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Quote1 And as for you -- you take another step towards me and your hooded friend gets seriously shafted. Get it? Quote2
Arsenal src

Arsenal is the vigilante identity of Roy Harper, Green Arrow's ward and former sidekick. He has also been known as Speedy and Red Arrow during his long career. Though Arsenal has no superpowers, his accuracy with projectiles is equaled only by his mentor. He is a founding member of the Teen Titans and has also been a member of the Outsiders.

Early Life

Roy Harper, Jr. was born the son of a forest ranger. Roy never knew his mother and never even learned her name. For a time, Roy Harper Sr. raised his son alone.

Unfortunately, when his son was barely two years old, Roy, Sr. died while saving members of a Navajo reservation during a major fire. The shaman of the reservation Brave Bow adopted the young boy 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 Roy's early talent for archery and trained the boy 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.

Noticed by Green Arrow

After Green Arrow's public debut, Harper developed an immediate hero worship for the man and followed his exploits avidly.

When Green Arrow visited the reservation in order to judge an archery contest Harper was participating in, eager Roy impressed Green Arrow with his incredible skills. However, in the final round of the tournament, Harper was sabotaged and given a magnetized arrow, forcing him to miss the last shot and lose in front of his hero.

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Roy Harper as Speedy

Afterwards, Roy helped stop a robber on the reservation by quickly drawing and firing an arrow at him; Green Arrow was again impressed and noted that Harper was even "speedier" with a bow than he. Green Arrow 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 was extensively drilled in the use of both standard arrows and the trick arrows that Green Arrow had created for use in crime-fighting. When Green Arrow judged him to be sufficiently skilled, Roy was presented with his own costume and the super-heroic identity of "Speedy", at the age of 13.[5]

Shortly after Roy became a vigilante, Brave Bow died, and Oliver Queen became the only father figure in Roy Harper's life.

Adventures as Speedy

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, Speedy joined his own superhero group with some of peers called the Teen Titans.

Several events occurred that made Speedy feel increasingly rootless and abandoned in his teenage life. His relationship with Donna Troy failed to progress past the "teenage sweetheart" stage; they broke up but remained close friends. The Teen Titans eventually disbanded, leaving Roy without an outlet to see his friends. Thirdly, Oliver, the closest thing Harper had to a father, lost much of his fortune due to subterfuge and abandoned Roy to travel America with Green Lantern and Black Canary.

Green Lantern Vol 2 85

"My ward is a JUNKIE!"

Increasingly alone and extremely depressed, Harper began using heroin and became addicted.

When Green Arrow discovered his ward's addiction, rather than give him support or comfort, Ollie punched him in the face and kicked him out, leaving the boy homeless. Roy was later found by Hal Jordan, and, with the help of Black Canary and others, Harper promised to quit drugs cold turkey.[6]

However, Roy didn't keep his promise and still continued to occasionally use drugs. Roy grew to resent his mentor Green Arrow for how the man treated him, wedging a gap between them that would take years to mend.

Harper worked as a counselor for teens with drug problems following his recovery. No longer working with Green Arrow, he tried to balance his new job with 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.

Government Agent

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, invited Roy to work with them and trained him in for undercover missions. They also taught him how to use firearms, something that was overlooked in his previous training sessions with Brave Bow and Green Arrow. Roy learned he was as accurate with a gun as he was with a bow and arrow. With a new direction, Roy became an official CBI drug enforcement agent.

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Roy becomes a father

On one undercover assignment, Harper was tasked with 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. Because of this, Roy was forced to abandon her, unaware that she was pregnant with his child.

Nine months later, when Roy learned that he was the father of Cheshire's daughter Lian, he teamed up with his old friend Nightwing, the first Robin, to track down Cheshire and prevent her from assassinating a group of diplomats. Roy was captured by Cheshire and almost killed by her poison, but Nightwing saved him. Cheshire escaped, leaving little Lian behind. Roy's life changed once again as he swore to the responsibilities of a single father.


Arsenal New Earth 013

First Arsenal costume

No longer a member of the CBI or the Titans and still estranged from Oliver Queen, Harper struggled 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. 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. Harper decided at this point to abandon his identity as Speedy for a more mature alias - Arsenal. Now no longer simply using a bow and arrows, Arsenal's government-funded high-tech costume gave him several devices to use for crime-fighting.

Harper 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 serious loss of morale 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.

