Friday, June 12, 2009

Underneath the stars, And spinning never quite free, Through all thetrials and tribulations...

(For anyone who is curious, yes, those are all quotes by Roy Harper - the singer. Either interviews or song lyrics.)

I’m not anticipating getting to use Roy a lot, given that he’s basically owned by The Titans at this point. Still, with him – as of this writing – wanting some time away from the hero game following the break-up with Hawkgirl, I can easily see justifying him coming home for a little “me” time with the family. And even if I can’t justify that, I still have a story or two I’d like to use him for but – thankfully – Roy’s managed to remain relatively unscathed by recent stories and hasn’t been damaged nearly as much as a character that I feel I NEED to use him to fix him, like I do the rest of Ollie and Dinah’s children.

Orphaned at a young age like Ollie and raised on a Navajo reservation, Roy fixated upon the archer hero and practiced his own archery to an obsessive level. Despite Roy’s whole-hearted embrace of the Navajo culture and the support of the shaman Brave Bow, Roy was never widely accepted by the tribe and grew up very much an outsider. Knowing things would only become worse in his absence, Brave Bow contacted Green Arrow through some charity that the famous hero had been linked to and pleaded his case for the hero to take Roy into his home.

Oliver agreed; partly due to his still hurting from the rejection of Moonday Hawke some years earlier and the loss of the family he always wanted and partly because, even then, the idea of training someone in the heroic arts and starting a legacy had occurred to him. Roy quickly endeared himself to Oliver and vice versa, with the young man teaching Oliver of the depths he didn’t know he had and Oliver teaching Roy the fine points of crime-fighting apart from bowcraft. Roy took Oliver’s lessons and his example to heart, for better and for worse. And today Roy Harper is very much Oliver Queen’s son.

Like Ollie, Roy has thrown himself whole-heatedly into fatherhood. He is an enthusiastic and loving caregiver, who always puts his daughter Lian first.

Like Ollie, Roy fancied himself something of a ladies man in his younger days. To a degree, he still does. But like Ollie, he has mellowed in recent years and – while still looking for the right woman - he is a bit more discriminating about exactly how many ladies he takes home, knowing now his tendency to fall for bad girls like Cheshire. He still has an example to set, even though Lian goes to visit one of her many uncles, aunts or Grandpa Ollie when Roy is… ahem… entertaining.

But in a way, Roy is Dinah’s son as well. She didn’t have quite the hand in raising him that Ollie did but she definitely had an influence upon him outside of the realm of training him to be a more effective crimefighter. And Dinah, for her part, was changed as well by the little Lothario who brazenly tried hitting on her in open imitation of his old man – something that she found much more amusing than Ollie did.

It is Dinah who gave Roy the example in leadership he needed when he became head of the Teen Titans. It was she who taught him that he didn’t have to complete with Dick, Donna or anyone else who ever led the team – he just had to find what it was that he did better than anyone else; what was unique about him that nobody else could match?
In Roy’s case, it was his ability to improvise. Because more than any superhero in the world, Roy is a master of the last minute save
That is why he mastered Moo Gi Gong – a martial art devoted toward turning every day objects into improvised weapons.
It is also why Dick Grayson always sought to bring Roy into every superhero team he formed, despite the rivalry between their mentors and themselves. Batman is a planner and trained Nightwing to be the same. But Dick Grayson is canny enough to know that for every 50 plans you have, there will be occasions when all 50 plans will be made invalid. That is when you need someone who can look at all of your assets, and quickly think of something – anything – to utilize what you have to maximum ability. That is when you need Roy Harper.

Roy and Ollie: Ah, the Old Man. Things were tense there for a few years and they’re never going to have a 50’s sitcom relationship… but Ollie and his eldest son have made their peace over the past. Roy still idolizes Ollie and models himself after his adopted father, for good or ill. Ollie, for his part, is in awe of the man and the hero Roy has become in spite of Ollie’s shortcomings as a parent. There is love there, but more – there is respect.

Roy and Dinah: She started out as a crush/point of jealousy between Father and Son. But after the worst night of his life, she became something more; something between the mother and the older sister he never had. He couldn’t put a name to what he’d call her, but it is enough that Dinah loves him and vice versa and cared enough to keep checking up on him even when he and Ollie weren’t speaking.

Roy and Connor: total opposites on the surface and yet more alike than most would care to guess. Both are thoughtful to the point of melancholy at times, though Roy is more outspoken about his feelings and more likely to try and distract himself from his sorrows. And as the two most spiritually inclined people in the family, they have had a number of discussions noting the similarities between Buddhism and the Navajo nation traditions. Still, despite their mutual efforts at understanding and finding balance, Connor has begged out of any future visits to the strip club in the name of “curing his shyness”.

Roy and Mia: At first, Roy was a little weirded out by the idea of having a namesake. Still, he took the time to take Mia out for a weekend, get to know her and found himself liking the young lady Ollie took under his wing. They get along great, both taking a great delight in making sure that “the old man” doesn’t get too complacent in his old age. Any family gathering will typically have at least one “battle of wits” with the two trying to see who can get out the best snarky one-liners as measured by the biting of Dinah’s lower lip and the blush in Connor’s cheeks.

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