Green Arrow is one of DC's longest running characters and he's been a staple of the Justice League for years. The character is currently being portrayed by Stephen Amell on the hit television show, Arrow. Season 4 is set to begin next week and it looks like Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen will finally become the “Green Arrow” we know and love.
Oliver Queen was also a recurring hero on the animated Justice League: Unlimited where we were able to see the character build relationships with other League members as well as a romantic interest in Black Canary. With many interpretations of the character throughout his time in comics and television, there are some aspects of his character that remain the same while others are specific to the version of Oliver Queen at that time.
With this character growing in prominence, it may be a good time to learn the 10 Facts You Need To Know About Green Arrow.
Created in 1940 by Morton Weisinger and George Papp, Oliver Queen was first introduced into the DC Universe in issue #73 of More Fun Comics because publishers were nervous about relying too heavily on Batman and Superman in their comics. With Batman being such a successful and popular character, the publishers wanted a hero that was close enough to Batman in order to give the readers the same sense of adventure, but also giving the Dark Knight some time out of the spotlight.
Not only did the Green Arrow have a lot of the same tech as Batman, but his character traits mirrored those of Bruce Wayne during the 40s. Both had their alter-ego centric cars and devices that aided them in their crusades against crime-lords and drug dealers. As Batman grew to take on villains that were larger than life, Green Arrow has always focused more on the street-level crime-fighting of an everyday vigilante. It wasn’t until the '60s that Green Arrow was able to come out from under the shadow of Batman and really begin to grow into his own character.
Although they still have similarities, Ollie has thrived by remaining a street-level vigilante.
Many people recognize Green Arrow for his signature use of the boxing-glove arrow. What many people don’t know is that, like Batman, Ollie actually has a plethora of different gadgets that he uses. Many are trick arrows, but he has had other gadgets as well. These allow him to get out of the many dangerous situations he and his Arrow-Family (which functions similar to the Batman Family) get into, as well as remind the audience that he is so much more than a man in a mask.
Some of my favorite trick arrows that Green Arrow has used throughout his career are the explosive, EMP, foam, bolo, and grappling arrows. There have been many other trick arrows, many of which are ridiculous, but the more effective ones are used much more often. Some other gadgets that Ollie has at his disposal are his Arrowcar and Arrowplane (which function exactly as they sound). These were obviously used and created in direct correlation to Batman, but did serve as useful tools for Ollie to traverse Star City with greater ease.
Green Arrow made the ultimate sacrifice to save Metropolis during the events of the 1994 miniseries Zero Hour, and became a martyr. In order to carry on his father’s legacy and continue protecting the every-man, Connor Hawke took on the mantle of the Green Arrow. Although his time was short lived (thanks to Hal Jordan’s Spectre resurrecting Ollie), Connor left his mark on the Green Arrow persona.
What made Connor memorable as Green Arrow was the difference in attitude between him and his father. While Ollie is known for being very emotional and wearing his heart on his sleeve, Connor is much more calculated. Even stranger, Connor’s Green Arrow takes on villains that are very different than the ones we’d seen his father face. Connor faced spirits and cults. Overall, he had many more encounters with the mystical side of the world than his father ever did. Even though it was a pretty stark contrast to villains we had previously seen, it helped Connor become his own man and set his version of Green Arrow apart from Oliver’s.
In most incarnations, Ollie has always wanted to be a member of the Justice League. He’s been a member since the 60s and has always rejoined after the universes were reset. However, the Green Arrow that many of the younger generation remember growing up with was the Ollie in the Justice League: Unlimited show. This Oliver was very reluctant to join the team and didn’t believe that the league was the right place for him. Oliver felt like the League’s involvement in world threatening conflicts made them overlook the everyday victims of street level crime.
Many in the league tried to convince him to join the League and to use his convictions to remind the other heroes of what really mattered. Ollie eventually joined the team and became Batman’s most trusted member of the League. Batman wanted Green Arrow to be the team’s conscience and Ollie subsequently prevented events that would have let the league become like the Justice Lords, the League's draconian, anti-democratic counterpart in a dystopian alternate universe. This reluctance was a great shake-up to Oliver’s character from the comics, but was understandable when you consider that he has always been concerned with protecting the little guy.
Oliver has no competition when it comes to archery and precision in the DC Universe. There is no one else that can shoot as quickly, nor hit all of their targets quite like Green Arrow. Oliver himself has stated that he never misses. He has impressed the members of the JLA so much over the years that the heroes began to suspect that Ollie might be a metahuman.
Even though Oliver isn’t actually a metahuman, it says something about his abilities that other heroes even thought he was. Green Arrow’s training and discipline over the years is what allows him to be as accurate as he is, but I can’t blame the heroes and even villains for thinking he had a biological advantage. There have been times when Ollie went toe-to-toe with the likes of Deadshot, whose whole thing is that he's a mercenary who never misses. Oliver can shoot up to 39 arrows in under a minute and can hit targets that are not only moving, but as small as a water drop.
