Arsenal

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CHARACTER

Arsenal

Formerly known as Speedy, the Green Arrow's sidekick, bowman Roy Harper fights a host of evils, including those that live inside him.

INTRODUCTION

Aliases: Roy Harper (birth name), Speedy, Red Arrow

First Appearance: MORE FUN COMICS #73, 1941

 

 

Adopted by a Navajo shaman named Brave Bow, orphan Roy Harper spent his early teens learning survival skills and becoming a crack archer. He learned so quickly, he eventually earned the nickname “Speedy.” Making his way to Seattle, Roy served as costumed sidekick and mechanical engineer to millionaire Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow. In addition to battling alongside the Emerald Archer, Roy was a founding member of the Teen Titans.

 

After a parting of the ways with Green Arrow, Roy suffered from drug addiction and depression, as well as suicidal tendencies. But he entered a recovery program and eventually returned to the life of a costumed champion, calling himself Arsenal and working with the Outlaws before reuniting with the adult Titans. Whether shooting solo or on a team, Arsenal is always ready to deliver justice to the world—his arrows flying even faster than his snark.

ORIGIN

The original version of Roy Harper debuted during the Golden Age of Comics. This teen version of Roy operated as Speedy alongside Green Arrow and served as a member of the team called the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

 

Throughout the different versions of Roy Harper’s continuity, one element remained consistent: he was orphaned at a young age and adopted by the local Navajo shaman Brave Bow, who raised him on a reservation (now established as the Spokane Indian Reservation). The modern-day Roy Harper’s origin is largely covered in “The Return of Roy Harper,” a story that ran through GREEN ARROW vol. 6 #18-20 in 2017.

 

Growing up on the reservation, Roy showed great aptitude for engineering and mechanics, as well as a natural skill with the bow and arrow. He also constantly got into trouble for breaking rules and taking risks, and developed a drinking habit in his teens. Following the death of Brave Bow (which the teen incorrectly believed he himself had caused while he was drunk), Roy fled the reservation and wound up living on the streets of Seattle as a thief.

 

Eventually, Roy came across wealthy businessman Oliver Queen, who was also secretly the Green Arrow. Seeing potential in the boy, Oliver decided not to turn him over to the police and instead offered Roy a home and a job as his engineer. The boy, whom Ollie nicknamed “Speedy,” accepted and developed the now-famous trick arrows of the Green Arrow. After training with Ollie for some time, Roy became the hero’s official sidekick. Using his nickname as his original costumed alias, Roy felt a true calling to be a Super Hero, fighting crime and helping others with his natural talents.

 

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POWERS AND ABILITIES

Roy’s skill is such that he is occasionally mistaken for a metahuman. But in fact, he has no powers whatsoever beyond natural talents and skills developed over years of training and experience. A natural marksman and archer, Roy’s aim rivals that of his former partner Green Arrow. His strength and coordination have made a wide variety of handheld objects into weapons.

 

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Roy is an experienced hand-to-hand combatant, his fighting style a mixture of acrobatics and street brawling. He is also very intuitive in finding weaknesses in how his opponents approach a fight.

 

Along with regular arrows, Roy at times employs a range of high-tech trick arrows that he himself has engineered. These may include gas arrows, explosive arrows, net arrows and boomerang arrows. 

 

ESSENTIAL STORYLINES AND HISTORY

Roy Harper’s history involved him serving with the Teen Titans for several years before, as an adult, learning he’d fathered a child, Lian, with the assassin named Cheshire. While raising Lian, Roy joined the Central Bureau of Intelligence, then transferred to the government agency Checkmate before leaving to become a Super Hero again. Roy also formed an incarnation of the Outsiders and briefly served in the Justice League under the name Red Arrow. Later in his life, he lost an arm in battle with the villain Prometheus, who, along with the villain Eletrocutioner, then destroyed Star City and killed Lian in the process. These events, however, don’t apply to the current canon of the DC Universe, in which Roy has never been a father, as far as he knows.

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The Teen Titans (1964-1978)

A collection of teenage Super Hero sidekicks formed the Teen Titans in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD vol. 1 #54 (1964). Speedy officially joined the team in TEEN TITANS vol. 1 #4 (1966). He became good friends with team founders Donna Troy (Wonder Girl), Dick Grayson (Robin), Wally West (Kid Flash) and Garth (Aqualad). Later changes to DC history made Speedy a fellow founder of the Titans, as acknowledged in TITANS REBIRTH (2016).

 

 

Meanwhile, as shown in “The Return of Roy Harper,” Roy’s partying ways became too much for Oliver Queen, and the elder archer lost patience with his partner. After an angry confrontation, the two parted ways and Roy wound up on the streets again, now turning to drugs for solace. He briefly found new kinship with Jason Todd, the second Robin. But soon afterward, Jason was murdered by The Joker and Roy sank further into depression. After attempting suicide, Roy entered a recovery program, with the criminal Killer Croc as his sponsor (as seen in 2016’s RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS vol. 2 #3).

 

 

 

New 52 (2011-2016)

Following his recovery, Roy resumed his life of crime-fighting, operating under the name Arsenal. He reunited with the resurrected Jason Todd (now known as the Red Hood), and joined his team—the Outlaws (as seen in 2011’s RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS vol. 1 #1). Immediately after joining, Arsenal began a relationship with his alien teammate Koriand’r, better known as Starfire. Eventually, the Outlaws disbanded, and Starfire and Roy went their separate ways in 2015’s RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS vol. 1 #40. 

 

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Rebirth (2016-Present)

Roy and Oliver later reconnected in “The Return of Roy Harper” (GREEN ARROW vol. 6 #18-20, 2017). Oliver apologized for his judgmental behavior, and the two reached an understanding. But when Oliver suggested they renew their partnership, Roy insisted he was now his own man.

 

 

In 2016’s TITANS REBIRTH, the founding Titans realized their memories of certain events, and indeed time itself, had been manipulated. Reunited, they continued to fight evil, reaffirming why they were not just a team, but a family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM AFFILIATIONS

  • • Checkmate
  • • Justice League
  • • The Outlaws
  • • The Outsiders
  • • Task Force X/Suicide Squad
  • • Teen Titans
  • • Titans
  • • Checkmate

APPEARANCES IN OTHER MEDIA

Television

 

Main Character Appearances

 

Live Action:
 

  • Arrow

 

Guest Appearances/Cameos

 

Animation:

 

  • The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Justice League Unlimited
  • Teen Titans
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • Young Justice

 

Film

 

Main Character Appearances

 

Animation:

 

  • Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

 

Video Games

 

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Injustice 2
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham