Since The CW first aired Arrow in the fall of 2012, the network has set a new high standard for superhero adaptations on the small screen. While the executive producers of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were insisting that it wasn’t reasonable for viewers to expect to see the same things on TV as they’d see in a superhero movie, series like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow were bringing the likes of King Shark and Gorilla Grodd to life. The Supergirl series was another step forward, making audiences everywhere believe once again that a girl could fly.
Collectively known as The Arrowverse, these four series are a wonderful tribute to the classic comics of yesterday. The writers on these shows frequently work little tributes to these comics into their scripts, along with references to popular culture and other little in-jokes. Hunting for these Easter eggs adds another element of fun to these programs, which are already amusing enough of their own.
Some of the detail involved in these references is truly astonishing. The mind boggles at the effort the writers must have gone through in researching and rewriting these factoids to fit their stories.
With that in mind, here are 15 Mind-Blowing References You Completely Missed In The Arrowverse!
15. Legends of Tomorrow – Why Stein hates The Titanic
The third season of Legends of Tomorrow has seen the crew of The Waverider struggling to fix various anachronisms that have erupted across the whole of space and time following the team’s accidentally breaking Time itself at the end of the show’s second season. As the team is considering where to start this momentous task in the episode “Freakshow”, they detect an anachronism on board The Titanic just before the ship sank.
While most of the team is agreeable to making this their first mission, Professor Martin Stein is adamant that he will not set foot on The Titanic, adding “Whoever built that ship should be shot!”
This declaration is a not-so-subtle nod to one of the more famous roles of Victor Garber, who plays Stein.
14. The Flash – Marvel Comics exist in The Arrowverse?
Marvel Comics and DC Comics both have a long tradition of referencing and parodying one another. While the level of friendliness to the friendly rivalry has varied over the years, it is fairly common for the writers to drop references like Robin using the alias Peter Parker while posing as a photographer or someone telling Spider-Man that he’s no Superman.
Nevertheless, it was still jarring to hear Team Flash casually referring to DC’s “Marvelous” competitor this season. In “Therefore I Am”, Barry said that his Spider-Sense was tingling in regards to suspected super-villain Clifford DeVoe, in reference to Peter Parker’s psychic danger sense.
13. Supergirl – Clark’s Friend Chloe
The relationship between adoptive sisters Kara and Alex is one of the cornerstones of Supergirl. The two weren’t always so loving, however, as revealed in the episode “Midvale.” The flashback episode told the story of how Kara and Alex first forged the bonds of sisterhood while investigating the mysterious death of Jimmy Li – Kara’s first friend since coming to Earth.
Far from the investigative reporter and government agent they’ll become, the two girls seek some advice from a friend of Kara’s cousin, Clark. The friend is identified as being named Chloe, and Kara says that she has a “wall of weird.”
This is a clear reference to the Superman series Smallville, where a young Clark Kent was assisted by an original character named Chloe Sullivan, who charted the weird goings-on in their small town home on a “wall of weird.”
12. Arrow – Cayden James’ Targets
The battle between Star City’s vigilantes and the forces of master-hacker Cayden James have formed the central conflict of Arrow‘s sixth season. Most of James’ efforts in the first part of the season were based around robbing various companies and procuring the equipment he needed to construct a bomb capable of destroying Star City in one massive explosion.
The companies James has targeted may be familiar to die-hard DC Comics readers.
For instance, the nano-thermite James steals for the core of his bomb comes from The Sunderland Corporation. In the second volume of Swamp Thing, Sunderland Corp. was a corrupt organization that sought to capture Swamp Thing for their own twisted ends.
James also steals equipment from a company called Amertek. In the classic Superman comics, Amertek was a corrupt weapons manufacturer who employed John Henry Irons before he left the company to become the superhero Steel following Superman’s death.
11. Legends of Tomorrow – P.T. Barnum’s strongman costume
First appearing in Showcase #66, B’wanna Beast is mostly remembered today for being one of the strangest superheroes in existence. Granted phenomenal strength and stamina by a mystic pool in Africa, nature preserve ranger Mike Maxwell was also gifted with a mystic helmet that gave him the power to control animals. It also let him transform any animals he touched into chimera-like creatures with the properties of both animals.
