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!
Birds of Prey - The episode's title is taken from a longrunning DC series featuring Black Canary and the Huntress. Birds of Prey began as a 1995 one-shot comic starring Oracle (a post-Batgirl Barbara Gordon confined to a wheelchair and acting as an information broker and computer specialist) and Black Canary. The team-up was popular enough that DC began to publish an ongoing series featuring the two in 1999, written by Chuck Dixon.
Dixon's run focused largely on the relationship between Black Canary and Oracle, as well as their ideological differences. One early Birds of Prey story saw Black Canary almost marry Ra's al Ghul, which led to Dinah regaining her sonic "Canary Cry" ability after being dunked into a Lazarus Pit.
Gail Simone replaced Dixon as writer starting with issue #56, and had a prolific run on the series that furthered fleshed out Dinah and Barbara's relationship. Simone also added the Huntress to the cast as a foil for Dinah and Oracle as well as a time-displaced Lady Blackhawk to the team. Simone also introduced the comic version of Sin as a young Asian girl that Black Canary befriends and ultimately adopts towards the end of her first stint writing the book.
While the series started off as a team-up between Black Canary and Oracle, it eventually became the premier "female-centric" team in the DC Universe. Characters like Judomaster, Big Barda, Lady Shiva, Manhunter, and Misfit all joined as members. The Birds of Prey also had several male cast members, including Savant and Hawk.
When DC rebooted its continuity in 2011, Birds of Prey was announced as one of the new ongoing series. Its current cast includes Black Canary, Batgirl (Barbara Gordon, having regained the ability to walk), and a female Talon named Strix.
Of course, this isn't the first time the Birds of Prey have appeared on television. The WB produced and aired a short-lived television series starring the Huntress, Dinah Lance and Barbara Gordon in 2002. The series lasted 13 episodes and featured Harley Quinn as the main villain.
Hugo Mannheim - Detective Lance leads a raid to capture Hugo Manheim at the beginning of the episode. This is a probable reference to Bruno Mannheim, a recurring DC villain and leader of Intergang, a gang with links to Apokolips and Darkseid. As much of Intergang's activity is based around Metropolis, Mannheim has often come into conflict with Superman and Metropolis's other villains.
The Huntress - The Huntress returns for the first time this season. Jessica de Gouw's absence from the show was partially due to her starring in NBC's recently canceled Dracula series, in which she played the female lead Mina Murray. You can find Annotations on the Huntress here.
Michael Stanton - As we mentioned last year, Helena's dead fiance (which was mentioned this episode) was named after Joe Stanton, the original co-creator of the Huntress.
Speedy - Ollie calls Roy Speedy this episode in an attempt to snap him out a rage-filled trance. Later in the episode, Roy rejects the nickname. As has been mentioned in past articles, Roy Harper was originally known as Speedy in the comics, before becoming known as Arsenal. In an interview with TV Line last night, Mark Guggenheim confirmed that Roy would eventually become known as Arsenal on the television show.
On a side note, this marks the second time that Roy's hand is injured in recent episodes. Could this be foreshadowing him losing his hand or perhaps an entire arm? In the controversial miniseries Justice League: Cry for Justice, Roy lost his arm during an attack by the supervillain Prometheus.
SWAT Captain - The psycho SWAT captain that tries to gun down Ollie and Sara was played by Lochlyn Munro. Munro also appeared in an episode of Smallville as an operative of Oliver Queen who was killed by Lex Luthor.
Gail St. and Simone - The Huntress's final showdown with Oliver and Sara occurs at an industrial building near the intersection of Gail St. and Simone. This is a pretty obvious reference to Gail Simone, one of the Birds of Prey's most prolific writers. Simone is currently writing a Batgirl series for DC.
Jimmy D'Agostino - Helena mentions that her father had buried a man named Jimmy D'Agostino sometime in the past. While it's probably just a coincidence, Jon D'Agostino was a prolific Golden and Silver Age letterer and inker. D'Agostino is best known for providing the letters on The Amazing Spider-Man #1.
Kate Spencer - Chelah Horsdal makes a brief appearance as District Attorney Kate Spencer. As we mentioned earlier, Kate Spencer briefly joined the Birds of Prey as Manhunter in the waning days of Gail Simone's run.
And that's it for this week!
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ThanosCopter is a specially designed helicopter built to transport Thanos the Mad Titan. Built by Sterling Custom Helicopters, ThanosCopter appeared in several Marvel comics, before being abandoned by its owner during the character's ascension into major villainy. ThanosCopter was discovered by the Outhouse and given a second chance at life. He now buzzes merrily around the comic book industry, spreading snark, satire and humor like candy to small children.
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