Category Archives: speedy

Arrow S02 E02: "Identity"

The winds of change from the last episode sweep in in the first seconds of this one, as Oliver Queen’s opening narrative has changed. No longer a killer, striving to be a hero, yet still unnamed, even without a name (Oliver swore off The Hood monicker last time), this is a change for the better.

Our secondary opening has Roy Harper, in his red hoodie, driving a red car (nice, but when’s he going to get a red costume and red arrows?), trying to save a FEMA truck from China White. He’s really not good at this vigilante stuff, Roy should get a… mentor, or something…

Laurel questions him once he gets hauled to the police station. She seems to have developed her father’s fixation on capturing The Hood, at all costs. She also scoffs at Roy’s mention of a certain Black Canary-like vigilante. If “Smallville” has taught us fanboys anything, it’s that the rules change in the jump from comics to TV. While I doubt it, there is a chance that Laurel Lance is not the Black Canary.

Maybe he’s not Brother Blood yet, as I posited last time, but Alderman Sebastian Blood, defender of The Glades, certainly is a thorn in Oliver’s side. Perhaps this will lead to our hero running for mayor as he did in the comics?

Green arrows, red arrows, black canaries, and brothers blood, that’s all good, but that’s not the big comics surprise in this episode. That would be the Bronze Tiger, played by Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite” and Spawn). Here, he’s China White’s new partner, but in the comics, he was a member of the League of Assassins, and served in the Suicide Squad, ironically alongside Deadshot and Count Vertigo. More Wolverine than Bronze Tiger, he’s still bad ass.

There were many things I didn’t like. Laurel is annoying in hunter mode. If she is the Black Canary, I hope she’s not mining this personality. Thea is not making a believable grown-up, no matter how adult her dresses are. And I prefer Felicity as nerd girl rather than pretty whiner. Is she shopping at the same fashion designer as Thea?

There was a nice namedrop for writer Jeff Lemire this episode. I also loved the use of the first trick arrows – the electric arrow and the handcuff arrow. Can the Arrowcar and the boxing glove arrow be far behind? Next week, we get the resolution to our juicy cliffhanger, the Dollmaker, and the Canary uncaged…

Advertisements

Arrow S02 E01: "City of Heroes"

We begin, as always, on the island, but much like how things are on Joss Whedon’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” nothing is what it seems. This isn’t a flashback, this is the present day. Oliver is on the island, yes, but Diggle and Felicity are coming to find him.

Some time has passed since last season. Well, obviously. Oliver ran away after failing Starling City and losing his best friend. His mom is now in prison, Iron Heights, and Queen Consolidated is ripe for hostile takeover by a company called Stellmoor International. So Diggle and Felicity have come to bring our hero home.

It’s worth noting that in the comics, the New 52 continuity specifically, Stellmoor International does in fact buy out Queen Industries. CEO Simon Lacroix, an enemy of Robert Queen, Oliver’s father, is also the super-villain called Komodo, one of Green Arrow’s rogues gallery. Notably in the comics, the evil archer known as Komodo also killed Robert Queen.

Speaking of comics parallels, there’s an opening for mayor of the city, a position Oliver Queen has held, and there’s a church and a guy named Blood in the Glades… it couldn’t be Brother Blood, and the Church of Blood, could it?

There are also more than a few name drops of Central City. I guess they are already prepping for the Flash two-parter in December and planned spin-off. Speaking of masked vigilantes, in the wake of the destruction of the Glades and the missing Hood, it seems others have taken up the slack. Roy Harper is one, a gang called the Hoods are others.

Genre and fan favorite Summer Glau plays Isobel Rochev, head of acquisitions for Stellmoor. As much as I like her, she’s unconvincing here, but I guess we’ll be seeing more of her. The returning cast is excellent as always, more comfortable in their roles, Emily Bett Rickards continues to be my breakout favorite, and Stephen Amell’s bare chest should still get its own credit.

