This week, to acknowledge that his Facebook page hit 400,000 likes, Arrow lead actor Stephen Amell posted a 14min Q&A video in which he answered some fan questions that he had taken on his page. In response to one of them, he said that he believes a show should get better, should improve, as it went along in the season. And he firmly believes that every episode this season has been better than the one before. And I agree. It so happened that right after I saw that video, I saw this week’s episode of the show, with a ton of excitement locked in because it was going to debut one of my favourite superheroes, Barry Allen, in a pre-origin role.
And it was good. Good. GOOD more like it. Aside from a few small things that I found problematic, this episode is true to the spirit of the show, particularly this season where Starling City is transformed into the City of Heroes. More great scenes on the Island, more character drama, more top-notch action, a commitment to the idea of superheroes, and supervillains, and more on the epic cliffhanger that we had with the previous episode, something that is going to become a much more intrinsic part of this season.
Note: this review contains some minor spoilers.
Despite the fact that I liked Green Arrow in Justice League Unlimited and the portrayal of Oliver Queen in CW’s Arrow last year, I never really got on the character bandwagon to start reading the comics. Part of that was how he was handled in his guest appearances in Geoff Johns’ Justice League last year, and part general disinterest. But after fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started talking very highly of the series from when Jeff Lemire took over, that interest started to grow and now Green Arrow is one of my favourite books in the New 52.
With this week’s issue, Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino begin a new arc, The Outsiders War, and are set to explore much more of the character’s mythology than we’ve seen before. I still haven’t caught up to Lemire’s issues (its in the cards!!) but I have to say that across the last four issues, he has done some impressive work, and the artwork by Sorrentino and colourist Maiolo has been quite amazing. The new arc gets off to a really strong start and I am quite liking where things are going with respect to the various characters involved. If the future issues are anything like the previous issues, then this is definitely going to be a great arc.
Arrow has been building up a lot of steam for a while now. Till now we’ve been exposed to a lot of character drama in the show and season 2 has given us some new characters and situations to wrap our heads around. Season 2 has proven to be far superior to season 1 in pretty much every single way that matters and its been a hell of a ride. New characters like Brother Blood, Dr. Ivo, Black Canary and others have done really good work, while older characters like Detective Lance and Roy Harper have exceeded themselves. But nothing compares to what this week’s episode did with Moira Queen.
In the previous episodes there’s been an undercurrent of a mystery about the Queen family, something so bad that it could destroy the Queen family. Well guess what, State vs Queen reveals that episode in all its glory, and it pretty much throws Moira Queen’s court case for her complicity in the destruction of the Glades into turmoil. It was a rather unexpected twist, but not all that unexpected either since I had kind of been thinking along the same lines, I just got the scale of the whole thing wrong. And that’s not all that happens in this episode. We get to see kick-ass action on the Island too. And an old character from season 1 makes a return as well. Now that was a cliffhanger.
One of the best things about Arrow throughout its entire run so far is that the show makes a clear and successful effort at identifying with the larger setting that it is a part of, the DC Universe that has developed over decades of comics and and movies and television shows and what not. This has been a strength of the show since the start and it has presented some really interesting reimaginings of several characters like the titular hero and his posse of allies and his rogues gallery, some of which have transitioned over from the Batman-side of things.
This week’s episode was another such installment, and it brought back one of the fairly important villains of the first season, the assassin called Deadshot who, in the show’s continuity, is a personal nemesis of Ollie’s friend Diggle since he killed Diggle’s brother. The entire subplot involving Diggle and his revenge was one of the most intriguing elements of the first season and in this episode, its all back in full as Diggle gets to make a really, really tough call. And we get to see the Arrow version of ARGUS’ director, Amanda Waller.
Note: Contains some minor spoilers about the show.
Zero Year has finally kicked off for the non-Batman titles for DC and its been pretty good so far. Lots of interesting stories to say the least and this coming week promises to be even better with Batman #25 and Batgirl #25 hitting the stands as well, so good times to be had. Didn’t read too much outside of DC this time around, which is fine with me since I like my superheroes a particular way and other comics don’t interest me all that much really.
Read another graphic novel this week, mostly to catch up with a series I’m following right now, so that’s a bonus for the most part. I’d say I have a good thing going here if I can scrape in a graphic novel a week. Could be more, depending on certain things, but I’m fine I suppose.
If you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman movie trilogy and you’ve been watching CW’s Arrow of late, AND you hear that the new episode this week is titled League of Assassins, then you are going to be hyped up as hell. I certainly was. Having enjoyed (for the most part, all the scenes with the League of Shadows in the movies, and having some knowledge of Ra’s al Ghul outside of the trilogy, this week’s episode was something I’d been really, really looking forward to.
