Arrow has some great things in store for the new season, and it has a lot to do with its new villain. Here’s why.
We’re just two episodes into the fourth season of Arrow and it’s already shaping up to be a doozy. Ollie is now officially rolling with the “Green Arrow” name he’s so rightly earned, and everything is beginning to come back full circle – we’re even shown via flashback how he made it back to Lian Yu after doing missions in Hong Kong for Amanda Waller.
But what really caught my attention this season is the primary antagonist: Damian Darhk.
Damian Darhk, like most characters in superhero movies and television shows, originates from the comics; however, Darhk is a very elusive character and doesn’t really appear much outside of a handful of moments in one of the Teen Titans series. In this comics incarnation, he was the intelligent leader of the massive organization known as H.I.V.E. Apart from that, he really didn’t do much. He had no known powers outside of his intellect, and he operated more behind the scenes.
So who is Damian Darhk? And how could he potentially be the greatest challenge that our favorite Emerald Archer has ever faced?
Note: spoilers from Arrow are ahead.
Damian Darhk is a Blank Canvas
The unknown nature of the character of Damian Darhk is actually his greatest strength as far as the writers of Arrow are concerned. Because they don’t have much to go on, apart from being the mastermind of H.I.V.E., they can take him any direction they want to. And judging by that premiere episode, they are certainly taking things in their own direction.
Maybe the most important aspect of Arrow‘s take on Darhk is that he’s a practitioner of some dark form of magic that nobody in the CW universe has seen the likes of before. Because of this mysticism, the writers could certainly be adapting a lot of elements from John Constantine villains like Nick Necro and Jacob Shaw (and with the appearance of the Hellblazer himself set in a few episodes, this wouldn’t be a stretch). That being said, despite the similarities, Darhk is very much becoming his own character. The writers have given him a lot of personality in the use of his new magical abilities.
There’s still a lot that we don’t know still about Darhk. What drives him? Why does he want Star City to perish? His mystery is probably the only thing that he shares with his comic book counterpart.
He’s not a Metahuman
One of the popular themes explored in the Arrow/Flash universe is the idea of metahumans, which is essentially their fancy way of referring to superheroes and supervillains. Every villain Oliver has faced, with the exception of Malcolm Merlyn, is a meta.
However, the writers are taking a different step with Darhk. They made it very clear that he is not a metahuman, even as he practices magic. This will certainly make him a much more interesting villain, because metahumans like the Flash and Deathstroke have extraordinary powers, but have strict physical limits. Flash’s powers only affect his speed. Deathstroke had a strength increase.
This is where Darhk can leave them in the dust. By introducing a new form of magic, Darhk essentially has no limits. Not only did he kill a man by touching him, he stopped Ollie’s arrows by simply raising his hand. Who knows the full extent of his powers? Even if he has limits, his range of abilities will still be much greater than any villain Oliver Queen and Barry Allen have seen before.
No Guts No Glory
Along with giving Darhk his own powers, the writers have also given him a lot of personality. And with that, they essentially turned every cliché plot on its head. In the first episode from the season, Darhk casually walked into the office where all of Starling City’s leaders were present. He didn’t hide who he was or what he set out to do.
You’re all fretting about this city dying. I’m here on behalf of the organization that wants you to let it die.
It gave me chills, people. Chills. This is stuff antagonists do near the middle or end of a season, not on the premiere episode. If this is what he’s willing to do right off the bat, Star City better prepare for what his master plan is, because Darhk is playing for keeps. I have a strong hunch it won’t be another terrorist attack this time.
They’ve Set Him Up Since the Beginning
Arrow is one of my favorite shows because the villains they incorporate don’t just pop out of nowhere. Deathstroke had been a player since the first season, as had the League of Assassins. This brings me to a particular moment in the first season where Diggle confronts Deadshot, the man who murdered his brother. Deadshot states that he was merely a hired gun working for the organization called H.I.V.E. So we know that Darhk has been active and moving at least since Ollie got back off that island, and now it’s finally coming around. We knew it would happen eventually, and now we have it.
Who is Damien Darhk? He’s a threat unlike anything Team Arrow has ever experienced before. His demeanor, his motives, and his abilities all give our heroes something to fear. Fingers crossed that the leader of H.I.V.E. lives up to his name in the coming weeks.
What do you guys think? Could Darhk be a force to be reckoned with? Or does he belong in the waste basket with Count Vertigo? Let us know in the comments!