First of all – me and Arrow – I must admit that I haven’t read many of the comics with Arrow as a main figure. I bought the Kevin Smith run of the series (2000 – 2004) where Green Arrow was revived. I kinda liked it – admittedly there were far too many bubbles filled with dialogues and monologues but it’s Kevin Smith and he mentioned it in the afterwords of the first issue that it will change. Apart from that I didn’t follow the life of Oliver Queen, somehow it reminded me too much on Batman but with a Robin Hood touch. When the TV Show Arrow started I gave it a chance and followed it episode by episode – what I liked was that there was a lot of background story to the main character, a lot to work with and his interactions with all the other characters was always filled with suspense. Before the end of season one I quit, mostly because it felt overcrowded and everyone started having a lot of background story, it felt like a teenage soap with tough looking guys and gorgeous women.
Two years after the successful launch of Arrow the next DC character was announced for the small screen – John Constantine shall have his own show. My excitement was beyond words and the first pictures and teasers gave me the impression that they work hard on getting this thing right and stay true to the comics. The first episodes arrived and I was happy – they truly did their best, they inserted some of the loved and hated characters from the comic series Hellblazer and only put some few ingredients from their own imagination. By the end of season one it was clear – there was no place for that on the small screen. There were only a few viewers each week, not enough to keep the show running – why it failed in case of viewer statistics is hard to tell. My opinion was that it was too close to Supernatural. The dark arts, the magic and the hunting of ghost, demons and other ghastly creatures were elements that were also used within the universe of the Winchester Brothers. Maybe there is nit enough audience for all that out there? Maybe it also tried to impress the fans to much – by casting a fitting actor, by letting him smoke cigarettes, by being sarcastic and by having dark and British humour within the dialogue. In the end there was no follow up to season 1.
Until now – by having a cameo of John Constantine within Arrow. Consider this – I didn’t watch all the episodes of the previous seasons and thankfully they gave a shot look back to what happened so far. And a lot it was – people died, new people – good and bad – arrived on the scenery and a lot of them tough looking men and gorgeous women, no real surprise there. It cost me some time of catching up to follow each intrigue, each family and friendship troubles and in the end the John Constantine storyline maintained as a main plot and this one was outstanding.
We see some flashbacks of Oliver meeting John on an island, becoming his hostage and helping him to retrieve an object of power. In the present the team surrounding Oliver is confronted with having one of their friends brought back to live by the Lazarus pit, a pit that can prolong your life span and was used by the famous Ra’s al Ghul. Unfortunately something went wrong and the friend is behaving like a wild animal and attacking people, therefore an expert in the field of dark arts is needed and Oliver calls John Constantine.
His appearance brings a new element to the show – not only by adding the Lazarus pit itself – but also his character, his flair feels completely alien within this show. All the other characters also react in that way and follow John’s steps and keeping a safe distant. Thanks to the professional acting of both main characters in this episode it doesn’t stay that way. Oliver and John feel like the partners they should be – both are different in their ways of helping but the target is the same, never have vigilantes been that close on the small screen of DC comics adaptions.
In the end – I kinda hope for John Constantine that there will follow more appearances and John gets a second chance on the small screen.