it’s over, so at this point, it seemed a waste of time. Perhaps it would be better as a webseries?

Next week: The return of Deadshot, Amanda Waller, and maybe… the Suicide Squad??

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Arrow S02 E03: "Broken Dolls"

Before I start with the review proper, I wanted to mention what an amazing and tireless promoter and marketer of the show that star Stephen Amell is. If you’re looking for behind the scenes nuggets and goodies, insights and motivations, and especially what’s to come, you really should be following him on Facebook and Twitter. Just a tip, folks.

Last episode we had one hell of a cliffhanger. Our as yet unofficially named hero was visiting Laurel, who has developed a serious hate for him, at the police station. She doesn’t want to see him, so when he tries to pull his usual lights out getaway, he is set upon by cops. As they move in, Oliver is covered with red laser targeting sights. Cue credits. How will our hero get out of this one?

Shocker! How does he get away? A black leather clad blonde in a mask who moves just as fast, if not faster, as our ambushed archer, comes to his rescue. She smashes in through a window, disorients the cops with some sort of sonic device, then leads him outside to safety. Remember how I said sometimes the TV continuity is different from the comics? Well, whoever this Black Canary is, she ain’t Laurel… Thea, maybe? Hell, with the reveal this episode that Laurel’s father’s middle name is Larry, maybe the Canary is Mom?

This episode’s villain of the week is an intriguing one. The Dollmaker is another Batman foe, who many will recognize as the maniac who recently butchered, or caused the Joker to butcher, his own face. I don’t know the facts as I don’t like the more grisly Batman comics of the last two years. If I want a horror comic, I’ll buy a horror comic, not Batman. Just my two cents. Oddly enough, the villain’s origins may go back the old “Super Friends” cartoons where his more family friendly modus operandi was more similar the the Toyman, only with dolls.

The Dollmaker of the “Arrow” universe is more like the horror villain however. There’s no face cutting but he does make his victims like dolls. Same name, similar past, Barton Mathis is a serial killer who had messed with Quentin Lance earlier in his career, much like he has done with the young James Gordon in the comics. The most disturbing thing is that The Undertaking that leveled most of The Glades also broke open Iron Heights. The police are keeping that fact a secret, even from their own, like Lance. The Dollmaker is one of the escapees. Gee, I wonder who else got out…?

Forbidden to interfere, Quentin turns to our emerald archer for help with the Dollmaker. His demotion has made him, like Oliver, try another way. Do we have the start of a Gordon/Batman relationship here? If it wasn’t so convenient, I would like the idea. Speaking of new alliances, the former Hood is looking to Roy as almost a snitch, maybe an assistant. How mant steps up is sidekick?

Quentin Lance and Oliver make an interesting dynamic duo themselves as they hunt the Dollmaker. I’d rather see Oliver working with Diggle or Roy. I just wonder how the two of them can be so close without Quentin getting a look at Oliver’s face. And isn’t it dangerous him knowing that Felicity works for the Hood? And isn’t it silly Felicity continuing to make herself a target. Perhaps she has a death wish?

The island flashbacks continue. Deathstroke is still there. Shado is still there. But not much else is going on. Knowing who these two are in the present day DC Comics universe, I really want to see what has become of them now, and when will the Hood meet Shado and Deathstroke in the here and now? The mother of Green Arrow’s son, and one of his deadliest opponents are just too juicy to ignore. Unless… Shado is the Black Canary? The island might be getting interesting now however, but only because Oliver’s leaving it. On a boat called Amazo!?!

Speak of the devil, Roy’s search for the Black Canary leads him to a girl named Sin. For those following the Arrow digital comic, we know that Sin is the Canary’s sidekick, and was once being groomed to become the next Lady Shiva. This is important because in theory, the digital comic is supposed to be in continuity with the TV show. Are Lady Shiva and the League of Assassins lurking in the background here? There’s an awful lot of Bat in my Arrow lately. Also I liked that Roy’s chasing Sin led to a watchtower, The Watchtower being the headquarters of the Birds of Prey, and the Justice League, of which both had the Black Canary as a major player.

Other namedrops this episode include channel 52, that number being so important, for multiple reasons too numerous and complicated to explain, to the DC Comics universe, and the Metamorpho Chemical Company, Metamorpho being the freakish superhero who can change his form into various chemicals and elements. We’re getting Black Canary and the Flash… why not Metamorpho too?

So who is the Black Canary? The closing may offer more questions than answers. A man dressed as the Dark Archer meets with her, but we find it’s not Malcolm Merlyn, but an emissary of Ras al Ghul. What did I say about too much Bat in my Arrow? Comics readers will remember that not only does Ras lead the League of Assassins, but that Merlyn the Magician was one of his operatives. This Black Canary kills the emissary, just as she did the Dollmaker earlier in the episode. Who is this woman??

Arrow Season Two Preview

In a season which also promises The Flash, and possibly Black Canary, Speedy, and Ras al Ghul, this looks like it’s going to be a good one!

“Arrow” season two starts Wednesday, October 9th.

