WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Green Arrow #36
Is the Green Arrow comic eliminating its ties to the television series Arrow? This is the question many are asking in the wake of Green Arrow #36. While there is no official connection between the bimonthly Green Arrow comic and the The CW series based on the character of Oliver Queen, elements from the show were introduced to the comics world (presumably in an effort to broaden their appeal. Arrow writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski were even brought on to write the book for six issues.
Originally rebooted along with the rest of the DC Comics Universe as part of The New 52 Initiative, the new Green Arrow series was largely without an overarching direction from the very beginning. The book’s creative team changed three times within the first seven issues, and it wasn’t until writer Jeff Lemire took over with Green Arrow #17 that the book developed a cohesive vision. While his run was critically acclaimed, many long-time Green Arrow fans disliked the liberties Lemire took with some of the classic characters – and the ways in which elements of The CW’s Arrow were introduced into the series.
Both fans and critics were satisfied with the changes wrought by the DC Rebirth Initiative. The new Green Arrow series returned to its roots, reincorporating classic elements that the New 52 Green Arrow lacked, such as Oliver Queen’s romance with Black Canary and his partnership with Roy “Arsenal” Harper. This new series also introduced some elements from Arrow, including a more villainous Moira Queen and a more paternal Malcolm Merlyn.
The overlaps between the comics and CW TV show look to be coming to an end, however, as Green Arrow #36 ends with Emiko Queen – Oliver’s half-sister- sacrificing herself to save Oliver’s life.
The character of Emiko Queen is one of the odder compromises between both worlds. In the Rebirth reality, Oliver Queen’s father, Robert Queen, was part of a secretive group called The Outsiders, which was composed of various clans built around ancient weapons. While searching for a mystic Arrow totem, Robert Queen had an affair with the assassin Shado (no relation to the character of Shado on Arrow, it should be noted, apart from the shared name.) They had a daughter named Emiko, who was abducted by Robert’s protege, Komodo, and raised to hate The Queen Family. Eventually Emiko learned the truth of her heritage and joined her half-brother in fighting crime as Red Arrow.
Emiko’s confusing backstory has done more to turn away Arrow fans than attract them. Introduced into the series by Jeff Lemire as a parallel to Thea Queen, Emiko didn’t develop any personality traits beyond “murderous” and “rebellious” until Benjamin Percy started writing Green Arrow. It didn’t help matters that many comic readers saw her as a rip-off of Damian Wayne – the most recent Robin, who was also raised by assassins to kill the hero with whom they would eventually join forces.
With Emiko’s death, relatively few elements borrowed from Arrow remain in the Green Arrow comic. Moira Queen is still alive and willing to kill her own son, unlike her Arrow counterpart who only turned to villainy to protect her children. Tommy Merlyn, who was introduced as a villainous foil to Oliver Queen in Green Arrow #0, is still on the run. (Ironically, Tommy was turned into a villain in the comics before Arrow even aired!) John Diggle, now a traitor to Team Arrow in the comics (he abandoned the team to save Malcolm Merlyn, saying only that he owed Merlyn his life) is also still at large.
Time will tell if the rest of these elements will be removed from the series as well.
Green Arrow #36 is available now.
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