“City of Heroes” is a very angsty episode. Thea won’t visit her mom in prison. Laurel won’t get back with Oliver because of Tommy. Oliver won’t become the Hood again. That last one is because of guilt, and Tommy’s calling him a murderer. It’s so good that they are finally facing up to that factor of this version of Green Arrow. I don’t like my heroes to be serial killers. This is a good thing.

Speaking of good things, the best part of the episode is in the last five minutes. It’s not just Oliver deciding on a new name for his non-vigilante hero identity. While Roy is out amateur vigilant-ing, he gets in over his head and is saved by a masked blonde in black leather. Could this be… the Black Canary?

Tune in next week, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel… for the return of China White, and rumor has it… the Bronze Tiger!

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: Sacrifice

Finally we’re at the season finale of “Arrow.” It’s been a long road, sometimes bumpy, sometimes kinda cool. We enter shortly after we last left our hero. Stephen Amell’s Oliver was unmasked and unconscious, and at the mercy of John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn. Amell’s chest makes a welcome return as Barrowman plays Bond villain and gloats a bit before leaving our hero hanging chained and flashbacking.

After a pretty dynamic escape, wishy-washily aided by Diggle, Oliver jumps from character to character playing emotional catch up. There’s a real sense of finality to it all. Tommy to potential villain, Laurel to potential girlfriend, Quentin to potential ally, everything but Arrow to the rescue. There’s a nice bit while Felicity is taken in for questioning, and she channels “Smallville”‘s Chloe to Detective Lance, saying maybe The Hood is a hero.

As the gears begin to click together, it seems that Moira Queen is more of a hero than anyone else in the cast. She calls a press conference, revealing The Undertaking and naming Merlyn responsible. The problems? You can’t stop John Barrowman, and Thea goes to The Glades to get Roy. Meanwhile Oliver and Diggle go after Merlyn while Felicity and Quentin look for the Markov Device. Why do I get the feeling someone’s not making it out of this alive?

I have to say I was surprised who it was that wasn’t going to make it. I have to wonder if it was a last minute decision by the showrunners as well. In hindsight, it seems to be more tidying up than anything else. I liked Tommy a lot, and would have dug his young, hip, and vengeful Merlyn the Magician.

The one thing that really bothered me about this episode was the lack of resolution, both on the island, and in the present. While the thinking behind Merlyn’s redundancy plan is sound and logical, it’s very unsatisfying storywise. I don’t want to see the hero lose. Maybe that’s something they can work in next season…

Arrow: Darkness on the Edge of Town

Not the final episode of the season, but this is what all roads have been leading up to on “Arrow.” We know what The Undertaking is – some sort of seismic device that will level The Glades, and Malcolm Merlyn is behind it. Can Oliver stop him, and save the city? The clock is ticking.

The episode begins with a late night killing raid on Unidac Industries by the Black Archer. Unidac is of course the company that made the Markov Device. Killed in the attack, Brion Markov, who in the comics, is Geo-Force. Just so we wouldn’t have a fast paced action adventure show, we’re stalled by more romantic parrying between Oliver and Laurel. It’s getting monotonous.

Meanwhile the two Speedies, Thea and Roy, are still stalking The Hood. It doesn’t take a genius to know they will be in the middle of it when the Markov Device goes off, and also likely for Hood vs. Archer, round two, as well. I hope we’re not headed toward Thea dying and Roy joining Oliver under the name Speedy.

But let’s not say this series can’t surprise me. A clever ploy by Oliver and Diggle forces Moira to confess the specifics of The Undertaking. Nice to see Diggle back in the Arrow togs though.

Revelations continue on the island, in flashback of course. Fyers plans to blow up all planes entering or leaving Chinese airspace to destabilize their economy. He has set Yao Fei up as the fall guy, after blackmailing him by shooting up Ollie, Shado, and Deathstroke. Fun reference for the comics folks, the first target is a passenger jet from Ferris Aircraft.

Back in the now, the Markov Device must be found, and the only way to find out is through the mainframe at Merlyn’s corporate headquarters, thus demanding a break-in with all of the Arrow crew. Nice to see Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity going all Oceans 11. Oh yeah, I want a Big Belly Burger jacket like Felicity’s if there’s anyone listening who can do anything about such a thing. I’ll take a XX.

