The boy who would become Arsenal was born Roy Harper, Jr., the son of a forest ranger. Roy states that he "never knew his mother" and in fact does not even know her name. Roy Harper Sr. raised the child on his own for some time. Unfortunately, Roy, Sr. died while saving members of a Navajo reservation during a major fire when his son was barely two years old. The shaman of the reservation, Brave Bow, raised young Harper in gratitude for Roy, Sr.'s sacrifice. Under Brave Bow's care, Roy Harper was raised as a traditional Navajo and treated as a member of the 'Tachini' tribe.
Brave Bow recognized in Harper an early talent for archery, and he was trained in that skill throughout his time on the reservation. With few friends and a lot of time on his hands, Harper practiced extensively, eventually developing the skill of someone twice his age.
After Green Arrow's public debut, Harper developed an immediate hero worship and followed the hero's exploits avidly. When Green Arrow visited the reservation in order to judge an archery contest Harper was participating in, eager Roy did his best to impress his hero, and succeeded in doing so. However, in the final elimination of the tournament Harper was given a magnetized arrow and missed his last shot. When he helped to stop a robber by quickly drawing and firing an arrow, Green Arrow noted that Harper had been "speedier" than he, and offered to take Roy in as his ward. Though publicly the two were known as Oliver Queen and Roy Harper, benefactor and foster child, in private Queen trained Harper to be his partner in crime-fighting. Roy Harper was extensively drilled in the use of both standard arrows and the trick arrows that Green Arrow had created for use in crime-fighting, and when Green Arrow judged him to be sufficiently skilled, he was presented with his own costume and the super-heroic identity of "Speedy", at the age of 13. Shortly afterward, Brave Bow died, and Oliver Queen became the only father figure in Roy Harper's life.
As Speedy, Harper assisted his mentor during many of his cases. Just as Green Arrow had become a member of the Justice League of America, so did Speedy find his own colleagues when he joined Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl to become the Teen Titans. While serving with the Titans, he and Wonder Girl (aka Donna Troy) began a semi-serious teenage relationship that later developed into a close friendship.
After his stint with the Titans, several events occurred that made Speedy feel increasingly rootless and abandoned. His relationship with Donna Troy failed to progress past the "teenage sweetheart" stage, the Teen Titans disbanded, and Ollie Queen, the closest thing Harper had to a father, lost much of his fortune and abandoned him to travel America with Hal Jordan (the Green Lantern of Earth) and Queen's girlfriend, the Black Canary. Increasingly alone and extremely depressed, Harper developed a heroin addiction. When Green Arrow discovered his addiction, rather than give Harper support or comfort, Ollie punched him and kicked him out, leaving him homeless. He was later found by Jordan, and with the help of Black Canary and others, Harper quit cold turkey.
Though Harper quit drugs entirely, partly in order to prove his strength to Ollie Queen, the latter's actions had already driven a rift between the two that would take years to heal.
Harper worked as a counselor for teens with drug problems following his recovery, while continuing to pursue a solo career as Speedy. He also joined a re-formed Teen Titans for a time, but the team once again disbanded and Speedy was left on his own.
While counseling teenagers and working as a superhero, Harper's obvious skills as well as his personal connection to the drug underground attracted the attention of the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), a clandestine government agency largely concerned with drug trafficking and terrorism. The CBI, led by Sarge Steel, trained Harper in undercover work, as well as the use of firearms (Harper learned he was as accurate with a gun as he was with a bow and arrow.) Harper became an official CBI drug enforcement agent.
On one undercover assignment, Harper was tasked with the job of gaining the trust of the sociopathic mercenary Cheshire. Though Harper was meant to eventually turn Cheshire over to the authorities, the two fell in love and had an affair. Harper could not bring himself to turn Cheshire in, but he was concerned that his continued presence would endanger her. That worry combined with his growing misgivings over Cheshire's disregard for life caused Harper to abandon her, unaware that she was pregnant with his child.
