Superheroes in a Dangerous Time, or Fear and Loathing in the Arrowverse

Image: CW

Things are bad out there, you guys. Really bad. The world is dangerously close to climate-based mass extinction, and instead of banding together to stop it, more and more of the world is getting sucked into alt-right, arch-conservative, anti-science, bigoted, “us first” nationalism. The American south is attempting to treat women and reproductive rights with all the care and respect that the Confederacy treated people of colour, and Canadian conservatives are watching it happen and thinking “Say, that gives me an idea.” Nobody’s willing to call a mulligan on that whole Brexit debacle. Disney owns 40% of the concept of entertainment, and the layoffs have begun.

It’s dark out there. But I don’t have a lot of answers for that, outside of STOP. VOTING. FOR. CONSERVATIVES, so today I’d just like to talk about something related to the apparent collapse of human society.

How do superheroes respond to today’s world?

The CW superhero shows, still known as the Arrowverse and not the DCW-verse because we are incapable of coming up with good names*, devoted themselves this question this season, potentially their final season as The Best Superhero Franchise on TV. (The CW shows are of higher average quality than Marvel Netflix was, fight me, but the DC Universe streaming service came to play, peeps. Titans was better than it deserved to be and Doom Patrol is so good you guys.) Each of the four Arrowverse shows (Black Lightning remains separate for at least another half-season) spent their season addressing the state of the world in some way or another, some more nakedly than others.

So instead of a typical review of the Arrowverse shows, I want to look at how each one tackled the state of the world and their home country.

*The Canadian two-dollar coin is called the “toonie,” as the dollar coin was called the loonie, but “dubloonie” was on the table. I will never forgive my country for making the wrong choice.

Allons-y.

Next page: Arrow and the Police State

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