What I don’t get is that as soon as Oliver knows for sure what The Undertaking is, and who’s behind it – what dies he do? Try to find the Markov Device? Showdown with Merlyn? Any kind of Arrow action? Nope. Booty call with Laurel. And quite possibly creating a new archenemy in Tommy. Yep, we’re back to bad idea theater.

Eventually The Hood does go after Malcolm, and we finally get to see John Barrowman do something other than talk and look pretty. Not for the first time, he hands Oliver his ass, this time getting a look under the hood. A perfect cliffhanger to lead into the season finale.

Arrow: Home Invasion

Deadshot has been a growing threat in the world of “Arrow.” While a minor Batman villain and Suicide Squad superstar in the comics, here he is a one-eyed super-assassin for hire. His most twisted attribute, besides the weird red eye piece, is his penchant for tattooing the names of his victims on his body.

His biggest claim to infamy on the series is that he killed John Diggle’s brother. Diggle is now obsessed, perhaps ever more so than Oliver. Not only is revenge biting his ass, but Diggle’s can’t really move his relationship with his sister-in-law (his late bro’s wife) until Deadshot is dealt with.

We open on Diggle training with Oliver, while Deadshot makes another hit. Felicity has hacked into ARGUS and is tracking Deadshot. I really have to wonder where this is going with ARGUS. Is there a Justice League in Oliver’s future? Probably not, as this ARGUS acronym isn’t the same as the comics.

Diggle’s contact in ARGUS has a little more fire. Named Lyla in the show, she’s given the surname Michaels in the Arrow companion comic. Lyla Michaels is the real name of Harbinger, a power player in DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths way back in 1985. Harbinger was missioned with the task of collecting the superheroes who would then save the universe/multiverse. Harbinger is even her codename in the show. What an interesting connection.

The opening shoves a whole lot of plot, subplot, and information into a very short amount of time, so much so, my head began to spin a bit. The current dynamic of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity is counterpointed by the flashback dynamic of Oliver, Deathstroke, and Shado. We also learn Oliver is lunchdating Laurel even though he’s on the outs with Tommy. Bad, Oliver, just the first of many bad decisions this episode.

This is all under eight minutes, before the credit sequence. We are also introduced the main plot/subplot of this episode. Laurel is working with a family who were testifying against a bad man, List-worthy, but surprisingly not on it – it could be his dumb name, Edward Rasmus. His hired killer, Mr. Blank, gets the parents but misses the seven year old son. Laurel takes the kid in. Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that most times when you add a kid, you’ve jumped the shark.

This is all in about ten minutes. The episode hasn’t really even started. It doesn’t get less complicated as the episode continues. After a few awkward moments between ex-friends Oliver and Tommy, some bonding between Tommy and the kid, and a fairly cool scene where Mr. Blank attacks Laurel, the couple and the kid move in with the Queens to enjoy the heavy security there. I found that puzzling. Besides Diggle, Queen security has seemed extremely lame. Obviously it’s The Hood who will protect them, but Quentin Lance shouldn’t have agreed to it.

It gets very predictable at this point. There are newborn kittens who knew Oliver will be distracted with Deadshot the next time Mr. Blank attacks, letting everyone down, duh. Or the other way around, although it should have been the former. As one would expect, Oliver makes the bad choice. The worst choice, and we lose Diggle over it. At this point, the only thing that could make this worse would be an appearance by the Huntress.

Speaking of bad choices, on the island, while being trained in archery, Oliver kisses Shado. For comics fans, we know how that works out. The cliffhanger here finally means forward motion on the island at least.

Mr. Blank is an intriguing villain, played by J. August Richards, formerly of “Angel.” He reminds me a lot of Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative in Serenity. He’s very calm, very precise, and likes to make conversation with his prey. He was a very suitable foe for this version of Green Arrow. His clash with Oliver is perhaps one if the best of the series so far.

