It's unfair to completely dismiss Green Arrow as a second-rate rip-off of Batman. While Oliver Queen and Roy Harper came to be written as carbon copies of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson during The Silver Age of Comic Books, Oliver Queen was originally an archaeologist in the same mold as Indiana Jones rather than a billionaire playboy. Green Arrow was also likely inspired by a popular 1940 film serial titled The Green Archer, which was about a masked vigilante with a bow.
Still, it cannot be denied that Oliver Queen and Roy Harper borrowed a fair bit from Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson over the years. The series Arrow certainly borrowed a lot from the Batman mythos, with comparisons to the film Batman Begins dogging the first season. Minor Batman villains such as Firefly and The Dollmaker were pitted against Oliver Queen and his associates, with Ra’s al Ghul himself becoming the primary villain of Arrow’s third season!
Despite this, the shows of the Arrowverse have mostly been subtle in paying homage to DC Comics’ most famous billionaire playboy vigilante, if only because of the legal issues involved in direct mention of Batman and the other characters based in Gotham City.
With that in mind, here are 15 Batman Easter Eggs In The Arrowverse Fans Completely Missed.
15 Kara's Cousin and "The Vigilante"
In the opening scene of the Supergirl episode “The Darkest Place”, James Olsen and Winn Schott brag about themselves to an oblivious Kara Danvers as they discuss National City’s new masked hero, The Guardian. Unbeknownst to Kara, James is The Guardian, having become a costumed crime-fighter using technology and a suit designed by Winn.
To both men’s chagrin, Kara is less than impressed with The Guardian, despite admitting that he had helped her out in her battle with The Parasite. She finally admits that it has less to do with The Guardian in specific and more to deal with her opinion on masked vigilantes and people who hide their face in general thanks to her cousin Superman’s experiences. She says, “My cousin worked with a vigilante once. Tons of gadgets. Lots of demons. I mean, vigilantes are nuts!”
A vigilante who worked with Superman with tons of gadgets and demons? Sounds like Batman!
14 Barry's Phone on Earth-2
When Barry Allen and Cisco Ramon first traveled between worlds in The Flash episode “Welcome To Earth 2”, Barry was forced to replace his non-powered doppelganger as part of a plan to learn more about the evil speedster called Zoom. Discovering that he was married to Iris West in this reality, Barry went home with her and was astonished to find that he had a message from his mother asking that he call her.
Barry’s using the phone offered eagle-eyed viewers a quick glance at the speed-dial buttons on Earth-2 Barry’s landline telephone. In addition to the buttons for “Dad” and “Mom and Dad”, there are also buttons for Bruce, Hal, and Diana. This would seem to be a hint that Barry’s doppelganger is friends with the Earth-2 versions of Bruce Wayne (Batman), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman).
13 Rip Hunter foretells the fall of the Dark Knight
Rip Hunter is quite likely the most widely traveled of all the heroes in The Arrowverse. John Constantine may have literally been to Hell and back, and Oliver Queen and Sara Lance may have experienced five years in a metaphorical hell as part of their travels around the world, but Rip Hunter has traveled the whole of Time itself!
Mere words could not express what Rip Hunter has seen in his travels and indeed he seemed reluctant to try explaining himself to those people he recruited for his team in Legends of Tomorrow. Still, in the episode “Blood Ties”, Rip did say that over the course of his life as a Time Master that he had seen “men of steel die and Dark Knights fall.”
Though the reference seemed lost on the Legends, fans thrilled at the thought that Superman and Batman had a place in The Arrowverse’s future.
Located about a half-hour’s drive from Gotham City, Bludhaven is one of the few cities to make Batman’s hometown look heavenly. Once known as “Asbestos Town, USA”, Bludhaven fell into disrepair after its two major industries – whaling and the manufacturing of carcinogenic fire-proofing materials – became illegal. After that, the city became a haven for organized crime and any crooked cops or politicians willing to work the system. It also became home to Dick Grayson, as he sought a place to make his name as Nightwing outside of Batman’s shadow.
Bludhaven has been referred to several times on Arrow. When Walter Steele was taken hostage by Malcolm Merlyn in “The Undertaking”, he was held in a low-income housing complex in Bludhaven. Tobias Church, the crimeboss who threatened Star City at the start of Arrow’s fifth season, was said to have taken over all the gangs in Bludhaven. The Arrow Season 2.5 comic also saw The Hood storm the hideout of a new Brother Blood, who was, appropriately enough, based in Bludhaven.