Titans Yet Again and Again

Soon, yet another team of Teen Titans emerged funded by the original Titans' benefactor Mister Jupiter. Jupiter then gathered together the original Titans, including Arsenal, to combat the threat of his bitter, super-powered son Haze. The new Titans and old Titans joined forces to fight this new foe. During the conflict, Haze transform's Roy's costume into a red version of Green Arrow's, symbolizing Harper's inner wish to follow in Ollie's footsteps.[7] In the end, Haze was defeated, but at a price; Haze apparently lost his life in the conflict, and Arsenal felt personally responsible for his death.

Arsenal remained with the new group of Titans for a time but eventually left the group before it, too, disbanded.

Arsenal later came into conflict with Vandal Savage when the immortal caveman had discovered that both Roy Harper and his daughter Lian were his descendants. Because of this, 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. Roy hired Rose Wilson to be Lian's nanny to balance his parental duties and also rekindled a more mature relationship with his teenage sweetheart Donna Troy. However, their relationship wouldn't last, and the two 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.

When a cybernetic girl from the future known as Indigo activated a rogue Superman Robot to attack the Titans and Young Justice, Titans members Lilith and Donna Troy were killed. Mourning the loss of their friends, once again, to no one's surprise, the Titans disbanded.

At roughly the same time, Oliver Queen reappeared, having been resurrected by Parallax. After Queen sorted out his own issues, he and Harper's friendship renewed.

Assembling the Outsiders

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Arsenal and his Outsiders

 Main article: Outsiders Vol 3

Following yet another Titans hiatus, Arsenal accepted an offer from a mysterious corporation called Optitron to form his own superhero 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 - Metamorpho, Grace, and Thunder. Roy briefly had a relationship with Grace, but it ultimately didn't last.

Still recruiting, Roy also decided to accept Indigo as a member, the woman who had caused the most recent destruction of the Titans and the deaths of his teammates Lilith and Donna Troy. Indigo, after being captured, had her memory wiped clean, and she convinced Arsenal that she wanted to atone for what she had done.

Roy's last recruit to the Outsiders was the Titans' former leader Nightwing. Though Grayson was completely uninterested in joining a new superhero team after such a devastating loss, Arsenal argued that perhaps a team of strangers would operate more efficiently than a team with so many emotional attachments like the Titans. Nightwing, while still reluctant, agreed to join and became field leader of the Outsiders shortly after the team defeated Gorilla Grodd.

Arsenal and the Outsiders

Though the Outsiders were successful for awhile with Arsenal as their leader, on a later mission, Roy was shot in the chest while attempting to stop Brother Blood from activating a global network of sleeper agents. Roy survived but was sidelined for months as he recovered. In the interim, he assigned the Huntress to be his replacement.

Months later, when he medically approved to return, Roy was hesitant to resume active duty, feeling afraid of his own limitations. However, after a pep-talk from Nightwing, Roy regained his confidence and rejoined his team.

Not long after his return, 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, to emotionally hurt the hero, targeted his daughter Lian. Tanner and the child-slavers tracked Lian down, killed her nanny, and abducted the girl. Back at their base, they branded her with Tanner's mark, intending to sell her on the black market. However, with the Outsiders, Arsenal found the predators' hideout and rescued his daughter and all the other children from being sold.

Oddly, Arsenal's medical incident months prior later saved his life when he met the assassin Deathstroke. The villain, Arsenal discovered, had been posing as Batman and feeding him information since the Outsiders began. With his ruse unveiled, Deathstroke attacked Arsenal, preparing to kill him, until he saw the bullet wound scars on Roy's chest and allowed him to live, believing he had probably suffered enough in his life.

About the same time, Arsenal was also kidnapped by Green Arrow's nemesis Constantine Drakon. Drakon was working with the Riddler and, in a plot to pressure Green Arrow, slit Arsenal's throat. Roy survived but was forced to apply constant pressure to the wound until the Outsiders rescued him and brought got him proper medical attention.

On one of their last missions in their current incarnation, the Outsiders tried to rescue former member Black Lightning from police custody when he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Ultimately, their attempt failed, and all the Outsiders were publicized as having died. 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.

Red Arrow

Red Arrow 4

In the big leagues as Red Arrow

Roy took some time off from super heroics until almost a year later when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman decided to reform the Justice League of America. In a sign that he had finally "made it," Arsenal was asked by the three to join.

In their first mission as teammates, Hal Jordan, a close friend of his mentor Green Arrow, almost accidentally called Roy by his real name in front of a crowd of people. However, Hal covered his mistake by rolling the 'R' in "Roy" into "R....Red Arrow". Though Harper was surprised by this new nickname, he soon embraced the identity as a new direction for his career. Roy adopted a new costume, gifted to him by his former mentor Green Arrow. Red Arrow's new name and costume became symbolic of his "coming of age" and the end of his troubled relationship with Oliver Queen.

