The CW Network really struck gold when they dove into the world of live-action superhero adaptations. Starting with Arrow, CW’s adaptation of the not-so-famous Green Arrow comic series, the network managed to draw in a whole new crowd of comic book fans along with their regular, young audience. Arrow went onto become a huge success and urged CW to try out some more DC superhero TV shows. Originally announced as a spinoff to Arrow, The Flash quickly went on to become just as notable as Arrow. After multiple seasons of both, CW even created a third series known as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, taking a few fan characters from both to create a ragtag team of time-traveling crime-stoppers. This wasn’t the last addition to CW’s DC superhero lineup, however. In 2016, CW added CBS’ Supergirl to their quickly growing universe, labeling it as the Arrowverse.
With each series consisting of at least three seasons, there’s been plenty of time for them to craft their own identities. These, of course, come with a ton of inside jokes that fans love to poke fun at. Whether it’s about the way each of the shows began or some of the bizarre and nonsensical plotlines the show’s writing has given us, there’s plenty for us to laugh at while we’re waiting for new episodes. We’ve compiled a list of twenty-five Arrowverse memes that will have true fans busting a gut when they’re not rooting for some of their favorite superheroes or their favorite couples.
23 Protecting Secrets
One of the biggest differences between Arrow and The Flash has always been the different methods of their lead characters, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen. When Oliver first returned from Lian Yu, he had a mission to purify his corrupted city, at whatever the cost. This meant Oliver was less than afraid to drop a few people if he found it necessary, which a lot of the times, he did.
Oliver was especially quick to let the arrows fly when it came to his secret identity.
Barry, on the other hand, had an official Flash clique established by the end of the first episode. To help him stop crime in Central City, the good folks at Star Labs knew everything there was to know about Barry. The only person he really hid from was Iris, the one person he’d probably impress most with his secret. Smooth Barry, smooth.
22 Space Invaders
There’s one thing that CW’s DC superhero shows do that fans really appreciate and that’s the sheer amount of Easter eggs and references packed into each season. In Arrow (and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Ray Palmer (aka The Atom) is played by Brandon Routh. Of course, many DC fans were first introduced to Routh when he donned the red tights as the iconic Superman in the film Superman Returns. While the characters obviously have no direct relation to each other, CW still found a clever way to remind us of Routh’s time spend as Clark Kent. During a three-series crossover between Arrow, Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Ray Palmer comments that Supergirl looks a lot like his cousin, a clear reference to his past life as Superman. Perhaps on another earth, these two really are cousins.
21 The Slowest Flash
Barry might claim to be the fastest man alive but there are quite a few people who would disagree. Since the very first season of The Flash, Barry Allen has been battling against enemy speedsters. Starting with Reverse Flash, an untrained Barry had to take on a speedster from the future, far more knowledgeable when it comes to using the speed force.
It took a lot for the Flash to become fast enough to match up but he managed, just in time to face off against an even faster opponent, Zoom!
Even his sidekick, Kid Flash, started to outrun the poor guy eventually. Even with Barry being fast enough to run through time, he still manages to get shown up by an even faster version of himself from the future. At least he’s still faster than Jesse Quick.
20 A Young And Diverse Cast
The Arrowverse doesn’t strictly stick to puns related to DC Entertainment’s past. The CW Network is happy to poke fun at itself as well. After Supergirl started airing on CW, it was officially integrated into the Arrowverse, existing as one of the many Earths in alternate realities. During their first major crossover, it was like a gathering of models coming together to fight crime. Being the savvy media woman that she is, Supergirl’s Cat Grant was quick to comment on such an attractive group fitting the mold of a CW TV show.
CW is well-known for their casts of young and pretty people with shows such as Vampire Diaries or the more recent adaptation of Archie Comics, Riverdale. The Arrowverse is basically the culmination of attractive people coming together to protect the world.
19 Failure Is Not An Option
The last thing you’d ever want to do is trigger Oliver Queen. When Arrow first began, Oliver returned to Starling City to punish the criminals ruining his home city. It became a bit of a catchphrase for Oliver to remind these people that they’d failed his city before delivering an arrow to them.