As if there’s not enough going on, Roy Harper, who is apparently dating fellow Speedy, Oliver’s sister Thea, is trying to track down The Hood. There is a good scene where finally it’s addressed that The Hood is a murderer. Finally. Thea agrees to help Roy find The Hood. More shark jumping in the form of idiotic 1950s secret identity protection? I hope not, cuz that’s what breaks up Tommy and Laurel. Worst case scenario – Oliver takes on a teenage sidekick (or two) to replace Diggle. I know it’s the natural progression, but damn it, I liked David Ramsey’s Diggle a lot.

This was a very uneven episode, save some great character bits, a throwaway Wonder Twins reference, and of course, Mr. Blank. Only three more episodes to go, I wonder how it’s going to go…

Arrow: Salvation

Oliver may need to step aside. It seems there a new vigilante in Starling City who calls himself The Savior, and he’s got his own list he’s checking names off of. In a present day twist on the Joker’s old MO, he announces (and commits) his crimes via every cellphone (almost Sherlock-ian) in the city. Apparently, he’s a department of transportation worker by day, but has some fighting and computer skills as a vigilante at night. I wonder what island he was stranded on?

The catch? Roy Harper is on the Savior’s list, and he nabs him right in the middle of one of Roy and Thea’s annoying anti-flirtations. From what we’ve seen of Roy so far, and what we know of his possible future, I can’t imagine how the Savior got the drop on him. So of course we get to see Oliver in another race against time. Ho-hum.

Oliver does some crazy almost bionic style jumps in this episode, as well as some insane parkour. Man, Deathstroke must have taught him well. Stephen Amell’s chest also makes a return as a cast member. The huge gay audience that I recently learned “Arrow” has will be pleased by that news.

The subplots roll on. Moira and Frank (Chen, not Bertinelli) continue to plot against Malcolm, with mixed results. Laurel and her folks continue to search for the thought dead Sarah, though also not with the results expected. On the island, Shado and Yao Fei join Oliver and Slade’s resistance.

Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance has the best line of the episode, “Got to get going to airport, that red eye to Central City. I should be home in a flash.” Love it! More, please.

Next episode, Count Verti-, ahem, I mean The Count returns. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel…

Arrow: The Huntress Returns

I am sure that I’ve mentioned several times what not-a-fan I am of Jessica De Gouw, so I guess you all know how I feel about her character’s return to “Arrow.” I must admit to being puzzled by this episode’s title, because, even though most comics fans know that Helena Bertinelli is the Huntress, they have never yet called her that on the show. At least Oliver was referenced as Green Arrow once, even if it was a throwaway comment.

In the opening sequence, Helena corners her gangster father’s lawyer in a strip club. She’s looking for her father who’s in an FBI safe house. In a nice touch, Helena is wearing a pseudo-stripper costume quite similar to one of the costumes the Huntress wore in the comics. And of course, she still has her crossbow. And like former flame Oliver, her taste for blood.

Filed under subplots and soap opera, Laurel’s mom, played by genre favorite Alex Kingston, is back in town after a long absence, and she insists that her dead daughter, and guilt foundation for Oliver, Sarah, is still alive. Quentin, over-reactionary as always, isn’t buying it.

Also in that folder, Oliver’s club is about to open, and he’s getting more than serious about McKenna, sounds like the perfect time for psycho ex-girlfriend vigilantes to come calling. Oh yeah, and Mia ran into Roy again, and tried to get him employed at the club. Is there a romance between the two potential Speedies brewing? It’s funny, but they’d be perfect for each other. They like all the same stuff…

Helena is in town to kill her dad. Apparently he cut a deal and will be getting a new identity. She drops in on Oliver just as he starts looking for her. She says she needs his help to get her father, as she can’t do it alone. Helena as a character here on “Arrow” is certainly unstable, and sadly Jessica De Gouw’s acting has not improved. Remarkably, she’s become even less likable now. Appropriately, Oliver and Diggle are treating her as a villain.

