If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you learned that a character named “Vixen” will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Arrow titled “Taken”. Rather than an out of nowhere introduction, Vixen has actually existed in the Arrow-verse for almost an entire season now – in an albeit different, and yet still familiar form.
Vixen was an animated miniseries that aired on CW Seed. Each episode is approximately several minutes in length, but thankfully now that Season 1 is over, it’s all been compacted into one half hour Season video. So if you have the time, I HIGHLY recommend you watch it on CW Seed as it encompasses the best of the Arrow-verse and DC animation. But if you just want to get to the facts – and/or dig a little deeper into the series – allow me to be your guide as we take a Closer Look at Vixen Season 1.
Vixen – A Familiar, Yet Unique Tale Of Identity:
Vixen tells the origin story of Mari McCabe, voiced by Megalyn Echikunwoke whom you might remember from CSI: Miami. Mari is an outspoken and driven artist/fashion designer who – like many soon to be heroes before her – is having an issue of “identity”. Although unlike Oliver Queen’s early struggles to conceal his identity, Mari is on a quest to find hers – and sometimes trusts people who might have an answer too quickly. And like Barry Allen, Mari lost both of her parents at an incredibly young age and grew up with a foster family. These have always been underlying issues in her life, but they come to a head when a figure from her past reemerges – as they always do. In this way, Vixen starts off with some very familiar themes and scenes – ie: daddy issues, attacked by a gang who later turn out to have been ‘hired’, etc.
Though where Vixen truly begins to take on a stunning life of its own is when the series pits her against our favorite duo – Arrow and Flash. Now sure the series starts off ‘in media res’ with this little face off before flashing back to a little while earlier; but when the series circles back around to this moment, you approach it with so much more awe and satisfaction. Not only does the full version of this scene show more action, but it’s all with the understanding that Mari is VERY new at this and yet is able to match – if not outpace – the two heads of the Arrow-verse. You come to quickly understand that Mari really is an incredibly imaginative and creative individual who is able to seamlessly switch between a multitude of powers – super strength, speed, camouflage, enhanced climb, flight, etc – and always be in control. But I’ve gone off topic, as this scene – no matter how epic it is – only signals the ‘Start’ of where the series truly shines.
It’s true climax comes when Mari faces off against her sister Kuasa, which is a motivation we’ve rarely seen in the Arrow-verse, or most other hero series. “Family” is usually shown to be the most important thing in the Arrow-verse, and this series began there was well as Mari looked into her past and find out why her parents gave her up. So having Mari come face to face with Muasa only to learn that she’s obsessed with power – so much so that the rest of her family turns away from her – was an incredibly powerful moment. Though it’s important to point out that this isn’t “a sister she’s known all her life”, but basically a stranger. And Mari’s response to the situation only makes us like her more. Additionally, unlike the other heroes Mari’s powers are magic and thus have a sort of symbiotic relationship with her. She has the powers of the animal kingdom, but she must also heed their spirits. Much like the rest of her powers, it’s a lot to handle; but she does so amazingly. The final confrontation between her and her sister might not be as action packed as the one with Flash and Arrow, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to show her intelligence and how she can overcome a difficult situation by being multiple steps ahead of her opponent (ie: causing an initial wound in order to make the spider venom take effect faster).
She’s a firecracker, quick witted and yet still has loads of heart – and I can’t wait for her to take her rightful place in the live action Arrow-verse!
Continuity – WHEN Does Vixen Take Place:
So the question most people are probably wondering – whether they’ve seen it or not – is WHEN does Vixen take place in terms of the Arrowverse timeline. Sure the show came out in the summer of 2015 – post Arrow and Flash seasons – but the timing of the show is anything but that. So let’s break it down and look at the facts:
First off, we find Green Arrow still dressed as ‘The Arrow’ and Flash still sporting a red insignia. This means that Vixen takes place somewhere within shows’ 3rd and 1st season respectively; but where? Well for starters, Mari is referred to as the FIRST Metahuman found outside of Central City. Now astute Arrow/Flash watchers will remember that Deathbolt – who appeared in Episode 19, Season 3 of Arrow – was originally referred to as the first Metahuman who wasn’t the result of the Particle Accelerator explosion. Additionally, the Flash and Arrow already show signs of having worked together, which means that this also takes place POST Arrow/Flash Crossover.
