Arrow (2012-), based on the Green Arrow comic book character, follows the adventures of Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who, at first, shirks responsibility. But five years after he was presumed dead when his family’s yacht was lost at sea, Oliver returns to his home of Starling City and becomes a hooded vigilante. He uses a bow and arrow, as well as other skills he learned during his missing five years, to take down the criminals of Starling City. The fifth season of the show will be premiering on October 5th, 2016.
The show has many villains, who mostly originated from the comic books. Some were original Green Arrow villains while others have faced off against Wonder Woman and Batman. Their villainous origins are sometimes similar to the comics while others vary wildly. So check out How 19 Arrow Villains That Appeared On TV Compare To The Comics, including Malcolm Merlyn, Suicide Squad‘s Amanda Waller, and Deathstroke. Note, this article will have spoilers for the Arrow television show and the comic books related to these villains!
19. Malcolm Merlyn / Dark Archer
Malcolm Merlyn, played by John Barrowman (Zero Dark Thirty, Doctor Who, Torchwood), has been an important figure in Arrow since season one and has appeared in the spin-off shows The Flash (2014-) and Legends of Tomorrow (2016-). In the comics, Malcolm Merlyn’s real name is Arthur King. He first appeared in Justice League of America #94 (1971) and was tasked with assassinating Batman. It is revealed he previously dueled Green Arrow and won, similar to how he beats Oliver during their first showdown in Arrow. Merlyn would have killed Batman if his shot was not deflected by Green Arrow. When he fails to kill Batman, Merlyn is hunted by the League of Assassins, similar to the show (sans Batman).
In Arrow, Malcolm is the father of Tommy Merlyn and Oliver’s sister Thea Queen. His son was a creation of the Arrow television show who was introduced into the comics afterwards. He also did not have a wife who tragically died and spurred him into action in the comics, though this is a big part of his character on Arrow. After the death of his wife, Merlyn began plotting “The Undertaking,” a plan that involved completely destroying the Glades, the dangerous area where his wife died. He would eventually become the leader of the League of Assassins, something he never did in the comics.
18. Carrie Cutter / Cupid
Carrie Cutter, played by Amy Gumenick (Natalee Holloway, Supernatural), becomes Cupid, an Arrow-obsessed murderer. This is just like her counterpart in the comics, but their first meetings are very different. In the show, she falls in love with the Arrow after he saves her during the Mirakuru Massacre. Carrie practices archery and starts killing people to get the Arrow’s attention. Her comic incarnation killed Arrow’s enemies in order to get him to notice her.
In the comics, Cupid first appeared in Green Arrow/Black Canary #15 (2009) and she was a special-ops soldier, unlike the police woman she was in the TV show. She volunteered for a program that made her fearless. Some side effects of the program included extreme emotions involving love, memory loss, and increased strength. She went to Star City to murder her husband, who was never even mentioned in the show. Green Arrow, thinking Carrie’s husband was attacking her, shot an arrow into him. This started Carrie’s obsession with him. She even carved a heart with an arrow through it on her chest with his arrow. Unlike the comics, when she was defeated by Arrow in the show, Cupid became part of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad.
17. Daniel “Danny” Brickwell / Brick
“Daniel “Danny” Brickwell, played by Vinnie Jones (Snatch, X-Men: The Last Stand) in Arrow, is a thug who goes by the street name “Brick.” He’s a metahuman with super-tough, brick-like skin, and incredible strength. In the show, he killed Rebecca Merlyn as part of his gang initiation, but his comic book counterpart was an occasional ally of the Merlyn family. He actually hires Merlyn at one point to take down the Green Arrow.
In the show, he became a criminal mobster who planned on taking over the Glades, but he was stopped by Malcolm Merlyn and sent to prison. His comic book counterpart first appeared in Green Arrow #40 (2004) as a crime lord in Star City to get more gang territory and gang members. His business went well until the Amsterdam Disaster in Star City blew up his territory. Unlike his TV incarnation, Brick proves he does have some kindness in his heart when he defends innocent people and teams up with Green Arrow to stop drug induced crazies.
16. Floyd Lawton / Deadshot
An assassin who never misses his target, Floyd Lawton goes by the name Deadshot. In Arrow he was played by Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland). He returned from the war suffering from PTSD, which in turn led to drinking problems. This greatly affected his relationship with his wife Susie Lawton and his daughter Zoe. In the comics, Deadshot’s children are different. He had a son, Edward, and a daughter, Zoe, but they were later retconned so that he only had one child, Suchin.