Tommy is having a bad day. He’s on the outs with Oliver cuz he can’t trust him any more. Helena beat the crap out if him. And Laurel has called it quits cuz he can’t be honest with her. Whereas at first I thought that Tommy becomes Merlyn the Magician, now I’m thinking perhaps his death is what cements the enmity between Arrow and Merlyn. Thoughts? Let’s face it, no matter what happens, Tommy is no Jimmy Olsen.

Nice touches this episode include the name of Oliver’s club (Verdant means green), Roy Harper being afraid of needles, the shout out to Coast City, and of course the all too short cameo of DJ Steve Aoki. And at last, somebody (Quentin Lance in this case) finally calls Helena the Huntress. Finally also, spoilers for those who haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’m gonna miss McKenna a lot.

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…

Arrow: Vertigo

Back in the day, let’s say the 1950s, back when Green Arrow was literally Batman with a bow, he had a serious rogues gallery. There were a multitude of bizarre criminals who menaced Star City on a regular basis. True, most of them spun on the unoriginal twist of using some sort of bow and arrow motif, but Green Arrow and Speedy had lots of enemies.

The 1970s came along, Speedy got hooked on heroin and left his mentor, Green Arrow, who had changed his costume and facial hair to a more modern look, and turned his aim on social issues rather than super-villains. By the end of the decade however, things had come full circle, and costumed criminals came back in vogue. The powers that be decided Green Arrow needed a rogues gallery, albeit a more believable one, without the mandatory bow and arrow.

Enter Count Vertigo. With a name like Werner Vertigo, what else could he become but a super-villain, right? The Count part comes from being the last member of the royal family of Vlatava, so he has the resources of a small eastern European nation behind him. Afflicted with a balance problem he had a device implanted in his head that prevented vertigo. After years of tinkering with it he found he could affect the balance of others, causing dizziness, and yes, I’ll say it, vertigo. He can also fly. No idea how he does that though.

Merlyn the Magician may the king of super-villains who use bows and arrows, and Green Arrow’s natural opposite number, but when most folks think of the emerald archer’s archenemy on the scale of a Joker or a Luthor, they think Count Vertigo.

But that’s the comics, on the “Arrow” TV series, things are a bit different. Vertigo is a new drug, one that got Oliver’s little sister in a car accident, and arrested in but one of last week‘s cliffhangers. And the drug lord pushing vertigo onto the streets is called The Count.

The hot button comics reference this episode is Thea’s middle name – Dearden. Not only is her nickname Speedy, but in the comics, Mia Dearden is the young girl who was the second person to take on the Speedy identity as Green Arrow’s sidekick. Is this homage or foreshadowing?

The Count, as played by Seth Gabel of “Fringe,” is very manic, theatrical, and dangerous in that mad villain unpredictable way. Brilliant casting, and great costuming, I kinda got a Captain John Hart vibe as well.

Nice to see the writers haven’t forgotten Oliver’s Russian Bratva connection, I just hope that they don’t forget to explain it. It’s also good to see The Count has not lost his Eastern European origins as well. I also like the explanation of his name. Nice touch. And the color of the drug itself? It’s green, like Count Vertigo’s color scheme in the comics.

Detective Quentin Lance’s outrageous grudge against Oliver is getting old, and kind of silly too. I do however like the cast addition of Janina Gavankar from “True Blood” as Detective McKenna Hall. With Laurel tied up with Tommy, Oliver needs a good potential romantic interest. Please don’t bring back the Huntress.

The Count is taken down, of course, but with the possibility of a return, and possibly more like the comics version next time. We’ll see. He reminded me a bit of Mark Hamill’s turn as the Trickster on the old “Flash” series on CBS. Maybe we will get powers and costumes next time.

In this week’s island flashback, we learn more about Yao Fei, Ed Fyers, Deathstroke and the terrorists there. We also see a slick trick make folks look dead. Don’t try this at home, kids. We also see, much too briefly, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak with some bad news for Oliver. But I’m sure we’ll get more of that next week, and hopefully more Felicity as well.