At first glance, it may seem like a bit of an unconventional move, especially considering that these kind of comics are usually written by writers from their respective shows – people like Mark Guggenheim and Sterling Gates. But when you look at this a little closer, it does make more sense.
Any actor who’s been playing the same character for several years is going to have an inherent connection to and understanding of that character in a way that most other people won’t. John Barrowman been playing Malcolm for three seasons by the time this book came out, so he definitely had that understanding of what drives him and makes him tick. Plus, getting to flesh out his background from before the show and get into what he was doing in between seasons could’ve only helped in his performance going forward. This book came out in the middle of season 4, so he didn’t have a ton of time left as Malcolm, but it’s still enough time where getting this boost could’ve made a legitimate difference.
It’s also worth noting that John and Carole Barrowman are actually an established writing duo, having worked together on his biographies, novels and a Doctor Who spinoff comic. Their familiarity with each other and with this particular medium definitely made them well-suited to tackle a project such as this.
While I definitely appreciated getting a deeper look at his character, I can’t quite say it really changed the way I look at his main portrayal. Given his penchant for deception and all the evil things he’s done before, I wasn’t too surprised to find out that he had changed his name and did even more questionable things in years past. This seems to double down on the type of person we already knew him to be – someone who does care about his family, but not more so than his personal gain.
It may not seem doable now that Arrow is over, but there’s still plenty of room left in this universe, especially if Green Arrow and the Canaries gets picked up. Assuming that show has a future (and I really hope it does), there’ll be all sorts of potential for Arrow characters to show up, and perhaps seeing some elements from this series could make things more intriguing. Being an organization, The Hidden could still exist in full 20 years in the future, and an older Saracon could still very much be in the mix. Further still, if he were to show up, that could also be an interesting opportunity to bring back an older Thea and have her meet another one of her half-brothers. While I can’t imagine anything from this title ever being a priority on the show, I think it could be pretty interesting to have an episode or two focused on that kind of connection.
Since this was coming out during Arrow’s fourth season, the magical elements felt a lot more at home here than if this had come out, say, during the first season. Some things were especially weird even in that context, including the alien-esque drone, but given some of the other things we’ve seen in the Arrowverse, I guess it’s not that unbelievable. I can definitely say that it’d be cool to see Saracon’s inter-species telepathy come to life on screen. I guess it’s not all that different from Vixen’s powers, but potentially getting to command multiple animals at once instead of being limited to one at a time could make him a more dangerous opponent. This would especially be true if we were to see him 20 years in the future after he’s had a lot more time to hone his skills.
I think the timing of such a reveal would be key in determining how Nyssa would react to such big news. On one hand, if Malcolm had told her in that moment, I think there’s a chance that she might actually be somewhat grateful to him for telling the truth and allowing her a bit of closure on the matter. Of course there would still be the fact that Malcolm knew this whole time and never said anything, but given their bad history, this wouldn’t quite be the worst thing to happen between them and would at least have a somewhat positive element to it.
On the other hand, if Nyssa found out on her own later, I imagine she’d be even more furious at Malcolm for lying to her again. In this instance, I could see her trying to enact some sort of revenge against him even sooner. It’s also interesting to think about what Nyssa might’ve learned after Malcolm’s death. I’m sure she’d be interested in finding out more of his secrets, and it’s entirely possible that he may have left proof that Lourdes is Nyssa’s mother. Not that I think it’d be addressed on TV in the future, but if Nyssa does return, I also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s revealed that she had already found out her full parentage.
I can’t say I have any strong feelings about Javicia specifically, as I’m not familiar w/ her existing work, but this does still seem promising. It was great to see her welcomed w/ open arms not only by the Batwoman cast, but also by other actors across the Arrowverse, and even by Ruby Rose. Plus it’s great that she’s a bisexual Black woman, as it’ll continue to give authenticity to Batwoman’s lesbian identity and continue to add diversity to this universe.
Aside from wanting Ryan’s story to be about as compelling as Kate’s, which I know has been said plenty of times already, I just hope that Javicia has a better sense of what this job will entail. I know Ruby never gave a specific reason as to why she left the role, but I do feel that given the reliability of the sources that explained why she did, I feel comfortable going forward w/ that information while still taking it w/ a grain of salt. It’s obviously unfortunate to see that Ruby may not have a full sense of the huge load of work it would take day in and day out to pull off this character going into the show, but I have to believe that would also lead to everyone not wanting the same thing to happen again. Along w/ making sure that she can play a great Batwoman, I have to believe that the producers made absolutely sure that Javicia would be up for putting in the number of hours needed to be the lead not just for a few months, but for many years. Obviously it’s still gonna be a while before we actually see her in action, but given the (apparent) circumstances of Ruby’s departure, I feel like the odds of this happening again are even lower than before.