When Harper eventually learned that he was the father of Cheshire's daughter, Lian, he teamed up with his old friend Nightwing (formerly known as Robin) to track down Cheshire and prevent her from assassinating a group of diplomats. Speedy was captured by Cheshire and poisoned but rescued by Nightwing. Cheshire escaped leaving little Lian behind, and Nightwing later brought the baby with him when he visited Roy, who was recovering in hospital, and Roy assumed the duties of a single father.
No longer a member of the CBI or the Titans, and still estranged from Oliver Queen, Harper struggled for some time to find his place in the world. For a time, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he attempted a career as a private investigator. Though he assisted the latest incarnation of the Titans on several occasions, he declined to rejoin as a full member. Eventually, he resumed his working relationship with the CBI and then its successor organization Checkmate.
During this time, Speedy's old friends in the Titans were going through a crisis of their own. After being hunted by the Wildebeest Society, led by Jericho, the team had been shattered and reformed. The Titans Tower, their headquarters, was destroyed, and the Titans were rootless and mistrusted by the American government. After making a deal with Harper's employer, Sarge Steel, to become officially supervised and sanctioned by the US Government, Nightwing voluntarily stepped down as leader. The obvious choice to fill the vacuum was Roy Harper, who had connections to both the Titans and the Federal government. Availing himself of Steve Dayton's technology, Harper decided at this point to abandon his identity as Speedy and become Arsenal. Now no longer simply using a bow and arrows, Arsenal's high-tech costume gave him several devices to use for crime-fighting. He would soon abandon his original Arsenal costume in favor of a more streamlined one, but retained his new codename and leadership of the Titans. Unfortunately, the team suffered from a lack of commitment from its various members, and was dissolved yet again.
Arsenal took this opportunity to re-open a dialog with his mentor, Green Arrow. The two managed to forgive one another and bury their past differences, but the reconciliation was short-lived, as Oliver Queen died in an airplane explosion shortly afterward.
Soon, yet another team of Teen Titans emerged. This group consisted of a teen-aged Atom (de-aged by events in Zero Hour) and new heroes Argent, Risk, Joto, and Prysm. The team was funded by Loren Jupiter, once the benefactor of the original Teen Titans of which Harper had been a member.
Jupiter gathered together the original Titans (now going by the aliases of Nightwing, Tempest, Flash, and Arsenal) to combat the threat of his bitter, super-powered son Jarrod Jupiter (Haze). New and old Titans joined forces to defeat Haze, but at a price; Joto apparently lost his life, and Arsenal felt responsible for his death. Arsenal remained with this new group of Titans for a time, but eventually left the group before it, too, disbanded.
Arsenal later came into conflict with Vandal Savage. Savage had discovered that both Roy Harper and his daughter Lian were his descendants, and thus, their organs were suitable for him to harvest to prolong his life.
Arsenal was able to save his daughter from Savage. After this ordeal, he adopted a new look to reflect his Navajo heritage. Shortly after, the original five Titans decided to form yet another incarnation of the team. Arsenal served as a full-time member on the team, and chose to reside at the new Titans Tower with his daughter, Lian. He hired Rose Wilson to be Lian's nanny, and also attempted an adult relationship with Donna Troy, but broke it off when it became clear that Troy was dealing with an identity crisis of her own. Arsenal, who by that point had established a reputation as something of a "ladies' man," went back to his philandering ways.
At roughly the same time, Oliver Queen reappeared, having been resurrected earlier by Hal Jordan (in his identity of Parallax). After Queen sorted out his own issues, he and Harper's friendship renewed.
Leader of the Outsiders and Red Arrow
When a mysterious conglomerate known as Optitron offered to sponsor the Titans and Young Justice, members of both teams encountered a cybernetic girl from the future (known as Indigo) at their complex. The android attacked both teams and disabled nearly half of the group. Those members who could team up to track down Indigo, but instead encountered a rogue Superman robot that Indigo had somehow reactivated. The Superman robot made quick work of Lilith, killing her by snapping her neck, and then killed Donna Troy with a heat vision blast to her chest. Though Indigo returned to shut down the Superman Android, the rest of the Titans and Young Justice were left to mourn their fallen friends. Once again, the Titans parted ways.
