Warning: Some spoilers for Arrow episodes ‘Penance’ and ‘Human Target’ below!
In the last two episodes of Arrow, Tobias Church’s attack on Star City and Green Arrow has heated up. First, Church took Wild Dog captive and administered a torturous beating on him. Sometime throughout the beating, Wild Dog revealed Green Arrow’s true identity as the mayor of Star City, Oliver Queen.
Meanwhile, Church has his own problems with Prometheus breathing down his neck at every turn. Prometheus wants Green Arrow for himself. Knowing Green Arrow’s identity, Church couldn’t help but take another shot at Oliver. Church hired a “freak” of his own to protect him from Prometheus while carrying out his evil plans spanning five major cities including DC Comic favorites Keystone City (Jay Garrick’s Flash) and Bludhaven (Nightwing).
Oliver enlisted his own countermeasure to Church’s assassination attempt by calling up someone from his past
Like many comic book characters, Christopher Chance witnessed the killing of a parent, his father. His father had been marked for death for his debts to a criminal organization. During his father’s killing at the hands of a mobster, Chance tried to protect him, but to no avail. The torment of knowing that he couldn’t help inspired Chance to protect the lives of others who were marked for death.
To do so, he would become the Human Target. With a high strategic aptitude comparable to John Diggle on Arrow, and the ability to take on the physical appearance of anyone, Human Target assumes the roles of people marked for death and saves their lives while taking down those who threaten them.
It is revealed that Oliver encountered Chance (played by Wil Traval) while climbing the ranks of Bratva. A flashback shows Chance saving Ollie’s life in an alleyway after Bratva leader Viktor tries to have him killed.
Human Target is a very interesting character because although his beginnings were very humble, appearing as a peripheral character in series such as Detective Comics, he has also been tapped a few times for television before his appearance on Arrow. You may recall the short-lived action-adventure show on FOX in 2010 bearing the Human Target name. Yep, that’s the same character!
Human Target has also had his own books. One of his most popular books comes from 2002. DC’s Vertigo Comics had taken on the character. Peter Milligan’s Human Target: Final Cut takes Christopher Chance to Hollywood where he assumes the identity of an aging actor who has been targeted. After taking down his antagonist who had been going after many aging actors, Human Target realizes there had been a young child actor kidnapped by the same person. Now to find the child he must take on the identity of the man he killed! This book is a great investigation of the psychological risks Christopher Chance puts himself in when constantly pretending to be someone else.
Ode to Church
The episode ‘Human Target’ concluded with Prometheus dropping in on Tobias Church once again. Church revealed Green Arrow’s identity to Prometheus and asked “We cool?” Unfortunately Prometheus killed Church before confirming their coolness.
Chad L. Coleman’s Tobias Church has been a highlight of Arrow this season. We had hoped that menacing son of a mother would have stayed around a bit longer. He may have been one of the most entertaining characters, let alone villains the show has seen in some time. The strange part of that is, he is original to Arrow and not from the comics! R.I.P. Tobias Church. How little we knew ye.