This week is a big one for The Flash and Arrow as the two shows crossover in a superhero and super villain overload! Vandal Savage, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and more appear, as heroes cross the country to find the Staff of Horus!
LEGENDS OF TODAY
When Vandal Savage attacks Kendra Saunders, Barry takes Kendra to Star City, seeking Oliver’s protection; Harrison asks Jay to test a new serum to make Barry run faster.
A lot of heroes popped up this week, some we have talked about before, while others are brand new to this column.
Now going by the name Green Arrow, Oliver Queen has lightened up a little bit since he last appeared in Central City (Rogue Air). Created by Morton Weisinger and George Papp, Green Arrow first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. Like many non-meta heroes, Oliver Queen was introduced as a millionaire playboy who became a Robin Hood-esque hero of the common man. Though he has had his ups and downs over the last 74 years, much of the television series’s current look and feel comes from the 1987 mini-series, Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. In addition to making the character grim and gritty, Green Arrow’s costume changed from the Robin Hood look to an actual green hood.
There is an interesting exchange between Felicity and Barry in this episode, where Felicity wonders what Oliver Queen of Earth-2 would be like. Well… if you remember the Enter Zoom episode, we learn that Green Arrow of Earth-2 is actually Robert Queen, who took up crime fighting when his son Oliver died.
Originally appearing as Roy Harper, Jr. in More Fun Comics #73, Speedy was the adopted son of Oliver Queen. While Weisinger is listed as the writer, the art for Speedy’s first appearance is credited to Paul Norris.
In the television series, Roy Harper did become Arrow’s partner, but went by the name Arsenal. He eventually impersonated Arrow to help fake his death, and as a result, Roy quit Team Arrow, and left his suit to Thea Queen. While I don’t believe it was specifically stated by anyone involved in the show, Roy’s Arsenal nickname is due to Roy’s current status in the DCU. Also, there’s this little problem of calling Thea out as Speedy in the Arrow pilot.
Oliver called Thea Queen “Speedy” because she used to chase Oliver around when she was a younger child. That episode also featured Oliver’s disapproval of Thea’s recreational drug use – something that was a huge comic book moment in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #85 from August-September 1971.
Kendra Saunders “awakens” this episode and gets her wings. While it is exciting to see Kendra embrace her destiny and “let it go” to unleash her powers, it does bring up the question as how she became Hawkgirl during last season’s finale.
Hawkgirl appeared in Flash Comics #1 in January 1940. She was created by Gardner Fox, Dennis Neville, and Sheldon Modloff. As Hawkgirl proper, she first appeared in All Star Comics #5 in June 1941.
As previously mentioned in other Flashback installments, the Hawkman/Hawkgirl backstory has become so convoluted over the years, we could spend weeks and months breaking down each of the launches and various incarnations of the characters, and still not have a satisfying answer. But, we may have something that we can settle on thanks to Geoff Johns.
Hawkman first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in 1940, which makes him the creation of Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville. In that appearance, readers learned that Carter Hall is the reincarnation of the Egyptian prince Khufu. When he discovers the mysterious ninth metal (now called Nth Metal – RETCON), Hall discovered he could fly. The reincarnation aspect of Carter Hall has been a major story point for the Golden Age character until Julius Schwartz kicked off the Silver Age and turned Hawkman into a policeman from the planet Thanagar in The Brave and the Bold #24 in March 1961. As Katar Hol, Hawkman and his wife Shayera came to Earth while pursuing a criminal, and decided to stick around after the case was over. The duo took the names Carter and Shiera Hall and became the curators of the Midway City Museum.
But wait! Wasn’t there a Carter Hall in the Golden Age JSA?
With the popularity of Silver Age characters using the same names as the Golden Age Cater Hall, it wasn’t long before things became really muddled and confused. While the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths was supposed to clear up the histories of all the DC heroes, cracks in the Hawkman history started to appear almost immediately after maxi-series wrapped. The Hawkworld limited series (1989) did nothing to fix the confusion as to who was the JSA’s Hawkman during World War II.
The confusion and hysteria created by continuity errors were cleared up when Geoff Johns and James Robinson essentially said, “Screw it! It’s all true!” in the pages of the JSA series.
In the late 1990s, the JSA series untangled Hawkman’s continuity, establishing him as Carter Hall, a man who – along with Shiera – had been reincarnated dozens of times since his life in ancient Egypt, and whose powers were derived from Thanagarian Nth metal, which had been retroactively renamed from “ninth metal”. The Katar Hol of the Hawkworld series had also come to Earth during the 1990s, as previously established. The 1980s Hawkman Fel Andar returned to Thanagar. The Hawkgod was later revealed to be an avatar of the Hawk aspect of the Red (from which Animal Man receives his powers) and only believed that he was Hawkman.
Whew! It’s enough to make your head swim, which is probably why Kendra, Barry, Cisco, Felicity, Oliver, and Thea were all apprehensive of Carter’s story this week.
At the end of the episode, Oliver bumps into a young boy running through CC Jitters. When Oliver sees the boy with his mother, he instantly knows that the young boy is his son.
In comics, Oliver Queen did have a son with Sandra “Moonday” Hawke, and Connor first appeared in Green Arrow #0 in 1994. He later went on to become the second Green Arrow, with his origin credited to Kelley Puckett and Jim Aparo.
There are almost as many villains that show up in this episode as heroes.
As the leader of H.I.V.E. Darhk is a recurring villain in this season’s Arrow, however he originally was a foil for the Teen Titans. Darhk made his first appearance in Titans vol. 1 #1 in March 1999. In the series, he claims to have a connection to H.I.V.E, and uses forgotten technology and science to convince everyone that he has ancient mystical powers. During a fight with the Teen Titans, Darhk was shot to death by Vandal Savage, and hasn’t been seen or heard form since.
