DC Classics.com Nekron Week!
Red Arrow Vault Review

We’re rounding the bend of Nekron week with a look at the DC Universe Classics modern version of Roy Harper, the Red Arrow. Although the figure may not look it, Roy’s character has been through some pretty rough times, especially in the last few years.

Roy Harper started his super hero career as Speedy, Green Arrow’s original sidekick.  Things were pretty good for him back in those days.  He helped catch goofy Silver Age super criminals, he became a founding member of the Teen Titans, and he even dated Wonder Girl for while.  But nothing stays perfect forever, especially in soap opera world of comic books, and Roy soon had to deal with the disbanding of the Titans and his break-up with Donna Troy.  It didn’t help matters that Green Arrow abandoned him for some over the road time with Hal Jordan.  The deserted Speedy soon turned to heroin, giving us one of the most memorable covers in comic book history with Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85.

Roy eventually recovered from his addiction, but his relationship with Oliver Queen had changed and he soon struck out on his own.  He eventually joined Checkmate as a drug enforcement agent.  While under cover, he met and fell in love with the super villain Cheshire and the two had a daughter named Lian.

Reestablishing his life as a super hero, Roy took the name Arsenal and eventually rejoined the Titans, but after the death of Donna Troy the team disbanded and he eventually joined the Outsiders.  Over this time Vandal Savage tried to harvest his organs, he was shot in the chest by Brother Blood, and his throat was slit and he was left for dead.  But none of this would compare to what lay ahead.

Roy joins the Justice League, adopting the name Red Arrow and finally settling his differences with Ollie.  This newfound peace didn’t last long under the writing of James Robinson.  Roy gets his right arm cut off in a conflict with the villain Prometheus.  Then Prometheus blows up part of Star City, killing millions.  Among the dead is Roy’s daughter, Lian.  This amount of loss is too much for Roy to take and he begins taking drugs again while carrying around a dead cat and hallucinating that it’s his daughter.  (I wish I was kidding about that…)  Red Arrow does eventually get a cybernetic arm and kicks his drug habit before the DCnU takes over.

I understand that sometimes have to put characters through a certain amount of hell.  Characters need to grow to be successful, which is in itself a mostly foreign idea in comics.  But there’s also a point where the amount of pain that is pushed onto a character begins to verge on the sadistic.  Instead of creating obstacles for a character to grow around, writers use gruesome devices while only allowing the character to return to the status quo at best.  This only creates a torturous environment for the reader with no true payoff, and is one of the reasons I find it increasingly difficult to invest time in most comics these days.  Especially DC, where it seems most prevalent these days.  (OK, Sorry about that little rant tangent.  I’m done now…)  Continue to page 2…

25 thoughts on “DC Classics.com Nekron Week!
Red Arrow Vault Review

  1. I hardly think there’s a DC fan who doesnt wish that you were Kidding about that story detail. As for Roy he looks good but Like your review says it’s just Green Arrow in a new color.

    So if we started the week with your favorite, am I to guess Ollie is your least?

  2. At least they didn’t give him a detachable (or cyborg) arm and a dead cat weapon. 😉

  3. I didn’t realize this was (almost) the *exact* same body as w9 GA. I never compared the two, mostly because that GA is precariously balance in the middle of a JLA grouping and I don’t want to pick up half a dozen other figures (again) pulling him out. (for some reason, Hal, Barry, and Atom tend to take the plunge semi-regularly. ok, more Hal/Barry, DCIH Atom and a victim of their suicidal plummets.)

    I don’t get that face, either. Grimace? Constipated? Shooting (up)? It makes no sense and just looks weird. Either way, just add red ballcap and he’s nu52 Roy, which is probably another reason they chose this look.

    One thing they did overlook is he has a tribal band on his right bicep (re: The Titans v1), but that may have been retconned away in recent Crises? or “the sleeve covers that exact spot”?

    I would still prefer the “Brown Arrow” Arsenal costume from The Titans over this regression to make his mentor(s) happy. I don’t think that one would need anything other than the basic buck? Maybe a holster belt? I think the only new (non-head) piece would be the mini-crossbow, which could be re-used for an eventual Huntress. I wouldn’t even mind the yellow vest on black body suit look, which could have used the Vigilante body with new (soft plastic?) vest.

    1. Especially if he came with a syringe, a belt around his arm, and mabye a spoon and lighter. Of course, that might not work for a “mom-friendly” retail fig. Still, that cover is one of the more iconic, more memorable comic book covers for DC (not to mention comics in general).

      Hmm… mabye I can strip the syringe off that plague doctor fig…

  4. Is Roy still a former heroin addict in the new 52, or was that retconned out along with his dead daughter, missing arm, and everything else? I’ve made this joke before, but Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow makes me laugh, since he’s the luckiest junkie ever. Like watching Requiem for a Dream in reverse…

    1. I don’t really know what’s what in the new 52, and I’m pretty sure neither do some of the writers.

  5. “Over this time Vandal Savage tried to harvest his organs, he was shot in the chest by Brother Blood, and his throat was slit and he was left for dead”-lol

    I never knew speedys life was so tragic..well other than the heroin which is pretty much all I know about the character.

    Great review

  6. The Rant was well deserved Noisy, poor Speedie’s history was a big factor in me passing on him.

    1. It was my rant, but thanks for the compliment. 🙂

      It’s definitely hard to like the character after all that bad writing.

  7. You forgot to mention his erectile dysfunction and going to work for Deathstroke’s bastardized version of the Titans pre-reboot. Seriously, how does James Robinson keep getting work?

    I think the facial expression is supposed to be growling/gritting/grimacing, not smiling, so showing upper and lower teeth works for me. I wish he wasn’t making any kind of facial expression at all. “Neutral” is the best option if there’s only one head for a figure. It seems to be a more and more common thing in DCUC figures to have expressive faces, though. Maybe the Horsemen are getting bored of sculpting neutral faces.

    I’d been asking for this version of Roy for a while now. I figured it would be an easy retool for Mattel (as in, a figure that it would be hard for them to screw up), and it would give us a good modern representation of Roy, one that was actually relevant for a few years when I started requesting it (leave it to Mattel to wait until a version of a characters’s totally irrelevant before releasing the figure).

      1. So if we start that clock ticking in 2006, when Roy first took on the Red Arrow identity, that means Mattel was only 5 years late, rather than six? Roy went back to being Arsenal (drugged up, impotent, dead-cat-hugging, Deathstroke-following Arsenal. Seriously, how is James Robinson a professional writer?) in 2010, so even if there is a year lead time, they still got this one into the pipeline a good year after Roy gave up the Red Arrow identity.

        1. You know what, I have to amend that last post. I’d forgotten until I just looked it up that it was JT Krul, not James Robinson, who wrote “Rise of Arsenal.” So, it was a group effort between the Cry for Justice and Rise of Arsenal creative teams to make a story arc that friggin’ bad.

        2. Lead time had nothing to do with this figure, the “we have a green arrow body and need a cheap figure” aspect did though haha.

          1. And that’s why this figure would have made a ton of sense 2-6 years ago, and why I repeatedly posted on various forums that Mattel could make a really good figure with just a new head. The base figure is one of the better examples of a DCUC body, and at the time he was a heavily featured part of a fairly successful JLA relaunch. So Mattel of course waits several years until the character has become completely unlikable (try reading “Cry For Justice” and “Rise of Arsenal” and tell me it’s possible to care about Roy Harper after that), taken up a different superhero identity, and then been rebooted to release this figure.

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