Warning: spoilers ahead for the second episode of Arrow Season 5.
Season 5 of Arrow has already made some significant changes to the show's status quo with a handful of big new characters to help and/or hinder Oliver in his next set of adventures in Star City. The premiere last week pitted Oliver against some of his bloodiest villains to date. Luckily, the second episode introduced a brand new and very bizarre good guy who could be helpful in the rest of Season 5. Oliver's new ally will go by the name Ragman, and his abilities look pretty...well, unusual.
Ragman made his Arrow debut by targeting executives of AmerTek Industries. Thanks to his modified voice, covered face, and magical swirling cloth tentacles, Ragman definitely seemed like he would end up as yet another member of Oliver's gallery of rogues. When Thea discovered that AmerTek was selling weapons to Tobias Church, however, Oliver realized that he and Ragman are on the same side.
Things really didn't get less weird even after it became clear that Ragman - also known as Rory Regan - wasn't an evildoer. Rory was evidently in a very expositional mood during his rooftop meeting with the Green Arrow, and he revealed that he got his bizarre powers because his father protected him from a nuclear explosion by wrapping him in ancient rags on Genesis Day. He is the only survivor from the destruction of the town of Havenrock, and he uses his ability to control his rag suit to seek vengeance on the people who allowed the disaster to happen.
Arrow's Ragman didn't get a ton of screentime in his debut episode, but he got enough to make it clear that this Ragman has some major differences from the Ragman of DC Comics. The comic version of Ragman is a mystical antihero whose suit is made of up patches, each of which represents a corrupted soul. Ragman is able to draw on the physical powers of as many or as few of the souls as he desires in order to increase his physical capabilities for a time. He can even absorb new souls of enemies after he beats them. Additionally, he has magical powers that connect him to the suit of rags, because of course he does.
The Ragman of Arrow seems to have a much more typical origin story than the one of comics lore. There's nothing quite like nuclear fallout, a strange material, and a young person with a heart of gold to breed a new good guy. The comics story is definitely unique, but the Arrow story manages to connect Ragman to one of the biggest disasters of Arrow history in a way that could make him incredibly relevant to Season 5. The destruction of Havenrock at the end of Season 4 took the show past a point of no return in the battle against Damien Darhk, even more so than the death of Laurel. Thousands of innocents died, and it frankly comes as a surprise that anybody survived at all.
It should be interesting to see how the dynamic between Ragman and Felicity develops in Season 5. Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle already revealed that a big part of Felicity's story in Season 5 is going to be dealing with her involvement in the annihilation of Havenrock. She saved millions of lives by diverting a nuclear missile away from the large city of Monument Point. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of the smaller Havenrock. She made the best call she could in an impossible situation. Unfortunately, the young man who lost his whole family and only has a set of rags left to his name may not have the perspective to see her side of the tragedy. Ragman's connection to Havenrock has raised the stakes for the new Team Arrow dynamic, and we should be in for an interesting ride.