Monday, May 4, 2015

Arrow & The Flash are the Batman & Superman of the TV Universe

A month or so ago on his blog, Michael Offutt was talking about "Arrow" and the recent plot involving Oliver Queen being offered the chance to become Ra's al-Guhl, the head of the League of Assassins.  I mentioned that really they're just taking an old Batman comic book plot and replacing Batman with Green Arrow.

Which really isn't a surprise because all along they've set up "Arrow" as basically Batman with a bow instead of a grappling gun/Batarangs.  I mean the character himself is a billionaire playboy who suffers a trauma (later in life than Bruce Wayne) and decides to fight crime in impractical, flamboyant fashion.  At first he killed people but then like Batman decided to stop killing his enemies.  So I guess adding a major Batman villain to the mix makes sense.

Then I got thinking that if Arrow is Batman then The Flash is more like Superman.  Where Oliver Queen relies on conventional weapons and ninja training, Barry Allen accidentally came into superpowers, like how Clark Kent accidentally got superpowers by landing on Earth.

In the two-part crossover episode they really played up the contrast between the characters.  Goofy, naive Barry is horrified to see Oliver torture criminals for information, while no-nonsense Oliver sees it as a necessary evil.  That's the difference that has been shown in comics like The Dark Knight Returns where Superman is the Big Blue Boy Scout, the tool of the establishment, while Batman is the outlaw who beats up, tortures, or even kills anyone he thinks deserves it.  You can expect that to be shown again in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie, but right now you can get a taste of it on the small screen on the CW.

It's ironic though that at least pre-New 52, Oliver Queen was an old-time liberal who abhorred torture.  Take this panel from Justice League: Cry for Justice Issue #4

Of course at the end of that story he murders a bad guy who killed his granddaughter and maimed his son, which would be more in line with the TV version, at least at the beginning of the series.

Here's one of those Cosmo type quizzes for you:  are you an Ollie or a Barry?  I think as a Grumpy Bulldog I'm definitely more of an Oliver.  As people on many blogs and message boards can attest to, I do what I think is right and I don't really give a shit if other people think it's cool or not.   If people don't like my methods, too freaking bad for them.  I also own a dark green hooded sweatshirt and my mom has a bow and arrow, so I could totally go out and start fighting crime.

I think a lot of other people are more Barry-ish though.  Let me know in the comments!


  1. They're perfect foils for each other (Green Arrow vs The Flash and Batman vs Superman).

    Me personally, I'm not sure. People who know me would probably say I'm a little more Superman with some Batman sprinkled in when I'm cranky.

  2. I guess I'm more of a Barry. There was this Facebook quiz you would like called "What superhero are you." I didn't post mine, but I got quicksilver. Something about me being fast.

  3. You're right on the money that they are just borrowing plots from the bigger superheroes. However, I do like how things are coming together on the CW. These two shows are the highlight of my mid-week, and the guy they hired to play Barry Allen is fantastic.

  4. It really is a blatant rip off of Batman but a lot of superheroes from that era are. Considering Barman was originally just Superman with bat wings it's almost a compliment. I'm definitely Barry because I'm geeky like he is and hate torture.



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