Welcome back to Arrow Annotations, the Internet's number one Arrow column. If you want to know more about the comics that inspired the TV show and random factoids about the latest episode of Arrow, you've come to the right place. Past articles can be found here.
52nd Street - Well, they got that out of the way fast. For those of you who haven't read past columns, the number 52 appears frequently in relation to DC's comic book line. It was first used as the title of the weekly series 52, which revealed that the DC universe was composed of 52 alternate universes. DC later featured the number prominently in the branding surrounding its 2011 reboot, and initially published 52 monthly titles under the brand "The New 52".
Arrow likes using the number in just about every episode. So keep an eye out in future episodes.
Vincent Steelgraves - Vincent Steelgraves is probably a reference to Professor Steelgraves, a minor foe of Green Arrow and Black Canary. First appearing in the 1974, Steelgraves ran a smuggling ring that specialized in advanced technology like aging rays, which the show references when Oliver and Roy confiscates Steelgraves' rocket powered grenades. Steelgraves was once defeated by a amnesiac Krypto the Super Dog.
Channel 52 - Channel 52 is Starling City's number one source for news. DC used to publish a weekly "Channel 52" feature in the back of their comics that informed readers of events occurring in other books, before it was discontinued earlier this year.
Ken Lawson - One of the "talking heads" that appear on Channel 52 is Ken Lawson. Lawson previously played Wesley Dodds aka The Sandman on an episode of Smallville.
Maseo Yamashiro - In the comics, Maseo is the husband of Tatsu Yamashiro, who eventually becomes the superheroine Katana. Maseo and his brother, Takeo, both proposed to Tatsu at the same time. Tatsu chose Maseo, spurring Takeo to join the Yakuza in anger. Takeo later attacks Maseo and his family at their home with a mystical sword called Soultaker and calls for Maseo to duel him for Tatsu's hand. Maseo is killed in the resulting struggle and his soul became trapped within Soultaker. After Tatsu takes the sword and uses it to defeat Takeo, she discovers that she can still speak to Maseo via the blade.
Maseo is played by Karl Yune, who previously had a small role in Real Steel.
Amanda Waller - We previously covered Waller's history here.
Werner Zytle - Although the history of Count Vertigo has come up in past columns, this new Vertigo shares his name with the most recent iteration of the villain. Werner Zytle's family once ruled the fictional country of Vlatava, but as a child, he was forced to flee to Canada after his family lost their fortunes. Zytle became involved in organized in organized crime and used the profits to return his family to power. After kidnapping Shado, Zytle came into conflict with Green Arrow in the pages of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's run on Green Lantern.
Zytle is played by Peter Stromare. Stromare has an extensive filmography, and has appeared in television shows such as Prison Break and The Blacklist and movies such as Fargo and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Stromare also voiced Dracula in the animated movie The Batman vs. Dracula.
Greg Osborne - One of Zytle's gang members is named Greg Osborne. In the comics, Osborne is a corrupt CIA agent and foe of Green Arrow. Osborne first appears in the opening issue of Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, blackmailing Green Arrow into hunting down Shado for him. Later, Osborne brainwashes Roy in an attempt to assassinate Oliver. However, Roy breaks free and kills Osborne with the help of Green Arrow and Shado.
Lyla Michaels - We first discussed Lyla's ties to the comics here.
Dr. Lockhart - The good Dr. Lockhart, seemingly Starling City's only doctor, makes an appearance this episode. This is Lockhart's sixth appearance on the show.
Ray Palmer - Ray Palmer is better known to DC fans as the Atom, a longtime member of the Justice League. In the comics, Palmer uses a piece of white dwarf star matter to shrink in size but retain his weight and normal strength. At first, the Atom fought a number of diminutive aliens and weird science foes in his home town of Ivy Town, where he also taught as a professor.The Atom briefly had his own series in the 1960s and later shared a comic with Hawkman, whom he was good friends with. Palmer also marries and later divorces his longtime love interest Jean Loring, who appeared last season on Arrow as Moira's attorney. Later adventures saw Palmer fighting alongside a tribe of six inch Amazon dwellers, and briefly leading the Teen Titans after getting de-aged into a teenager. Palmer also leads a team of heroes in taking Deathstroke down after he kills Palmer's protege and successor, Ryan Choi.