He joined the marines in the comics, but he had a very different origin before his war days. As a teenager, his mother told Floyd to kill his abusive father. However, he missed shooting him and accidentally shot and killed his brother instead. He started training as a sharpshooter, vowing to never miss another shot again.
Also different from the comics: in the show he gets the name of his targets tattooed on his body after killing them. One of his victims was John Diggle’s brother. Later, Deadshot becomes a member of the Task Force X (the Suicide Squad) and sacrifices himself in order to save John, Lyla, and Cupid. While he does join the Suicide Squad in the comics, he never makes a heroic sacrifice like this.
15. Constantine Drakon
Constantine Drakon is a very different, and less important, character in the TV show Arrow than he is in the comics. In the show, he is a martial artist played by Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2) who became Hunt Multinational’s head of security. In the comics, Constantine Drakon is a ruthless Greek assassin. In Arrow, he is killed by the Hood when he fights him one-on-one. He did manage to hit the Hood with a bullet, and even caught one of his arrows like he does in the comics, but that didn’t save him.
His history in the comics is more in-depth and goes way back to when he was ten-years-old and murdered someone for the first time. Constantine’s first victim was his grandfather, who he killed just to see what it would feel like to end someone’s life. He was picked on for his small size, but after his first murder, he realized it didn’t bother him anymore. This led to his decision to become an assassin. He first met Green Arrow when he was contracted to kill monsters in Star City and cover any evidence linking his employers to the monsters. At one point, Constantine worked with Deathstroke to take on the Green Arrow and the two would have won if the Justice League did not appear.
14. Count Vertigo
There were two Count Vertigos in Arrow. The first Count Vertigo, played by Seth Gabel (Salem, Fringe, American Horror Story), was formerly known simply as The Count. He’s nothing like his comic book counterpart. He was a drug dealer and the creator of Vertigo. This drug makes people disoriented and feel excruciating pain. Its effects can last several days before the heart stops. The Count was killed by Oliver when he tried to murder Felicity.
The second Count Vertigo was Werner Zytle, played by Peter Stormare (Fargo, American Gods), and he is much more like his comic incarnation. In the show, Zytle changed the Vertigo formula slightly, so not only does it cause pain, it also causes the user to see their worst fear – a very Scarecrow-ish take on Count Vertigo. However, in the comics, there was no Vertigo drug. First appearing in World’s Finest Comics #251 (1978), Count Werner Zytle was born with an ear defect that affected his sense of balance. So he implanted a small electronic device into his brain to correct his balance issues. He made several adjustments to the device that allow him to distort people’s perceptions. Canary’s sonic cry was especially effective against Vertigo as it could overload his device. There is a confrontation between Count Vertigo and Black Canary in the TV show, but it mostly involves Canary fighting her greatest fears.
13. Chien Na Wei / China White
Better known as China White, Chien Na Wei is played by Kelly Hu (X2, Young Justice). She is a mercenary and assassin in the Chinese Triad, a criminal organization, in Arrow. She is not part of the Chinese Traid in the comics. Instead, she was the leader of a heroin cartel and has opium fields and a refinery on an unnamed island, when she was first introduced in Green Arrow Year One #3 (2007). Chien enslaved the natives of the island so they would have to work for her.
The show does not give China White much more of a backstory, but the tie-in comic book of Arrow does. According to the “China White” story, when she was a child, Chien was abused by her father. Her fear of him turned a streak of her hair white, which she was bullied for. Zhishan was the one who murdered her parents. After she stabbed a classmate with a pen, she began studying under Zhishan. Chien also died her hair completely white.
She has gone against Green Arrow numerous times in the show, including when she stole the Omega virus and was planning on selling it to the highest bidder. In the comics, her island was discovered by Oliver and along with the island inhabitants, had Chien arrested. This is the only time she appears in comics outside of the Arrowverse.
12. Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Colombiana, Spartacus: War of the Damned), works as the director of A.R.G.U.S and the leader of Task Force X. She is a minor antagonist of the show who sometimes operates as an anti-hero. Waller, in the comics, is also the head of these two organizations. But she does not have as much of a history with Green Arrow in the comics as he does on television.
On the TV show, Waller ships military weapons to the island Oliver is stranded on in order to take out a plane China White was on. She tried to force Oliver into working for her by kidnapping him and transporting him to China, and also kidnapped Diggle to convince him to work for her. When Deathstroke’s army takes over Starling City, Waller plans to send a drone strike to destroy them, uncaring for the innocent bystanders.
