Nowadays, DC superhero fans have a lot of options when it comes to watching the adventures of their favorite superheroes and villains on TV. That’s largely thanks to the success of the Arrowverse that contains several shows focused on different heroes. But before the Arrowverse became the success is it today, it all had to start somewhere, and Arrow with Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen was the show that kickstarted the whole universe.
The show took a lot of inspiration from the comics but it also featured some changes and new versions of long-established comic book characters. Here are 5 times when Arrow was comics accurate and 5 times it wasn’t.
10 Was Comics Accurate: Working With Other Heroes
For someone who claims to work best alone, Green Arrow has a surprisingly large group of friends and allies in the Arrowverse. Yes, he starts his journey as a vigilante in Starling City alone, but John Diggle soon joins him, then Felicity Smoak, and other people eventually do too, including Oliver’s sister Thea. While there’s no Thea Queen in the comics, the comic book Oliver also works with other heroes. He usually teams up with Black Canary since these two are dating and have been together for a long time. Green Arrow belongs to the Justice League and his good friend is Green Lantern, who also often fights by his side.
9 Wasn’t: Felicity Joins The Team Arrow
Felicity Smoak starts out as an IT employee of the Queen Consolidated, Oliver’s family company. She works for Walter Steele, Oliver’s mom Moira’s new husband. Felicity eventually joins the team Arrow as their computer expert and she helps Oliver and John on their missions. But her story is much different in the comics. While there is a character named Felicity Smoak in the comics, she didn’t have anything in common with her TV show counterpart. The comic book version appeared in the Firestorm comics in 1984 and she was a dark-haired manager of a software company and she frequently interacted with Ronnie Raymond aka Firestorm.
8 Was Comics Accurate: Roy Belongs To Team Arrow
The show included multiple characters that didn’t appear in the comics or at least had a different background in them. But there were also some heroes whose stories were more or less accurate. One of them was Roy Harper. While his background is different in the comics, both the comic book Roy and the Arrowverse Roy end up joining Oliver Queen and they fight alongside the masked vigilante. In the comics, Roy serves as Green Arrow’s sidekick and he eventually takes on the name Speedy and then Arsenal. In the show, it takes Roy a while to learn how to fight, but when he does, he joins Oliver in his crusade, just like in the comics.
7 Wasn’t: John Diggle Fights Alongside Oliver
Similarly to Felicity, John Diggle started out unconnected to Oliver’s vigilante activity. He was originally employed as Oliver’s bodyguard, a job made harder by Oliver’s tendency to run out anytime he wanted to don his costume and stop criminals in secret. Oliver revealed his secret to John when John was shot by a poison-laced bullet and Oliver saved his life.
The two men started working together, but in the comics, Oliver didn’t have John by his side since there was no character of the name. His name was a homage to Andy Diggle, a creator of the Green Arrow: Year One comic book.
6 Was Comics Accurate: Helena Bertinelli As Huntress
Helena Bertinelli has a complicated story in the comics. Originally a mafia family daughter, she watched her closest family getting murdered. She left Gotham and returned years later after she had trained very hard in order to avenge her family’s death. While the Arrow‘s Helena has a different reason for taking on the mantle of the Huntress, the death of her fiance ordered by her father, what is accurate is the way she moves between being an antihero and a villain. Unlike some other superheroes, Huntress doesn’t mind killing people but she also eventually joins superhero teams, such as Birds of Prey and the Justice League.
5 Wasn’t: Sara Lance As Black Canary
Sara Lance is one of the most badass characters of the whole Arrowverse, not just Arrow. She was originally Laurel’s younger naive sister who went on the fateful cruise with Oliver on Queen’s Gambit and when the ship crashed, everybody presumed Sara had died. But she survived, trained with the League of Assassins, and eventually returned home to reunite with her family and Oliver. She later moved on and led the superhero team Legends of Tomorrow. But in the comics, there isn’t a character Sara Lance and she never was the Black Canary, unlike in the show where she holds the position before it goes to Laurel.
4 Was Comics Accurate: Ray Palmer Becomes The Atom
The Arrowverse show as originally focused primarily on Green Arrow but it also allowed other heroes to begin the journey that led them to become masked superheroes and fight crimes, usually in a team. One of those heroes was Ray Palmer, who becomes the superhero known as the Atom both in the show and in the comics.
Ray Palmer in the comics is a bit different from his Arrow version, less of a businessman and more of a scientist, but in both cases, he has the ability to shrink and he fights crime this way. The Arrowverse Ray becomes more similar to his comic book version once he joins the team Legends of Tomorrow which allows him to be more carefree.
3 Wasn’t: Oliver’s Love Life
In the comics, Green Arrow’s biggest love is and always was Black Canary. The Arrowverse Oliver has a different story, though. In the first season, he’s in love with Laurel who later goes on to become the Black Canary. But Laurel dies and by that time, Oliver is already in love with Felicity. Oliver also has a brief relationship with another Black Canary in the show, Sara Lance, but since Sara prefers women, that relationship also doesn’t go anywhere. Many fans disliked the fact that Black Canary and Green Arrow didn’t end up together in the show since they’re an iconic couple in the comics.
2 Was Comics Accurate: Stranded On An Island
Before the Arrowverse Oliver Queen got stranded on an island after his ship crashed and his father died, he was just a reckless young billionaire who lived off his family’s money and cheated on his girlfriend. Both in the comics and on the TV show, Oliver spends time on the island, which changes him. However, it’s true that the island plays much a bigger part in the show than it did in the comics and the show often returns to it in the form of flashbacks and later also in real life when Oliver goes to the island again either with his friends or alone.
1 Wasn’t: Oliver Queen’s Character
However, the biggest change in the series in comparison to the comic book Green Arrow lies in Oliver Queen’s character. The Arrowverse Oliver is very different from his comic book version. In many ways, he’s more similar to Batman. Oliver in the TV show Arrow is serious, dark, moody, unpredictable, and likes to isolate himself from the rest of the world, most of the time anyway. But that’s not at all who the comic book Oliver Queen is since he’s more of a carefree hero, he likes to crack jokes, is relaxed and optimistic most of the time, and great at making friends.
The Green Arrow comics can differ quite greatly from the TV show at times, yet other times they're quite similar.