Before the term “‘Arrowverse” was officially coined, there was only a vigilante, wearing a green hood and shooting arrows into criminals screaming something about failing a city. But what started out as a grounded exploration of what a superhero could look like in a gritty world slowly evolved into a true comic book universe come to life. With the addition of The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, the Arrowverse has become a true DC Comics universe on the small screen. Aside from the titular characters, there have been many more superheroes to grace the screen, without any sign of slowing down.
Not only do we have a Superman thanks to Supergirl’s series, we also have seen little-known characters like Wild Dog, Ragman and Vigilante. We saw the Suicide Squad, and we saw Deathstroke The Terminator. Some of them have been near-perfect representations of their comic book counterparts, while others have been brought to the screen with differences varying from small to enormous. Whether they were accurately portrayed on the screen or not, some of these Arrowverse characters have been known to be quite heinous to varying degrees. Today, CBR travels the CW multiverse to list 15 superheroes who are actually despicable.
15. THE FLASH
Over the course of three seasons, Barry Allen has proven to be far worse than any supervillain he faced. Reverse-Flash, Savitar and Zoom hold no candle to The Flash, who has repeatedly played with time to re-shape it as he saw fit. Barry’s meddling with time resulted in the death of Cisco’s brother, and he proved to always put his needs first by saving his parents, but not Cisco’s family.
As The Flash, Barry also let Jay Garrick take his place in the Speed Force, without ever trying to find a way to rescue him. Barry has been known to keep secrets from those closest to him, endangering them in the process — even though he should know better by now. If all that weren’t enough, he also changed reality itself, and when he attempted to fix it, he affected the lives of those around him – like Diggle’s baby girl-now-boy.
Although she didn’t know it at the time, Kendra Saunders was simply in her current reincarnation, unaware that she was Hawkgirl. She was just a barista, working her best to make ends meet. But even after she joined up with the Legends of Tomorrow and Carter Hall, her eternal partner for thousands of years who told her who she really was, she didn’t seem all that interested in embracing her destiny.
She was, after all, just a barista. When she lost Carter Hall, apparently she couldn’t be bothered to try and find a new reincarnation of him, like he had done for her a thousand times before. Instead, she went on finding love somewhere else and turning her back on the eons-old story she was a part of. Besides, even though she was a superhero, she didn’t spent much time superheroing. You know, because she was a barista.
13. RIP HUNTER
Rip Hunter had an incredibly devious plan that he disguised as the most heroic one. Hailing from a dark future where his family had been murdered by Vandal Savage, the time traveler found heroes in the past, promising them a heroic life and destiny that was beyond legendary. It turns out that this was all a lie, and that he chose these people because they had no effects on the world and the future.
He essentially plucked people from their own timeline, people with jobs, friends and families, and lured them away from all of it through false pretenses. Worse than that, he sent them on the most dangerous missions possible – missions that would cost some members of the team their lives. And, on top of all of that, he was a pretty lousy Captain who always kept his most powerful members on the sidelines.
12. THE ATOM
Ever since he appeared in the Arrowverse, Ray Palmer has been a far cry from his comic book counterpart. He wasn’t a science teacher, and he didn’t have adventures in the microverse. He was essentially a poor man’s Ant-Man, albeit one who could fly. But the biggest change made to Ray is that he wasn’t heroic as he was supposed to be – this Ray is reckless and in constant need of validation.
Many times over, Ray has put his need of proving himself above that of his friends or his team. Besides, he always seems more content with living out movie-inspired fantasies than taking his role on the Legends roster seriously, something which, more often than not, leads to trouble and potentially catastrophic danger. Ray is barely trustworthy, and he appears to be after fun more than heroism.
11. THE GUARDIAN
James Olsen decided to become National City’s newest superhero because he felt lost without a purpose. After living in Superman and Supergirl’s shadow, he decided to take to the streets, with no training whatsoever, and protect the people of the city. He even borrowed the time of Winn Schott, a dedicated and quite useful DEO employee, to help in his crusade.
The actions of the Guardian were dangerous because James had no combat training. He could have easily endangered any citizen he was trying to save, and on top of all that, when Kara Zor-El discovered his secret identity, she begged her friend to stop for fear of his own safety. Instead, Jimmy completely and repeatedly ignored her pleas, choosing to put his life, and everyone else’s, in danger.
10. ELONGATED MAN
Ralph Dibny has only just begun his career as a superhero on The Flash. In fact, he doesn’t even have a codename or a proper costume yet. But we already did get a strong sense of what kind of man he is. We learned that, before he gained superpowers, Dibny was a private investigator who wasn’t shy of blackmailing someone like the city’s mayor.
We also learned that before all of that, he was a respected police officer who actually planted evidence to make sure one man he believed guilty would get the proper sentence. Ralph Dibny is a flawed character and although The Flash has begun to explore his redemption story, he has a long way to go before he can call himself a hero.
John Diggle has been at Oliver Queen’s side ever since the beginning of Arrow. Although he started out as a bodyguard, it wasn’t long before he was the Arrow’s full-fledged partner in crime-fighting. But lately, John, who was always an honorable man thanks to his time in the military, has proven to be a liability, and a danger to his entire team.
In fact, currently, on Arrow, John wore the green hood for a spell as Star City’s Green Arrow, field leader and partner to Wild Dog, Mister Terrific and Black Canary. But John suffered some severe nerve damage in his arm at the start of the season, and he has shown that he can’t be trusted to fire his weapon. Thanks to him, Wild Dog got shot and almost died, and his need for secrecy endangered everyone around him who trusted him to be the Green Arrow.
