Breaking Ollie (Or, Who is Prometheus?)
(If you get spoiled by reading this, then you’ve failed this city)
Hey! Another week, another episode of the CW’s Arrow, and this time we finally get that much needed screen time for this season’s big baddie, Prometheus. Now, the reveal from a couple episodes ago was frankly underwhelming, but the show finally got to redeem the character a bit this week. And, in case we forget to mention, it provided actor Stephen Amell with probably his best acting in the show to date.
Long story short, this week’s Arrow was able to hit two birds with one stone. First, it was able to provide a pretty satisfying conclusion to Oliver Queen’s Bratva storyline, and I hope I’m not alone when I say that I will stop watching this show if the showrunners decide to write out the always entertaining Anatoly. Second, it provided some much needed character work for Prometheus, all the while setting what may perhaps be a new status quo for the show’s main character, with their one-on-one torture session. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to see that Black Canary wannabe turned traitor get her neck snapped even though it was all a ploy!
All right, so we’re now at a point where the series will most likely focus on the main antagonist of the show and address him directly, which leads us to the question: who exactly is Prometheus? Now, in the CW superhero drama, we know that he’s some kid of someone Ollie killed way back in season 1; that he was trained by Talia Al Ghul, no less; and that (gasp) he was Star City’s district attorney all along. So, how close does the show resemble Prometheus’ comic book counterpart? Well, the answer is pretty far and away.
You see, Prometheus has been around for a relatively long time in the comics, first appearing on the pages of DC’s New Year’s Evil: Prometheus one-shot. Created by none other than superhero comic luminary and Alan Moore arch-nemesis Grant Morrison together with artist Arnie Jorgensen, Prometheus became one of the Justice League’s biggest foes back during his early days of publication. However, after Grant Morrison left the Justice League title (presumably to sacrifice some goats to his mystical old gods, as “chaos magicians” are wont to do), Prometheus gradually receded into the DC universe’s backdrop, only having sporadic appearances and taking on supporting roles.
Perhaps the only similarity between the Arrow and comic versions of the character is the way they’re portrayed as this villain possessing no superpowers other than their wits and martial arts training. In fact, it’s been said time and time again that Prometheus is like the mirror image of Batman. And to some degree, they’re right. And perhaps that’s why it’s been so difficult for other writers to use Prometheus: it’s not easy making a character like Prometheus compelling without just copying all those Dark Kinght tropes in reverse. As for his abilities, he doesn’t make use of a bow and arrow in the comics: he has tech weapons, the most prominent of which is a helmet that can download the martial arts skill of his opponents directly to his brain.
Having said that, I understand why Arrow chose not to opt for the traditional comic book Prometheus. Let’s just hope we get to delve deeper into this black archer in the coming weeks.