With the exception of the corrupt businessmen and no-name criminals that Oliver Queen faced in the first episodes of Season 1, Arrow has done a tremendous job of featuring a variety of DC villains. Not only have they included most of Green Arrow's rogues gallery from the comics like Merlyn, lock King and Count Vertigo, but they've also grabbed villains from other corners of the DC universe to antagonize Starling City's archer, from Teen Titans villains Deathstroke and Brother Blood to the government sponsored Suicide Squad. This season the main antagonist is Ra's al Ghul, someone who has primarily fought Batman. Whether a villain belongs to a specific hero doesn't mater as long as that villain fits into Arrow's narrative. So don't think for one moment that Arrow will be running out of villains for Oliver and Team Arrow to face.
Arrow hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of bad guys to throw into the mix. So we've put together a list of comic villains that we feel would thrive in the dark world of Arrow. Whether they are deadly martial artists of favor brains over brawn, they all have something in common: they would give the Starling City vigilante a run for his money.
7. Maxwell LordIt’s been a while since Oliver went after a dangerous businessman, so why not one of the few that’s nearly defeated the DC superheroes on several occasions? Although he helped form the Justice League International in the 1980s, in recent years Maxwell is more famous as a villain, specifically for shooting Ted Kord in the head and for unleashing an army of OMACs (humans transformed into mindless cyborgs by a techno-virus) on the metahuman community. If those weren’t bad enough, his mind control powers are so strong that very few have been able to escape his influence, although they can have negative side effects on his body.
Even if Arrow leaves out his mental abilities, Maxwell’s resources alone make him a worthy adversary for Team Arrow. Earlier this season, Ray Palmer uncovered plans for the OMAC project on a Queen Consolidated hard drive, although the weapons on the blueprints were missile launchers, tanks and drones. Maxwell may have worked with the Queens on this project, and depending on how this particular plot goes, he may restart the project and use the weapons to target individuals he thinks are dangerous, including Starling City’s vigilante and Ray, one of his competitors.
6. The KeyWhen an unnamed scientist ingested “psycho-chemicals” that gave him access to 90% of his brain functions, he became The Key. With his increased intelligence, super-powered senses and key-themed weapons, The Key has clashed with the Justice League many times over the years. Among The Key’s notable inventions are a virus that that allows him to force a focused hallucination into the infected person, his own android and a machine that can steal energy from his victims.
While Arrow may not feature as many superpowers as The Flash, using The Key would give the show the opportunity to use a villain whose abilities are rooted in science, specifically his enhanced intelligence. His mind-altering chemicals would make a good change of pace from the standard physical dangers Oliver and the team deal with. On the other hand, if they want to play up his namesake, Arrow's Key could specialize in being able to break through any lock or obstacle, making him one of Starling City’s greatest thieves. Obviously he won’t be decked out in key-themed grab, but if they add computer expertise to his list of skills, he could leave behind a digital key symbol as a calling card when he hacks into a database.
5. SportsmasterThere have been several Sportsmasters in the DC universe, but all have the same trademark of using weaponized sports equipment to pull off crime. This can be anything from a rocket-boosted baseball bat to exploding hockey pucks to footballs with razor blades attached. The gimmick may seem goofy, but as comic book readers know, just because a villain’s trademark sounds weird doesn’t make them less deadly. Sportsmaster has mostly been a minor DC villain with not much to show for, but his reputation has improved in recent years thanks to the animated series Young Justice.
Even if the show decides to tone down his sports weaponry, this aggressive ex-athlete already has the makings of a great recurring antagonist on Arrow. It would also be great if they could include the family aspect of the original Sportsmaster that was prominently featured in Young Justice, specifically his daughters Artemis, who is closely connected to Green Arrow in the series, and previously mentioned villain Artemis.
4. Richard Dragon (New 52 Version)The original Richard Dragon was one of the world’s greatest martial artists, training heroes like Batman and Huntress in combat. The New 52 version, however, has been using his combat skills for sinister purposes. The son of a noted drug kingpin, Ricardo Diaz Jr. headed east after his father’s death and the collapse of the family’s criminal enterprise. After learning martial arts from the original Dragon, he killed his sensei, took his name and headed back to Seattle to take over the city. He also led a team of Green Arrow villains to take down the Emerald Archer, but with the help of John Diggle, Oliver was able to defeat the team and stop Diaz’s rise to power.
It wouldn’t be the first time a villain tried to take control of Starling City, but Dragon’s attempt to seize control of the city’s criminal operations would make a great season-long story. Much like Slade Wilson being behind the Brotherhood of Blood in Season 2, Dragon could be the person behind the adversaries Oliver and the team have to face in that season. As a last resort, he would lead the team of The Arrow's most dangerous adversaries to kill him once and for all. Think along the lines of Flash's Rogues, but way more intense.
3. CheshireCheshire is one of the most dangerous assassins in the DC universe. Skilled in many forms of combat and an experienced acrobat, her calling card is the poison she dips her fingernails and weapons into to make sure her targets are dispatched. While she’s primarily been an adversary to the Teen Titans, for many years she was in a romantic relationship with Roy Harper, and together they had a daughter named Lian. Outside of the comics, she was an important supporting character in the animated series Young Justice.
One of the rumors for this season is that Thea’s training with Malcolm Merlyn will result in her becoming this universe’s Cheshire, which would also make sense given her relationship with Roy. However, despite the hints that Thea will turn to the dark side at some point, it would be preferable if they kept her a good guy for the most part. Cheshire needs to be her own character and her history as a feared assassin should be kept intact. That being said, it might also be interesting if the show explores the Cheshire/Roy relationship in the series.
2. OnomatopoeiaIn the first season episode “Home Invasion,” J. August Richards played an eccentric assassin named Mr. Blank, but the producers originally intended him to play Onomatopoeia, a hitman who likes to imitate noises. Andrew Kreisberg later said that they changed their minds of using Onomatopoeia after agreeing with filmmaker Kevin Smith, who created the character, that the character can’t be adapted for television.
I disagree. Granted, the hitman obviously wouldn’t be able to make his voice actually sound like noises (especially the comic book sound effects like “Bam!”, “Pow!” and “Blam!”), but it would still be great to see this unusual adversary be adapted for the small screen. If the show used his habit of imitation as a symptom of his insanity, they could give audiences one of its most terrifying villains yet. However, he shouldn’t be a recurring villain. Like Mr. Blank and most of the Season 1 villains, Onomatopoeia should be restricted to one episode. The gimmick is fun for a little bit, but it shouldn’t be overused. Let the assassin have one moment to shine, and then leave him alone for the rest of the series.
1. Lady ShivaLike Cheshire, Lady Shiva is another famous DC assassin, only this killer doesn't use any weapons to carry out her assignments. She is considered by some to be the best martial artist on the planet, including by Batman, who trained under her after Bane broke his back. That's right, Gotham City's Dark Knight learned fighting skills from this woman! If that doesn't prove how talented she is, nothing will. She has also been an occasional ally to the Bat-Family, though these alliances rarely lasted long. Make no mistake, this woman's combat skills and ability to read people's body language make her one of the of the most dangerous non-superpowered individuals in DC history.
Although she has some ties to the League of Assassins in the comics, Arrow's Shiva should have no connections to the group. I'd like to see Arrow emphasize the reputation she was able to grow on her own rather than just as one of Ra's al Ghuls' horde. Although she would primarily be a villain, she could also serve as a grudging ally to Team Arrow at some point in the series. However, like her alliances with the Batman characters, the status quo would eventually be restored and Oliver would have to go back fighting her…and probably getting his ass handed to him.