She is just as morally ambiguous in the comics as she is in the show, but her origins are very different. She first appears in Legends #1 (1986) as a widow from the Chicago projects whose son and daughter were killed on the streets. Waller started working in politics and became a congressional aide. During her time working there, she discovered the files on the Suicide Squadron. Inspired, she created a new version of the team, the Suicide Squad. The New 52 version of Amanda Waller is a much thinner and younger woman whose personal history is unknown.
11. Sebastian Blood / Brother Blood
Arrow’s Sebastian Blood, played by Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, Lucifer), befriended Oliver and became mayor of Starling City. There have been several Brother Blood’s in the comics. According to his legacy, the next person in the lineage must kill the previous in order to be named Brother Blood. No such legacy was introduced in Arrow. In the show, Blood grew up as a poor child in the Glades with an abusive father. He secretly worked with Slade Wilson to become mayor, which he never does in the comics. Blood became Slade’s third-in-command and leader of the Church of Blood. He was responsible for gathering Mirakuru soldiers and was planning on becoming a hero by guiding those who would be devastated by the disaster Deathstroke would create.
The first Brother Blood in the comics lived during the 1200s and was a high priest in Zandia. He wore the cloak of Christ, which was supposedly worn at the Last Supper, that had been corrupted. Blood ruled the nation for 60 years until he was killed by his son, beginning the legacy of Brother Blood. The first Brother Blood who appeared in comics was a cult leader. He first showed up in The New Teen Titans #21 (1982), and was not a villain of Green Arrow. Blood would mostly take on the Teen Titans and Animal Man.
10. Helena Bertinelli / Huntress
The daughter of Frank Bertinelli, played by Jessica De Gouw (Dracula, Underground), Helena Bertinelli’s goal was to destroy her father’s criminal empire after he had her fiancé killed in Arrow. He was killed for ratting on Bertinelli’s operations when in reality it was Helena who had been betraying her father. Helena’s fiancé was not in the comics. The most enduring version of her character first appeared in The Huntress #1 (1989). Her family was also involved in the Gotham Mafia and were killed, but not by Helena. She actually wanted revenge in the comics for the murder of her family and went after the people responsible, eventually becoming a vigilante who protected others. She joined other heroes like Batgirl and Black Canary in the Birds of Prey.
In Arrow, Oliver helps her become a vigilante and the two become lovers. The two had a falling out when she tried to kill her father and Oliver stopped her. She left the city, but returned to kill her father once again, taking people hostage in order to try and trade for her father. She was thwarted yet again by Oliver. In the comics, Helena Bertinelli as Huntress is much more of a heroine than a villain, but her methods are extremely harsh. One version of Helena is as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman who was Robin before taking on the Huntress mantle.
9. Nyssa Raatko / Nyssa al Ghul
Nyssa, played by Katrina Law (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Apparition), is a former member of the League of Assassins and Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter in the TV show. In the comics, she is Ra’s al Ghul’s first daughter and Talia al Ghul’s half-sister. She first appeared in Detective Comics #783 (2003). Ra’s worked with Nazis in WWII and Nyssa and her family were put into a concentration camp, with Ra leaving her behind. After her entire family dies and she escapes, Nyssa plots to kill him.
In the show, Nyssa was planning on leading the League until Ra’s set his sights on Oliver. Nyssa fell in love with Sara Lance despite her father’s objections, bringing her to Nanda Parbat and saving her life. She also trained her sister, Laurel, how to fight. For a short time she served as Ra’s al Ghul.
Nyssa faces off against her father in the comics and is able to mortally wound him, but Ra’s reveals this was part of his plan all along because he wanted to make his two daughters realize they were his rightful heirs. Very different from the show, which has Ra’s insisting Oliver take his place and marry Nyssa. After Ra’s dies in the comics, Nyssa and Talia band together to take down Batman. However, Nyssa dies in a car explosion set up by Cassandra Cain so she can take over the League of Assassins.
8. Ra’s al Ghul
Both versions of Ra’s involve him being the leader of the League of Assassins. His name is Arabic for “The Demon’s Head.” The main man who functioned as Ra’s in Arrow was played by Matt Nable (Killer Elite, Riddick). Ra’s is Nyssa al Ghul’s father and Oliver Queen’s former mentor (and technically father-in-law when he was forced to marry Nyssa). Just like the comics, he has lived for centuries thanks to the power of the Lazarus Pits. During his first one-on-one sword fight with Oliver, Ra’s stabbed him in the chest and threw him off a cliff. His mantle was later taken on by Malcolm Merlyn and Nyssa al Ghul for a time.
