With only a few more weeks left until the eagerly awaited return of the Arrowverse it is hard to contain one’s excitement over the new season. Every new season explores new stories and characters and we can’t wait to find out which new comic book characters Greg Berlanti will be introducing this season on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. Thus far, Berlanti has, for the most part, did an amazing job at incorporating a lot of well-known and lesser-known comic book characters as well as popular storylines into the Arrowverse. Sometimes, these characters and stories are taken directly from comic book pages with just slight alterations here and there. Other times, comic book characters are put through serious adjustments, for better or for worse.
Those familiar with both the comics and the TV shows, know that some of these changes resulted in certain characters being considerably weaker than their comic book counterparts. Diminished fighting abilities, lack of actual superpowers and non-existence of cool weapons and gadgets caused several Arrowverse characters to be by far less impressive than their comic book counterparts. So, without further ado, let us take a closer look at 15 characters the Arrowverse completely neutered.
15. BLACK CANARY (LAUREL LANCE)
Over the course of five seasons, Arrow has introduced three Black Canaries — Sara Lance, Laurel Lance and, as of season five, Dinah Drake. Sadly, the worst version of the character was Laurel Lance, mainly due to her implausible transformation into Black Canary.
Her lack of meta-human powers aside, Laurel’s martial arts skills never quite reached the same level from the comics. Unlike her Arrowverse counterpart, the Black Canary from the comics is one of DC’s best fighters. She is highly skilled in various forms of martial arts and was once asked to be the successor to Lady Shiva, possibly the world’s greatest martial artist. Plus, since Dinah Lance is a meta-human, her metagene gives her the power of generating a potent sonic attack known as the Canary Cry.
Green Arrow’s archnemesis, Deathstroke, is certainly a formidable opponent. The Mirakuru gave Slade WIlson all kinds of enhancements such as, accelerated healing, enhanced agility, speed and strength — just to name a few. Essentially, the guy is almost indestructible. Still, not even the Mirakuru can make Deathstroke as powerful as he is in the comics.
On top of having all of the enhancement the Arrowverse version of the character has, the comic book Deathstroke is also endowed with enhanced immunity, limited precognitive visions, decelerated aging and regenerative powers which make him virtually immortal. Deathstroke can regenerate from all types of injuries including brain damage and missing limbs. Plus, he can think nine times faster than any regular person, making him nine steps ahead of his opponent.
13. THE FLASH
For three seasons, The Flash has consistently put Barry’s abilities to the test. Compared to where he was when he started as The Flash, Barry sure has come a long way. With each passing year, he’s getting faster and learning new skills. So far, Barry managed to master creating time remnants, vibrating through objects and traveling in time.
However, he is still not as fast and as skilled as his comic book counterpart. On the show, Barry has managed to reach speeds up to Mach 13.2. When Joe teased him about going Mach 50, Barry stated that such a thing is impossible. But, the Barry Allen from the comics is able to run well above the speed of light, which is over Mach 50. So, while the Arrowverse’s Flash has certainly gotten faster, he still has a long way to go to catch up to his comic book self.
12. COUNT VERTIGO
The Arrowverse version of Count Vertigo was a drug lord who created a drug named Vertigo. The deadly narcotic rendered its users disoriented and caused them to believe they were in excruciating pain. The effects of the drug could last for days, until the heart finally gives up. The first Count, Cecil Adams, used a syringe filled with Vertigo to inject his victims. The second Count Vertigo, Warner Zytle, weaponized the drug in form of throwing darts, which he can throw with uncanny precision.
However, the comic book Count Vertigo is way cooler and more powerful. He has a small electronic device implanted in his right temple to compensate for his inner ear defect. By fiddling with the device, he managed to create the Vertigo Effect. This enables Count Vertigo to disorient his opponents, disrupt guidance and detection systems, and force stable people to experience extreme fear and rage.
Former Legends member, Carter Hall, aka Hawkman was originally born as the Egyptian prince Khufu. After he and his lover Chay-Ara, aka Kendra Saunders, were stabbed with the ancient Egyptian knife their souls were locked in an endless cycle of death and rebirth for centuries. Apart from reincarnation, Hawkman also had the power of flight and enhanced strength.