Arsenal took this opportunity to accept Optitron's offer and formed a new team: the Outsiders. Harper conceived the team as professional and proactive, with none of the "family" connections that seemed to doom various incarnations of the Titans. He began by buying a massive secret underground headquarters beneath New York City. Roy outfitted the shelter with state-of-the-art equipment and began recruiting members for the new team. He successfully coaxed the veteran Metamorpho, as well as Grace (a superhuman bouncer whom Harper had a physical relationship with) and Thunder (daughter of Black Lightning) into joining the team. He also decided to accept Indigo as a member. Even though she had been responsible for activating the Superman android, and ultimately for Lilith's and Donna Troy's deaths, her memory had been wiped clean, and she convinced Arsenal that she wanted to atone for what she had done.
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 that perhaps a team of strangers would operate more efficiently than a team with so many emotional attachments. Nightwing, while still reluctant, agreed to join and became field leader of the Outsiders shortly after the team defeated Gorilla Grodd.
On a later mission, Arsenal was shot in the chest while attempting to stop Brother Blood from activating a global network of sleeper agents. He survived, but was sidelined for months. In the interim, he assigned the Huntress to be his replacement. He was hesitant to resume active duty, feeling afraid of his own limitations, but returned with encouragement from Nightwing.
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 Harper from years prior, and led Tanner to Lian Harper. 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.Oddly, Arsenal's near-death from gunshot wounds later saved his life when he met Deathstroke. The villain, Arsenal discovered, had been posing as Batman and feeding him information since the Outsiders began. Deathstroke and Arsenal fought, with Deathstroke intending to kill him, but when the mercenary discovered the bullet scars on Arsenal's chest, he figured Arsenal had suffered enough and gave him a "pass." About the same time, Arsenal was also kidnapped by Green Arrow's nemesis Constantine Drakon. Drakon was working with the Riddler, and slit Arsenal's throat so that he would have to apply constant pressure to the wound or die. The Outsiders helped search for Arsenal and rescued him.
During the period of turmoil known as the Infinite Crisis, Indigo was revealed to be a plant of Brainiac's, and almost succeeded in destroying the team. Later, Arsenal and the Outsiders were among the heroes gathered to defend Metropolis from an invasion by The Society. After the disappearance of Batman, Robin, Superman, and Wonder Woman, the Outsiders continued to operate, but found themselves handling low-level criminals and making little difference in the world. When Nightwing and Red Hood discovered that Black Lightning, former Outsider and father of Thunder, had been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, the Outsiders attempted a rescue. Ultimately, they failed in their attempt, and ended up believed dead by the outside world. Though the team saw this as an opportunity to operate covertly, Arsenal soon realized he was not made for the life of a cloak and dagger hero and left the team, returning full command to Nightwing.
Nearly a year later, after their return to active duty, the heroes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, decided to reform the Justice League of America, which had been disbanded during the Crisis. In a sign that he had finally "made it," Arsenal was asked by the three to join the latest incarnation of the team. In their first mission as teammates, Hal Jordan referred to Harper as "Red Arrow" (attempting to cover for the fact that he almost called him by his real name). Though Harper was surprised by this new nickname, he soon embraced the identity with the help of a new costume, given to him by his former mentor, Green Arrow. His new name and costume became symbolic of his "coming of age" and the end of his troubled relationship with Oliver Queen. Red Arrow continues to serve with the Justice League. Red Arrow later began an intimate relationship with Hawkgirl. The relationship later ended and Roy eventually left the Justice League.