11 Harley Quinn
While many people hold negative opinions regarding the Suicide Squad movie, fans of the Arrowverse have a personal beef with the film. While reports differ as to who is responsible, it has been confirmed that orders from some higher-ups in the DCEU forced showrunners on Arrow to abandon their plans utilizing the Suicide Squad in order to prevent brand confusion with the movie versions of the characters.
In addition to sacrificing a major plot thread involving Deadshot, this also prevented the show from building upon an Easter egg hinting at the existence of Harley Quinn in the Arrowverse. Though never identified by name (and listed as “Deranged Female Inmate” in the episode credits), a blonde woman with pig-tails being held in ARGUS’ secret prison offered her skills as a licensed therapist to an arguing John Diggle and Lyla Michaels. Her voice was later identified as belonging to Tara Strong – the current official voice of Harley Quinn.
If Harley exists in the Arrowverse, then The Joker must exist. And if Mistah J exists, then so must Batman!
10 "We're Moving Back To Gotham!"
It’s a well-known fact that Gotham City isn’t considered to be a safe city. Between the Families who run all the organized crime and the costumed lunatics who dominate the disorganized crime, it’s hard for the few honest cops in the GCPD to keep the streets safe for all the ordinary people. Indeed, these conditions are part of what necessitate Bruce Wayne’s activities as Batman.
Despite that, there is at least one person who prefers the corruption of Gotham City to the excitement of supervillain attacks in National City. In “The Adventures of Supergirl” episode of Supergirl, Superman steps in to save a young couple and their son from being attacked by a hijacked drone. While the boy finds the experience thrilling, his father declares, “We are moving back to Gotham!”
Funny, yes, but it’s also the first confirmation that Gotham City exists on Earth-38.
9 The Flash Signal
The Bat-Signal is perhaps the most iconic means of summoning a superhero in all of comics. On the rooftop of Gotham City Police Headquarters, Commissioner Gordon lights the signal and emblazons the skies over Gotham City with Batman’s logo whenever he finds himself confronted with a challenge that the GCPD cannot handle on their own.
Saying that he got the idea from a comic book, Cisco made use of the same basic idea in The Flash episode “The Man Who Saved Central City”. Needing a way to lure the supervillain Atom Smasher out of hiding, Cisco developed a Flash-Signal that beamed Barry Allen’s symbol into the wild blue yonder.
Luckily for Cisco, Atom Smasher - showing an insight that no Batman villain to date had ever shown - figured he could follow the light and use it to find The Flash, falling into Cisco’s ambush.
8 Corto Maltese
Corto Maltese is a South American nation with a sinister reputation on two worlds. Deadshot was said to have operated out of the country in the Arrow episode "Lone Gunmen". On Earth-38, the same was said about John Corben - the mercenary who would become Metallo - in the Supergirl episode "The Adventures of Supergirl". Corto Maltese is also the nation Malcolm Merlyn fled to, with his daughter Thea in tow, at the end of Arrow's second season.
The origins of Corto Maltese lie in the classic Batman story The Dark Knight Returns. It was here that writer and artist Frank Miller first introduced the fictional banana republic as the center of an international crisis that eventually led to a battle between Batman and Superman. It’s also worth noting that the country was named in honor of an Italian adventure comic Miller was fond of, which detailed the exploits of a roguish sea-captain with a heart of gold.
7 James Fears Becoming Batman
In the second season Supergirl episode “City Of Lost Children”, James Olsen has a heart-to-heart talk with Winn Schott following his rescue of a young woman and the realization that the woman was more terrified of the Guardian than the men trying to mug her.
James talks about how his plans for The Guardian persona haven’t met his expectations and how he wanted to be a figure who inspired hope, like Supergirl and Superman. Unfortunately, the Guardian only seems to be capable of inspiring fear: “People see this big guy in this scary mask and they freak out. They run away. Just like Clark’s friend.”
Winn knows exactly which friend James is referring to, saying he always thought of them more as frenemies. As Winn says this, he places his upraised pointer-fingers on either side of his head in an obvious imitation of Batman’s famous mask.
6 Blackgate Penitentiary
While not as infamous as Arkham Asylum, Blackgate Penitentiary is an equally awful portion of Gotham City’s criminal justice system in the comics. Reportedly once condemned by Amnesty International, Blackgate is home to the worst of the worst among Gotham City’s non-insane criminals. Located on a small island in Gotham Bay, it was presumably modeled on the real-world prison Alcatraz and was home to the Penguin before he became “an upstanding bird.”
