The 6 Best And 6 Worst Characters In The Arrowverse

After nearly a decade and a half-dozen shows, the Arrowverse has spawned a rich array of fascinating characters. Of course, everyone loves the Flash, Black Lightning, Supergirl, the Green Arrow and the other main characters of their shows. However, it's the supporting casts of each series, as well as some of the villains, that provide some of the best moments. Be it comic relief, emotionally centering each show, or just being a general badass, there are dozens of memorable characters to choose from when considering favorites. At the same time, not every character in the Arrowverse has been memorable. Some have been downright annoying. That's often a function of each show trying to stretch out a single big bad over a 22-episode season, and it's easy to tell when shows start to spin their wheels in order to stall. Some characters, especially villains, just aren't interesting enough to deserve that kind of focus. Here's a list of the best and worst characters from the Arrowverse.

Best: Mick Rory/Heatwave

Starting out his Arrowverse career as a member of the Flash's Rogues Gallery, Mick Rory (played by Dominic Purcell) is now one of the foundational members of the Legends. This curmudgeonly poet has changed more than any other Arrowverse character, starting out as a brutish thief loyal only to his friend Leonard "Captain Cold" Snart. In his career as a legend, Rory double-crossed his team twice, tried to kill them several times, and eventually realized how much he cared about them. He's still hard-drinking, mean, and larcenous, but he's now mostly fighting for the good guys. His interactions with the other characters are a particular point of delight, as his insults of nice guys like Ray "Haircut" Palmer land hard because they're true. Mick's best running subplot is his career as fantasy-romance novel writer "Rebecca Silver." Those books are pure Mick, with titles such as Heatwaves: An Erotic Sex Odyssey and Uncaged Desire making so many fans that he appeared (for a paycheck, of course) at "Romanti-Con." Mick even uses a magic book to summon Garima, the purple-skinned, triple-breasted barbarian heroine of Heatwaves to defeat a monster and then makes sweet love to her. Even though he seems like he's just a lout, his writing reveals a side that understands just how important human contact is.

Worst: Ricardo Diaz

The initial idea behind Ricardo "The Dragon" Diaz (played by the scenery-chewing Kirk Acevedo) is a clever one. Oliver Queen's big bads have usually been colorful characters like assassin Malcolm Merlyn, juiced-up soldier Slade Wilson, and sorcerer Damian Darhk. Introducing Diaz as a quiet accomplice of hacker mastermind and assumed season six big bad Cayden James, Arrow makes a shocking turn when Diaz betrays him and uses his information to blackmail everyone. The only problem is that as a character, Diaz isn't much more than a plot twist. His main superpower seems to be the ability to make powerful crime lords make incredibly stupid decisions, allowing him to get the drop on them. The more the show tries to flesh out his character, the more Diaz feels like a second-rate Al Pacino from Scarface. The final outrage of the season is that Diaz escapes, robbing the viewers of closure. 

Best: Zari Tomaz

Zari Tomaz (played by Tala Ashe), the wise-cracking, smartass wielder of the mystical Air Totem, is a perfect match for the misfits on the Waverider in Legends Of Tomorrow. Originally from a bleak future in 2042, she joins the Legends after tricking them into helping her, which is pretty much par for the course for the group. It's the little details that make Zari so fun: as someone from a future where she had to scrape to get by, she's delighted by the past's bounty and is constantly eating the most delicious food she can get her hands on. Her irascible nature makes her fast friends with the other troublemakers on the ship, like Mick Rory and Charlie the shapechanger. Zari is a central figure in the best episodes of the show, like when she gets stuck in a Groundhog Day-style time loop or another where she gets turned into a cat. Like the best Arrowverse characters, her air-related powers are far less interesting than her personality, which is cynical but also deeply moral. Her mix of simplistic glee and sense of being haunted by her past makes her the perfect example of a character trying to live in the moment. 

Worst: Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl

Legends of Tomorrow is a beloved show because of its cheeky sense of humor, wacky plots, and willingness to break the fourth wall. Everyone involved embraces the fact that the show doesn't make much narrative sense, and they instead focus on the emotional lives of the characters. And giant, animated, stuffed animals named Beebo, of course. None of that is true of its grim, convoluted first season, however. As a result of plot mechanics, the show revolves around the least interesting characters: Rip Hunter and Hawkgirl, a.k.a. Kendra Saunders (played by Ciara Renée). Rip at least has a mysterious past, but Kendra literally has no memories of being the reincarnation of an Egyptian priestess, her connection to her reincarnated lover Hawkman, or their mutual opponent Vandal Savage. The result is a cipher of a character with no desires of her own. Either Vandal Savage is trying to murder her, or some guy is trying to romance her. There's a long line, too: Cisco Ramone, Ray Palmer, Jefferson Jackson, and Hawkman himself. Hawkgirl flying away at the end of the first season saves the show.  

