Oliver Queen may have taken some time off from his Arrow persona over the holidays, but Starling City’s theatrical criminal community has been busy in his absence. First in line to heat things up for Ollie and his friends is the disfigured (and aptly-named) firebug Firefly.

The version of the criminal that fans will see in The CW’s budding new superhero drama may not have the look of the source material, but he’s sure to make an impression. The first images from Arrow‘s return on January 16 have been released, proving that Firefly will be a formidable opponent.

Fans may have been upset to see the inaugural run of Arrow take its break just as things were getting most interesting, but the second half of the first season is shaping up nicely. And it’s not as if Oliver hadn’t earned a break, after the thrashing doled out by the (no longer) mysterious Dark Archer.

Unfortunately that plot line will need to wait, as its already clear that with every substantial insight into the real villains of the series, a gallery of monsters-of-the-week are soon to follow – Firefly being the next in the spotlight.

Check out the first official images of Firefly in action, courtesy of CBR:

We’re not necessarily complaining, since the showrunners are turning to some reliable talent and classic comic book villains to swell the ranks. At any rate, SGU Stargate Universe alum Andrew Dunbar has undergone a substantial transformation for his role as disfigured and disgruntled fireman Garfield Lynns.

Again, his standard fireman uniform fits the show’s realistic tone better than steel wings or a bug-eyed helmet, but who knows what could lie in store? He is seen facing off against Ollie both in an out of costume. Either way, fans are in for some interesting practical effects, flamethrowers and firebombs the very least we can hope for.

The question has to be raised as to how much longer Arrow can continue to draw audiences without evolving beyond simple weekly villains (as fiery or deadly as they may be). We’re not totally convinced that won’t quickly become an issue (then again, it worked out fine for Smallville)  but so far the writers have given a few reasons for optimism.

Casting a proven actor as Deathstroke means he’ll be playing a larger role going forward, possibly even without the mask. That casting was even before The CW announced that Roy Harper would be making an appearance in the near future. Exactly how Roy will be integrated into the current cast, and how strongly the writers will be keeping to his source material is still up in the air. Whatever the case, Arrow will have two comic mainstays introduced and established by the end of the season; if they play their cards right, a sophomore season could go just about anywhere.

Firefly may not offer the largest physical threat to Oliver, but that doesn’t mean the Queen heir’s fight to reclaim his city from the shadowy cult encircling it will be a short one. If Firefly is being given a shot, then just about every DC Comics villain is in play. Which ones would you like to see in live-action next?

Arrow returns Wednesday, January 16, with ‘Burned’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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Source: ComicBookResources