Did you watch last night's episode of Arrow? Are you wondering what connections the episode has with the comics? Do you like Easter eggs (and not just the brightly colored kind?) Arrow Annotations is here to help, providing some additional notes and background info from last night’s episode. Arrow spoilers follow!
Canary Cry - Black Canary's high pitched sonic attack is known as her "Canary Cry", and has a long, weird history in the comics. The Canary Cry is a high pitched sonic blast, capable of rendering foes unconscious, as well as shatter glass and metal. Most of the time, Black Canary is able to unleash the Canary Cry via her vocal cords.
Originally, the Canary Cry was a curse placed upon Black Canary's daughter by the Wizard, a longtime foe of the Justice Society of America (JSA). As the Canary Cry was uncontrollable, Black Canary was forced to put her in a state of suspended animation until the JSA could find a cure. Years later, when Black Canary discovered she was dying of radiation poisoning, she, Superman and Johnny Thunder (one of Black Canary's JSA teammates) arranged for her to transfer her memories into her daughter's body, which had grown into an adult (which was done to explain why Black Canary hadn't aged since the 1940s while many of her teammates had).
When DC rebooted its universe after Crisis of Infinite Earths, they turned Black Canary into two characters: a mother (Dinah Drake Lance) who fought alongside the JSA during World War II and a daughter (Dinah Laurel Lance) who fought alongside the newer Justice League (including Green Arrow). The younger Black Canary possessed the Canary Cry via a metagene (think the mutant gene for the DC universe, only a bit more latent in nature). This Canary Cry was totally controllable but was only occasionally used by Black Canary, as she preferred to use her fighting skills to defeat her foes.
Although she lost her Canary Cry after being brutally tortured while living with Ollie in Seattle, Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon) later provided her with a device that allowed her to simulate the Canary Cry when she served as a member of the Birds of Prey. Dinah later regained her natural Canary Cry after being doused in a Lazarus Pit, a pit filled with regenerative compounds that can heal and de-age users (Ra's al Ghul has used the pits for centuries to stay young). In the New 52, Dinah still has her Canary Cry, although it's far more powerful than shown before. She's even used her Canary Cry to glide/fly (like the X-Men's Banshee).
Delta Charle 52 - Officer Lance's call sign stands for DC 52. DC really likes the number 52.
Barton Mathis - The Dollmaker was one of the first new villains created for DC's New 52, and was the first new villain to fight Batman in Detective Comics. As a child, Mathis would accompany his father on "hunting trips" where his father would capture and eat human beings. Eventually, a young Jim Gordon confronted and killed his father, and put Mathis in foster care. Years later, Mathis resurfaced as a talented but dangerous surgeon with a penchant for removing and replacing body parts from his victims. In Detective Comics #1, the Dollmaker surgically removes the Joker's face (in order to complete the latter's "rebirth" and help him escape) and later attempts to kill both Batman and Gordon. Mathis wears a mask made of his dead father's face, and he and his henchmen (all of whom wear masks made of other people's skins) are generally very creepy. He's now a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains, and will probably show up in the new Forever Evil: Arkham War miniseries.
Michael Eklund, who played the Dollmaker this episode, had a bit role in Watchmen and appeared in two episodes of Smallville (as different characters).
Tony Daniel - Mathis' attorney is named Tony Daniel. Tony Daniel drew and wrote Detective Comics #1, the comic in which the Dollmaker first appeared. Daniel started off as an artist who worked with Geoff Johns on Teen Titans. He soon took on scripting duties both drew and wrote Batman for several years. He moved over to Detective Comics during the New 52 reboot, and worked on several other titles (such as The Savage Hawkman) as a writer, too. Currently, he's the artist for Superman/Wonder Woman.
Bisque Museum - Porcelain dolls are generally made of bisque porcelain. Bisque porcelain is porcelain that's been fired but not glazed.
Apartment 52 - The Dollmaker's apartment is #52. DC really likes the number 52.
Granger Laboratories - Ollie and Lance raid Granger Laboratories in order to track down files related to the Dollmaker. This could be a reference to Dawn Granger, better known as the superhero Dove. Granger was the second superhero named Dove. The first, Don Hall, lost his powers to Dawn while in combat and was killed as a result of his lost powers.
