It started with the headline:
'Arrow' TV Series: Is It Just A Huge Batman Rip-Off? Yeah It Is'
BWHAHAHAHA! News alert; this just in: SUN SETS IN WEST. FISH SWIM. POPE IS CATHOLIC. BEAR SHITS IN WOODS. DC REBOOT IMPENDING.
My first thought was that this must be some kind of parody article, a la The Onion. Surely no person who exist in the 20th century could criticize the aboriginal Batman rip-off, Green Arrow, for daring to be... a Batman rip-off. Heck every CHILD who watched Batman: Brave & the Bold knows that that's kind of the point of Green Arrow.
But, no, apparently the article is in deadly earnest; so great is the need to fill up the entire internet with commentary and listicles that things like this happen.
" However, the tone seems more like that of Batman rather than Green Arrow," complains Vamien.
Oh, dear, it's lost the true tone of Green Arrow which is...
oh ,that's right. Green Arrow doesn't have his own tone. He never has Whatever the era is, Batman sets the tone and Green Arrow follows it. That's hardly a criticism of ANY character, let alone Bat-manque' Green Arrow. Batman is the trendsetter or, at very least, the bellwether of tone in every comic book era. How much more true should that be for a character has always been RC Cola to Batman's Coca-Cola?
"Now, don't act like what I'm saying is not true. Arrow, ever since it came on the scene, has felt like a complete Batman copy, and that is not good."
Well, Vamien, if by 'ever since Green Arrow came on the scene' you mean More Fun #73 (NOV1941), then... sure. I'm not going to act like what you're saying is not true. It's not merely true, it's AXIOMATIC. The only thing that surprises me about that is how much it surprises YOU. If only the internet had warned you! If only Green Arrow's wikipedia entry actually said "At the time of his debut, Green Arrow functioned in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character". Oh, wait... it does.
And to my one reader who's about to comment that liberal activist Green Arrow of the Bronze Age was 'completely different' from Batman... That's the same period where Bruce Wayne decided that he was too isolated from the real world, shut down Wayne Manor, moved into the heart of Gotham City, started taking an active hand in the philanthropy of his own charity, the Wayne Foundation, and started the V.I.P. (Victims, Inc. Program) (Batman #217). No surprise there, since at the time both characters were being re-imagined by the same writer: Denny O'Neil (although he didn't write that particular Batman issue). In short, Batman became a 'liberal activist' in late 1969. Green Arrow's renovation as a bearded social activist? Late 1969.
"The first sign of this Batman rip-off is the amount of Batman villains that have managed to show up in the series. It makes us wonder if Green Arrow doesn't have interesting villains the team of writers could pick from. This is truly not the case because there are several great Arrow villains and other lesser ones who could do well with live-action screen time. This copy-Batman thing took a strange turn when the writers chose to make Ra's al Ghul the main bad guy in season 3 of the show. I nearly threw my cup of coffee because right away it gave me that Batman feeling. It's not like it wasn't known beforehand that he would appear, but seeing it happening was still shocking."
Well, Vamien; you are easily shocked. In fact, I'm now operating under the assumption that you've never actually READ a comic book, you just see them on the teevee. First, sloughing secondary villains off onto other heroes is one of the things Batman does; he's got extra, after all. Every decade, new writers try to make new 'classic' Batman villains, but most of them don't stick as well as the ones with a Golden or Silver Age pedigree. Ra's Al-Ghul, created by Denny O'Neil (see above), is one of those, an updated Fu Manchu who, long-term, doesn't work well enough in Batman's world to really stick. But, as it often the case, one man's garbage is another man's gold, and Ra's Al-Ghul is a perfect foil for Green Arrow.; arrows, meet swords. Meanwhile, Batman's with Superman fighting off an invasion by Atlantis. You can let Ra's screw up Green Arrow's life as much as you want, but Batman's got more important crap to do.
Second, --wait, I'm sorry, I need a minute to stop laughing at "it makes us wonder if Green Arrow doesn't have interesting villains the team of writers could pick from." Um; no. It makes YOU wonder, Vamien. The show's already using some of GA's best (but still crappy villains) like Merlyn, Clock King, Brick, Count Vertigo, China White, and Deathstroke (who's a Titan's castoff, you'll recall). I swear I will buy cable again -- for my entire neighborhood-- if they put The Octopus or Bull's-Eye on television. Who the heck else are they going to use, Vamien? Onamatopeia?! Carmen Miranda? Starro? Auntie Gravity?
In all fairness... I get it. The CW show is a marvelous opportunity to individualize Ollie as a hero, and, in that sense, the degree to which he's just aping Batman is a loss of that opportunity. But I think they've done a good job of giving Ollie his own world, with characters all his own. The standouts on the show aren't his villains, but rather his supporting cast, so much so that they've been introduced in the comics themselves. The fact that it's different from Batman's AT ALL is a credit to the showrunners' work. Stop worrying about whether GA's fighting leftover villains and be impressed -- as I am -- that he's the medium's inspiration for the Flash, the Atom, and Firestorm. Face: Green Arrow is television's Batman, because, as Gotham has underscored, Batman is currently simply too BIG to fit on television any more.
So.. I think I get the point Vamien is trying to make.
But he's not the person equipped to make it.