When the first round of preview photos and trailers for Legends of Tomorrow‘s third season were released, some fans were stunned to see a muscular male figure in a distinctive leopard-fur mask. Unfortunately, the figure turned out to be a mere visual sight gag instead of the true B’wanna Beast. The character was a strongman in P.T. Barnum’s circus, whom the Legends met in the days before he established The Greatest Show on Earth.
10. The Flash – The world of Earth-15
“The Trial Of The Flash” saw Barry Allen having to balance being tried on murder charges with battling to save Central City from a metahuman dubbed Fallout, who unknowingly emitted radiation. When faced with a need to move the excess radiation somewhere in a hurry, Harry Wells suggested that Vibe use his powers to open a breach to the dead world of Earth-15.
While the numbers given to the various Earths of the Arrowverse don’t correspond precisely with the official listing of Earths in DC Comics’ Multiverse, this one was a direct nod. In the current DC Comics cosmology as well as in the post-Infinite Crisis cosmology, Earth-15 was a paradise world, protected by the heirs of the first great generation of heroes. Sadly, it was destroyed by the psychotic Superboy-Prime during Countdown to Final Crisis.
9. Supergirl – The Great Disaster from Kamandi
In the Supergirl episode “Legion of Super Heroes”, Brainiac-5 explains at one point why the people of the 31st century are so ignorant as to what life on Earth was like during the 21st century. Brainy describes an extinction-level event in 2455 that brought about the complete collapse of human civilization and destroyed most of the historical records, culture, art and music.
This description sounds uncannily like a probable future event known as The Great Disaster. Created by Jack Kirby as the impetus for his legendary comic book series Kamandi – The Last Boy On Earth, the Great Disaster brought about destruction on a global scale and all but destroyed the human race.
Originally believed to have taken place sometime between the present day and the rise of The Legion of Super Heroes in the 30th/31st century, it is now believed to take place on an alternate Earth called Earth-AD.
8. Arrow – Teen Titans nods in Deathstroke’s Return
Fans of Slade Wilson were thrilled to see Manu Bennett return to the role of Deathstroke for a two-part story in Arrow‘s sixth season. The episodes “Deathstroke Returns” and “Promises Kept”, which saw Oliver Queen helping Slade Wilson to find his estranged son, Joseph, gave the character a fitting send-off in order to better emphasize the DCEU version of Deathstroke.
Both episodes were filled with a number of references to the classic Teen Titans comics where Deathstroke first appeared.
Joseph Wilson, for instance, used the alias Kane Wolfman – a nod to Deathstroke’s co-creator Marv Wolfman. Joseph Wilson also disappeared while tracking down a mercenary group known as The Jackals. This was the same name of the organization that kidnapped a young Joseph Wilson to get to Slade in the original comics.
7. Legends of Tomorrow – Themyscira
The Legends of Tomorrow episode “Helen Hunt” saw The Legends struggling to take Helen of Troy back to Troy after the legendary beauty wound up in 1930s Hollywood. Unfortunately Helen – who was literally cursed to have men fight over her – did not want to return to her fate as a literal trophy wife, especially after meeting the warrior-women of the Legends. Sympathizing with Helen’s plight, team-hacker Zari came up with a solution.
After determining that recorded history said nothing about Helen’s fate after the Trojan War, Zari took Helen to a place where she could learn how to fight and not worry about men ever again. The episode ended as Zari’s shuttle pulled away from an idyllic island paradise, as the location clicker declared the island “THEMYSCIRA – 1253 BC.”
6. The Flash – The 1990s TV show with Prank
“The Elongated Knight Rises” saw Ralph Dibny having to become the hero Central City deserved when the second Trickster returned to plague the city along with his “murderous matriarch” – the original Trickster’s sidekick, Prank.
The entire episode is a gigantic love-letter to the 1990s The Flash TV series.
Corinne Bohrer – the actress playing Prank – originated the role opposite Mark Hamill’s Trickster. Photos from the older series are used to establish Prank’s existence in the Arrowverse. One of the pictures depicts Bohrer and Hamill with a baby. Presented as a family portrait with an infant Axel Walker, it’s truly a behind-the-scenes picture of the two actors with Hamill’s daughter, Chelsea.
