We saw the first part of this “Flash Vs. Arrow” crossover event last night on the CW’s episode of “The Flash,” and tonight it concludes on “Arrow.” Who is really better, the Flash or the Arrow, and how will the menace of Captain Boomerang complicate matters? Join me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Brave and the Bold.”
The Brave and the Bold
The Brave and the Bold, those are words to conjure, and an old term indeed and legendary as well when it comes to comic books. The comic series The Brave and the Bold ran from the mid-fifties through to the early eighties, acting primarily during that time as a Batman team-up title, and even inspired an animated series with the caped crusader a few years back. There have been many incarnations of the comic title since then, but one concept has always been present, the team-up, making it a perfect title for this television event – the team-up between Arrow and the Flash.
The words Brave and the Bold as a comic book title also have another meaning – it was also for a time a launching pad for new concepts and characters. The Justice League of America made their debut in the series, as did the Teen Titans, the Suicide Squad, Metamorpho, the Viking Prince, new versions of the Spectre and Hawkman, as well as the new look Green Arrow. That last bit makes the title all the more fitting for this episode, as that concept also signaled the end of Green Arrow as Batman with a bow, and the beginning of GA as a more original interesting character in his own right.
Night and Day
As we open on this episode of “Arrow” the difference between this show and “The Flash” is immediately evident. It’s like night and day, baby. The Metropolis/Gotham City parallel is very much alive and well with the cities of Starling City and Central City – it’s always day in Central and always night in Starling. As we watch Team Arrow (plus Arsenal – so where was Roy last night?) stalk the boomerang killer through the dark and gritty night, Team Flash arrives in Starling.
Now I’ve been calling Oliver’s ersatz headquarters below the abandoned nightclub the Arrowcave for a couple years now because, well, comics, I love that it only takes Cisco seconds to call it that. That’s why we all love Cisco. And the Arrowmobile. And I double-love that Roy’s calling it the Arrowcave now too. So when do we get the Arrowmobile anyway? And why can’t Roy be Oliver’s Cisco?
In the comics, originally Captain Boomerang was a frequent foe of the Flash and member in good standing of his Rogues Gallery, along with Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and the rest. Digger Harkness was an Aussie boomerang master and mascot for a toy company before turning to a life of crime. Like the other Rogues he based his crimes and arsenal on a specific gimmick – obviously the boomerang.
In the 1980s however, Harkness moved into a darker phase of his criminal career as a member of the aforementioned Suicide Squad, which has been a major part of the Arrowverse so far. It would be nice to have a more complete membership of the Suicide Squad from the comics on TV, especially with a movie version on the horizon as well. Here in “Arrow” Harkness is played by “Spartacus” alum Nick Tarabay, who is perfectly sinister, but definitely not Australian.
Now I love me some Nick Tarabay as he was one of my favorite characters on “Spartacus,” the show that also gave us Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke, and seeing him act, and in action, is enough to make up for the lack of an Australian accent. Harkness seems to have something against ARGUS, and Diggle’s on-again-off-again wife Lyla, and his attack on their headquarters brings all the boys to the yard – as in Diggle, Arrow, Arsenal, and the Flash. The brief encounter is just full of the mad hand to hand combat usual for “Arrow” along with super power antics that we usually see on “The Flash.” This was cool.
Nothing beats Cisco’s geek outbursts talking Leagues and Arrowmobiles, along with more differences between the shows than night and day. As geek cool as Cisco is with his dialogue, it is even cooler to have Team Arrow, complete this time, and Team Flash working together on this case. The problem of course is Arrow plays better by Flash’s rules than the Flash plays by Arrow’s in Starling. The worlds and night and day are not meant to cross.
Sooo unlike last night’s Rainbow Raider, um sorry, Prism, Digger Harkness does not play around, should not be underestimated, and will not be taken out off-screen as an afterthought. Digger Harkness is a serious, dangerous mercenary. He easily lures the heroes away and then invades the Arrowcave, just as brazenly as he attacked ARGUS headquarters. With only Felicity and Caitlin to defend her, Harkness takes Lyla down easily. This is no Prism, and this is not Central City.
As Harkness hatches his fairly cliché plan to detonate bombs all over the city at the same time to busy the heroes, back in Flashback Hong Kong, young Oliver faces a parallel dilemma with bombings and torture, that second bugaboo one that is dividing Arrow and Flash in the present day. In the end, despite all of their differences, the two heroes are more the same than either of them thought. And as far as finding and disarming all the bombs, much like unwinding a tornado or running across the water – it’s something we know the Flash can do from the comics, but man, is it cool to see in live action. And again, it proves another difference between the heroes – Arrow punches problems, Flash outthinks them.
Odds and Ends
This is probably the worst idea ever, but the heroes imprison Harkness with Deathstroke, hopefully not in the same cell, or we’ll be seeing a whole different kind of team-up real soon. And it may be sooner rather than later for that “Spartacus” reunion as Manu Bennett is scheduled to resume his role as Slade Wilson later this season. There are also call outs to Bart Allen, Multiplex, and the Bratva, as well as Flash and Green Arrow artists Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams respectively.
Great episode, lost of fun, but next week is the mid-season finale for both shows, and they are both huge…
Next on “The Flash” …finally the Reverse-Flash!
…and on “Arrow” …R’as Al Ghul!