He retired the phrase after checking off each person on his father’s list but for a while, it struck fear into the hearts of villains hearing it.
Harrison Wells ended up failing Central City when his particle accelerator malfunctioned, causing a ton of damage to the city and creating a society full of metahumans. We eventually discovered that Harrison Wells had been replaced by Eobard Thawne who planned the malfunction from the start to create the Flash. I’m sure Oliver would have a few words for Eobard if they’d met back then.
18 A Proper Job Description
Oliver doesn’t only have one catchphrase. His second is arguably his most popular and is somewhat shared throughout the Arrowverse. The intro for Arrow has Oliver Queen giving us a very short recap of his origin story up to the present day. It’s a good intro that serves well for viewers tuning in for the first time who likely know nothing about Green Arrow. Being reminded of this every week, however, can feel a little silly.
To make things worse, The Flash adopted its own variation of the intro with Barry narrating his own origin. Even Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow began doing it. After hearing all of these introductions every week, most fans of the shows can recite them perfectly. In fact, I bet you do it when you’re watching, don’t you?
17 The Good Ol' Days
As huge a deal it was when The Flash and Supergirl finally crossed paths, it wasn’t exactly the first time these two had met. Back in 2011, Grant Gustin joined the cast of Fox’s musical comedy-drama Glee during its third season (as Sebastian Smythe). Melissa Benoist would later become a part of Glee’s cast as Marley Rose. Since the two were in different schools on the show, however, they never did get a chance to sing a duet. They were granted the opportunity on The Flash, though!
During a musically themed crossover between The Flash and Supergirl, Barry and Kara shared an original song about how important their friendship was, and it was full of little puns about their superhero lives. Hopefully, we can get these two back on stage together someday.
16 Love Hurts
It can sometimes be easy to forget that Oliver Queen is only a regular human. In a universe full of metahumans, aliens, and even users of the dark arts, it’s impressive that the Green Arrow is able to stand alongside all of these superpowered people. Still, we’ve seen Oliver perform some impressive feats that can sometimes make us question if he himself doesn’t have some form of powers as well.
As it stands, though, there’s still one 5'5" blonde who can remind us how human Oliver is.
Felicity Smoak is a bit of a controversial topic within the Arrow fandom. On one hand, fans have been rooting for her to be with Oliver since the very beginning and rejoiced when it finally happened. Others, however, feel that she has a tendency of breaking the series overall. Felicity might just be this earth’s Supergirl after all.
15 A Hero's Conviction
There aren’t too many rules when it comes to being a superhero, but the few put in place are pretty important to follow. When you look at some of the most iconic superheroes, they all have one thing in common; they don’t take lives and they protect the innocent. As established heroes in DC Comics lore, the Flash and Supergirl follow their rules as best they can. Green Arrow… not so much. Green Arrow is more than willing to drop a few people in the name of good, something his hero allies tend to disagree with him on. He has eased up a bit nowadays, saving playing the role of grim reaper as a last resort method. I guess we found the difference between him and Batman.
14 Fandom Wars
Fandoms go hard to support their favorite series. This goes double when it comes to fans’ favorite comic books. The Arrowverse has a constantly expanding roster of superheroes but it all started with The Flash and Arrow. At the time, Supergirl and Gotham remained exclusively on other networks with no signs of things ever changing
When Captain America: Civil War was releasing in theaters, eager fans had plenty of fun messing with the promotional material explaining Steve and Tony’s falling out. Coincidentally, CW chose a similar strategy to promote their first ever crossover between The Flash and Arrow. This again resulted in some hilarious jokes about what might lead Barry and Oliver to face off against each other. Also, it’s extremely fitting that Oliver would be a fan of Gotham.
13 The Spectacular Sara Lance
Sara Lance has been through a lot in her life, but she’s managed to prove that nothing can keep her down for long. At the start of Arrow, It was believed that Sara had gone down with Oliver Queen’s yacht. Everyone (including Oliver) was shocked to find out that not only did Sara survive, but that she joined the League of Assassins after being rescued by them.