A Cry for Justice and the Rise of Arsenal
Following Bruce Wayne's death in Final Crisis, Roy returned to the team after discovering that Ollie and his splinter Justice League have been hunting down and torturing criminals. After Ollie and Hal Jordan inform the JLA that the murderous supervillain Prometheus is planning a massive attack on the world's superheroes, the two Leagues agree to put aside their differences and join forces. Roy vouches for Batwoman's qualifications when she contacts the team, telling them that Dick has informed him of her skills. Roy briefly leaves to call Lian and Mia to wish them goodnight, only to return to the meeting room a few minutes later, savagely beaten and missing an arm. He collapses and goes into shock as the Leaguers desperately try to keep him alive. The person responsible is revealed to be Prometheus who then destroys Star City using a massive teleporter.
Roy manages to survive and is given a bionic arm and ultimately finds out that Lian had been killed by a teleporter, whereas Mia had survived. Roy suffers numerous emotional breakdowns and berates Mia for being unable to protect Lian. Roy begins to feel delusional after Lian's death and receiving his bionic arm. He begins to suffer hallucinations of his deceased drug buddy, Corey, who tempts him back into using heroin. After finding out that Green Arrow killed Prometheus, Roy is less than satisfied and states to Ollie that it should have been him to exact vengeance for Lian's death.
During Lian's funeral, Roy begins to hallucinate thumping noises in Lian's coffin. He runs away to take painkillers he stole from Doctor Mid-Nite's lab, only to be greeted by Ravager who attempts to comfort him. Roy then berates his friends and leaves stating he doesn't need their pity. At his home, Roy attempts to practice his archery but lacks his previous accuracy. While tending to his bandages, Cheshire ambushes him and states that Roy is a failure for being unable to protect their daughter. Roy then berates Cheshire on her parenting skills and throws her against a wall. Ultimately, Cheshire has an emotional breakdown and in a moment of comfort by Roy, they share a passionate moment and have sex. He then departs for the destroyed remains of Star City and, wearing his old Arsenal costume, beats up a group of men with knives.
While leaping off rooftops, he is haunted by Corey who continues to tempt him into his previous drug habits. Having run out of painkillers, Roy goes to a nearby alleyway and ultimately relapses. Roy drifts into a hallucinatory state where Lian is alive and well. The two of them are attacked by a gang of Prometheus's who Roy easily dispatches. Roy then looks up to find the Electrocutioner, and Roy is convinced he is trying to hurt Lian.
In reality, the Lian Roy was fawning over was actually a dead kitten and he had beaten down a gang of drug-addicts with the cat. Roy attacks Dick Grayson bent on protecting the Lian in his hallucination. Outclassed in every way he is beaten by Grayson, who places him in a rehabilitation center. Even in confinement, Roy mumbles to himself, speaking to his old friend Corey who taunts him about his slow descent back into addiction. Roy tries to resist, determined to reform himself, but is visited by a hallucinatory Lian saying "But I need you. Daddy, didn't you hear me crying for you?" 
Deliberately injuring himself to alert some paramedics, Roy manages to escape the center, and sets off to break into the jail where the Electrocutioner, the accomplice of Prometheus who was directly responsible for Lian's death, is being held. Despite Green Arrow's intervention, Roy cruelly butchers Buchinsky with his knives, then burns away his house and all his possessions, becoming a dark, brooding vigilante enacting his brand of deadly justice on lowlifes and criminals, and re-taking the mantle of Arsenal  After Cheshire approaches him to help murder Deathstroke, Roy apparently double crosses her and joins Slade's new, villainous team of Titans, although Cheshire mentally congratulates him for his performance, revealing it to be a ruse. Upon returning to the labyrinth, Deathstroke reveals to them that his proceeding items were used to create a healing machine called "Methuselah" for his dying son, Jericho. After healing Jericho, Deathstroke claims the machine can also resurrect the dead, offering Roy and Cheshire the chance to revive Lian. Cheshire accepts, but Roy refuses, realizing that he had just been punishing himself for his daughter's death all this time, and that Lian is in a better place. Joined by Tattooed Man and Cinder, Roy fights the rest of the Titans in an attempt to destroy the Methuselah Device. The battle ends with Deathstroke escaping and Cheshire leaving, saying she wants nothing to do with Roy or the Titans anymore. Roy takes leadership of the Titans with Joey, and they both agree to restart the team and reform it together, taking it one day at a time.
