Essential Reading to Prep for the New Seasons of Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl

By Tom Pritchard on at

Next week sees the return of the three programmes from the Arrowverse. That is all the DC TV programmes broadcast on the CW network in the US and exist within the same universe (more or less). It's going to be a few weeks before we see Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl hit the UK (on Sky 1), so here's your advance warning to get read up on the characters with this essential reading.

Flashpoint, £14

The Flash season 3's premiere is set to loosely adapt Flashpoint, the DC miniseries that kicked off the New 52 back in 2011. While we won't be seeing alternate versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the like on our TV screens, the basic plot is the same. Barry went back in time to prevent Reverse Flash from killing his mother, causing serious (and hazardous) changes to the universe. [Buy it here]

Flash Rebirth

What with dying and coming back to life years later, Barry Allen didn't have much time for heroics. The Flash Rebirth mini series made some changes there, and put Barry back in the boots of the Scarlet Speedster. It also saw the return of Eobard Thawne, better known as Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom [Buy it here]

Flash: Terminal Velocity

Wally West's Flash gained a glimpse of the future in this story, and to prevent the death of his wife (and possibly himself), he had to team up with all the other DC universe speedsters to try and change the course of history. Unfortunately he has to deal with the prospect of losing himself in the speed force, much like Barry Allen had done years before. [Buy it here]

The Flash: Blitz

Many consider to be one of Geoff Johns' best Flash stories. It introduces the villain Zoom, a successor to the original Reverse Flash. In civilian life he was Hunter Zoloman, a police officer and friend to Wally West. When Wally refuses to go back in time to save Zoloman's father in law (and subsequent marriage), Zolomon snaps ad vows to do the same to Wally and make him hit rock bottom. [Buy it here]

The Flash: Move Forward

Following Flashpoint came DC's New 52, revamping all the ongoing DC series for a new continuity. The Flash was no exception, and this first volume is an excellent jumping point for anyone new to the character. [Buy it here]

Green Arrow Year One

Every hero needs an origin story, and Green Arrow is no exception. Year One takes us through everything that caused Oliver Queen to pick up his bow and arrow to fight crime. The events of this book provided the basis for the flashbacks in Arrow season one, and features Oliver stranded on a desert island fighting off a drug cartel with little more than a bow and arrow. [Buy it here]

Green Lantern/Green Arrow, £27

At a glance, Green Arrow isn't all that different from Batman. Both are rich, have their own strange hero theme, and tackle street level crime. But there's more to Oliver Queen than that, and his team-up series with Hal Jordan's Green Lantern helps to flesh out the character - while tackling some important issues. [Buy it here]

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters

A darker and grittier retake of the Emerald Archer, switching things up by having Oliver move to Seattle with Black Canary and fight to take down a serial killer. This one offers a mature take on the character, as well as being one of the first times we saw the hero willing to kill in his fight against crime. [Buy it here]

Green Arrow: The Kill Machine

Green Arrow didn't get a very good start after the New 52 relaunch, but when a new creative team took over from #17 things changed for the better. When a villain called Komodo manages to steal all of Oliver's wealth, he finds himself on the run and uncovering secrets from his time stranded at sea. It also features the first comic appearance of John Diggle. [Buy it here]

Green Arrow: Quiver

Following his death fighting terrorists in the late '90s, Kevin Smith's Quiver brought the archer back to life thanks to the actions of a possessed Green Lantern. The story covers Oliver Queen trying to resdiscover his place in the world, while also covering the relationship between him and his son Connor Hawke. One of the sillier elements features Oliver battling for his soul, which wishes to remain in the afterlife. [Buy it here]

Superman/Batman: The Supergirl from Krypton

A re-introduction of Supergirl into the DC universe, except she was found by Batman who doesn't exactly trust the strange new kryptonian. This is a story featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the mad alien tyrant Darkseid who has his own plans for Kara Zor-El. [Buy it here]

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade

If you were an alien from a highly advanced race that suddenly came to a planet that gave you superpowers, going to school would be the last thing on your mind. Yet, this Supergirl series saw the Kryptonian heroine doing just that. School is hard, and it doesn't get any easier if you have super strength and the power of flight. [Buy it here]

Supergirl: Power

Black kryptonite has split Supergirl into to parts, a good side and an evil side.This causes her to struggle to work out exactly who she is, is the evil side the 'true' Supergirl? [Buy it here]

Supergirl by Peter David

A revamp of the Supergirl story, who at the time was an alien known as 'The Matrix' who took on the form of the original Kryptonian Supergirl (comics are complicated). In this story the Matrix Supergirl merges with a dying woman, to save her life from a demonic cult. The problem was the girl, Linda Danvers, was a willing sacrifice, and with the mind merging it becomes difficult to tell where Linda ends and Supergirl begins. [Buy it here]

JSA: The Golden Age

The fourth Arrowverse TV programme is Legends of Tomorrow, which isn't really based on a single comic or series. The second season will, however, introduce the Golden Age version the Justice League: the Justice Society of America (JSA). This book follows the titular super team in the years following World War II, and the McCarthy-era paranoia was sweeping the USA. Heroes who fought bravely during the war were thrust into hiding or retirement, while something even more sinister was emerging. [Buy it here]