Arrow: We Want You! by Jerry Whitworth
With the announcement of Arrow, the new television series from the CW adapting DC Comics’ Green Arrow (with CW previously airing Smallville which featured Green Arrow as a major character), and the release of a trailer and preview with villains like Merlyn and Drakon released as characters for the program, we can only speculate what other characters are in store for viewers. As what’s been released to the public thus far is any indication, we can assume the series will likely take a realistic approach to the material (akin to the Nolan series of Batman films), meaning someone like Brick is likely out. So, what villains are prominent enough while being realistic enough to make the cut (not to mention, who likely won’t be attached to Green Arrow because their rights could be tied up elsewhere, like Deathstroke or Riddler). Batman knock-offs like Bull’s Eye (Joker), Greenface (Two-Face), Cat (Catwoman), Master (Riddler), and Waxface (Clayface) will undoubtedly be out.
Green Arrow’s nemesis, Count Vertigo was the deposed royal of Vlatava born with an inner ear defect that made him perpetually off-balance. When a device was implanted in his ear to correct this, he found he could force the effects of vertigo, unable to tell up from down or left from right, onto those in range of the device (in proximity or broadcast, human or mechanical). With his family expunged from their homeland by Soviet occupation, Vertigo was raised in England and came to America to reclaim his family’s royal jewels sold to support their new lives bringing him into conflict with Green Arrow. With Vertigo taken down and locked away, he would return again and again to face the Emerald Archer.
A master planner with precise timing, Clock King used clock-based tools in his thefts but was always taken down by Green Arrow. However, Clock King would become closely associated with Batman, appearing in the live action Batman television series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Batman: The Animated Series, the character would be re-imagined in the latter as having preciously timed all aspects of his crimes, namely where and when to stand for a desired effect (making Batman’s martial arts and tools completely ineffective as many of the simplest movements would mean escape for Clock King). Another significant difference between the comic and his Batman: TAS version of Clock King would be that he wears a clock on his face and a costume covered in clocks (like the Riddler is covered in question marks) in the comic but a suit and bowler with clock-themed paraphernalia for his animated appearance where his Batman: TAS version with some alterations would work well for a live action rendition.
An assassin trained since birth by the Yakuza to kill the soldiers who murdered her mother and dishonored her father (leading to ritual suicide) for the cache of gold he protected, Shado hunted these men in America when she came of age using her martial arts and skill with a longbow. Green Arrow unsuccessfully tried to bring Shado to justice only for her to assist him several times including rescuing Black Canary and have carried a complicated relationship ever since (with Shado on one occasion raping Arrow and bore a son named Robert).
Though Green Arrow has battled many, many archers, Rainbow Archer was one of the most frequent and dangerous. So successful in his career, he would actually retire with his stolen wares leaving the likes of Merlyn and Cupid to eventually become Green Arrow’s frequent archer foes. While Merlyn has been cast in Arrow, being set up as a major supporting character, it doesn’t appear he’ll be similar to his comic book counterpart (at least at first). So, Rainbow Archer could certainly fill the role of an adversarial archer early on, perhaps even instructing Merlyn later on before disappearing with his fortune.
A menacing criminal that pushed himself into Star City’s underworld, Steelclaw used his cybernetic arm (which had a devastating grip and could emit knockout gas) to take down the drug cartel until they agreed to offer him a sizable cut of their income for him to allow them to continue operating (so far to even botch an attempted kidnapping of the mayor Thomas Bolt’s son when Bolt’s war on crime was threatened business). An enemy of the cartel and Green Arrow and Black Canary, it would eventually be revealed Steelclaw was in fact Thomas Bolt himself who used his underworld persona to control the drug trade (hurting them enough to keep them down while offering living enough that a new cartel doesn’t move in and takeover). Bolt would also hire Champion, a work-for-hire superhero that used a suit of high tech armor, though Green Arrow uncovered Champion setting fire to a building so he could put it out and earn a fee. Bolt would eventually be executed by the cartel he extorted.
A warrior monk from the Sanctuary, an ashram just outside Star City, Brother Lars poisoned his master and led a revolt among his monks in a bid to unlock the master’s Book of Ages and its great power within. One monk, Onyx (formerly a killer for the League of Assassins that abandoned her bloody path), managed to escape with the book’s key (the Wisdom Key) and seek the help of Green Arrow who returned with her to take down Lars and his followers (but not before Lars opened the book and was reduced to bones). Onyx would later work for Batman. This story could be adapted to screen with a realistic spin where the question of the book being magic or not could be left ambiguous by not actually being opened.
Honorable Mentions: There’s a number of other villains that could be good combatants, like Machiavelli, Red Dart, Slingshot, Roper, Big Game, Boomerang, Printer’s Devil, Pinball Wizard, and Blue Lancer, but they maybe too gimmicky (or make the show too gimmicky) to be used.