Sara joined Team Arrow as the Black Canary to help protect Starling City alongside Oliver.
The two even had a short romance before she was tragically taken away from him by the indirect hands of Malcolm Merlyn. Thankfully, the power of comic books (and Constantine) brought her back once again. Sara Lance didn’t stick around long before joining Legends of Tomorrow and becoming a time-traveling superhero without telling anyone for a while. I’m starting to see why Oliver is so messed up.
12 Silly Villain Names
One of the most difficult parts of adapting a comic book series into a serious live action TV series is finding a reason to call a villain by their original name. It’s hard not to laugh when you’re being robbed by a man named Captain Boomerang.
In The Flash, Team Flash member Cisco Ramon comes up with the name of each criminal the team battles against. Thanks to his geeky personality and the slightly lighter tone of the show, it’s a bit easier to let things slide. It also means that a character like Oliver Queen would not approve of such a thing. In Arrow, all of the villains come up with their own names. Characters such as Black Siren and Prometheus all appear to announce their own villain codenames. Team Arrow should work on learning how to have fun.
11 Team Building
With all that’s going on in the latest season of Arrow, it’s hard to say whether or not Team Arrow is even a thing anymore. To take the place of Speedy, Oliver recruited a few fledging heroes to help him with the rising crime rate while he works as mayor. Despite their issues, things were going well… until the recruits found out that Oliver didn’t trust them enough to not keep them under daily surveillance.
As a result, Dinah Drake, Rene Ramirez, and Curtis Holt left Team Arrow.
The three went on to form the super original team known as New Team Arrow (also known as The Outsiders). While the two teams have been cooperating often, it doesn’t seem like the band will officially be getting back together. Expect Team Arrow to be hiring soon.
10 The Forgetful Flash
When Harrison Wells first encouraged Barry to use his powers for the first time, it was an uplifting moment for the character. Since the first season, however, we’ve heard a similar speech a few times too many.
The Flash has a number of abilities but they all stem from his power to run at high speeds. Knowing that, you’d think that Barry would be able to figure out what he should do when he’s up against a new foe. You’d be wrong. Somehow, Barry constantly needs to be reminded that he should run. It can be frustrating, to say the least. With the Elongated Man on their team, I can only wonder if we’ll ever get a scene where someone needs to remind Ralph that he should stretch.
9 Ace Detective
I don’t really know if Quentin Lance is an amazing detective or if he just takes wild guesses. Since the beginning of Arrow, detective Quentin Lance had been trying to uncover the identity of the Green Hood. Considering the Green Hood only became active after Oliver Queen was magically found on a remote island, I think it would be fair to consider him a suspect, and for a while, he was.
Oliver wasn’t put under the microscope for nearly as long as he should’ve been, though.
Roy Harper, on the other hand, had very little reason to be suspected for a while. He’s just some punk kid growing up in the bad part of town but because he wears red and Arsenal wears red, they’ve gotta be the same person. Sure, Quentin. Sure.
8 This Looks Familiar
The Flash has quite a few actors we’ve seen together in other shows or movies but two that stand out the most are Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Captain Cold and Heat Wave are played by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell respectively. You might know these two from the acclaimed series, Prison Break. If you’ve ever watched Prison Break, it’s hard to see Miller and Purcell as anyone except Michael and Lincoln. Making it even more difficult is the relationship the two share as fugitives and looking at a scene like this, it’s really difficult to tell which series I’m checking out. It also makes me wonder how Leonard Snart and Mick Rory would do in the world of Prison Break. It would’ve been a much shorter series, that’s for sure.
7 Follow The Script
When I first started watching DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, I was a bit confused. The first thing that came to mind was that they should go back and fix all the bad stuff that happens in Arrow and The Flash. Of course, that’s not allowed. Time travel is always a complicated beast to tackle in story writing since it can either fix anything or ruin everything.
