Alex Lynch Reviews: ARROW - "Honor Thy Father" & Digital Chapter #2
Arrow's target this week is Martin Somers and China White, but was it a successful hunt? Also, the second digital tie-in comic from Arrow producers hit Comixology today, what does it hold? Find out after the jump...
Arrow’s pilot episode didn’t get a warm welcome from some of our contributors, and I wasn’t overly impressed by the pilot either. I would’ve given it 3/5 stars for its debut episode, and I’m known for being a huge, enthusiastic fan of the show. So how does the second episode – “Honor Thy Father” – improve off of the pilot?
To start, the episode kicks off with an action packed sequence showcasing Oliver’s combat skills. Arrow takes on multiple thugs at once, utilizing his bow and hands in multiple and creative ways, all thanks to amazing stunt coordinator James Bamford and the rest of the team. The scene actually slightly reminded me of Batman: Arkham City’s fluid combat system. Oliver then threatens someone on his father’s list, using a good method of hiding his voice that isn’t as ridiculous as Bale’s Batman or Hartley’s deepness used within Smallville. The episode’s opening was a very strong, fast-paced, heart-pumping launch. ”Honor Thy Father” takes the action dial and turns it up to “awesome” compared to the pilot, where it simply was at “great”. Almost every action scene in the episode neared the level of perfection, knowing just when to slow or speed up the pace. Something special about Arrow is its fights, proving that there are plenty of ways to take down people instead of the ol’ one-two, something that Clark seemed to do on Smallville because of his powers. China White and Arrow’s fight was great, but had a few hiccups that could’ve easily lost the momentum.
The episode also throws us more of Laurel’s life as an attorney, something that we barely got to see in the pilot. Katie Cassidy is great in the role and a convincing lawyer, taking the case of Ms. Nocenti (shout out to Catwoman’s writer) as her father was murdered for discovering Martin Somers’ ties to the Chinese Triad. Although the sequence was somewhat short, the performances outweigh what we saw from the in-court scenes featured in the Daredevil film, while almost matching up with Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. We finally get to see John Diggle is action as well -- who is soon to become a fan-favorite badass -- as he actually saves Oliver and Laurel from China White. Thea Queen becomes more involved in the episode, and more emotional as she discovers the real extent of Oliver’s injuries from the island. I am very impressed with Willa Holland’s performance as Thea (that’s pronounced Thee-A, by the way) Queen, and I love the chemistry and history these two have together. Detective Quentin Lance appears to now have a strong presence in the series, however I found him to be slightly unlikeable. He’s snarky and confident, but I can’t help but feel that Paul Blackthorne isn’t doing his best with this series if he wants to become both Oliver and Arrow’s nemesis.
My biggest gripe with Arrow lies with the villains who come from Robert Queen’s list. So far, I haven’t found Adam Hunt or Martin Somers the LEAST bit intimidating or threatening, mostly because we haven’t seen what they’ve done to Starling City. We know Martin Somers is a mean, vindictive man who kills to get what he wants (with the help of China White), but we have no reason as to why Arrow truly should go after him instead of bigger threats, which is why I am glad that the producers are bringing in well-known and established villains like Deadshot, Deathstroke, etc. However, by making sure the villains don’t die gives them an opportunity to return and redeem themselves with proper story and vengeance. One other thing I also felt was disappointing was the lack of many island flashbacks, which I feel are one of the interesting points of Arrow’s first season. Stephen Amell’s narration could also use some work, as it feels forced, and the way he speaks isn’t exactly perfect. It does however; keep true to the style of a comic book with narration from the main character which I find is extremely interesting and likeable, personally.
A solid and well-improved episode of Arrow featuring the wonderful Kelly Hu as China White, Stephen Amell doesn’t disappoint as the costumed vigilante while all supporting cast up their game with proper stories and build up.
Arrow’s second digital chapter follows a basic tale of a curropt business man getting taken down by Arrow, but with a great twist at the end teasing some upcoming storylines. In the book, Scott Morgan has been siphoning energy from Central City’s (yes, The Flash reference!) electrical grid, and Arrow gives him six hours to give it all up and turn himself in to police custody with all the necessary evidence. The great thing about this digital chapter, however is that it up-scales the violence with firearm headshots and blood, but still stays true to the gritty tone of Arrow. A negative about the comic is that it lacks the incredible fight scenes from the show, something that can’t be transferred over especially when the art is low-tier with almost unrecognizable likenesses from Sergio Sandoval’s pencils. The story interestingly ties in to the show, while giving us a huge tease at the ending. This digital book isn’t as good or consistent as Smallville Season 11, but still worth only 99 cents.
An average story mixed with less than average art makes this Arrow chapter struggle, but the huge tease at the end makes it deserving of your ninety-nine cents through Comixology or the DC Comics app.
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