Roy William Harper Jr. (Arsenal)

ArsenalFrom the production notes, it seems that Colton Haynes‘ Roy Harper will start the third season of Arrow with a brand new identity: Arsenal! We left Roy healed from the Mirakuru intoxication, and finally given a bow and a mask from Oliver Queen. He joined 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 cool one actually), and has chosen a battle name that diversifies him from his mentor more. So, after Speedy and the Red Arrow, we’re at the third and last costumed identity of Roy: let’s see together how he got to become Arsenal in the comics.

After giving up his identity of Speedy and leaving the Teen Titans, Roy Harper was stranded and alone, despite having managed to get rid of his drug addiction. He was found by Sarge Steel and his Central Bureau of Investigation, a government clandestine agent which took him in because of his experience as a masked hero and his ties to the underground drug traffic. It was during his time in CBI that Roy was trained in the use of firearms as well, a kind of weapons Green Arrow had awlays forbade him: the aim he had mastered with bow and arrow proved to be quite useful with guns and rifles as well. Eventually, Roy left the CBI because of Cheshire, an international assassin that he was supposed to capture, but that he fell in love with; he had a child from her, Lian, and tried to give up with his dangerous life. Without anything to do, however, he was called back in action by the secret organization Checkmate, and when the Teen Titansarsenalcomics1 ended up being supervisioned by the government and Nightwing left the position of leader as a result, Roy was asked to step in, being the perfect bridge for the two worlds. To match his new vision of himself, Roy abandoned the identity of Speedy and created Arsenal, a new masked vigilante who used much more than trick arrows to stop his enemies, gaining a variety of gdgets and, as the name suggested, a real arsenal of firearms and bladed weapons. It was during this time that Roy managed to clarify things with Oliver Queen, little time before the hero died in action. Following his mentor’s death, Arsenal unwillingly brought the Titans to disband. Soon, new Teen Titans formed, but they proved to be quite helpless facing a menace like Haze, super-powered son of the team’s benefactor Loren Jupiter; it was the latter that called back the original Titans (Arsenal, Nightwing, Tempest and Flash) to face her son. The battle ended with Haze’s defeat, but a young Titan, Joto, was killed, and Roy felt responsible for his death. He left the Titans once again, and tried to make up his tormented life. When he regained some of his balance, he donned the identity of Red Arrow, a much brighter verion of the dark hero he had been, member of the Justice League.

Red Arrow’s life proved to be short-lived: when Batman died, the League split in two, with a violent splinter cell led by Green Arrow. Roy tried to hunt down his former mentor to make him come back to reason, and when he found him, Oliver tried to warn him and the League of the arrival of Prometheus, an old enemy who was on a vengeance spree. The same evening, Roy was ambushed by Prometheus, who savagely beat him and cut his right arsenalcomics2arm off. Roy was barely saved by the other Leaguers, who gave him a bionic arm to replace the lost one, but when he woke up, he found out that Promethues had destroyed Star City and had his daughter Lian killed. Suffering allucinations and risking to fall back into his addiction, Roy met Cheshire, who tried to blame him for their daughter’s death. The two fought, then shared a moment of intimacy, then again they went hunting together, beating the hell out of some scavangers in the ruins of Star City: in this occasion, Roy came back to his identity of Arsenal, the one he saw fitter to his actual emotional state. Even as Arsenal, however, he was haunted by the allucination of Corey, a dead friend of his who tried to make him come back to heroine. Out of painkillers, Roy eventually fell to an allucinatory state, and believed Lian was alive: he saw her attacked by Electrocutioner, the material responsible of her murder, and intervened to defend her. In reality, he was “saving” a dead kitten by a bunch of dopers. Nightwing intervened, stopped his friend, and eventually brought him to a rehabilitation center. Since he kept hearing his daughter’s voice, however, Roy escaped and, as Arsenal, he tracked down the real Electrocutioner and slaughtered him with his knives. In that moment, he crossed the line, and became a dark and brutal vigilante, terrifying low criminals with cruel methods and a homicidal attitude.

Roy Harper has always been a man on the edge, and Arsenal represents him when the edge is crossed by far. The first time he donned the costume, he had been abandoned by his friends and mentor alike, and tried to take the best out of his situation reimagining himself; the second, it was out of a personal tragedy, that made him access the darkest corners of his soul. Arsenal is a brutal vigilante, who uses his infallible aim, his mastership of virtually any weapon and his olympic skills to hunt down and savagely beat criminals, often clashing with other heroes as well. Tragically determined and haunted by visions and allucinations of his dead beloved ones, Arsenal tried to make their voices shut up with the screams of the thugs he tortures. With a new, scary visage, a super-strong bionical arm and plenty of weapons to chose from, Arsenal is the nightmare of any criminal.

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3 Comments

  1. […] spent years planning his vengeance against Green Arrow and Shado. When he resurfaced, he kidnapped Roy Harper‘s daughter, Lian, and used her as a leverage to brainwash Roy and force him to hunt down and […]

  2. […] Later, he confronted other members of the Arrow Family, besting Connor Hawke, Speedy and Arsenal on several occasions. Every time, he’s been hardly beaten by the heroes, who arrived as far […]

  3. […] were attacked by “Superman”, who killed Troia and Lillith. Finally, out of options, Arsenal reactivated Indigo, deciding to trust Cyborg and to ask for her help against the Superman […]


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