Monday, August 27, 2012

Look Ma, No Hands! (Foreshadowing)

"Look Ma, No Hands! (Foreshadowing)" from Arsenal #3 (DC, 1998) by Devin Grayson, Rick Mays, Jason Martin, and Sean Parsons

Might Roy Harper win the award for MOST mismanaged character in comics history? (I'll take other nominations.) Starts out life as a derivative sidekick with a slightly silly name, joins the Teen Titans, and gets his 15 minutes when he's caught shooting up heroin on that famous Green Arrow/Green Lantern cover. We're fine up to there, but that event may well be what broke poor ol' Speedy forever. Not because we can't have a hero who's a recovering addict, but because I don't think writers quite knew what to do with it. His stint as a drug enforcement agent seemed sound enough, but having lost his innocence so young made him a target for every "gritty" former sidekick story to come down the pike. Got a girl pregnant and didn't know he was a father? Check. "Speedy" too silly? Let's turn him into "Arsenal", 90s badass! (In his original purple togs, he might as well have been Hawkeye.) Left the Titans because he caused one of their deaths? Check. But wait, it gets better...

Roy Harper was revealed to be Vandal Savage's descendent (in the mini-series splashed above)! Then he embraced his Navajo heritage! Formed a new Outsiders team! (Noooooooo!) If you get the notion they didn't know what to do with the character, well... Then he joined the Justice League as Red Arrow, were things looking up? Nope. In one of the most hated story arcs in recent memory (and that's saying something, isn't it, comics fans?), Prometheus cut Roy's arm off and the Electrocutioner (of all the c-list...) killed his daughter. One painful robot arm later, and he's getting himself addicted to pain killers and paranoid delusions. Time to break out that Arsenal identity again! Because he's dark and that's a lot more badass than being a reasonably well-adjusted single dad, and Arsenal is a badass name!!! Oh yeah, and they make sure to reveal that all this stress has made him impotent. TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Stealing drugs from dealers, talking to dead cats, murdering the Electrocutioner... Well, that got all rebooted in the New52, so now Roy is a disgraced hero (merely a recovering alcoholic) and a bit of a mimbo.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I like Roy. He's not my favorite character...but I like him. And the things that they have done to that poor boy! It beggars the imagination.