Arrow: Identity, Review

Bronze Tiger joins the Arrow cast of baddies, and the show continues to evolve into an unapologetic superhero adventure series!

Alright, there were plenty of criticisms aimed at the first season of Arrow. Some of ’em were fair, some weren’t. Despite the show’s solid production values, terrific stunt and fight choreography, and surprisingly high body count, there was sometimes a bit too much navel-gazing and romance for most superhero fans to really embrace the show. Well, if the first two episodes of season two are anything to go on, particularly this episode, “Identity,” then it’s time to come back to the fold, DC Comics fans, because Arrow is for real.“Identity” boasts a relatively thin plot, but that’s alright. It’s a comic book. China White and her gang of motorcycle riding thugs are hijacking medical grade opiates as they’re on their way to delivery at a Starling City hospital that serves the low income residents of “the glades” who were hit hardest by the catastrophic earthquake. Oliver wants to help by both raising funds and awareness for the hospital AND stopping the baddies in his vigilante alter ego. Meanwhile, ambitious city alderman Sebastian Blood (does that name ring a bell? It should if you’re a Teen Titans fan) is taking Oliver to task both for his family’s role in the disaster that befell the city, and because Ollie tends to come off like an elitist dilettante, more concerned with his public image than ACTUALLY helping.There you go. Everything that happens around this is just window dressing. Ah, but what awesome window dressing it is! For one thing, the show’s first action sequence involving China White’s gang hijacking a medical truck isn’t Green Arrow intervening, but Roy Harper, and we get one of the better flying car crashes I’ve seen on TV in recent years. Roy’s story (and it’s obvious climax) is being moved forward pretty quickly, so fans wondering when he’s gonna start helping out in an “official” capacity may not have long to wait. Michael Jai White shows up as Bronze Tiger and the fights between him and Green Arrow (and China White…and Diggle) are proper superhero/supervillain dust-ups. When things are cooking, there’s no doubt you’re watching a superhero show.It’s funny how without the constant sexual tension between Ollie and Laurel (and Tommy) Arrow has so much more room to breathe. This no longer feels like a CW drama masquerading as a superhero show…Arrow is finally exactly what you want it to be…right down to the gimmick arrows (no boxing glove arrow yet, thank goodness). Things are just a heckuva lot more slick than they were in season one. The costume looks better, the “arrow cave” is more high-tech and looks less like a sewer and more like a proper superhero HQ, and Felicity Smoak is almost (ALMOST) functioning in a kind of “Oracle” role.This is what it comes down to, ladies and gents. While Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is getting all the acclaim right now (and hey, it’s a fine show), it’s being awfully coy about the stuff that comic book fans really, desperately want to see. Arrow, on the other hand, looks like it just might blossom into the best, most unapologetic live-action superhero TV show in over 20 years. It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for Season Two to let us down or annoy us, but if these first two episodes are anything to go on, Arrow could very well become the DC Universe TV show we’ve been waiting for. Spoiler Time: Yes, that was absolutely a “red arrow.”Bring on the DCU: No sign of Black Canary this episode (although Roy does make reference to “others” he’s seen), but the presence of Bronze Tiger (and the knowledge that Deadshot is still out there) sure does make a Suicide Squad seem like a real possibility on this show. Oh yeah, and how the hell did I not notice that folks are always watching “Channel 52” in Starling City? I wonder if Jack Ryder works for them? Nice of China White to refer to Ollie as “the emerald archer” too. Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments!Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!


4 out of 5