This section of the history takes place during Convergence, a massive crossover event revisiting characters from past eras and realities. The villains Brainiac and Telos plucked them from their own timeline and stored them together, causing them to cross over into each others' reality. Its precise chronological placement and canonicity may be unclear.
In Convergence, a year after Lian's passing, Roy has been living in Gotham, where he's been trapped in the dome over the city for the past year. Since the dome has been over the city, it has also deactivated all meta powers in the city, which included Roy's cybernetic arm. During the past year, he's also opened a children's home in Lian's honor, naming it Lian's home.
When the dome is opened and metapowers are reactivated, the city is attacked by Dreamslayer. Roy calls on the help of Donna Troy and Starfire, who have also gotten their powers back. When Roy gets his cybernetic arm back and joins them in battle, Dreamslayer presents him with an ultimatum: if Roy chooses to betray and kill Donna and Starfire, Dreamslayer would bring Lian back. Tricking Dreamslayer into thinking he'd do it, Roy destroys two poles which traps him, which gives him the chance to grab Lian before he has the chance to take her away.
Taking her back to his base, Roy learns that Dreamslayer grabbed Lian when she was at school, right before she died, meaning she has no memories of dying. Dreamslayer ambushes Roy in his cave, threatening to kill the Titans, who are now joined by Beast Boy and Cyborg (who Roy called upon later) if Roy doesn't take them out, Roy reveals that in the past year, he's weaponized Gotham in case something like this would happen, and he goes on to use his contingency plan to defeat Dreamslayer and his forces.
Later, the rest of the Titans reunite with Roy and Lian. Roy wants to continue to help with the battle, but Donna insists that he stays with Lian, and he watches them fly away as he hugs Lian.
- Archery: Roy is a marksman of incredible accuracy. He is extremely adept at the use of the bow and arrow. Vixen once "absorbed" Roy's archery ability during training practice and was able to hit the bulls-eye of a standard target from 200 meters away.
- Firearms: Roy is a master marksman and is highly skilled with firearms and various other ranged weapons.
- Martial Arts: Roy has been trained by Black Canary and Oliver Queen, both masters of a variety of martial arts, the former being one of the most skilled martial artists on the planet. Red Arrow has also been tutored throughout his life by Hal Jordan, a skilled boxer and regularly sparred with Nightwing.
- Investigation: Roy possesses keen analytic skills and deductive ability.
- Music: Roy used to be drummer for the band Great Frog, while still a member of the Teen Titans.
- Throwing: Roy is highly skilled in the use of throwing weapons, and has used Bolas, balls, knives and other various weapons and hurled them with amazing accuracy.
- Weaponry: Master of Moo Gi Gong. Roy is extremely proficient with a wide array of weaponry. He can take virtually any object and use it in combat as an effective weapon.
- Leadership: Despite his occasional goofy nature, Roy has a serious side that has allowed him to lead teams in the past, including both the New Titans and the Outsiders.
- Multilingualism: Along with his native English, Roy can also speak also speak Navajo, Japanese and Russian.
- Drug Addiction: Roy has battled with drug addiction throughout his career. He originally became addicted to heroin but kicked the habit. Years later, Deathstroke secretly got the relapsed Roy addicted to a new high called Bliss via Cheshire when he joined Titans.
- Electronic Pulse: Much like Nightwing and other members of the Bat-Family, Red Arrow's suit is capable of emitting an electronic pulse.
- Custom Bow: A carbon-copy of Green Arrow custom bow. While Oliver favors a more simple bow, Roy has constructed his own bow with more modern enhancements.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- Roy Harper first appeared as Speedy in Earth-Two continuity in More Fun Comics #73 by Mort Weisinger and George Papp.
