'Arrow' vs. 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': Are the DC and Marvel worlds colliding?

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Image Credit: Justin Lubin/ABC; Diyah Pera/The CW

This week, my Tuesday and Wednesday nights looked eerily similar, and not just because I was sitting on my couch eating Chinese food and watching television.

On Tuesday’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the team headed to Russia to defuse a very large, very dangerous weapon. The very next night, my Arrow peeps discovered they needed to rescue one of their own from — what do ya know? — Russia. Plus, by the end of Arrow‘s hour, I was listening to talk of a serum that could be used to create an army of super soldiers. For a second, I was positive I was back in the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe talking about Centipede. But I wasn’t! I was on a boat in the middle of the ocean — in the middle of a universe where “superheroes” didn’t exist. What was happening?!

So after I realized that these were, in fact, two very different shows, one of which lives in the Marvel universe (S.H.I.E.L.D., obviously) and the other in DC Comics, I started to get a very bad headache. Not to mention that while reacting to both shows, I now have to deal with an annoying number of period-filled acronyms — S.H.I.E.L.D., A.R.G.U.S., H.I.V.E — not cool, guys. Basically, after having this realization, I only had one option: A compare-and-contrast, seventh-grade-style.

First up, let’s talk S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, I am by no means a comic book expert. I watch the show, I’ve seen the movies, and I love Seth Cohen as much as (but probably more than) the next person, but that’s the extent of my knowledge, which is why I called for backup. And my backup goes by the name of Darren Franich. He quickly┬áinformed me that, in the Marvel universe, America developed super soldiers during WWII. And in S.H.I.E.L.D., it seems the super serum they’re looking for, Centipede, is some sort of Extremis, Super Soldier Serum combination.

Now, in the Arrow/DC world, the Japanese were the ones who developed a super-soldier serum during WWII. The serum is yet to get an official title, but we know it’s all about increased strength and rapid cell regeneration. They even used the words “super soldiers.” However, we wouldn’t expect Captain America to show up in Starling City, so I’m betting this isn’t as straightforward a serum as it seems. So perhaps this is their way of introducing The Flash to a world of crime-fighting humans? In the comics, The Flash was struck by lightning, but considering Arrow isn’t a show about superheroes but rather a show about mere mortal vigilantes, it would make sense that they need some sort of serum in order to introduce a supernatural being to the party.

In general, it’s safe to say that the idea of a “super-soldier serum” is more prevalent in Marvel than DC, so maybe I’m missing the point of this comparison. Perhaps the point is that we’re breaking down barriers, people! Comic book boundaries be damned and whatnot! It would certainly help people like me not to have to separate all of my thoughts into one of two worlds. Or I’m just lazy and you all hate that idea. Whatever works.

In terms of the other big similarity between these two shows this week, I’m starting to think Russia was just a big coincidence. S.H.I.E.L.D. went there to disarm some crazy weapon, and Arrow went there to invade a prison and retrieve Diggle’s ex-wife. It did get me thinking though: Both Agent Ward and Oliver Queen speak Russian and kick ass, so if those two worlds ever do fully collide, I’d like to request that they get into a shirtless fight (in a conveniently located mud pit) before becoming totally bromantic buddies. Oliver can teach Ward archery, and Ward can teach Oliver how to properly rock an all-black outfit.

But if my dream bromance isn’t in the books, I will change my request to get S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow to start comparing travel and serum trajectories so that my head doesn’t explode. Or at least give me a Venn diagram, seventh-grade-style.


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