In the lengthy companion book ‘Arrow: Heroes and Villains,’ the casual fan can find many new tidbits of information about the various characters from the CW’s ‘Arrow,’ though for the more hardcore viewers, the book may just feel like it’s lacking in a lot of new information. All the pages detailing the life of Oliver Queen, his family, and his Arrow Team at times feel a bit monotonous, with a lot of the information repeated as the characters’ plot lines often intertwine with each other. The book really shines when you reach the second half, where it delves into the stories of the show’s villains. While the heroes are spotlighted every week on the show, many of the villains were one-shots, and it is great to see them all collected, with their comic histories and motivations spelled out, and with numerous pictures of each to help us recall their story from the show.
The background information about the comics that many of the ‘Arrow’ characters came from is intriguing, giving an insight into how the character was portrayed before the show. Of course, that’s only for the characters not original to the show, which are many. Finding out that Felicity Smoak and Nyssa Al Ghul (I had only heard of her sister Talia) actually started in the comics, and were not created by the show’s writers, was a great find. Especially interesting is the amount of characters ‘Arrow’ has borrowed from the Batman mythology, with the book itself pointing out just how heavily the ‘Batman’ comics have influenced the show. Turns out such characters as Cyrus Gold (Solomon Grundy), Garfield Lynns (Firefly), Barton Mathis (the Dollmaker), William Tockman (The Clock King), and Helena Bertinelli (the Huntress) debuted in Gotham City, with many ties to the Dark Knight.
All in all, not a bad read, and a great way to catch up on the characters of the show and where they stand as of the end of the second season of ‘Arrow.’