20th Mar2015

‘Arrow: Heroes and Villains’ Book Review

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Nick Aires | Published by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 176pp


If there is one thing I know about Arrow, it is that I need to catch up with it – I’m way behind. One thing I did to get my interest in taking up this catch up was to look at Arrow: Heroes and Villains by Nick Aires for review. A perfect excuse to get to know the characters in the show, as the title suggest this is a guide of all of Oliver Queen’s friends and enemies, who they are and how they connect to the DC comic it is based on.

In Arrow: Heroes and Villains Nick Aires concentrates on the characters from the first two seasons of the show, so don’t expect Ra’s Al Ghul to be in here, but his daughter Nyssa Al Ghul is. With a focus not only on the characters who visit Starling City but also the people he met on Lian Yu you should find all the characters you expect to be there in the book, even the Suicide Squad members who made it onto the show. It’s surprising just how many characters are included on-screen now, how they’ve changed from the comics and in some cases are even brand new just for the show.

One drawback in looking at each character from the show is that many of their back stories re-tread old paths that you’ve already read about. This means if you read the book from cover to cover you find that many of the things you read do repeat things you have already been over and this can feel repetitive at times. As a reference to the characters though the book is perfect for dipping into to get the information you want and things you may have missed. I’d have liked more of a look at the character versions in the comics, but to be fair to the book this is about the show and how they were adapted for it, not a look at the entire world of the Green Arrow and the different versions that have existed.

Arrow: Heroes and Villains shows exactly why Arrow has become such a popular show, as well as its spin-off show The Flash. Though originally focusing on more realism rather than having super heroes this is more about vigilantes against villains. Yes, there is the Mirakuru that pushes the show in a different “super” direction, but for the most part it is admirable that even with this element things don’t get out of control and the more important thing is Oliver’s story and his growth as the hero he has become and his continual growth. If anything he is a version of Batman with just enough of a difference and enough allies to make his world unique from Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. To stand in Batman’s shadow Arrow has to be able to make its own mark on television, and Arrow appears to be doing just that.

I’m sure I won’t have to try and convince Arrow fans that they must buy Arrow: Heroes and Villains by Nick Aires, they’ll already want it…and they should. For people who need a primer for the show this is the perfect book. Yes, it does get repetitive and doesn’t always provide all the information that I may have wanted, but for quick reference and an entertaining read Arrow: Heroes and Villains provides everything needed..

****½  4.5/5

Arrow: Heroes and Villains is available now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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