Arrow. Have you seen it yet? If not, you really should. It’s about a billionaire who suffers loss but then triumphantly returns home to fight crime and save his city through physical combat. OK, so the concept is not quite original, but DC Comics never seemed to care so I’m willing to let it go. That being said, you may have noticed that there’s another heroic character who seems to be lending a bunch of his villains and allies to the Emerald Archer: Deadshot, Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins, Huntress and Firefly to name a few. Because of this, a long shadow is hanging over the series, much like it’s predecessor superheroic drama Smallville.
The shadow of the Bat!
The question is, with the growing number of familiar faces gracing the show, will Batman himself ever make an appearance on Arrow? Doubtful, and for that I’m actually grateful. See I like Batman, he’s one of DC’s top two heroes for a reason. He is a very good character. In fact, he is such a good character that his presence on Arrow would be detrimental to the show.
Allow me to elaborate a bit; Oliver Queen (Ollie), who is of course “the Arrow” on the show, found himself stranded on an island for 5 years after the attempted murder of his father at sea. During this time, he had a series of adventures (presented through ongoing flashbacks) that eventually turned him into a badass. Upon returning home, he takes his revenge against a number of people on his father’s secret shit list. Later in the series he begins deviating from the list, doing a bit more to try and save the city by fighting crimes in-progress – Batman-ing it up, if you will.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself: what do you suppose would happen if Batman had a list of people who needed to be dealt with? They would be dealt with. In a single night, if possible. People tend to forget that the Dark Knight has another moniker – “The World’s Greatest Detective.” If he finds a bunch of names on a shady list and suspects, even for an instant, that there’s a larger conspiracy he will figure out what is happening. He won’t be distracted and will never relent until he has answers. Oliver may be clever, but he’s nowhere near Bruce’s level of genius. This is a man who once stared down a dark space god in a battle of wits. Guess who blinked? (See the image on the right).
On top of that, Bruce isn’t weighed down by any current family drama or personal interactions. Now nothing against Ollie – I’m actually enjoying the Hamlet-like insanity that’s going on in his personal life. But clearly, trying to balance that with the responsibility of being a hero is tough gig.
You see, Batman’s PARENTS ARE DEAD (sorry, habit). He may have to play pretend at a fundraiser or two, but he never has to worry about who his sister is dating. Batman has no sister and no personal hang-ups to impede his work when necessary. And even if a dilemma did somehow manage to arise, he can simply order Alfred to tell people that Bruce Wayne went to the Bahamas for a month to play with supermodels on a boat. Batman doesn’t care about his secret identity’s image. He doesn’t have to.
Now, Ollie is pretty tough and extremely capable in a fight. That being said, comparing Batman’s fighting abilities to his is like comparing Bruce Lee to a kindergartener. While I’m sure there’s some random comic panel somewhere involving Ollie landing a punch on Batman, please note that this is a random fluke and not indicative of the norm. In the show, there have been several occasions in which the Arrow has been defeated in physical combat by non-superpowered beings. One time, it was even his best friend’s dad (Malcom Meryln). We won’t hold that against him, but that simply doesn’t happen with Batman. There are perhaps two normal, non-powered, un-super-gadgeted persons on the planet that could take Batman in a fight.
And no, neither of them are his BFF’s dad.
And finally, for a factor outside the confines of the show and comic. From purely a marketing perspective, Batman is a bully. I don’t mean that he shakes down Billy Batson for his lunch money; what I’m referring to is how he has an almost super-human ability to effortlessly take the spotlight from whoever he is appearing with. Don’t believe me? Go watch The Lego Movie. Or better yet, take a look at the name of the Man of Steel sequel. I believe it’s being called Batman vs. Superman. Batman stole the lead in the title from Superman’s own film! Were he to be introduced to Arrow, there is a very strong possibility that it would have to be renamed Batarang before the first commercial break.
A good way to sum this up: Batman is basically the walking cheat code of the entire DC Universe, while Arrow is at its best when it’s world is going nuts. Putting Batman into that situation would resolve so many issues that it would feel like a cheat. That’s just how he works. He gets things done by either outfighting or outthinking anything that you throw in his way and is, simply put, too efficient of a hero for the world of Arrow.
But hey, here’s to hoping that Gotham‘s 10-year-old Batman doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the characters!