So we’ve narrowed it down to sometime in the first half on the Spring Seasons of Flash Season 1/ Arrow Season 3; but we can get even more specific. The second half of Arrow Season 3 was exceptionally hard to place – as we learned last season when the Atom crossed over to Flash – considering the first part deals with Oliver coming back from the near death/ a field trip to Lian Yu (Episode 14) and the last part deals with Oliver being besieged by the League (end of Episode 16).
If Oliver was to travel outside of Starling City to track down a potential meta, that is only possible after episode 14, but before the end of Episode 16 of Arrow Season 3. This is while he is still training with Merlyn and considering Ras offer. Considering the span of Vixen – and the Arrow and Flash’s double appearances – it’s reasonable to think that these events start right after Oliver gets back from Lian Yu with Thea, and then immediately heads to Detroit. So if this did take place ‘around’ Episode 15, that would make Vixen’s appearance on Arrow the 1 year anniversary mark as “Taken” is the 15th Episode of Arrow Season 4. So just take a second to consider how epic Vixen is going to be since she’s now had almost an entire year to get used to her powers – powers she was already quite adept at from the start.
Check Out Those References – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:
What truly makes an Arrow-verse series isn’t just great story-telling and balancing action with heart, but also its abundance of humor and comic references. And Vixen is full of memorable jokes, self-referential humor and the all power “52” Easter Egg. Below are just a few.
- The “52” million dollar question? An obvious reference to the New 52 comic line, a staple in the Arrow-verse as it is the writers favorite line and where they draw
- Speaking of ‘the usual references’, Big Belly Burger also gets a mention here. It’s apparently the favorite place to eat for all past and future heroes
- “Central City, where crazy is the new normal”. This also places the show as not long after the Meta-human outbreak at the start of The Flash.
- Besides Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin making appearances to lend their voice to Green Arrow and Flash, Carlos Valdes and Emily Bett Rickards also return as voice cameos as Cisco and Felicity
- Starling City, Central City … Detroit. It might not be as glamorous, but at least we finally have a hero/heroine protecting a real city.
- Favorite Quotes:
- “Normally, this is where I’d say ‘my eyes are up here’” – Mari to Dr Macalester while he inspects her necklace
- “I really need to start drinking right now” – Chuck after he sees Mari pick up a table
- “Because she is a fox, check out that hotness!!!” – Cisco making us laugh as always
- “A Meta-human outside of central city could be something… more” – Flash making a joke about Arrow’s usual opening monologue
- “I know I know, I failed my city” – Mari making fun of Green Arrow’s old catchphrase
- “I know he seems cold and off putting, but once you get to know him… well then he’s definitely cold and off putting” – Flash talking about Green Arrow
- “Usually when I meet a meta for the first time, I get beat up a little” – Flash
- “I’m pretty sure you’re the ‘history of mental illness in our family’” – Mari to Kuasa
- “We will stand with you as long as you stand with us” – Animal Kingdom, and basically the whole theme of the show.
- “Cisco has been calling you vixen… not that there’s any Cisco affiliated with me” – Flash totally giving away the fact that he works with someone named Cisco…
- Favorite Exchange #3
- Flash: ”I kind of have a rapport with Meta-humans”
- Arrow: “You throw them in your pipeline prison..”
- Favorite Exchange #2
- Kuasa: “You understand”
- Mari: “Nope! Not at all, bye!”
- Favorite Exchange #1
- Arrow: “Were you and felicity separated at birth?”
- Flash: “ I hope not, cause if we had been, that kiss would have been weird!”
- Arrow: “… You kissed her?”
- Flash: “You know what, I gotta run!”
So there you have it folks: EVERYTHING you need to know about Vixen Season 1 before she appears on Arrow. And honestly, I cannot wait. The fact that they cast Megalyn Echikunwoke as the voice actor and now have her suiting up for real is nothing short of epic! Whether she becomes a series regular, gets a live action show or more animated adventures, we need more Vixen!