Red Arrow

Created by Mort Weisinger & George Papp

NAME + ALIASES:
Roy William Harper, Jr. a/k/a Speedy, Arsenal

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Oliver Queen (Green Arrow, adoptive father), Roy W. Harper, Sr. (father, deceased), Lian Harper (daughter), Jim Harper (The Guardian, uncle, deceased), Mary Harper (aunt), Tommy Harper (cousin), Bonnie Dotson (cousin), Vandal Savage (ancestor)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Teen Titans, the CBI, Checkmate, Outsiders, Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Speedy: Adventure Comics #250.
As Arsenal: New Titans #99.
As Red Arrow: Justice League of America v.2 #99.
Historical:
More Fun #73.

+ History

NOTE: This entry mostly covers Arsenal's direct teams involvement after The titans. For more information, see the links below.

Roy Harper began his career as Speedy, the young sidekick of Green Arrow. While still a teen, he was an early member of the original Teen Titans, and stayed with them on and off throughout the Titans' history. Roy is known as a ladies, man and he once romanced the villain and terrorist known as Cheshire. The woman bore a daughter, Lian, whom Roy now raises. He eventually changed his name to Arsenal and was affiliated with the U.S. espionage unit, the C.B.I.

Roy was with the Titans, however in their darkest hour. He lost two of his best friends, Donna Troy and Lilith Clay to the terror unleashed by a Superman robot at S.T.A.R. Labs. Before that, the team had been offered private funding from the corporation called Optitron. They pretended to have the world's educational interests at hear, but really wanted a big tax write-off. Nightwing, leader of the Titans rejected their offer and disbanded the team after the death of their friends. (Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1-3)

Roy however, saw an opportunity. He accepted Optitron's offer and set about forming a new team: the new Outsiders. He began by buying a massive secret underground headquarters beneath New York City. It was originally built by eccentric millionnaire C.T. Wentworth to function as a fallout shelter during the Cold War. Roy outfitted the shelter with state-of-the-art equipment and began recruiting members for the Outsiders. He successfully coaxed the veteran Metamorpho as well as newcomers Grace and Thunder. In a controversial move, he also decided to accept Indigo as a member. This girl android had been responsible for activating the Superman robot, but her memories were wiped clean and she convinced him that she wanted to atone for the horror she'd caused.

Indigo's presence would prove to be a major sticking point for Arsenal's last recruit: Nightwing. The Titans' former leader was completely unwilling to renew his involvement in a team after such a devastating loss. Arsenal argued that the Outsiders were the next logical step for them beyond the Titans. And perhaps a team of strangers would operate more efficiently (and without the emotional attachments). Though Nightwing was still reluctant, he immediately rose to the call of leadership when Gorilla Grodd crashed a luxury liner into a New York City port. (Outsiders v.3 #1)

Roy's short time with the Outsiders has been frought with pain. When the team was attempting to stop Brother Blood from activating a global network of sleeper agents, one agent was successfully activated and surprised Arsenal with multiple gunshots to the chest. (#5) Roy survived by was sidelined for months. In the interim, he assigned the Huntress as his replacement. (#8) He was hesitant to resume active duty, feeling afraid of his own limitations, but returned with encouragement from Nightwing. (#11)

Not long after his recovery, the Outsiders took on a case which involved a child-slaver and molester named Tanner. One of Tanner's informants recognized Roy from years prior, and led Tanner to Roy's daughter, Lian. (#19) Lian's nanny was killed and the girl was branded with Tanner's mark. The Outsiders arrived just in time to save Lian and other children from being flown out of New York. (#20)

Oddly, his near-death from gunshot wounds saved his life when soon he met Deathstroke. The villain, Arsenal discovered, had been posing as Batman from day one and feeding him information. Deathstroke intended to kill Roy, but when he discovered the bullet scars on his chest, he figured Roy had suffered enough and gave him a "pass." (#21-22) About the same time, Arsenal was also kidnapped by Green Arrow's nemesis, Drakon. Drakon was working with the Riddler and he slit Roy's throat so that he would have to apply constant pressure or die. The Outsiders helped search for and rescue Roy. (Green Arrow #49-50)

Since founding the group, he also maintained a "no-strings" sexual relationship with Grace. He has also admitted to sleeping with the Huntress.

 

Graduation Day

Red Arrow by Gene Ha
(from Justice League of America #11)

After the great "Crisis" caused by Alexander Luthor, the Outsiders entered an even darker time. Black Lightning, an Outsiders founder and Thunder's father, turned himself in for the murder of his neice's killer. At Thunder's urging, the Outsiders decided to break Lightning out of Iron Heights Prison. In the aftermath, most of the team chose to use the incident as cover to fake their own deaths.

Even before this debacle, Roy had contemplated leaving the Outsiders in order to care for Lian. With the Outsiders now deep undercover, Arsenal took the better portion of a year to play father exclusively.

Roy's track record ultimately caught the attention of the Justice League founders. When Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman reformed the League a year after the Crisis, they invited Roy to join instead of his mentor Green Arrow (an honor Ollie was proud to acknowledge). (JLofA v.2 #1) In battle, Hal Jordan nearly compromised Roy's identity by using Roy's real name. To save from making that mistake, Hal called him Red Arrow instead, a name which has apparently now stuck. (#4)

Notes

Roy's identity as Red Arrow was first suggested in the out-of-continuity Kingdom Come #2 (Aug. 1996). Also in that issue, his grown daughter Lian was called Red Hood.

New 52

In the rebooted DC Universe, called the "New 52," Roy Harper was recreated as Arsenal, a member of the Red Hood's Outlaws (Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, Nov. 2011). Meanwhile on Earth 2, a new Red Arrow (real name unrevealed) has debuted as well. He was first Mentioned in Earth 2 #13 and appeared #14 (Sept. 2013).

+ Powers

Arsenal is a metahuman with flawless marksmanship skills. (He is descended from Vandal Savage's prolific bloodline). Although he began his career solely as an archer, his skills have branched into the mastery of all forms of projectiles. He now also frequently employs firearms and crossbows.

Roy also possesses an above-average level of hand-to-hand and martial combat skills.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

» SERIES:

Arsenal, 4-issue limited series (1998)

The Titans, 50 issues (1999-2003)

Outsiders v.3, current (2003-)

Justice League of America v.2, current (2006-)