Slade Wilson (aka Deathstroke) gets a shoutout this week.
Deathstroke was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in The New Teen Titans #2 in 1980. Though originally a foil for the Teen Titans, over the years, the character has evolved into a primary foil for Batman and Green Arrow.
Let’s keep this one simple and stay away from the Ra’s al Ghul designation for the moment.
Merlyn became an expert archer in his own right as a young man. After defeating Green Arrow in an archery tournament, Merlyn disappeared for years before reemerging as a member of the League of Assassins. Throughout his various appearances, Merlyn has been a member of the Injustice Gang, The 100, the Body Doubles, the Injustice League, the Crime Syndicate of America, and the Secret Society of Super Villains.
As a member of the League of Assassins, Merlyn is a master of hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, and stealth (which I believe is a +4 if he wears his boots). His archery skills are equal to or better than Green Arrow’s.
Now for the big, big bad of the episode – Vandal Savage!
Vandal Savage may be the most interesting aspect of this week’s episode as it introduces the concept of immortal characters in the Arrowverse. In the comics, Savage gains his immortality when a meteorite crashes near his cave. Vandar Adg, leader of the Cro-Magnon Blood Tribe, is irradiated, which gives him immortality and incredible intelligence. For 52,000 years Savage uses his power and cunning to rule civilizations throughout time under a number of different names: khafre (in this week’s episode), Cheops, Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, Genghis Khan, Blackbeard, Vlad the Impaler, and more.
Savage is still vulnerable to external damage; the stories have shown him healing almost instaneously to taking as long as a normal human. Savage still feels pain, but over time he has developed great endurance to pain. His long life span has allowed him to gain a broad range of knowledge in a variety of fields, as well as granting him a great deal of influence over the world in general and the villain community in particular.
Since Vandal Savage has been around in the DC Universe since “forever”, there are a number of appearances you might want to check out:
- Demon Knights (20011-2013) comic series
- Justice League: Hereafter Part 1 and 2 (2003) television series
- Young Justice animated television series
Vandal Savage first appeared in Green Lantern #10 in December 1944 and was created by Alfred Bester and Martin Nodell.
Not to be confused with Argus, the DC government agency A.R.G.U.S. was introduced in The New 52 as an offshoot of Homeland Security. The agency is run by Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller, and is supposed to be a support group and liaison to the Justice League.
Besides Director Amanda Waller and Col. Steve Trevor, known members of A.R.G.U.S. include Black Orchid, Booster Gold, Chronos, Dale Gunn, Darwin (the assistant to Dr. John Peril), Doctor Light, Dr. John Peril, Etta Candy, Major Nicholson, Paul Chang, and Puzzler.
Ships that pass in the night
If you were paying super close attention this week, the ship that brought Savage to Central City was named the Tithonus. In Greek mythology, Tithonos, was kidnapped by Eos to become her lover. The goddess then pleaded to Zeus to make Tithonos immortal, but forgot to ask that he remain eternally young. Imagine being trapped in a body that has shriveled to nothingness and you are stuck muttering in a cave for all eternity.
Egypt has pyramids, Wisconsin has mounds
It’s interesting that Kendra says she comes from Wisconsin. The state is known for effigy mounds; mounds of dirt shaped into animals, symbols or human figures. While there is no credible connection, I have heard many new age types talk about the connection between the mounds of Wisconsin and the pyramids of Egypt.
Dr. Wells and Dr. Snow spend quite a bit of time perfecting Velocity 6 in the hope of boosting Barry’s powers to battle Zoom. Jay Garrick is well aware of the Velocity formula, and comic readers are aware of the drug as well under a different name – Velocity 9.
Velocity 9 is a drug developed by Vandal Savage that gives users the ability to move at super speed. The drawback is it causes premature aging, exhaustion, and eventual death. It also gives the user red eyes. I wonder if we’ve ever seen a speedster with red eyes before?
Could this side story be the secret origin of how the Reverse Flash got his powers in the far future? I’m going to say, “YES!”
IT’S CALLED A SECRET IDENTITY FOR A REASON!
Dr. Harrison Wells(deceased)
- Eobard Thawne (as Dr. Harrison Wells)
- Dr. Harry Wells (Earth-2)
- Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Dr. Cisco Ramon
- Detective Joe West
- Dr. Martin Stein
- Mrs. Clarissa Stein
- Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper)
- Felicity Smoak
- General Wade Eiling
- Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
- John Diggle
Bette Sans Souci(deceased)
- Dr. Henry Allen (out of prison)
Iris West(in another timeline)
- Iris West-Allen (in the future)
- Iris West (via spark touch)
- Leonard Snart (Captain Cold)
Detective Eddie Thawne(deceased)
- Ray Palmer (The Atom)
- Brie Larvan
- Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Hannibal Bates (Everyman)(deceased)
- Gorilla Grodd
- Lyla Diggle (Harbinger)
- Jay Garrick (The Flash of Earth-2)
- Dr. Henry Hewitt
- Jefferson Jackson (Firestorm)
- Linda Park
- Malcolm Merlin/Al Sa-Her/Ra’s al Ghul
- Vandal Savage
- Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl)
- Cater Hall (Hawkman)
- Thea Queen (Speedy)
And that should be everything! What did I miss? What did you catch? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on this episode, and until next week – RUN, BARRY! RUN!
And be sure to tune in for part two of this story in this week’s episode of Arrow.
FLASHBACK: THE PODCAST
Want to hear Matthew Peterson and I sit down to discuss this episode in detail? If you are a Major Spoilers VIP, look for the Flashback Podcast hitting the VIP site very soon![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]