Hawkman’s comic book origin is pretty similar, only it was an alien element called Nth Metal that granted him and Hawkgirl their reincarnation powers. However, in the comics Hawkman has additional abilities, such as breathing underwater and blessing. One time, by using his power of blessing, he managed to convert sprinkler water into Holy Water to destroy a vampire. Moreover, Hawkman is an avid scientist who invented a capsule that can store entire meals, which was used by the Justice Society during WWII.
10. THE HUNTRESS (HELENA BERTINELLI)
The comic book Helena Bertinelli is a member of the Batman Family and was one of the infamous Birds of Prey. She is a master archer and martial artist and was dubbed as “the Batman of the Birds of Prey” due to her impressive investigative skills. As the Huntress, she is armed with a crossbow, battle staff and a utility belt.
On the other hand, the Arrowverse version of the character visibly less skilled and far less imposing. While the Huntress we saw on Arrow did exhibit some of her abilities from the comics, she was a mere shadow of her comic book self. Perhaps it is the lack of meaningful character development that made the Huntress seem less impressive, but at this point, pretty much everyone agrees that the Arrowverse completely missed the mark with Helena Bertinelli.
9. DOCTOR LIGHT
The Arrowverse version of Doctor Light appeared in the form of Linda Park’s Earth-2 doppelganger, who came to Earth-1 on Zoom’s orders. The Flash’s Doctor Light had the power to shoot high energized blasts of light powerful enough to blind a person and cut through metal. Her powers also granted her invisibility and enabled her to tap into any computer system.
But, as impressive as that sounds, the Doctor Light from the comics is able to do much more. She has access to near-unlimited energy and is able to conduct said energy. Doctor Light can also absorb all forms of illumination and use it as she wishes. Plus, she can create matter from literally nothing. And if that wasn’t enough she has the ability to create her own force field and she can fly.
8. RA’S AL GHUL
One of the best Batman villains, Ra’s al Ghul, while undoubtedly one of the most powerful characters in the Arrowverse, still does not come close to his comic book self. The Ra’s al Ghul we saw on Arrow demonstrated some pretty impressive powers and abilities. He is the leader of the League of Assassins, a master martial artist and swordsman. The Lazarus pit granted him longevity and enabled him to retain peak human condition, health and vitality.
The comic book version of the character is all that and much more. Along with longevity, the Lazarus Pit granted Ra’s al Ghul various enhancements, such as speed, strength, stamina, agility and durability. Being an expert in the occult, Ra’s is also able to transfer his soul into other bodies through ancient rituals. Plus, he once beat the entire JLA after finding Batman’s secret notes on how to defeat each member.
Firefly underwent a very poor adaptation into the Arrowverse. Much of his original background was done away with and as a result the Firefly we saw on Arrow was but a shadow of his comic book self. Garfield Lynns, aka Firefly, was originally a pyrotechnic expert for motion pictures. Unfortunately, he fell victim to Gotham’s poverty and turned to the life of crime.
In order to satisfy his pyromaniacal tendencies, Garfield made himself a set of wings, a jetpack and a flamethrower and became known as the serial arsonist Firefly. However, the Garfield Lynns from Arrow was merely a disgruntled former firefighter fueled by desire for revenge against his former colleagues. None of his cool gadgets made it onto TV screens and we got a pretty disappointing version of a compelling villain.
6. ZOOM (HUNTER ZOLOMON)
The Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, we got to see on the CW’s The Flash was a force to be reckoned with. This evil meta-human speedster achieved speeds up to Mach 8, leaving poor Barry far behind. He was also able to create time remnants, phase through objects, achieve interdimensional travel and time travel.
Nevertheless, his comic book counterpart is far more superior. Unlike the CW’s version of the character, the Zoom who made Wally’s life a living hell in the comics is not a speedster. Zoom has the ability to alter time relative to himself, giving off the impression of super-speed. Zoom can move faster than the speed of light, he has the power of energy projection, shock wave creation and power distribution. In fact, it was Zoom who granted his power to Inertia, Impulse’s archnemesis.
