Stephen Arnell plays Starling City's heroic vigilante in Arrow, whose third season premieres Oct. 8.
Arsenal (Colton Haynes) becomes Arsenal in The CW's Arrow.
Grant Gustin plays both Barry Allen and The Flash in the new CW show premiering Oct. 7.
Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh, left) wants to help Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) understand his super-speed.
By Andrew A. Smith
Tribune Content Agency
Oct. 2, 2014 -- The super-speeding superhero from DC Comics, The Flash, is premiering in his own series on The CW this month. But like the companion series Arrow, he varies quite a bit from any other version of the superhero you’ve seen before.
Speaking of Arrow, that series begins its third season Oct. 8. And if you’re familiar with the comics character Green Arrow, you know the TV show has varied considerably from its source material. As you’ll see in a minute, it’s appropriate that we discuss that aspect of Arrow before we get to The Flash.
In Arrow, many of the familiar elements of the comics Green Arrow pertain. For example, Oliver Queen’s vigilante persona (not yet called Green Arrow, but he’s getting there) has the same origin as the comics character did in 1959, learning trick archery for survival while being stranded on an island. And later in his career he picks up a sidekick named Roy Harper, who eventually goes by the name Arsenal. And later still, his love interest is fellow superhero Black Canary (just called “Canary” so far on the show).
But everything else on Arrow goes through a funhouse mirror. For example, the island on TV isn’t deserted, and Ollie meets a lot of important folks there, like the lethal Deathstroke, who started out as a Teen Titans supervillain in the comics. Plus Black Canary in the comics is Dinah Lance, who on the TV show is a lawyer, and it is her sister Sara who is the superhero. Here again, Arrow swipes from another DC character’s sandbox, namely Batman villains Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins, from whom the TV Canary learns her hand-to-hand combat skills. (In the comics, Canary’s origin has nothing to do with either Batman or Green Arrow.)
As for Arsenal, in the comics Roy Harper was originally called “Speedy,” and … you know what, it just doesn’t matter. The one on the TV show has a new, unique origin, and it works just fine. In fact, all of it works just fine – I think the TV Green Arrow is actually a whole lot more interesting and plausible than his comic book counterpart. And since he’s portrayed by the charming Stephen Arnell, whose abs are a special effect all on their own, even my wife likes the show.
As to Arsenal, The WB says we’re going to see a lot of him this season. Plus, we’re going to meet a lot of other DC characters, including Ray Palmer (shrinking superhero The Atom ), Ted Grant (boxing superhero Wildcat), Mark Shaw (man-hunting superhero Manhunter), Tatsu Yamashiro (sword-wielding superhero Katana), “Digger” Harkness (boomerang-wielding supervillain Captain Boomerang) and nasty ninja supervillain Komodo (who doesn’t have another name).
Oh, and in the eighth episode, Arrow will have a crossover with The Flash. Yes, a genuine crossover, where one story runs through two properties, and the heroes team up (or fight, and then team up). Just like in the comics!
Which is as it should be, because just like all the characters above, the new Flash got his start on Arrow. Barry Allen, a forensics scientist with the Central City Police Department, visited Arrow’s Starling City in the second season, and soon after got hit by a bolt of lightning, turning him into the Fastest Man Alive. And when Barry’s own series launches Oct. 7, Arrow will guest star to get him off on the right boot.
Then The Flash, just like Arrow, will start introducing bunches of characters from the comics. Look for Simon Stagg, a creepy millionaire out of the pages of Metamorpho. Then we’ll see bad guy Multiplex (he can duplicate himself) and good guy Firestorm (who can transmute objects at an atomic level). Then one of Flash’s greatest villains from the comics will debut, Captain Cold (who has mastered absolute zero, where atoms – and super-speedsters – don’t move at all). And, as mentioned, in the eighth episode we’ll see the Flash end of the crossover with Arrow, with Captain Boomerang – originally a Flash villain in the comics – as the bad guy.