Arrow: Dead to Rights

Didn’t Deadshot take an arrow to the eye rather nastily waaay back in the third episode? Well, he’s back. How exactly does one live through something like that anyway?

The episode begins with a bang. Guillermo Barrera, known to comics fans as Nightwing villain, the knife wielding Brutale, shows up in Starling City via helicopter only to be immediately confronted by The Hood. He’s got his knives but no costume or bad guy codename. Maybe that’s why he lasts less than a minute with our ‘hero’ before he takes an arrow in the chest.

More scenes with Tommy and Laurel interacting with Oliver and a date, in this case, McKenna – it works out better this time, even though Tommy’s dad AKA Merlyn the Magician AKA Captain Jack shows up to spoil the fun. There’s also a great bit where Laurel shows McKenna a photo of her sister as a little girl… with a black canary. Other shout outs to the comics this episode include Deadshot living at the Bludhaven apartments, and of course… the first appearance of Riversong herself, Alex Kingston, as Laurel’s mom, Dinah Lance.

There are also some nice moments with Oliver and Tommy as they celebrate the latter’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant (a front fir the Tongs, but that’s beside the point). For once we get a real sense of why they are friends, and also why Tommy always seems to be at the Queens’ home. It’s all blown to hell when Tommy finds out Oliver’s big secret. I really wonder where they’re going with this character, is he being groomed to become the next Merlyn the Magician? Or simply a casualty in the war between The Hood and the Dark Archer?

Last episode Moira hired China White to kill Merlyn, and this time, it seems that she’s farming that work out to Deadshot. Not dead, but blind, however she provides him with a vision boost eyesight that more properly resembles his comic book appearance. And China White sure can kick ass in an evening gown and heels. Go, Kelly Hu!

Back on the island, Slade and Oliver continue their Odd Couple routine, get a radio working and learn more about Fyers’ Odyssey obsession. Next time on “Arrow, ” three weeks from now, why does the Huntress return (groan), did Malcolm Merlyn meet Ras al Ghul in Nanda Parbat, and who doesn’t know Oliver is the vigilante?

Arrow: Dodger

Lots of stuff going on in this episode, even though it seems a bit like a fill-in issue from the comics. First and foremost there’s a new baddie in town, the Dodger, who uses hostages to do his dirty work in robberies. Basically if the hostage doesn’t do what he says, he blows their head off by remote control. He also has a nifty taser stick similar to the old TV Green Hornet’s Hornet Sting. For the record, Dodger is a minor Green Arrow villain from the comics, notably affiliated with the League of Assassins – the group headed by Ras al Ghul over in the Batman universe.

Also thrown in for good measure is Moira meeting with an old family friend named Frank who I suspect could be China White’s father. Whatever the folks on The List are up to, it’s coming soon, and the writers have given it a name – The Undertaking. Supposedly, according to Moira at least, it started as a way to help the Glades, the dilapidated area of Starling City where the ‘Arrowcave’ is.

Then there’s also the grumbling fit Felicity has made on the Arrow team. For a temporary member, all she seems to be doing is causing trouble. She not only interferes with tactics in pursuing The List, she makes Diggle ask out his widowed sister-in-law Carly from Big Belly Burger, and Oliver ask out the beautiful Detective McKenna Hall from a few episodes back. Felicity has some kind of pull, eh? Neither date goes very well, sadly, at first at least.

And then, yeah, then there’s the kid in the red hood. He steals Thea’s purse while she’s walking with Laurel. His name? Yeah, you guessed it. Who else would be wearing red in a show about Green Arrow? His name is Roy Harper.

For those who read the comics, Roy Harper was Oliver Queen’s ward, Green Arrow’s sidekick in red, and the first hero to go by the name Speedy. He later became addicted to heroin, which Black Canary (Laurel in the show) helped him kick. He was later known as Arsenal and then Red Arrow when he took his mentor’s place in the Justice League. Just for the record, Green Arrow later trained a second Speedy – her name was Mia Dearborn. “Arrow” has a close counterpart in Oliver’s sister Thea Dearborn Queen.

The TV version of Roy Harper survives on petty theft, neglected by his parents. In a switch, mom is addicted to Vertigo, and dad is dead, buried in Norris Cemetery, a nod to Paul Norris, the artist who co-created Speedy back in 1941 with writer Mort Weisinger. Other comics call outs this episode include the corner of Adams and O’Neil, the writer/artist team that brought us the award winning Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 1970s.

Apparently the Starling City Police, except McKenna, but Lance is included, are a lot like the old Philly cops or Gotham’s cops. They have lots of ammo and don’t give a crap about property damage. When they try to ambush the Dodger, they just open fire on an illegal fence’s warehouse like they were in a Rambo movie. Who knows what kind of priceless antiquities were destroyed forever?

Emily Bett Rickards cleans up really nice as Felicity later in the episode when the Dodger turns her into a human bomb. I’d like to see her like this more often. As a bombshell that is, not as a bomb. And as far as bombshells go – our cliffhanger this episode? Moira has hired China White to take out Merlyn. Oh yeah, this is going to be bad… for everyone…