In the comics, Ra’s is more of a Batman villain than a Green Arrow villain, first appearing in Batman #232 (1971). The comics also focus on his magical abilities, including the power to transfer his soul into another person’s body. His ultimate goal is to purge the world of crime and corruption. He wants Batman to become his successor but the Dark Knight refuses, despite his feelings for his daughter Talia al Ghul. This dynamic is similar to the one in Arrow between Oliver, Nyssa and Ra’s.
7. Dr. Anthony Ivo
The Dr. Anthony Ivo in Arrow is a scientist whose goal is to get his hands on Mirakuru, a deadly serum able to give users superhuman abilities. He wants toe serum to cure his wife, who is suffering from a severe mental illness. Professor Ivo in the comics does not have such a sympathetic cause. He is an insane scientist who first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #30 (1960). In his first appearance he confronts the Justice League of America with his machine Amazo.
In Arrow, Ivo leads the crew on the Amazo ship. “Amazo” is a reference to his greatest achievement in the comics. He created Amazo with Absorption Cell Technology, meaning his creature is capable of replicating the powers of metahumans that he meets. All the events that take place on the ship in the show are original. Nothing similar happens in the comics. Sara Lance comes aboard their ship after being stranded in the middle of the ocean when the Queen’s Gambit was attacked. She works with Ivo until she betrays him to help Oliver. Ivo does capture and interrogates Oliver in order to find the Mirakuru, and he manipulates him into confessing that he was responsible for killing Shado. He’s simply a mad scientist in the comics who creates various antagonists for the Justice League to fight, including Tomorrow Woman, Red Torpedo, Red Volcano, and The Amazoids.
6. William Tockman / Clock King
The Clock King, played by Robert Knepper (Prison Break, Transporter 3), is a bank robber who used to work for Kord Industries in the Arrow show. He has a terminal illness, MacGregor’s Syndrome, but used the money he stole to try and save his sister, who had cystic fibrosis. In the comics, Clock King’s first appearance was in World’s Finest #111 (1960) where he faced off against Green Arrow. His origins are very similar to Arrow in that he is suffering from a terminal illness and going on crime sprees to save his sister, not himself. He figures any jail sentence would be longer than the amount of time he has left.
In both the comics and the show, the Clock King is prevented from being with his sister when she dies because of a fight with Green Arrow. However, in the show, when The Arrow and The Canary stop him from getting more money, his sister dies alone. In the show, Green Arrow and Speedy capture him and he goes on trial. While in jail, Tockman finds out he is not dying; a doctor had accidentally switched his results with another patient’s. His sister passed away in a nursing home while he was in jail, so he swore to get revenge on Green Arrow and the doctor that wronged him. At one point in the comics he did join the Suicide Squad, but not during the show. Tockman is reintroduced in the New 52 as a gang leader in Seattle.
5. Noah Kuttler / Calculator
Noah Kuttler, nicknamed Calculator and played by Tom Amandes (The Untouchables, The Long Kiss Goodnight), is Donna Smoak’s ex-husband and Felicity’s father in Arrow. He abandoned both of them when Felicity was seven to escape jail time. This is very different from his family history in the comics. Calculator first appeared in Detective Comics #463 (1976) as a Batman villain. In one version of the character, he was put into a cage by his mother and could not come out until he solved a Rubik’s cube. He was later married but his wife committed suicide. They had two children, Wendy and Marvin, who left Kuttler to join the Teen Titans.
In Arrow, when Calculator discovers Roy Harper is a vigilante, Kuttler blackmails Roy into helping him. Calculator is hired to create a webnuke to take down Star City but is stopped by Team Arrow. He later tries to reconnect with his daughter, but secretly only gets close to her so he can steal data from Palmer Technologies. Noah does go against Damien Darhk and takes a bullet to save his daughter’s life. In the comics, he has fought against the Birds of Prey and had a data battle with Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle. Felicity is very similar to her, what with her cyber know-how.
4. Slade Wilson / Deathstroke
Slade Wilson, played by Manu Bennett (The Hobbit, 30 Days of Night), is a very different character in the show, since he was not a Green Arrow villain in the comics. On Arrow he was Oliver’s friend on the island. He fell in love with Shado, who was killed by Professor Ivo. When he discovered Oliver blamed himself for her murder, Slade became obsessed with killing him. After supposedly dying by Oliver’s hand on the Amazo, he returns as the main antagonist Deathstroke in season 2. His plan was to make Oliver suffer the way he suffered. Slade kills Oliver’s mother and plans on destroying the city using Brother Blood to create an army of Mirakuru infected warriors.
