News

A tale of two fictional cities

By: CHRISTINE AIKEN
Columnist
aikenc@umail.iu.edu

Superheroes from the DC Comic universe have been brought to life in spectacular fashion by the CW network in “Arrow” and, more recently, “The Flash.”

These shows also happen to be an interesting pair as characters from both shows have crossed over to the other on several occasions. This is easy to do since the fictional locations featured in the shows—Starling City and Central City—are relatively close to each other in their shared, fictional universe.

“Arrow” features a hero who is also known as Oliver Queen when he isn’t fighting crime. This show has a decidedly darker tone as Arrow rarely shows mercy when fighting the criminals of the city, causing severe injury and even killing his enemies. He is joined throughout the series by a variety of teammates including ex-girlfriends and his own sister.

In contrast, “The Flash” is more lighthearted and fun, even though the show has its share of conflict and villains. Its title character is goofy, super-smart Barry Allan who gains the power of super speed after a scientific experiment gone wrong.

Barry isn’t the only one affected by the anomaly, as a number of “meta-humans” show up as bad guys and gals throughout the series.

During the times when the shows do cross characters, Oliver and Barry present a nice balance with one good guy who prefers brute force and the other who would rather outsmart his opponents. It provides a sense of understanding that sometimes we need both the dark and light to fight crime and terror.

The shows’ seasons run concurrently, so they can both be easily watched at the same time and nothing feels out of place. The events that are occurring in any week’s episode of “Arrow” run along the same timeline as “The Flash.”

In fact, due to the regular crossover, I would recommend that you watch both shows to gain a better understanding of any references made.

Both of these shows, together or separately, achieve what other superhero shows like “Gotham” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” do not. They took comic book characters who are not as well-known as Batman or Superman and, not only made them interesting and likeable, but surrounded them with supporting characters that really grab you even if they were created just for the purpose of the show.

Even if you are a Marvel comics fan, I think anyone who loves superheroes and comic books would enjoy both “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Neither is a one-season wonder that merits no further review. If anything, I want to watch them more than ever.

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