When the CW’s Arrow first landed a few years back it began planting the seeds for a wider DC TV universe — now a multiverse which encompasses The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. In both age and tone, Arrow remains the de-facto big brother of the three.
But it’s no secret that recent seasons of Arrow , and sadly , a big missed opportunity in terms of his more humorous comic book and animated counterpart. He doesn’t even have a boxing glove arrow, for goodness sake.
Speaking of big missed opportunities in Arrow, let’s talk about Green Arrow and Black Canary.
Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) romantic trysts with the Black Canary sisters have been a muddling disappointment over Arrow‘s run, and not just because the personal relationships between the three fluctuated so wildly over the seasons.
In the current DC Comics’ continuity, Dinah Drake Lance is the only Black Canary in the comic books, but in the past there have been two Black Canaries — Dinah Drake, and her daughter Dinah Laurel Lance. Obviously Dinah Laurel Lance was the namesake for one of the Lance sisters in Arrow, and the idea of having two Black Canaries is not a new one.
But the big thing missing from the dynamic between Oliver and Canary in Arrow is the strength of their relationship. Green Arrow and Black Canary have worked together as partners and been romantically involved since the 1960s, and it’s become a key facet of many of their comic book outings — .
And when we say romantically involved we don’t mean in the same way say, Oliver and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) are, when they drop and pick each other up as Oliver’s mood takes them.
There’s a core of steel at the centre of their relationship that always keeps Green Arrow and Black Canary gravitating together — as the power couple of the DC universe, they provide a much needed love story in the often bleak tale of the typical superhero’s romantic life.
Perhaps more importantly, Canary doesn’t put up with Oliver’s shit in the same way Felicity does, so she drives him as a character instead of leaving him splashing around the muddy waters of Olicity (and we’ll get to that).
The Comic Book Green Arrow & Black Canary
With few exceptions — the New 52 for example — the pair have always been closely linked, and they were married up until the New 52 continuity reset. Indeed, the lack of relationship between the two was so noticeable in the New 52, that it was highlighted as a major loss when Doctor Manhattan removed ten years of continuity from the DC Universe in the Rebirth event.
Even when an omnipotent super-being rips the fabric of the universe apart, the two are still drawn towards each other as they feel the loss of not being together, despite not even remembering that they had ever met.
In Injustice: Gods Amongst Us – Year One Green Arrow is killed by Superman, and later in Year Two Black Canary is mortally wounded by the Man of Steel and left to die. Doctor Fate — tasked as a Lord of Order and protector of the thread of fate — rescues Dinah, who was fated to die. He takes her and Connor (the child of Oliver and Dinah) to an alternate universe where she is reunited with a Green Arrow who lost his Black Canary years before.
The bond between the two of them is so strong that it causes Doctor Fate himself to explicitly say “F**k Fate” and break with his sworn role. Surely that should count for something.
In the DC Universe, Black Canary and Green Arrow are simply meant to be together. In Arrow, not so much. Perhaps it’s telling that by fracturing the character of Black Canary the show writers also fractured the relationship between Oliver and Laurel, but it’s a shame nonetheless.
Sadly we’re likely not going to get a Black Canary/Green Arrow romance in , what with Sara being all tied up with and Laurel being, well, a little bit dead right now. Instead we have the faint hope of Olicity lingering in the background.
The Olicity Issue
Even if Arrow has gone too far to bring the Black Canary relationship back, having a constant someone would do Oliver a world of good. We thought he might have found that constant with Felicity, but his own angst gets in the way again in Season 4 and they end up calling off their engagement.
and often a well needed breath of comedy to offset the dreary tone of the show — even her aesthetic, with the bright pink lipstick, contrasts with the rest of Team Arrow. But the hesitation and drama involved in repeatedly bringing her and Oliver together and apart again — and also Ray Palmer/Atom (Brandon Routh) was there for a bit — is
It’s an infuriating facet of Arrow, but not one unique to it. Superhero shows and comics do often deal heavily with the effects the alter-ego has on the personal life of the person behind the mask, and so often they fall into this depressing loop of ‘will they, won’t they?’ or ‘breaking up and getting back together’. Indeed David Ramsey (John Diggle on Arrow) told TVLIne we’ll be seeing:
“Mayhem, death, love…. Oliver and Felicity breaking up and getting back together” [in Season 5].”
C’mon writers, just let them be happy.
Sadly this could’ve all been avoided by taking more cues from the mythology of the comic books. Not only is Oliver Queen of Arrow is very different to the lighter-hearted, goateed Green Arrow of the comic books, he seems to have more luck with the relationship side of things too. Maybe cause he’s not such a mopey grump all the time (sorry Stephen Amell, we still love you really).
However things move forward with Oliver now — whether they’re with Felicity or someone else — his personal relationships with those around him will be crucial to the further development of his character. C’mon Ollie, even Batman had that fling with Catwoman, you can do it.
Do you think Oliver should get back together with Felicity? Or is Black Canary his one true love? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
MP Staff Writer, thinking too much about comic books since 1992. Tweet me your favourite superheroes, @katgngr