A regular villain of the Teen Titans and not Green Arrow in the comics, Slade Wilson first appeared in The New Teen Titans #2 (1980). At 16, he lied about his age and joined the army. His guerilla warfare skills quickly got him to rise ranks. He developed a romantic relationship with his commanding officer Adeline Kane and had a son with her, Grant Wilson. Slade volunteered for a secret medical experiment. He was told it was to combat Truth Serum, but it was really to create a super human soldier. The experiment had a volatile effect on Slade, making him extremely aggressive. He was sedated and bedridden during the birth of his second son, Joseph Wilson. He would go on to have a daughter, Rose Wilson. None of his kids, nor his wife, were mentioned in Arrow, just his romantic interest in Shado.
When he finally recovered, Slade discovered the experiment gave him enhanced strength, speed, intelligence, and reflexes. He took on the Deathstroke, the Terminator persona after he was discharged from the army for disobeying orders. He is one of the best assassins in the DC Universe, taking on the likes of the Teen Titans, the Justice League, Green Arrow, and the Gods.
3. Baron Reiter
In Arrow, the Baron was the leader of a secret operation run by Shadowspire in Lian Yu, and he was played by Jimmy Akingbola (Holby Blue). Known as Baron Blitzkrieg in the comics, Reiter first appeared in World’s Finest #246 (1977). He was never a part of Shadowspire, but instead was one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite men and a commander in a concentration camp.
In Arrow, Baron’s village was destroyed by bandits and he could not stop them. In 2010, he has an island encampment known as “Purgatory,” which houses his drug-harvesting operation and implements slave labor to harvest the plants required to create the drug Slam. He meets Oliver when he is captured by Shadowspire and realized he is famous. He gives Oliver a job in his ranks. Reiter later tortures Oliver in order to find out what the markings on his skin are. Despite everything he puts Oliver through, the Baron convinces Taiana to look after Oliver as if he were her brother.
Unlike the show, in the comics a vial of acid was thrown in the Baron’s face. Hitler tries to get surgeons to fix his face and when they failed, he had scientists tap into Reiter’s latent psychic powers, something he did not have in the show. This is how Baron Blitzkreig developed his enhanced strength, agility, and endurance as well as heat vision and the ability to fly. He has fought the All-Star Squadron and Wonder Woman. His head was blown off by Superboy-Prime in Infinite Crisis.
2. Lonnie Machin / Anarky
Originally a mob enforcer in Arrow, Lonnie Machin, played by Alexander Calvert (The Returned, Scream: The TV Series), was hired by H.I.V.E. to stop Jessica Danforth from running for mayor. This is very different from his comic book counterpart. In the comics, Lonnie was never a mob enforcer, but was instead a 12-year-old boy. He first appeared in Detective Comics #608 (1989) and is supposedly the Joker’s son. He was extremely intelligent and a skillful computer hacker. Lonnie was only 12 when he first donned the Anarky costume because he was angry at corporation and the elite for being so corrupt.
In the comics, he assaulted several CEO’s and celebrities and left clues in newspapers to where he would attack next. Captured by Batman, Lonnie was taken to the Gotham Juvenile Corrections Hall. He later went on to create a machine that fused the two sides of his brain and made him super smart. Arrow took a different direction. Anarky was disfigured when Speedy knocked him into chemicals and used Lonnie’s electronic baton, which set him on fire. Lonnie became an anarchist called Anarky and wanted to destroy H.I.V.E., Damien Darhk, and Green Arrow. He leaves an Anarky symbol behind as his signature.
1. Damien Darhk
Damien plays a much more important role on TV than he did in the comics. In Arrow, he is the former friend turned nemesis of Ra’s al Ghul, Damien Darhk is played by Neal McDonough (Minority Report, Captain America). He was one of the heirs who could possibly be chosen Ra’s’ successor. When someone else was chosen to lead, Damien was supposed to be killed. Instead, he escaped and took some of the Lazarus Pit water and loyal followers, creating H.I.V.E. With this new organization, Damien was creating his own version of the League of Assassins.
Mostly unlike his TV companion, in the comics, Damien was only a member of H.I.V.E. who said he was an important part in the criminal underworld. He first appeared in The Titans #12 (2000). One version of the character was made immortal when, after getting stabbed and and dying, his blood mixed with Adeline Kane and allowed him to live forever. He used unique technology no one else had.
In Arrow, Damien dabbled with sorcery and demonstrated his telekinetic abilities, something he never does in the comics. His magical skills were so powerful, he even scared John Constantine. Damien decided to destroy Star City, killing tens of thousands with a nuclear missile. He was never so deadly in the comics, despite the perks of immortality. He did have a pretty rad trench coat though.