Roy William Harper Jr. (Red Arrow)

Red ArrowWith Unthinkable, the second season of Arrow has come to an end, but there’s one more character to speak about, sort of “introduced” in the episode: after surviving the Mirakuru-therapy and being healed by the cure developed by S.T.A.R. Labs, Roy Harper is finally ready to join Team Arrow again, but this time he gets his own mask. With the red hoodie and the mask on, he finally looks like his comicbook counterpart: Red Arrow! There’s one heroic identity Roy still has to go through after this point, but we’ll see if that will be explored in Season 3; in the meanwhile, we pretty enjoyed seeing Red kicking Deathstroke‘s powered-up men’s butt and saving the day, along with an army from the League of Assassins and his mentor. Now, let’s see how Roy became the Red Arrow in the comics.

After Green Arrow kicked his friend and protegee Speedy out of the team upon his discovery of his heroin addiction, Roy ended up abandoning also the Teen Titans, with only Black Canary staying at his side to support him someway. He eventually came out of drugs, and tried to keep the Speedy-thing up on his own, but after cutting all bonds with Green Arrow he didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do. His skills, redarrowcomics1however, attracted the attention of Sarge Steel, a CBI high officer, who offered to train Roy in undercover work, in order to dismantle some of the major drug-dealing gangs in the country. Roy accepted the offer, and became a secret agent for the Government, meanwhile finding out he was just as accurate with a gun as he was with a bow and arrow. Following the evolution of CBI, Roy entered Checkmate, and for a little while he came back to the Teen Titans as well; he also had a daughter, Lian, following an affair with psycho mercenary Cheshire. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen had been killed by Hyrax, his lover and leader of the echo-terrorist organization Eden Corps. This only strengthened Roy’s resolution to take a distance from his past and his mentor in particular, and continued his solo-career, joining the Titans from time to time, and dedicating himself to a single-father life, on one side, and the vigilante activity, on the other. He also came in conflict single-handedly with immortal Vandal Savage, who wanted to harvest his organs and even Lian’s to prolong his own life even further. He also served as the leader of the Outsiders, a team thought to be an “adult version” of the Titans, following the deaths of Donna Troy and Lilith that put an end to the former team. As the leader of the Outsiders, Roy proved to have grown up as a hero and as a man.

When Hal Jordan was imbued with the corrupting power of Parallax, among the many things he did he also resurrected Oliver Queen, his old friend: finally, Roy and Oliver were able to smooth out their grudges and incomprehension, thus rekindling an old friendship. When SupermanBatman and Wonder Woman decided to come back to redarrowcomics2active service and to reform the Justice League of America, Hal Jordan, who had come back to his original identity of Green Lantern, offered Roy to enter the team, recognizing that he had finally become a true hero and an adult, out of all the struggles he had been suffering in the past years. Roy agreed to enter the most powerful team on the planet, and during the first mission, Hal gave him a new superhero name, Red Arrow (he was actually trying to cover the fact he was about to call Roy with his real name). Feeling it to be appropriate, Roy gladly accepted to become the “Red Arrow”, and also Oliver was happy about it, considering it a sign they had renewed their friendship. Ollie also created a new costume for Roy, who truly became a younger version of his former mentor. Things started going the right way for the first time after many years, and, as Red Arrow, Roy finally found a place he felt to belong to. He also started an intimate relationship with his teammate Hawkgirl, he gained the trust and appreciation of some of the most noble and powerful people on the planet, and he also proved to be worthy of Green Arrow’s legacy as the team’s archer. Unfortunately, good things weren’t meant to last for Roy, and even his new paradise was soon to crumble.

Roy Harper grew up after his confrontation with his adoptive father Oliver Queen, and he is more self-confident than before, having demonstrated to himself and to the world that he’s able to walk on his own legs. He is, however, also more inclined to violence and brutality, legacy of a past as a secret agent. His stunning acrobatic skills and his training in hand-to-hand combat still prove very useful, as well as his infallible aim as an archer; he is also ready to use other tools in crime-fighting, and not always non-lethal ones. He has at his disposal a variety of trick arrows, the same Green Arrow uses, plus some other gadget of his own. Darker and more reckless than his mentor, Red Arrow keeps suffering from his subconscious thirst of affection and approval, but this time he may have found a true family in the JLA.



  1. Thank you for this article ! 😀

  2. […] him and a number of unexpected allies in the last battle against Deathstoke‘s forces as Red Arrow. Now, it seems he has already changed identity, he dons a much more elaborate costume (a pretty […]

  3. […] financing the group once led by his friend Batman, and that he had joined the Outsiders to free Roy Harper from Constantine Drakon, a man who had been freed by Nucerdo himself from Alcatraz along with […]

  4. […] reason: one night, while patrolling, she was approached by another masked vigilante, the archer Red Arrow, who was looking for young adventurers to follow him in his new formation of the Outsiders. Anissa […]

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