Roy Harper is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics Universe. The character is one of DC's most longstanding characters, originating in 1940s comics as Speedy, the teen sidekick of the superhero Green Arrow. Like his mentor Green Arrow, Roy is a world-class archer and athlete who uses his exceptional marksmanship to fight crime. Along with other prominent DC Comics superhero sidekicks, he goes on to become a core member of the superhero group the Teen Titans. As an adult, Roy casts off his Speedy identity to establish himself as the superhero Arsenal, and for a time adopts the name Red Arrow to symbolise his having become an equal of Green Arrow. In addition to continuing to serve on occasion as one of the Titans, Roy has had leading roles in the superhero groups the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the Outsiders, the Justice League, and the Outlaws.
Roy's profile as a hero has varied over the years. He was the subject of the award-winning 1971 comic book story "Snowbirds Don't Fly", which was celebrated for its gritty depiction of Roy's battle with drug addiction; the story is considered a key moment in comic book history as it represented the emergence of mature themes in comics. In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Harper as #50 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics". The character has been adapted for video games and animation several times, and is portrayed in live action by actor Colton Haynes on the television series Arrow and goes by the name Arsenal.
Powers and abilities
In the comic books, Roy Harper possesses no superhuman attributes, but he is extremely adept at the use of the bow and arrow, as well as a wide array of weaponry. He also has the ability to take virtually any object and use it in combat as an effective weapon. Harper is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and he possesses keen analytical and detective skills.
In the Pre-Flashpoint universe, he has been known to speak Japanese and understand Russian. Before Flashpoint, after the loss of his right arm, Roy Harper received an advanced prosthetic, built by Vic Stone, designed to loop around his damaged nerve endings and restore his usual degree of hand-to-eye coordination, albeit with the price of a constant phantom limb pain.
Before Flashpoint, much like Nightwing and other members of the Bat-Family, Roy Harper's suit is capable of emitting an electronic pulse. It is unknown, however, whether or not his suit is capable of emitting only one pulse, like Batman's and Nightwing's, or several. After slicing his arm by Prometheus, Roy returns to his original Arsenal costume: despite being unknown if he still carries the EMP device, the new costume comes along with an advanced prosthetic limb, shown as highly resilient to bullets and melee weapons, and nearly as mobile as his former biological arm. His enhanced limb comes with increased phantom pain, bolstered if the fitting isn't done with the right alignment.
As Speedy and Red Arrow, Roy Harper uses a custom bow and trick arrows (with a preference for the more mundane kind as Red Arrow), mimicking his mentor Green Arrow. As Arsenal he's known to also carry guns and other kind of ranged weapons. Roy also has been known to use an M40A3 US sniper rifle with a Kryptonite bullet on at least one occasion. His original Arsenal costumes were equipped with other exotic weaponry including a boomerang and electrified bola. His current Arsenal costume, reflecting his angrier stance, is laced with several bludgeoning and cutting weapons, mostly knives and billy clubs, strapped to his limbs and back. Despite not being technically part of his "costume", Roy uses his prosthetic right arm only when acting as Arsenal, removing it while going incognito.
Roy Harper is of Navajo heritage, and has a tribal tattoo to represent it. He was adopted by Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and became his ward/sidekick, but soon joined a rock band called Great Frog, and got addicted to heroin. After his recovery, Roy has a daughter named Lian whom he is raising as a single father. Roy is a natural thrill seeker, who has many connections in the government and metahuman community. His income comes from his work in the government.
Roy's first known superhero relationship was with Donna Troy during the Teen Titans. Although short-lived, the pair has rekindled the relationship on multiple occasions over the years, particularly during their time with the reformed Titans. Roy had apparently intended to propose to Donna, but she rejected him because of a prophecy that the Titan Lilith Clay had made, which stated that Donna's red-haired husband would die. This however was not in-regards to Roy, but rather Donna's husband Terry.
Roy's other main relationship was with the assassin Cheshire, who is the mother of his child. Roy would constantly flirt and buy drinks for women at bars and any social outing. When he formed the Outsiders, he had a fling with Grace Choi. At this time, it was learned that he also had a fling with the Huntress. His relationship with his JLA teammate Hawkgirl was strained because of his search for the missing Cheshire. Post-52, Lian was never born, and Roy does not know Cheshire, however in their brief encounters both flirted with the other very enthusiastically.
In the comic series Red Hood and the Outlaws, Roy had a relationship with Starfire. It started out casual until Roy broke it off after realising that Koriand'r had been lying to him (she had claimed that humans were mere sensory experiences, but in truth her race processed emotions very deeply). They later rekindled the relationship and it was much more affectionate, with the pair even confessing their love to one another. Koriand'r broke the relationship off at the end of the series when forced to return to Tamaran with a gravely injured Komand'r, but it was ended on good terms. In the new series Red Hood & Arsenal, Roy is shown to be missing Starfire and slightly hurt that she left.