Julien Neaves – Editor
This week we said our formal goodbyes to the hero that kicked off the CW’s Arrowverse – Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, formerly Arrow and The Hood.
Over eight seasons the emerald archer (played with fine form by Stephen Amell) has fought many baddies big and small. In tribute to the Green Arrow I am reduxing my Top 5 Arrow Big Bads list to a Top 8 Arrow Big Bads. With a Crisis-sized SPOILER ALERT here we go:
#8 Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett)
This guy is only here for completion sake as the eighth and final season of Arrow had no big bad per se, but rather mixed nostalgia with overly complicated fetch quests.
When the extremely hyped Anti-Monitor finally showed up for Crisis he was the most generic of generic supervillians. We never knew his motivation, other than being really, really evil or anti-good, if you will. And his dialogue was as stiff as his face wrinkles. Bor-ing! To paraphrase Isaiah 14:16 “Is this the villain who shook the multiverse and made planets tremble?” ¿En serio?
#7 Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable)
I was excited to see iconic immortal Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul ever since they teased Nanda Parbat way back in Season 1. And Matt Nable certainly looked like the character with the great costuming. But he was just, so, very, bland.
Now don’t get me wrong – the fight with Oliver on the snow-covered cliff was cool and Ra’s almost killing our hero was awesome. But everything else was just uninspired, from his monotone way of speaking, to his plan to make Oliver his heir (see the Batman comic story), to the forced marriage of Oliver and Nyssa, to the plan to destroy Gotham…sorry Star City…with a virus. Real original. Thankfully the Gotham TV series did a slightly better job with their version of the character.
#6 Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough)
For Season 4 we had the magically powered and genocidal Damien Darhk. Neal McDonough played him as a smirking, over-the-top and slightly hammy villain, and it kind of worked. Unlike the boring Ra’s at least Darhk had energy and was fun to watch. And the first time he used his powers to stop Arrow’s arrows mid-air was pretty dang cool.
Darhk will always be remembered for killing Laurel and trying to kill millions of people with nuclear weapons like a Bond villain. Side note: The character was even more interesting when he joined the Legion of Doom on Arrow’s sister show Legends of Tomorrow.
#5 Ricardo Diaz/The Dragon (Kirk Acevedo)
When Diaz was revealed to be the true big bad of Season 6 I was like “Are you sure?” I mean, don’t get me wrong. Kirk Acevedo player the gangster with delusions of grandeur well, and he had a genuine menace and aura of intimidation. But at the end of the day he was just a gangster. No special abilities or powers or anything.
He made a major impact by killing Quentin and terrorising the Queen family, but he always felt like he was batting out of his league. At a point I kind of just wanted him to die and be replaced with someone more interesting. And him being burned alive was quite satisfying. Guess he wasn’t a true dragon. GoT it? You get it.
#4 Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman)
In the UK John Barrowman is best known for his role as Captain Jack Harkness on the iconic and long-running science fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood. And when he joined the cast of Arrow as the manipulative and calculating Malcolm Merlyn he made quite the splash on this side of the pond. He gave the character so much charm and wit and vibrancy that he made his presence felt in every scene.
Merlyn’s rooftop battle with Oliver in the Season 1 finale was 12 flavours of awesome sauce though his “Undertaking” to destroy the Glades with an earthquake device was a bit small potatoes. And he became something of an anti-hero in his future appearances though at times he still went full dark. Remember when he brainwashed Thea to kill Sara Lance? Not cool dude. But we are talking Malcolm as big bad and, while he was an enjoyable main villain, he misses out on medalling on this list.
#3 Emiko Queen (Sea Shimooka)
I will die on the hill that Season 7 was the best of the entire series. Great story, superb action and a fantastic big bad in Emiko Queen. I just loved everything about her: the double twist (she was not only bad but the BIG BAD), her complex relationship with Oliver and the ghost of their father, and her sweet, sweet fighting skills. I didn’t even mind that it was another archer main villain. She was that good! She even got a Prime universe “redemption” in the series finale but I think her arc ended perfect the first time.
#2 Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett)
One of the deadliest’s assassins in all of DC comics, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke was one of the greatest foes Oliver ever faced. We see in the flashbacks that the two began as allies on Lian Yu. But when Slade’s crush Shado is killed, partly due to Oliver’s inaction, and he (Slade) gets injected with super drug Mirakuru, things start going downhill for their bromance. And Oliver did put an arrow through his right eye, which is something not so easy to forgive.
Slade then engages in a campaign to destroy Oliver which included creating an army of Mirakuru soldiers and murdering Ollie’s mom right in front of him. As a big bad he was a physical threat to Oliver and we had the added dimension of their history together which gave more weight to their encounters. And his costume looked freaking cool. Slade Wilson was a fantastic main villain but he is narrowly beaten by our number one entry. Read on, dear reader. Read on.
#1 Simon Morrison/Adrian Chase/Prometheus (Josh Segarra)
Just by process of elimination our number one entry will be of no surprise to anyone. And I know some of you will say “no way, Deathstroke is the best, you suck, worst list ever!” But please do hear me out.
When I first saw the mysterious Prometheus with his costume and arrows I was like “not another archery-based villain.” But little did I know what was waiting behind the mask! The reveal that district attorney and ostensible Oliver ally Adrian Chase was Prometheus was a gut punch. But that was merely the amuse-bouche to this five course meal of machinations and malevolence. Even after Oliver learned his identity Chase was all up in his face and walking around like normal and Green Arrow/Mayor Queen could do nothing about it. Now that is power. He is also a significant physical threat that can kill you as easily with a pen as with a sword.
Chase’s plan included capturing, torturing and mentally abusing Oliver so much that he (Ollie) admitted he loved killing and temporarily quits being Green Arrow. He once told Oliver he was 10 steps ahead of him and Oliver did not even know what game they are playing. And then he delivered on his threat by beating our hero at every, single turn. He tricked Oliver into killing Felicity’s beau, trapped Oliver and Felicity in their own base, and also captured Ollie’s son and all his allies on Lian Yu. And then he killed himself in an effort to blow them up and prove a point. Now that is some Joker-level crazy!
Ra’s was technically immortal, Darhk had magic and Deathstroke had Mirakuru strength but all Chase had was his brilliant, twisted mind and his fighting skills to bring the Green Arrow to his knees, which he did on several occassions. Hats, shoes and socks off to Josh Segarra for his mind-blowing performance of this psychopathic big bad, and the number one big bad of the entire series.
So that’s my list. Who is your favourite Arrow big bad? Feel free to comment and if you enjoyed this list how about a share? Sharing is caring.
For more Arrow action check out my review of the Season 4 finale here.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.