For a time, Roy was a contributing member of the Justice League and even began a romantic relationship with Hawkgirl. Eventually, they broke up.

Roy briefly retired from the League but rejoined after the apparent death of Batman.

Prometheus's Attack

 Main article: Justice League: Cry for Justice Vol 1

At one point, after the world survived what would hopefully be its final crisis, Green Arrow and Green Lantern Hal Jordan broke off from the Justice League of American to form their own rival Justice League, one, they claimed, was less about appearances and more about ruthless justice. Roy, however, remained a member of the main JLA.

Green Arrow's Justice League soon discovered a plot concocted by the supervillain Prometheus to systematically target all the world's superheroes and brought the information to the main JLA, believing the plan was bigger than a rivalry between their two teams.

Roy Harper Cry for Justice

Mutliation by Prometheus

Roy was present for the meeting on the Justice League Watchtower regarding Prometheus' plan but briefly stepped out of the room to call his daughter Lian and wish her goodnight. However, unbeknownst to all the Justice League members, Prometheus had already infiltrated their headquarters and ambushed Roy, beating him senseless and cutting off the hero's arm with a sword. Red Arrow escaped the fight long enough to return to the meeting, collapsing on the ground, as the other League members sprung to his aid. [8]

As Roy's wounds were addressed, Prometheus revealed himself to the Justice League and allowed himself to be captured to reveal more of his plan: to destroy all the major cities protected by superheroes. On cue, Prometheus then remotely signaled to his triggerman the Electrocutioner, who activated a massive teleporter that destroyed most of Star City, the home of Green and Red Arrow. [9]

Roy was too injured from losing his arm to aid in the rescue effort and was instead brought to a hospital for surgery. However, Green Arrow and Black Canary went down to their city to help the survivors. The heroes found Roy's home in the rubble, destroyed, and the dead body of his young daughter Lian, who perished in the attack.

Loss of Lian

In the hospital, Black Canary informed Roy of his daughter's death in the terrorist attack. Roy couldn't handle the information and suffered numerous emotional breakdowns. He also found out that Mia Dearden, Green Arrow's second Speedy and Lian's babysitter that night, had actually survived. Roy blamed Mia for Lian's death and berated the girl in his grief.

Despite losing his arm, Roy was fortunate enough to be gifted a new bionic arm that functioned just as well as his old one. However, with so much radical change in his life from Prometheus' attack, he had trouble adjusting to the body modification for some time while he recovered in the hospital.

In such immeasurable grief, Roy began to suffer hallucinations in the hospital of his deceased drug buddy Corey, who tempted him back into using heroin, though Roy deflected the temptation.

A few days later, Roy was informed that Green Arrow murdered Prometheus with an arrow to the head as vengeance for all the pain he had caused. Though Roy approved of the punishment, he was less than satisfied and told Ollie that he wished that he was the one who had done it.

During Lian's funeral, Roy hallucinated thumping noises coming from her coffin as if she was still alive inside. Panicking, he ran away from the ceremony to use painkillers he stole from Doctor Mid-Nite's lab, sliding back into drug use. However, he was discovered by Ravager, Lian's former nanny, who tried to comfort him. Roy blew up on her and the rest of his friends in attendance, berating them for pitying him, and stormed out of his own daughter's funeral.

At his new home after the ceremony, Roy tried to practice his archery skills, but, because he wasn't used to his new bionic arm yet, his failed to reach the same level of accuracy he used to have. He was ambushed by Cheshire, the mother of Lian, who blamed Roy for the death of their daughter. Roy spun the accusation around on her, blaming her total lack of parenting while Lian was alive. Ultimately, both parents were crushed by Lian's death, and, in a rare moment of vulnerability, Cheshire had an emotional breakdown in front of Roy. Roy shared his grief with her, comforting Cheshire, and, in a moment of passion, had sex together.

Relapse and the Rise of Arsenal

Still dealing with the death of his daughter, Roy returned to the ruins of Star City wearing his old Arsenal costume and unleashed his rage on a gang of scavengers.

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Rise of Arsenal

While leaping off rooftops, he was haunted by memories of his old drug buddy Corey again. Out of stolen painkillers, Roy gave into his temptation, went to a nearby alleyway, and ultimately relapsed on his heroin addiction. During his high, Roy hallucinated that Lian was still alive.

In reality, Roy was still fighting crime, high on heroin. He was discovered by his friend Nightwing, and Dick, realizing the situation, was forced to fight Roy to force him to desist. Once Roy was defeated, Dick brought him to a rehabilitation clinic for his own good. [10]

While in confinement at the rehab center, Roy purposefully hurt himself to alert the paramedics on standby. When they rushed to his aid, he escaped from his cell and made a break from the facility.

