Sunday, 1 November 2015

Beyond The Hub Arrow Batman Reskinned by DJ Forrest

Batman Reskinned

By DJ Forrest

If I have learnt anything, it’s that anything is possible. Such as, rebranding an old name and crafting it into a new. Taking something that worked, and reworking it in such a way, that although you know what it is you’re watching, you’re liking the new setting, the new location, the new cast but you’ve still got that one big niggling question, why, of all the other DC characters, why was it necessary to reskin Batman?

I guess it’s because for a newer generation that didn’t grow up with the caped crusader, that Arrow is a lot more believable in the fact that the setting looks like any other city. It’s not all dark and sinister like Gotham, with characters that you know you’d never meet in a month of Sunday’s.
But yet, there are characters that you have heard of before, such as Deadshot, and although the doctor in the mental hospital (not Bedlam) didn’t carry a scarecrow mask with him in a briefcase, or was physically seen pushing the Vertigo drugs that were polluting the city, you knew from the moment Oliver awoke strapped in the chair, that you’d seen this particular scene with the chemistry set somewhere before. And as for The Count, there did appear something of a Joker in his behaviour, but that would be pushing it wouldn’t it?
And trawling through the endless reams of documentation regarding Arrow you discover a lot of similarities between Batman AND The Green Arrow DC character that begun its life back in 1941. 

Only The Green Arrow and the series Arrow couldn’t be more different. Although there are some similarities, the age, the description and the family background has been completely shredded and tossed into the air, and scattered for all time.

Laurel Lance in the series is Dinah Lance in the comic.

Malcolm Merlyn in the series is Tommy Merlyn in the comic.

Oliver Queen lost his father during the sinking of the Queen’s Gambit in the series, but both his parents were mauled to death by lions in the comic.

Speedy in the series is referred to his sister Thea, but Speedy in the comic book is Roy Harper.

It’s with this level of research that had me screaming at the computer, drowning in the amount of data on all three characters, Batman, Arrow and the Green Arrow. So many similarities, I needed a dark room with a cold compress. I have so many questions for the creator of the new series. Yet, I doubt I’ll find the answers.

So what did I think to the reskinning of my favourite caped crusader? 

Arrow, for the most part, is an enjoyable action packed series that has many edge of the seat moments and breathtaking fight scenes. It has a delicious cast who gel well together and who for the most part survive at least till the end of the series. Yes, I knew Tommy wasn’t going to make it but it was still sad at the end.
The one thing I’ve come to realise with any great series, especially one that airs ahead of us in the UK, is that, you can’t, unless you live in a cave with limited wifi, escape the Spoilers. They’re out there, and no matter how much you try to avoid them, you can’t.
And stupidly for me, Wikia Arrow and DC comics have the full breakdown of the entire series from start to finish. So even if I didn’t invest in the next 3 box sets, I already know what’s going to happen to the entire cast, which is kind of sad really.

What’s interesting though is the way the television Arrow story appears to work in a kind of backwards approach to the Green Arrow story. There are also chunks of detail removed from the television series, as to what happens in the Green Arrow story, and yes, I get it that, the television series is based on the DC comic character, but even with Batman, these were played as close if not precisely as they were in the graphic novels. So why was there a need to change the details?

I can understand if it was about the setting, about the locations of the story, updating an old classic comic book hero to the present day can present some issues, I can understand some levels would need to be changed. But a lot of Ollie’s playboy behaviour happened much later AND Ollie (Green Arrow) was handy with a bow and arrow before he went to the island, so why was there a need to change that part of the story.

But Green Arrow aside and Batman back in the picture, I found perhaps too much added into the Arrow series, and not just characters but quotes and phrases and the way in which Arrow portrays himself when he speaks to those he wants to interrogate or help. That gruff voice reminds me so much of Christian Bale’s Batman!

The similarities with Batman and Arrow become less of a surprise the further into the first series you get, so I’m interested to see how many more I’ll find in the next three seasons.

Let’s look at the Batman and Arrow similarities.

Oliver Queen is a playboy and the son of a billionaire who was reported lost at sea. Although Oliver knew the truth about his father’s death, he didn’t until the end of Series 1 know the full extent of who was behind the Queen’s Gambit boat disaster. 

Bruce Wayne saw his parents murdered in the streets of Gotham but it wasn’t until he was much older that he discovered the truth about his parent’s deaths and who were behind their murder.

Oliver Queen spent 5 years trapped on an island in the Pacific surviving on his wits and doing what he had to in order to survive. He learnt combat training from Yao Fei and his daughter Shado, a female soldier who had been held prisoner by Fyers and his band of mercenaries. Oliver returned to Starling City a changed man, and became a vigilante known as The Hood, in order to reset the balance by taking out those who had failed the city. But after discovering the symbol on the inside cover of the notebook given to him by his father, did he see the full picture, and discover the meaning behind The Undertaking.

Pretend Playboy, philanthropist Bruce Wayne never stopped searching for the truth about his parent’s death, and adopted the mask and ID of the Batman in order to find those responsible. He trained himself to fight, honing his skills in martial arts and using all manner of weapons to aid him. After overcoming his fear of dark spaces and bats in general Wayne built a bat cave beneath his home, where he kept his toys in which to fight crime.
The only other person to know of the cave’s existence was his best friend and confident, Alfred his manservant.

Oliver Queen converted the old family steel mill into a work space in order to carry out his vigilante work, building a nightclub above it as a decoy for what went on below stairs. After saving the life of his bodyguard John Diggle after a run in with Deadshot, opened up about his role as the hood. Diggle joined the team as an equal.

During the first series, Oliver tangled with many an unsavoury character, none more so than Deadshot, who was responsible for killing Diggle’s brother. Diggle’s vengeance alone at capturing this individual drove a wedge between him and Oliver.

Bruce Wayne found an ally in the Police force, Commissioner Jim Gordon. Although it was hard to prove to the police that he was doing them a favour by bringing those guilty to justice, it was often Gordon seeking help from the Batman.

Oliver Queen’s ally is Quentin Lance, father to Sara and Laurel Lance. He’s a police detective in the Glades and fights to protect his daughter, hating Oliver for the death of his daughter Sara, and is determined right through the series to bring the Hood to justice. But it’s only at the end when Quentin realises that the man he’s been chasing all along is the man he should have trusted from the start.

The doctor who I previously mentioned at the mental hospital rang Scarecrow bells at me.

Back in Batman Begins, a character that would play a large part in the DC world was going to have a significant impact in the Arrow world, and although he’s not been physically mentioned, the idea of sending two bombs into the centre of ‘the Glades’ in order to flatten it and restore the balance, sounds one hell of a lot like the chemical bomb that Henri Ducard was transporting into Gotham City in order to ‘restore the balance’.

Knowing that the Hood and Batman wouldn’t stand for this, it’s a race against time to stop the threat and save the day. But as with all bad guys, it’s never a case of stopping one bomb is it? There are always two!!!

Although in the Arrow story, it’s Malcolm Merlyn’s idea to flatten the Glades, the idea of the Undertaking however, is not. And when it’s discovered who is behind this plan, the last piece of the Batman puzzle is revealed.

Oh and if you needed any help in working that out, just remember, everyone has an alias. 

Wikia DC
Wikia Arrow
Wikia Green Arrow


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