Straight as an …
by Jim Smith
The new millennium brought us Smallville, a show that followed a young Clark Kent through adolescence. Darker and more angst-ridden than previous looks into the Superman mythos, Smallville was a smash hit and ran for ten seasons. One of the principles the producers held to was “no flights / no tights” until the final season. It set a new tone for superhero TV shows.
The same theme was followed in 2002 in Birds of Prey, but the TV-watching population had only enough geek in it for one show, and BoP died a premature death. Likewise, in 2006, Aquaman never made it past a pilot episode.
This year, we have a new superhero show to geek out over in the CW’s Arrow. Arrow will follow the adventures of billionaire playboy Oliver Queen who dons a green hood and fights crime as the Arrow.
The Arrow will be a slightly different character than the Green Arrow character from Smallville and the comics. To help promote the series,
DC produced a 10-page comic book to serve as a prelude to the series. The cover of the comic was created by iconic comic artist Mike Grell who oversaw the most successful period of the Green Arrow’s comic book existence.
The Smallville iteration of Green Arrow was analogous to the early days of the Green Arrow character in the comics, using a variety of trick arrows to fight crime in a non-lethal, classic superhero-ish way. In 1987, after 46 years as a co-star and back-up feature in other hero’s mainline titles, Green Arrow got his own title under the leadership of the aforementioned Grell, starting with a three-issue limited series entitled Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. This new series saw Green Arrow abandon his trademark gadget arrows in favor of simple razorpoint hunting arrows. The series was part of DC’s new “grown up” comic lines, which were printed in a prestige (glossy paper) format, and featured darker themes and more mature storylines, which included the abduction and savage torture of Green Arrow’s super-powered love interest, Black Canary. Another more mature theme is Green Arrow adopting the belief that sometimes, he has to kill in order for justice to be served.
From the previews, Arrow will draw heavily on the Grell-inspired Longbow Hunters period of the character. The costume is very similar to the costume adopted by Green Arrow in The Longbow Hunters (for the record, so was the version in Smallville), and the previews I have seen didn’t show any gadget arrows.
While there will have to be some pretty deep backstory in the first few episodes for those who are new to the Green Arrow mythos, the show descriptions seem to promise a good bit of action starting with episode one. Early episode titles like “Lone Gunmen”, “Damaged”, “Muse of Fire”, and “Vendetta” offer a tantalizing taste of action and super-hero geekgasms to come in this eagerly anticipated series.