Blackgate was mentioned in “Flash Of Two Worlds” – the second episode of The Flash’s second season. Joe West investigates a potential metahuman named Eddie Slick – a career criminal Team Flash suspects of being involved in a recent arson. Joe determines that Eddie Slick (or at least, this Earth’s version of him) he can’t be their man because Eddie was being held in Blackgate Penitentiary – far away from Central City – on the night the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded.
5 Felicity and Oracle
When an attack by the Joker left her paralyzed, Barbara Gordon refused to give up being a hero. Utilizing her talents for computers and research, the woman who was once Batgirl reinvented herself as Oracle – a white-hat hacker and information broker for the forces of good. Felicity Smoak served a similar role for Team Arrow and comparisons between the two characters were made even before Felicity began working with the Canary in an obvious mirror of the comic Birds of Prey in Arrow's second season.
Steps were taken in Arrow’s fourth season to make the tribute more apparent. A mid-season attack by Damien Darhk left Felicity paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. The plan was reportedly for Felicity to officially take on the Oracle name in the Arrowverse but some higher-up said no. Instead, in the episode “A.W.O.L.”, Oliver gives Felicity the codename Overwatch, noting he “Was gonna go with Oracle, but its taken.”
4 The Dark Knight film exists on Earth One
Originally starting life as a companion Tumblr account to The Flash, The Chronicles of Cisco eventually inspired a web-series with the same title. The original Chronicles were written by Cisco “Vibe” Ramon, detailing his and Barry Allen’s adventures in crime-fighting from Cisco’s unique perspective, in much the same manner as Dr. Watson's accounts of his cases with Sherlock Holmes.
The February 16, 2016 post provided an interesting detail. While discussing his and Barry’s recent trip to Earth Two, Cisco describes the villain Zoom as “a maniacal speedster who makes Heath Ledger’s Joker look like Santa Clause.” Ignoring the question of whether or not Cisco was also dropping a reference to a certain Tim Allen movie or just fighting with Auto-Correct, this raises an interesting question – does The Joker exist on Earth One?
If so, would The Dark Knight have been treated like a historical drama detailing a famous criminal a la Bugsy or The Untouchables? The mind boggles at the possibilities.
3 Masks In The City
The first season Supergirl episode “Truth, Justice And The American Way” pits Kara Zor-El against a villain known as The Master Jailer. A former prison guard at Fort Rozz – the Kryptonian prison that crashed to Earth along with the rocket that carried Kara – The Master Jailer took on the identity of a National City police detective. He then hunted down and killed the aliens who had survived the destruction of Fort Rozz and assumed human identities on Earth.
When confronting The Master Jailer for the first time, Supergirl takes one look at his costume – a black, heavily-armored affair with a full face-concealing mask – and declares “I thought masks were only big in that other city.” From the context and The Master Jailer’s appearance, it’s clear that Kara is referring to Gotham City and its black-clad, armored Dark Knight.
2 Wayne Tech/Queen Inc. Merger
The pilot episode of The Flash astonished fans with how far it went in bringing a superhero to life on broadcast television. From numerous references to the original comics to some ground-breaking special effects, viewers were stunned. Yet nothing was quite so shocking as the end of the episode, in which it was revealed that Barry’s mentor, Harrison Wells, was apparently faking his paralysis and had access to a newspaper article from 2024.
Comics fans immediately recognized the above-the-fold headline as a nod to Crisis On Infinite Earths, with a mention of red skies and The Flash disappearing. Almost unnoticed beneath that was another headline which noted that a merger between Queen Inc. and Wayne Tech had just been completed.
Wayne Tech, of course, is one of the many businesses owned by Bruce Wayne in the comics and a nod that Bruce Wayne exists on Earth One, even if he is not Batman in this reality.
1 Oliver Queen - Name Dropper
The biggest Batman Easte egg of all came recently in "Tribute" - the second episode of Arrow's sixth season. The episode opens with Mayor Oliver Queen walking into city hall and facing a mob of reporters waiting to ask him about a photograph, leaked to Channel 52 News the night before, which seems to show an unmasked Oliver Queen in the costume of The Green Arrow.
Oliver’s response is brief, saying that he is going to tell the reporters two things they should already know – first, that he isn’t the Green Arrow and secondly that photos can be doctored. He then jokingly declares that “They could have put Bruce Wayne’s head on that body!” before asking his Chief of Staff in a mock whisper if Bruce Wayne had left Gotham to hang out in Star City recently.
Is there a Batman Easter egg that we missed? Let us know in the comments!