The Daxamite known as Mon-El found his way to Earth in a shuttle that belonged to a Kryptonian. For a long while, Mon-El hid his identity from Kara Zor-El and her friends, not only of which planet he came from, but of his position as prince. Before long, however, we came to know that Daxam was a place that revelled in lavish royal parties and where slaves were the norm.
When Krypton exploded, Mon-El was put inside a Kryptonian representative’s ship, leaving him to die on the doomed planet. Mon-El hid the fact that he belonged to a family that ruled the planet with an iron fist. He also proved that he was not the most efficient hero, putting his needs and that of the woman he loves before that of the people in need of saving.
Oliver Queen’s sister Thea has always been a character that was rough around the edges. She started out as a bratty teen who would take Vertigo and crash her car in the street, and she eventually took the mantle of Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal, a character known for being emotional. At every turn, Thea would constantly prove that she had a lot of anger inside of her.
For a time, she allied herself with her father Malcolm Merlyn, knowing full well of his murderous undertaking – something which led to her killing Sara Lance – and, although it wasn’t directly her fault, her Lazarus Pit resurrection led to her killing many people in order to satiate her bloodlust. She may have turned her back on her father, but he still turned her into a killing machine.
6. PROFESSOR STEIN
Professor Stein might be one half of Firestorm, but he is very much the leading half. When the professor discovered the power he had, when he was faced with Rip Hunter’s invitation to travel through time and save the world, Stein didn’t hesitate to leave his wife behind in search of thrills and validation. But, the other half of Firestorm, Jefferson, wanted nothing to do with it.
So what did Stein do? He drugged his friend, of course, to essentially kidnap him and get him on board Rip’s ship. He didn’t care to respect Jefferson’s wishes, like he didn’t care to respect the laws of time when he chose to keep his time-aberration-daughter a secret from everyone. Stein is unreliable, dangerous, and it appears he doesn’t care all that much about a wife he constantly leaves at home while he gallivants through time.
Mick Rory, aka Heatwave, began his stint in the Arrowverse as a career criminal and pyromaniac. He proved to be the brawn to Captain Cold’s brain, a blunt force to be aimed. But apparently, that didn’t matter all that much to Rip Hunter, who invited him along on his spaceship to do what needed to be done. Even though he helped in the various Legends missions, Mick is still dangerous and unreliable.
Time and time again, Heatwave has shown to be eager to murder and burn people, and he even went as far as betraying his entire team by helping the Legion of Doom rewrite time itself. Frankly, it’s a mystery why the Legends of Tomorrow even let someone as dangerous and volatile as him walk around on their time ship – let alone invite him to weddings.
John Constantine has only appeared in one episode of Arrow, but his appearance retroactively makes his own NBC series a part of the Arrowverse, even if it is some type of alternate reality. But whatever universe he finds himself in, Constantine is, at least in part, completely despicable. He’s a con man and an opportunist, and he won’t hesitate to serve himself first and foremost.
We have seen on his own series that Constantine was self-serving and that his recklessness led to a tragic accident. His is a character with many flaws, and he will often find himself on the receiving end of a fist because of them. He does what he believes is right, but sometimes that can come at the expense of others. And that makes him quite dangerous.
The Huntress may be a hero in the comic books, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that from watching her in Arrow. Sure, Huntress was always more of a vigilante than an actual superhero, but she was still a member of the Birds of Prey, a team player who focused on saving people. However, on the series, Huntress couldn’t see past her personal vendetta and her need for blood.
Throughout two seasons, Helena appeared sporadically, leaving a trail of bodies as she hunted for the man responsible for the death of the man she loved. She killed without remorse, and she turned her back on Arrow when he tried to reason with her. Once she managed to kill the man responsible for her loss — her own father — she was left without purpose, and she didn’t push to become a hero in her own right.
2. WHITE CANARY
Sara Lance has had a long and complicated journey in the Arrowverse, as she went from unassuming girl to trained assassin. Although she ultimately left the League of Assassins behind, Sara is still very much, first and foremost, a lethal assassin who will not hesitate to cut down anyone that stands in her way, or knock down anyone that she disagrees with. Time and time again, she will fight with her fists, when there are other, simpler solutions out there.
Sara’s responsibilities have increased ever since she became Captain of the Legends of Tomorrow. She may have a crew to keep safe, but Sara isn’t exactly well-versed in the realm of time-travel to call any shots. She was trained in Nanda Parbat in the mystical ways – she wasn’t exactly qualified to protect time itself. And this showed when, under her leadership, her team broke time itself.
1. GREEN ARROW
Ever since the Arrow arrived in Starling City, he was a cold-blooded murderer. As the hooded vigilante, Oliver Queen left a long and bloody trail of bodies in the name of his father. What’s worse is that, when he was held prisoner by Prometheus, Oliver even came to scream out that he did in fact enjoy killing his victims, essentially making him nothing more than a serial killer.
It’s no wonder that the police force was after him for years, and that now the FBI is looking to unmask him. The Green Arrow may have taken a vow not to kill at some point, but somewhere along the way that was lost. He is back to killing nameless thugs in the streets, apparently unaware that he might once again create another Prometheus to eventually come along and take his revenge.
Which superhero is the most despicable in the Arrowverse? Let us know in the comments!
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