In the New 52, Palmer has yet to assume the mantle of the Atom, although he does still have the ability to shrink in size. Palmer currently appears in the pages of Futures End, investigating the death of Stormwatch along with Hawkman, Frankenstein and Amethyst.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Ray's been mentioned in the New 52. In a first season episode, Laurel mentioned that her friends Ray and Jean recently got engaged. It's doubtful that she's referring to the same person, though.
Palmer is played by Brandon Routh, who's best known for playing Superman in Superman Returns. Routh also played one of Ramona's evil exes in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Katana - As mentioned above, Tatsu is the superheroine known as Katana in the comics. After her family was killed at the hands of her husband's brother, Tatsu took up the sword that killed her husband, hoping to fight for justice. Originally appearing in the pages of Brave and the Bold, Katana became a mainstay member of the Outsiders, a team of superheroes that acted largely under Batman's supervision.
In the New 52, Katana's origins are largely unchanged, although allies consider her to be possibly unstable as she talks to her sword. In the New 52, Katana becomes a member of the Birds of Prey, and later the Justice League of America, the latter of which Green Arrow also belongs to. After the JLA is disbanded in the aftermath of Forever Evil, Katana and Green Arrow both become embroiled with the Outsiders War, a conflict between various weapon-themed tribes. Katana discovers that the Outsiders were involved with her husband's death, and assists Green Arrow in rooting out the corrupt tribes at its core.
Tatsu is played by Rila Fukushima, who previously played Yukio in The Wolverine.
"Oh frak." - Felicity utters a curse from Battlestar Galactica shortly before Ray Palmer smarms the pants off of the board of Queen Consolidated.
Palmer's Belt Buckle - During his presentation to the board, Ray uses his belt buckle as a projector. In the comics, the Atom's size changing was originally controlled via a special belt.
Star City - Palmer's grand plan for Starling involves a rebranding of the city as "Star City". In the comics, Green Arrow operates out of Star City. Producers noted that they changed the city's name from Star to Starling to give the show a more realistic feel. However, that hasn't stopped the show from referencing the city's comic name in several other episodes.
Shintaro Shimosawa - One of the crime bosses attending the boxing match at the end of the episode is named after a Hollywood writer/producer who wrote an episode of Smallville and produced The Grudge.
Team Wildcat - One of the boxing teams is wearing "Team Wildcat" robes. In the comics, Wildcat is a professional boxer turned superhero. He'll be appearing later this season, so we'll cover him in more detail in a later column.
Ferris Air - Ferris Air is one of the boxing match's sponsors and has several signs hanging above the boxing ring. We previously discussed Ferris Air here. Please note that the Ferris Air logo seen here is the same logo that appears in the 2011 Green Lantern movie.
Ostrander Rum - One of boxing match's other sponsors is Ostrander Rum, a reference to legendary creator John Ostrander. Among Ostrander's many contributions to DC lore is the modern iteration of the Suicide Squad.
"The mantle will always be passed." - Vertigo tells Oliver that there will always be someone to take up the mantle of Vertigo, even if he is incarcerated. DC's comic history is very much tied to the idea of legacy and passing on superhero roles to the next generation. Both Oliver and Ray Palmer have passed on their superhero titles at various times in their careers (well, Oliver was dead at the time, but we imagine he'd approve of someone carrying on his legacy).
Nanda Parbat - Laurel references Nanda Parbat, a mystical city in the DC universe. In the Arrow-verse, Nanda Parbat is the home of the League of Assassin. We previously covered the city here.
Barry Allen - Hey, that Barry Allen guy looks familiar. Seems like a good time to plug Flash Facts, my new Flash easter egg column!
Rockets Arena - Laurel mentions that Arrow captured Vertigo at Rockets Arena. The Starling City Rockets is that city's baseball team. I guess they play under a dome?
And that's it for this week. I'm glad that we're back in action, and we'll see you all next week!