Ollie was originally a socialite, who was changed after being stranded on a remote island and tortured. This motivated him to become a vigilante when he returned to Star City. The Outsiders War is a widely popular Green Arrow storyline that further elaborates on this origin story. Ollie is brought back to the island he was originally stranded on, where he finds shelter in the cabin he was tortured in. While taking refuge there, Green Arrow comes across the man who tortured him all those years ago, only to discover it was Robert Queen under the mask the entire time.
Robert had planned these events in order to lead Ollie to becoming the Green Arrow. Robert even fought Ollie and tried to kill him in order to ensure Ollie’s training was sufficient. All of this was done so that once Oliver was ready, Robert could lead him back to the island to claim the Arrow totem. With the totem, Oliver could finally claim his birthright as the leader of the "Arrow Clan" and become the leader of the Outsiders, a secret crime-fighting society.
This was a shakeup to the Green Arrow's existing origin stories, but it created a great alternative. Despite this being a newer origin, some have speculated that this could be something that might be incorporated in the Arrow television show, as the logo for the show is very reminiscent of the arrow clan totem.
One of the recurring aspects of every Green Arrow, in both comics and television, is his leftist belief system. Oliver has always acted in such a way that aligns with his views and has done a lot to speak his mind on issues the DC universe has faced. In order to contrast the more conservative heroes (Batman especially), DC wanted Green Arrow to act as the philosophical, anti-establishment hero that would regularly linger on the larger issues at hand than just stopping a crime. Green Arrow often asks why a certain crime or issue was happening and try to focus on fixing the structural problems that cause it.
This part of his character was a great way for him and his alter ego to work in conjunction with one another as well. Moreso than Batman, Green Arrow and Oliver Queen would voice their views and use vigilante justice to fix what they thought was broken in the world. For instance, when Green Arrow teamed up with Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, they toured the country fighting crime together, but each had hugely different points of views of their roles. The comic highlighted Oliver’s anti-establishment and hands-on approach to justice by juxtaposing his views against Hal’s government-based, conservative views. In more recent iterations, Green Arrow’s Oliver Queen has actually become a full on activist.
During the first season of Arrow, many fans were angry that Oliver kept dropping bodies left and right. People who thought they knew a little about the character knew that he has had a similar moral code to Batman, in that he doesn’t kill. However, fans of the character with a bit more background know that there’s a bit more to Green Arrow. Ollie hasn’t killed a whole lot throughout his career, but being the hot-tempered, passionate man he is, Green Arrow has given in to the temptation before.
For instance, when the villain Prometheus murdered a lot of people in Star City with a malfunctioning teleportation scheme, which would have teleported the city to another world, Roy Harper’s (the current Red Arrow) daughter is murdered during the explosion. With Roy losing his arm and his daughter, Ollie tracked down Prometheus and shot an arrow in between his eyes, doing what he thought was just, considering the pain and suffering Prometheus had caused.
As I mentioned before, Oliver is known for wearing his heart on his sleeve. We know exactly how he feels towards his children and his wards. There is no other hero in DC that is as devoted and loving towards family and friends. Oliver has always gone out of his way to give love to the ones closest to him. As we mentioned, he even crossed his “no killing” line just to avenge his adoptive granddaughter.
What stands out and makes him a great family man isn’t that he will kill for the ones he loves, but to just tell them. Green Arrow helped Roy Harper get off drugs, and tried very hard to convince him not to kill those involved in his daughter’s murder. Green Arrow has also expressed his love for Connor in public multiple times telling him he loved him.
Something that really sets him apart from other heroes is his opinion on young apprentices. For years, heroes took on young wards as their apprentices and took them out on deadly missions. Now, having learned and realized how insane this is, Oliver admits that it was irresponsible for he and others to do it. This also prompts him not to let Mia (a teenage runaway that he saved, and who became his sidekick Speedy in a previous iteration) become his protégé in the recent New 52 version of his character. His reasoning is that he doesn’t know what he would do if something were to happen to her.
The most important quality that makes Green Arrow who he is, is his love for protecting the little man. Green Arrow’s crusade is all about protecting those who can’t protect themselves. Despite being a billionaire, Green Arrow has always stood up for the underprivileged and fought desperately against the corruption of a system that wrongs its citizens. Oliver is not only a philanthropist and activist that works tirelessly to combat the laws and regulations that damage the people of his city, but he even becomes mayor of Star City.
Oliver understands that his dual identity can help the people he cares about twice as much than if he was to dedicate himself to just vigilantism or philanthropy. Green Arrow is the hero he is today because he is willing to stand up to both the system and to other heroes who often overlook the everyday victims. Green Arrow reminds heroes of why they fight the crusades they do by reminding them of the individuals whose lives have been saved thanks to their actions. This is why Oliver was chosen by Batman to be the Justice League’s back-bone and keep the other heroes honest.
Hopefully you now understand who Oliver Queen and Green Arrow are and what he stands for. Perhaps you now know why Oliver Queen has to kill, or how he manages to take down the villains in his rogues gallery. Did we miss any other interesting Green Arrow factoids? Let us know in the comments!