5. Supergirl – Kara’s first cat is a nod to a classic Super-Pet
The Supergirl episode “Legion of Super Heroes” saw Brainiac-5 helping Kara restore her fractured psyche in the wake of her defeat at the hands of Reign. Trapped in a psychic landscape that resembled Kara’s apartment, Brainy theorized that Kara’s subconscious needed her to realize something before she woke from her coma. The key turned out to be a picture of a teenage Kara with Streaky – a stray cat whom helped Kara learn to control her powers, as she practiced repressing her super-strength so she could pet and hold the cat.
Kara Zor-El also owned a cat named Streaky in the classic Supergirl comics.
Streaky developed super-powers after being exposed to X-Kryptonite, which could give Earth animals Kryptonian powers. Streaky went on to join the Legion of Super Pets, along with Krypto The Super-Dog, Comet the Super-Horse, and Beppo The Super-Monkey.
4. Arrow – Felicity and William play Injustice 2
One of the more subtle delights of Arrow‘s sixth season has been watching Felicity Smoak’s interactions with Oliver Queen’s son, William. Now officially William’s step-mother, Felicity started out as William’s math tutor and babysitter while Oliver was off helping Slade Wilson find his son. When Oliver returned home in “Promises Kept”, he found William and Felicity, thick as thieves, playing a video game together.
The video game in question is Injustice 2 – a fighting game set in the DC Comics universe.
The game features several characters from the Arrowverse as playable characters, including Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Flash, Supergirl, The Atom, Firestorm, Deadshot, Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, and Vixen. None of these characters appear in the scene, however, as Felicity played Blue Beetle and William played Sub-Zero.
3. Legends of Tomorrow – The Grœnlendinga Saga
Few would credit Legends of Tomorrow with being incredibly concerned with historical accuracy. “Beebo The God Of War”, however, is surprisingly accurate in its portrayal of Leif Eriksson and Freydís Eiríksdóttir, at least as described in The Grœnlendinga Saga – one of two surviving Viking sagas regarding the colonization of America.
The Grœnlendinga Saga portrays Freydis as a conniving woman who cheats her business partners and conspires to have them killed so she can seize their wealth. Leif, by contrast, is a noble Christian soldier, who punishes his wicked sister and attempts to convert his fellow Vikings.
In the episode, Leif wishes to return to Greenland, heeding the words of the Christian monks who say that endless conquest will hurt their people. Freydis, on the other hand, wishes to continue fighting to conquer Vinland and uses a doll from the future to preach the war-like gospel of the Norse gods.
2. The Flash – Embiggening
When Ralph and Cisco finds themselves cut short by the metahuman thief Dwarfstar, it’s up to Harry Wells to restore them back to their normal size. Harry quickly reconstructs Cisco’s Speed Force Bazooka into an “embiggening bazooka” – a name he insists on using despite Iris West’s equally strong insistence that “embiggen” is not a real word.
The word “embiggen” was popularized by “Lisa the Iconoclast” – a 1996 episode of the The Simpsons, which revealed the town slogan of Springfield to be “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” While the writers of the Simpsons episode thought they were making up an original word, it turns out that an 1884 edition of the British journal Notes and Queries featured the word.
1. Supergirl – The classic Legion of Super Heroes villain Computo
Near the end of the Supergirl episode “For Good”, Mon-El makes reference to once having used hacked drones with Brainiac-5 to fight a villain called Computo. While the name may be incredibly goofy by modern standards, Computo is one of the most dangerous enemies the Legion of Super Heroes ever faced. In fact, Computo facilitated one of the rare permanent superhero deaths of the Silver Age of Comics, killing one of Triplicate Girl’s three bodies!
Built by Brainiac-5 to be the ultimate thinking machine and to serve him as a laboratory assistant, Computo quickly realized that being a mechanized slave was pretty lousy. Faster than you could say “Skynet,” Computo facilitated a robot uprising and attempted to overthrow the society of the 30th century. The Legion defeated him but that didn’t stop Brainiac from trying to rebuild Computo several times, certain each time that this time it would work properly.
Are there some amazing Arrowverse Easter eggs we missed from this season? Let us know in the comments!
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