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Arrow Annotations - S02E05: "League of Assassins"

Written by ThanosCopter on Thursday, November 07 2013 and posted in Features

Arrow Annotations - S02E05:

A look at the Easter eggs and comic book references from last night's episode.

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!

The Starling City Rockets - Ollie's watching a basketball game featuring the Starling City Rockets.  While the Star City Rockets are a baseball team in the comics, it's certainly possible that Starling's basketball team took that name instead.  The Starling City Rockets were first mentioned in Salvation last year. 

It's also possible that both the basketball team AND the baseball team are both named the Rockets.  There's been a couple of instances of that, such as St. Louis having a football team and a baseball team named the Cardinals for almost 30 years, Boston having a baseball and football team named the Braves in 1932, or the New York Yankees sharing their name with a bevy of football team (and one basketball team) in the 1930's and 1940's. 

Sarah's canary - Sarah's pet canary was first referenced back in Dead to Rights.  Obviously, it was a canary that landed next to her on the wreckage of the Queen's Gambit as well.

Al-Owal - A character made up for the TV show, Al-Owal was played by Navid Negahban.  Negahban previously played the villainous Abu Nazir on Homeland, had appearances on Fringe, LOST and Alias, and was the voice of Dr. Challus Mercer in Dead Space.

Ra's al Ghul - Ra's al Ghul is a really obscure Batman villain that you've probably never heard of.  He's only made a handful of appearances, including a little known movie called Batman Begins.  Since you've probably never heard of him, let's talk a little bit about him.

In the comics, Ra's al Ghul was born over 600 years ago in Arabia and becomes a physician under the employ of a sultan.  When the sultan's son becomes ill, Ra's efforts to cure him leads to the discovery of the Lazarus Pit, a pit containing primordial chemicals that can bring the dead or dying back to full health. While Ra's uses the pit to save the sultan's son, the son goes insane as a side effect of the Pit's powers and kills Ra's wife, Sora.  Ra's is imprisoned for the crime and left to die.  He's later freed by the mother of one of his former patients and eventually kills both the sultan and his son.

Using the Lazarus Pits to extend his life, Ra's becomes a renowned warrior and embarks on a crusade to protect the world against the perceived evils of industrialization and pollution.  He also founds the Demon, an international organization of crime that helps to fund and assist in his activities.  He also founds an offshoot of the Demon, the League of Assassins, in order to protect himself and the Demon.  

After Ra's daughter, Talia, meets and falls in love with Batman, Ra's conducts an elaborate test to see if Batman was worthy to become his heir.  While Batman passes the test, he refuses to join Ra's (since Ra's wants to commit mass genocide), leading Ra's to become one of Batman's greatest enemies.  Not only has Ra's been a foe of Batman, he's also fought the Justice League (most notably in the Tower of Babel storyline, where Ra's al Ghul steals and implements Batman's contingency plans against the Justice League) and many of Batman's allies as well.  

Also, Black Canary and Ra's al Ghul were briefly a romantic couple in Birds of Prey (although Ra's was operating under an alias at the time), which lead to the restoration of Black Canary's Canary Cry powers.    

Ra's has appeared in a number of DC movies and television shows, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, Young Justice, Batman: Arkham City and Batman: The Animated Series.  

As a sidenote, there's been some controversy of Ra's al Ghul's name.  While Arrow, the Nolan Batman movies and the Paul Dini cartoon series all use the traditional Arabic pronunciation of his name, Batman Beyond used the Hebrew pronunciation, which al Ghul's creator, Dennis O'Neil, has stated was how the name was intended to be said.  

Ra's al Ghul was created by Dennis O'Neil and Neil Adams.  

The League of Assassins - The League of Assassins is a longstanding institution in DC comics, having first appeared in the pages of Strange Adventures in 1968.  The League of Assassins was founded by the Batman villain Ra's al Ghul and has been a recurring threat to DC superheroes (especially Batman and his extended family) over the last 40 years.

While the League was founded by Ra's al Ghul, it's rebelled against his rule several times.  It's first known leader, Dr. Darrk, attempted to kill al Ghul's daughter, Talia, which was stopped only by Batman's intervention.  Later, a new head of the League of Assassins called the Sensei, attempts to kill a number of dignitaries by creating an artificial earthquake, but is stopped by Batman and the Bronze Tiger (now we know where Malcolm got his idea to destroy the Glades).  The League was also responsible for the deaths of Kathy Kane (the pre-Crisis Batwoman) and Boston Brand (who after death became Deadman). 

Many of DC's villains are or were members of the League of Assassins, including Merlyn, Lady Shiva, Bane, Shrike, Cheshire and Mad Dog.   The League has also trained several of DC heroes as well, including former Batman sidekicks Cassie Cain and Jason Todd.  Bronze Tiger, who appeared in Identity, also has a history with the League as well. 

Nanda Parbat - The famed fictional Tibetian city is home to the head of the League of Assassins in the Arrowverse.  We first covered Nanda Parbat in the Arrow Annotations for Dead to Rights

A diplomat named Suarez -  Sara mentions that she assassinated a Guyanian diplomat named Suarez.  During the 2008 election season, DC released a 4 part miniseries named DC Universe: Decisions, which featured a fictional presidential election involving four candidates.  The winner of that election was named Martin Suarez. 

The Child of Ra's al Ghul - Ra's al Ghul has had several children over the centuries.  

His best known child is Talia al Ghul, occasional lover and foe of Batman.  Talia first met Batman after the League of Assassins tried to assassinate her, and later rebelled against al Ghul because of her love of Batman.  She took over Lexcorp after Lex Luthor became president, and later became the head of The Demon after her father died.  Talia also artificially conceives a son with Batman, Damian Wayne, who becomes the fourth Robin.  Recently, Talia created her own evil international organization named Leviathan to oppose Batman's own international efforts. 

Ra's has a second daughter named Nyssa, who was born in 19th century Russia.  While Nyssa briefly joined the League of Assassins, she left the organization sometime before World War II.  She and her family were captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, which leads to her seeking out revenge against Ra's and his family.  In Batman: Death of the Maidens, she captures and brainwashes Talia, and almost succeeds in assassinating Superman in order to drive the entire world into mourning.  While Batman stops her, she later kills Ra's and becomes the head of the League of Assassins.  Nyssa is later killed during a coup of the League by Cassandra Cain.

Ra's third child is Dusan al Ghul aka the White Ghost.  Dusan is an albino servant of al Ghul and attempts to sacrifice Damian Wayne in order to resurrect Ra's.  When Batman and his allies foils his plans, the White Ghost sacrifices himself in order to bring Ra's back.  

Professor Ivo - Professor Anthony Ivo is a foe of the Justice League and the creator of the Amazo android.  In the comics, Ivo is driven by a fear of death, which leads him to create the Amazo android in order to steal the Justice League's powers in order to create a serum he could use to achieve immortality.  He later discovers an immortality formula and uses it, but it horrifically disfigures his skin and drives him even further insane. 

In the New 52, Ivo is an employee of STAR Labs, and uses some of his technology to turn Victor Stone into Cyborg. He later joins the Secret Society of Supervillains.  

Ivo's appeared in several cartoons, including Young Justice.  He also appeared in a DC Nation short where he creates an android to defeat Vibe in a breakdancing contest.  

 Ivo was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky."Be mindful of your surroundings" - Sara taunts al-Owal after he sets off one of several traps in the clocktower.  This is a reference to a training scene between Ducard (later revealed to be Ra's al Ghul) and Batman in Batman Begins.

That's it for this week! 

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