There always has to be something that stops characters from just constantly going back and making up for any mistakes, reducing the tension to nothing. Still, with all the times that characters have found ways to come back to life, you’d think they would have found some magical plot hole to bring back Laurel. At least we still have Black Siren.
6 Barry The Timebreaker
Barry Allen is one of the few characters who ignores the rules, preventing characters from using time travel to solve everything. After going back in time to save his mother from the Reverse Flash, Barry ends up creating an entirely new timeline where just about everything is different. Barry’s got his parents, he doesn’t know Iris. He’s not even the Flash in this timeline. Everything seemed like it was going great until he began forgetting his old life and losing his powers.
Barry’s attempt to smooth things over didn’t go so well either, permanently changing major parts of his friend’s lives forever. Even knowing the risk, Barry messed with time and created a completely different timeline that he now has to live with forever. Oh, Barry, you time-traveling scamp.
5 A Safe Space
It’s almost sad how true this one is. Nearly everything that occurs in the first major crossover between The Flash, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl happens because of Barry’s meddling with time.
The Flash was forced to explain to the group that they had all led different lives which affected when Barry went back and changed time. Among these, one of the most difficult was Diggle learning that he originally had a daughter instead of a son and Cisco learning that he was never supposed to lose his brother in an accident. The whole ordeal put a bit of a strain on Barry’s relationship with his friends, but they worked everything out in the end. Oh yeah, there was also something about aliens invading earth as well.
4 The Ice Queen
Of all the members of Team Flash, Cisco is among the most playful in the group. He’s also the one almost always annoying somebody with his pop culture references. Dr. Caitlin Snow awakened to her metahuman abilities far later than most of the cast and it took a BIG toll on her. Unable to control her powers, Caitlin loses control over her emotions and transforms into her ice manipulating doppelganger, Killer Frost.
Unwilling to hurt their friend, Killer Frost was a serious problem for Team Flash to deal with. She did eventually come around though, working as both Killer Frost and Caitlin Snow to help her friends whenever they need it most. Still, I wouldn’t want to make too many jokes about her in fear of being turned into a popsicle.
3 A Siren's Song
The loss of Laurel as Black Canary surely seemed like the last time we would ever see her face again, so it came as a surprise to many when Black Siren appeared. Sharing the same name and appearance as earth-1’s Laurel Lance, Black Siren suffered the loss of her father at a young age. Unlike Black Canary, Black Siren is a metahuman who uses her sonic screams for evil instead of good.
Along with her screaming ability, however, Black Siren’s other powers come from her charm. She’s constantly able to put on a good girl act to get a man to lower his guard around her, giving her the perfect opportunity to strike. The type of men she’s really into are the ones as bad as she is. Since her first appearance, she’s already shown attraction to three major antagonists across the Arrowverse.
2 The Unending Duo
It’s a bit of a shame that these two didn’t end up together because if they did, I don’t think there’s a criminal in Star City who could’ve matched up to them. We’ve already talked about what over-the-top luck Sara Lance has but we haven’t even started with Oliver. As if surviving on a trap-ridden island wasn’t enough of a feat, how about the time he was pierced in the stomach by a sword before falling off a cliff? Any normal man would be done for but somehow, a couple healing herbs and he was good to go and fight another day. With superhuman resistance like that, it’s hard to say whether Green Arrow copied Batman or Superman. Get these two on a team of their own!
1 The Simple Solution
Barry Allen is no stranger to playing the long game and for a speedster, that’s saying something. Since they were kids, Barry Allen has had a huge crush on Iris West. Despite living in the same house as her, Barry never made a move but continued to pine for Iris for a good amount of years. Just when it seemed like it was finally his time to shine, the poor guy gets put into a coma. After waking up (with incredible new powers), he finds out that Iris is now in a committed relationship.
Time won’t stop Barry though. Now that he can alter time, there’s no way he won't end up with Iris eventually... right? You go on and do your thing, Barry, don’t mind everyone else’s timeline changing. Shooter’s gotta shoot.