5. PIED PIPER
Hartley Rathaway appeared on The Flash as a former S.T.A.R. Labs employee and Harrison Wells’ protégé. Hartley was sturuck by the energy of the Particle Accelerator explosion, which granted him the power of superhuman hearing. Due to vulnerable eardrums, Hartley has implanted hearing aids, which also act as sonic devices. He is also equipped himself with a pair of sonic glows, which enable him to emit sonic vibrations.
His comic book counterpart, on the other hand, was born deaf and medically given his hearing, which he further augmented himself. On top of that, he has the power of sound manipulation, giving him the ability to control others. Pied Piper also carries a number of sonic devices as well as his pipe, which is capable of hypnotizing anyone within the range of its sound. He can even make a person invisible to those around them.
Arrow’s season five introduced us to yet another mystical character from DC’s roster — Ragman. Ragman’s powers were downplayed substantially and as a result included rag manipulation, enhanced durability and strength, and intimidation. However, after Rory’s rags lost their powers after he used them to contain a bomb explosion, he left Team Arrow to try and fix his rags. His short career on Arrow left a lot to be desired.
The comic book version of the character wears a suit of rags, which is composed of the souls of evildoers Ragman had punished and absorbed. His ability to absorb souls into his costume adds a new rag for each soul absorbed. Ragman can call upon the souls in the costume to lend him their attributes or powers. The suit also gives him the power to sense evil souls, teleport and levitate — just to name a few.
Firestorm was introduced on The CW’s The Flash as a transmuted duo made up of S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Ronnie Raymond and professor Martin Stein. However, after Ronnie’s heroic death, professor Stein’s heath started to deteriorate and he had to merge with Jefferson Jackson, forming the new Firestorm. Over time, Firestorm has developed new powers including transmutation and nuclear absorption.
Even so, Professor Stein and Jacks still don’t measure up to the Firestorm we know from the comics. The impressive list of Firestorm’s powers and abilities includes, but is not limited to: energy absorption and projection, enhanced vision, molecular reconstruction, phasing, regeneration, self-sustenance and superhuman strength and durability. As Professor Stein explained, the Firestorm Matrix is a trigger for a new Big Bang, which makes Firestorm one of the most dangerous beings in the universe.
2. WADE EILING (THE GENERAL)
General Wade Eiling was introduced on The Flash as the man behind the many inhumane experiments done on Grodd. Ruthless and immoral by nature, Wade latter set out to hunt down a meta-human with the power to turn mundane objects into explosives. But apart from his sadistic nature and involvement in inhumane military experiments, much of General Wade’s comic book story did not play out in the Arrowverse.
In the comics, Wade Eiling, known as The General, is a military tactician who blackmailed Nathanial Adams to enter the Captain Atom Project. After being diagnosed with brain tumor, The General transferred his mind into the body of the monstrous beast, Shaggy Man. This gave him powers such as, invulnerability, regeneration, superhuman speed, strength and stamina, as well as self-sustenance and an enhanced sense of smell.
1. REVERSE-FLASH (PROFESSOR ZOOM)
One of the most compelling and terrifying villains of the Arrowverse, the Reverse-Flash demonstrated his overwhelming power on both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. The evil speedster from the future easily moves at speeds well above Mach 2.2, outrunning Barry with ease. Apart from the usual speedster enhancements, Eobard can also time travel, create speed mirages and time remnants.
Yet, he can’t compete with his comic book counterpart. Among other abilities, Professor Zoom is capable of dimensional travel, metamorphosis and reality alteration; and he possesses cosmic awareness, memory absorption, and intangibility. Furthermore, he can contaminate other speedsters with the negative energy he generates, allowing him to remove aspects of their powers. For example, by removing the speedsters’ protective aura Reverse-Flash can cause said speedster to burst into flames.
Which character did the Arrowverse neuter the most? Let us know in the comments!
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