- While there is no definitive cut-off point between Earth-Two and Earth-One continuity in the Green Arrow stories of the 1950s, the first appearance of the Earth-One Green Arrow and Speedy is considered by the DC Database to be Adventure Comics #246. This is because of the presence of the Rainbow Archer, who is later confirmed to exist on Earth-One.
- Roy Harper first appeared as Arsenal in New Titans #99
- Roy Harper first appeared as Red Arrow in Justice League of America (Volume 2) #7
- Harper has a Navajo tattoo band around his right bicep, as well as six bullet wound scars on his chest and a surgical scar running the length of his sternum.
- Roy played in the band Great Frog.
- Roy stated that he was twenty-two when Lian turned one. Lian's tombstone gives the dates 2004-2009. This would mean Roy was born in 1982 or 1983. Roy also states that he and Dick are the same age, although, seeing as Dick turned 20 after Cheshire first mentioned she had given birth to Lian, it is more likely that Roy is anywhere from a few months to a year older than Dick.
- Roy mentioned that the part he enjoyed most about the holidays was volunteering at soup kitchen. It was here one year that he encountered a reformed Bromwell Stikk. He also noted that Cheshire would normally contact him before Christmas so she could spend it with Lian.
- Adventure Comics (first featured in issue #246)
- World's Finest (first featured in issue #93)
- Teen Titans (volume 1) (first featured in issue #4)
- Green Lantern (volume 2) (issues #85-86 only)
- New Teen Titans (volume 2) (issues #19-21)
- Teen Titans: Year One (first featured in issue #2)
- Action Comics (volume 1) (issues #613-618 and 627-634 only)
- New Titans (volume 1) (first featured in issue #60)
- Arsenal Special
- Batman Plus Arsenal
- Teen Titans (volume 2) (issues #12-20)
- Titans (volume 1)
- Outsiders (volume 3)
- Justice League of America (volume 2)
- Titans (volume 2)
- Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal
- 732 Appearances of Roy Harper (New Earth)
- 163 Images featuring Roy Harper (New Earth)
- 52 Quotations by or about Roy Harper (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Roy Harper (New Earth)
- ↑ Arsenal #3
- ↑ Outsiders (Volume 3) #32
- ↑ Suicide Squad #11
- ↑ Titans Secret Files and Origins #1
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Green Lantern (Volume 2) #85
- ↑ Justice League: Cry for Justice #5
- ↑ Justice League: Cry for Justice #6
- ↑ Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #3
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #4
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Titans (Volume 2) #26
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Titans Annual #1
- ↑ Titans (Volume 2) #37
- ↑ Convergence: Titans #1
- ↑ Convergence: Titans #2
- ↑ Convergence #6
- ↑ Convergence #8
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #2
- ↑ Justice League of America 80-Page Giant (Volume 2) #1
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 Justice League of America (Volume 2) #16
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Action Comics #436
- ↑ Titans #19
- ↑ DC One Million #1
- ↑ Titans (Volume 2) #27
- ↑ World's Finest #244
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Action Comics #618
- ↑ New Teen Titans (Volume 2) #18
- ↑ Tales of the Teen Titans #51
|Team Arrow member|
This character is or was a member of the Green Arrow family of vigilante super-heroes, who fight crime using archery and martial arts. They are a loose connection brought together through family bonds and shared experiences. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Team Arrow members."
|Teen Titans member |
This character is or was primarily a member of the younger superhero team known as the Teen Titans, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Teen Titans members" category.
|Titans member |
This character is or was primarily a member of the superhero team known as the Titans, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Titans members" category.
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
Justice Society of America member
|Outsiders member |
This character is or was primarily a member of the super-hero team known as the Outsiders, in any of its various incarnations. They are a black ops team dedicated to fighting evil and taking the fall in public opinion that bigger groups like the Justice League cannot, started by Batman to avoid being crippled by public relations needs. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Outsiders members" category.
|Checkmate Member |
This character was a member of the top secret government organization Checkmate. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Checkmate members" and "Government Agents" categories.
Suicide Squad member