As Dove, Dawn fought alongside the hot-tempered Hawk (Don's brother, Hank). Her sister, Holly, later took on the Hawk mantle after Hank died a very confusing and convoluted death (he became a supervillain after killing his future villain self who killed Dawn, and then engaged in other time travel shenanigans before finally being put down). In a cruel twist of fate, Holly was then killed by Hank's reanimated corpse during Blackest Night, but no one really seemed to care much. The lesson here is that Hawk and Dove comics are really odd and convoluted.
Anyways, Dawn's father was a physical technician who worked for STAR Labs. Hence Granger Labratories.
Sin - In the comics, Sin is the adopted daughter of Black Canary. She was first introduced as a possible successor to Lady Shiva (a dangerous assassin and one of the world's top fighters) and trained alongside Black Canary when Shiva and Dinah switched lives for a year. Sin is a martial arts prodigy and was able to hold her own against most skilled fighters despite her young age and size. When Dinah decided to leave her training, she brought Sin back with her to America. Unfortunately, the League of Assassins (more on them later) wanted Sin to lead them after Ra's a Ghul's death, seeing her as a sort of messiah which their members could rally around. In order to prevent the League from capturing her, Ollie faked her death.
Bex Taylor-Klaus, who plays Sin, had a critically acclaimed part in AMC's The Killing earlier this year.
Jean Loring - Moira's attorney is Jean Loring, a longtime supporting cast member of the Atom. In the comics, Jean was a longtime paramour of Ray Palmer, and eventually married him after discovering he was the Atom. However, Ray's dual life proved too much for the couple and they divorced.
In the 2004 miniseries Identity Crisis, Jean suffers a mental breakdown and accidentally kills Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man, in an attempt to get Ray to reach out to her. While she and Ray temporarily reconcile, he discovers that she killed Sue and takes her to Arkham Asylum, where she later becomes the host of Eclipso for a bit before being killed.
You may recall that Jean was mentioned last season in "The Undertaking".
Teryl Rothery, who plays Jean in Arrow, played Captain Janet Fraiser in Stargate SG-1.
Abercrombie - Did you know Colton Haynes used to be an Abercrombie model? He totally was.
Clocktower - Black Canary's operating out of an old clocktower, which one would think is an obvious nod to her time as a member of the Birds of Prey, who were also headquartered in Gotham's Clocktower. However, Mark Guggenheim, one of the producers of Arrow, said in a recent interview that it was just a happy coincidence.
Metamorpho Chemicals - The Dollmaker is hiding at an old Metamorpho Chemicals plant. As we mentioned before, Metamorpho, aka The Element Man, aka Rex Mason, is a DC superhero with transmutative powers. Once an adventurer, he was transformed into Metamorpho by the Orb of Ra, which gave him the ability to convert his body into any element. He's been a member of the Justice League, Outsiders and the Doom Patrol, has died twice, and has been mentioned a couple of times in the New 52, but has yet to make an appearance. Current Justice League member Element Woman shares the same powers and appearance as Metamorpho.
Ra's al Ghul - Ra's al Ghul is the leader of the League of Assassins and one of Batman's most prolific enemies. (You might remember him from a little movie called Batman Begins.) As suspected last season, it looks like Malcolm Merlyn was a member of the League of Assassins, just as Merlyn was in the comics.
We'll cover the League and Ra's in greater detail in a couple weeks, since we know they'll be coming back soon.
Amazo - The boat Ollie is placed on is named the Amazo. Amazo is a longtime DC supervillain, an android created by Professor Ivo, who can mimic the abilities of various superpowered beings it comes into contact with, such as the Justice League. Amazo recently appeared in Justice League and was recruited (along with the Dollmaker) into the Secret Society of Supervillains by the Crime Syndicate of Amerika.
Amazo made several appearances in the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited cartoons, where he defeated the League several times. He was voiced in those cartoons by Robert Picardo, best known as The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. Picardo also played Richard Woolsey in Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, and was first introduced in the aftermath of the death of Teryl Rothery's character.
And that's all I have. We'll see you next week!