There are lots of great things in this episode, the best being the storyline consistency in terms of how the episode progresses the larger season-length narrative, and how it continues to build up all the characters, especially Ollie & Co, the Canary, and the Lances. Some of the characters, like Roy Harper and Brother Blood and Isabel Rochev took a backseat this week, but I didn’t mind that at all since the other characters had all the bases covered.
Note: This review contains spoilers for the identity of the masked vigilante who may/may not be Black Canary.
This is the month that marks a slew of DC releases which tie into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s ongoing Zero Year event for the Batman title. Whether a Bat-family title or otherwise, there are a lot of these comics, and the first among these is Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow #25, which takes a break from the ongoing events in that series to give us a flashback to the origins of the relationship between Oliver Queen and John Diggle.
Of course, if you recognize that name, then you are in the know as to some of what’s going to happen in the issue. Created for the CW Arrow, John Diggle has carved out a niche as a fan-favourite character and its great to see that he is transitioning to the comics. Reminds me of how Harley Quinn was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series and then transitioned to the comics, such that she is finally getting herself an ongoing series this month. As a flashback, this was a really good issue, despite a few flaws, but the overall effect is superb nonetheless.
The sign of a good show, especially in its early seasons, is that it needs to have a season-long arc. It needs to have a plot thread seeded throughout that particular season that progresses the overall story and moves the characters forward so that viewers are rewarded for sticking through with things. Additionally, the execution matters a lot, obviously. Do it with a heavy hand and the individual episodes come off the worse for it. Do it in bits and pieces, and you risk alienating viewers since each episode becomes a “situation of the week”.
This is where Arrow season 2 succeeds so well. We knew from the get go that there was going to be a major arc in this season, particularly since there were going to be a lot more heroes around in Starling this time and thus the stakes were going to be higher. The finale of season 1 contributed to that as well. So its really great to see that the “situation of the week” and the season-long arc are melded so well with each episode, and we are barely into the season!
Note: This review contains spoilers for the identity of the masked vigilante who may/may not be Black Canary.
Once you have established yourself as a fan favourite and have proven your worth, so to speak, the only way to go is up, unless you massively screw it all up. Its happened to several shows over the years. The big crucible point for a TV show these days is to bring in a high number of viewers every week, to maintain that interest on a high level. Too many shows these days get cut in the early stages of their very first season because the executives don’t have much faith in the property beyond the dollar point. Thankfully, that’s not something that CW’s Arrow is going to be doing any time soon.
The first season was received with great acclaim, despite some fair criticisms from various places and the second season has been doing things bigger and better right from the start and we are only two episodes in. Or we were, until this Wednesday, when the third episode of the season was aired, proving that in Green Arrow & Co. CW has a really hit franchise on its hands and that the people working behind the show are people who know what they are doing and what they want to do. Because damn, Broken Dolls was the best episode of the entire show, to date.
After the intensely action-packed season 2 pilot, Arrow returned this week with what proved to be an excellent follow-up. The pilot introduced us, however briefly, to a lot of new characters and this episode began to trot them out one by one even as we still dealt with the consequences of the destruction of the Glades from season 1’s finale, even though a year has gone by in-universe. The show has always dealt with the humane consequences of the Vigilante’s actions really well and this episode was no different.
Where last season was all about establishing Green Arrow in his “Year Zero” phase within Starling City, this season appears to be going for a “Year One” vibe. We know who the major players in Starling City are by now, despite all the reversals from “last” year and we get to see the cast expanded to include some really interesting characters, even as some of the important not-so-major characters return for another whack at both Starling and the Vigilante.
After several months of intense anticipation and speculation, the new season of CW’s Arrow premiered this week on Wednesday to much fanfare. Despite the 10 season success of Smallville, Arrow still proved to be a surprise hit and for most of its first season it enjoyed some really high ratings, although that had begun to head downwards by the time the season finale rolled around. Not so bad really though since the show had already been confirmed for a season 2 and from all that I was seeing, the marketing was fairly intense.
One of the things that characterised the first season was that the show had a dark, edgy feel to it, quite apart from the rather sunny disposition that was the norm with Smallville. It helped set the new show apart, especially since there was a distinct lack of any comic-y villains. With the new season, that’s obviously changing, since we’ve heard that Flash and Black Canary are going to guest star significantly, so really, even while the show is maintaining its dominant feel, it is going to reach out to the other side and give fans something… light-hearted. I’m all for that.