Letting Go of Superman: A Missing Arrow
All superhero comic fans adopt a spandex-clad hero, declaring something like, “Wolverine is my character.” It’s not always because you respire or relate to the hero. Something about the character just speaks to you.
Green Arrow, for example, is one of my characters. Before the 52 relaunch he was a type of failed father figure I never saw before. He had abandoned his son, cheated on his girlfriend and was a terribly self-righteous loudmouth. He was pretty far from who I was as a teenager and I didn’t want to be like him in those respects.
But he was the right type of flawed who was fun to watch. And his antics from becoming mayor of Star City to trapping Deathstroke with the help of the National Guard made for some fun read.
It’s not surprising that I’m watching CW’s Arrow with a critical eye. I’m not exactly judging it by its direct connection to the comic book material. There’s no need to see Ollie shooting someone using arrows tipped with boxing gloves.
However, some things are an essential part of what makes the character recognizable and every one of these reinterpretations from the Avengers movie to the recent Spider-man revamp (Here’s my opinion on the movie) helps reconsider what those essential qualities are.
So what does Arrow say about what is essentially Oliver Queen (other than removing the word green in his alter ego’s name)?
I really couldn’t tell you because they’re still developing the character and in a particularly smart way. Arrow uses a series of flashbacks to expand on his time on an island where we’re supposed to understand he got his skills and drive to become a vigilante.
It’s a great leap of faith watching and hoping that somehow these flashbacks will actually give an acceptable explanation of how a selfish playboy became the “guardian angel” of the Star City (their words, not mine). Until that resolution comes, I’m going to be cringing every time I hear Oliver’s internal monologues with its overly serious tone.
Arrow barely misses being a poor man’s Batman, which bad writers seem to fall into. You know, it could just be another rich man saves the day in costumes and gadgets. The unique thing between the two for was usually Oliver had horrible interpersonal relationship.
This tradition continues on the show. He is unable to relate to his sister, cheats on his girlfriend with her sister (now dead), and is unhappy with his mom’s remarriage.
But the other thing that differentiated the two was how obnoxiously liberal Oliver was. While Batman fought off criminal lunatics that reflected his own fractured psyche, Oliver practically called Hal Jordan a racist and legalized gay marriage in Star City when he was mayor (before New York).
I don’t necessarily need the show to go political. It’s CW, how much can I ask for after all. But when you’re only sending the rich criminals into jail, it doesn’t seem fair to me that you’re also killing or severely injuring bodyguards, who are probably mostly upper middle class.
Cesar R. Bustamante Jr.
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