Roy set his sights on the prison that the Electrocutioner was being held at, wanting revenge on the criminal for his part in Lian's death. Green Arrow managed to catch up to Roy and, having regretted killing Prometheus for senseless revenge, begged Roy to reconsider. However, Roy ignored him, broke into the prison, and cruelly butchered the Electrocutioner with a set of knives.

After the murder, Roy returned to his home and burned it down, including all of his possessions. He swore to uphold a deadlier version of justice in the future and reclaimed his title as Arsenal. [11]

Titans for Hire

Roy temporarily teamed up with Cheshire with a plan to murder renowned assassin Deathstroke, the man that had infiltrated his Outsiders some time ago. However, Roy apparently double crossed Cheshire to join Slade's new villainous team of Titans. But, this itself was a double cross, as Roy used the opportunity to get closer to Slade.[12]

Working undercover with the "Titans for Hire", Roy helped Slade build a healing machine called the "Methuselah" for the man's dying son Jericho.[13] After healing Jericho, Deathstroke claimed the machine could also resurrect the dead, offering Roy and Cheshire the chance to revive their daughter Lian. Cheshire accepted, but Roy refused the offer, realizing that he had just been punishing himself for his daughter's death all this time. He realized, in his mind, Lian was now in a better place.

Revealing his treachery, Roy fought the Titans for Hire and destroyed the Methuselah Device.[14] In the end, Deathstroke escaped, and Cheshire swore to never work with Roy again, bitter about his decision with their daughter.

In the aftermath, Roy and Jericho agreed to reform the Titans one more time, agreeing to take it one day at a time.

Superman Prime Earth 0002
This history is continued in The New 52 at Roy Harper (Prime Earth).
The DC Universe was rebooted in 2011 as part of the Flashpoint event. This was an attempt to simplify continuity, and make DC Comics more accessible to new readers. Prior to this, mainstream comics took place in New Earth continuity since the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. The continuity established following Flashpoint is Prime Earth.


Convergence Vol 1 0 Textless
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.

Brainiac abducted Roy around the defeat of the Titans for hire. Transported to the planet Telos and kept inside a dome with other captives of the multiverse, Roy resided there for a year. The dome depowered all the inhabitants within it, deactivating Roy's cybernetic arm as a side effect. Over the course of a year, Roy opened a children's home in Lian's honor, naming it "Lian's Home."

When the dome was opened and metapowers were reactivated, the city was attacked by Dreamslayer. Roy called on the help of Donna Troy and Starfire, who had also gotten their powers back. Dreamslayer offered Roy a wish - if Roy killed his Titans teammates, Dreamslayer would bring Lian back to life.[15] Roy pretended to accept the offer long enough to defeat Dreamslayer and have him resurrect Lian anyway.

Overjoyed that his daughter was back to life, Roy learned that Dreamslayer had revived Lian with no memories of dying. Dreamslayer returned, hellbent on killing the Titans. Though Roy was prepared to spring into action to protect his daughter, the Titans insisted he stay with her as they went off to fight without him. Roy hugged his daughter, reunited[16]



  • 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 bullseye of a standard target from 200 meters away.
  • Equestrianism[18]
  • Firearms: Roy is a master marksman and is highly skilled with firearms and various other ranged weapons.
  • Investigation: Roy possesses keen analytic skills and deductive ability.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Multilingualism: Along with his native English, Roy can also speak Navajo[20], Japanese[13] and Russian.[21]
  • Music: Roy used to be drummer for the band Great Frog, while still a member of the Teen Titans.[22]
  • 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.[17] He was able to paralize Pistolera's arm by hitting one of her nerves with a file.[23]
  • 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.[19] He's a master of all manner of weapons in his own right.[24]

Other Characteristics

  • Drug Addiction: Roy has battled with drug addiction throughout his career. He originally became addicted to heroin but kicked the habit.[6] Years later, Deathstroke secretly got the relapsed Roy addicted to a new high called Bliss via Cheshire when he joined Titans.[25]


  • 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's custom bow. While Oliver favors a simpler barebow, Roy has constructed his own bow with more modern enhancements.


  • 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.[22]
  • Roy stated that he was twenty-two when Lian turned one.[27] Lian's tombstone gives the dates 2004-2009.[12] This would mean Roy was born in 1982 or 1983. Roy also states that he and Dick are the same age,[27] although, seeing as Dick turned 20,[28] after Cheshire first mentioned she had given birth to Lian,[29] 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.[19]


New Earth:



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