Best: Cisco Ramon/Vibe

Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) is everything that makes The Flash great. He's a super-smart smartass who gleefully leans into the absurdity of having to fight meta-humans every week. His self-appointed role in naming the Flash's villains is one of the series' best running gags. His pop culture and meme references feel natural, like shouting "LEROY JENKINS!!!" before one fight scene. He's an ideal secondary character who can carry the show at times, but also fits naturally with the other members of Team Flash. His relationships with Caitlin Snow, the various Harrison Wells, Ralph Dibny and others all show off different aspects of his personality: a protective older brother, competitive scientist, and utter goofball. Giving him the Vibe persona and powers almost feels redundant, as Cisco doesn't need powers to be cool. Most of all, his friendship with Barry Allen is one of the anchors of the show, as they have gone through a lot together. Of all the Arrowverse characters, Cisco is the one that would be the most fun to hang out with at CC Jitters, geeking out over pop culture and technology for hours.

Worst: Savitar

In The Flash's third season, the show develops a speed problem. After incredible, personal battles with the Reverse-Flash and Zoom, the big bad of season three is Savitar, the so-called "God of Speed." The story with Savitar dampens everything that makes The Flash great: lighthearted and occasional goofy adventures, witty banter amongst the members of Team Flash, and a perpetual sense of forward momentum. In an effort to stretch his story over 23 episodes and create drama, an inevitable timeline where Iris West-Allen is killed by Savitar is introduced, turning a fun show into something that's relentlessly glum. The fact that Savitar turns out to be a time remnant of Barry Allen (don't ask) gives the whole season an insular feel that's best forgotten. While the final defeat of Savitar is satisfying, the whole plot could have been wrapped up in half the time it takes to produce. Furthermore, having a speed-related character as the season's big bad three years in a row starts to get tiring, especially when everyone stops having fun. Fortunately, the show diversifies a bit in future years with villains like the Thinker, Cicada, and Bloodwork

Best: Querl Dox/Brainiac 5

As portrayed by Jesse Rath, "Brainy" replaced Winn Schott in the awkward, lovable, and geeky tech wizard role in Supergirl. Brainy is much more than that, though. His mix of naïveté, arrogance, and empathy as a cybernetic being have made him comic relief, a tragic figure, and a compelling romantic lead. His relationship with Nia Nal/Dreamer (played by Nicole Maines) is one of the best romances in the entire Arrowverse, portrayed as both adorably cute but also going through surprisingly relatable rocky patches. Like everything Brainy does, his romantic overtures are intense, awkward, and sometimes tone-deaf. When Nia expressed delight at being served breakfast in bed, for example, he responded by serving her ever-more elaborate meals, not understanding that he was smothering her with affection. 

Brainy is also a straight-up badass, thanks to his empathetic relationship with technology, strength, and his "twelveth-level intellect." He single-handedly took down A.M.A.Z.O. during the Elseworlds crossover, for example, simply because his mind worked faster than his robot foe's. Brainy's best qualities are his undying loyalty to his friends and a deep sense of compassion, quickly becoming a key D.E.O. agent and a key part of Team Supergirl. Love is what defines him, however, as a rejection of his cold, evil ancestors. When his circuits got fried and he started going down that emotionless path, it was the love of Nia that restored him.    

Worst: Emiko Adachi

The main problem with Emiko Adachi (played by Sea Shimooka) is one of wasted potential. The idea of the sins of Robert Queen coming back to haunt Oliver Queen in the form of a secret daughter is an intriguing one, and the flashbacks established her as a genius who wanted nothing more than her father's approval. This is something she would never get. Introduced as the new Green Arrow when Oliver was in prison, the show did a great job of establishing her as a brutal and ethically shaky character. The problems started when she was introduced as the leader of the Ninth Circle, yet another Ultimate Crime Organization featured in Arrow. Emiko turns into another generic crime boss who hates Oliver, and her eventual repentance and quick death at the end of season seven make her the least compelling of all of Arrow's big bads. Arrow repeatedly turns to secret crime conspiracies and mass-murder plots for its major villains, tropes with increasingly diminishing returns. Unlike Diaz, Emiko's personal connections could have made her so much memorable.

Best: Anissa Pierce/Thunder

Black Lightning's daughter Thunder, a.k.a. Anissa Pierce (played by Nafessa Williams), is perhaps the most socially conscious of all of the Arrowverse characters. A politically-minded med school student who isn't afraid to stand up to injustice and her city of Freeland's gang infestation, Thunder realizes she has powers when she accidentally starts breaking things. Before long, she figures out that the longer she holds her breath, the stronger and more invulnerable she becomes. A stomp or a clap can send shockwaves, and one of the funnier sequences of Black Lightning's first season was seeing her test the limits of her powers in a junkyard. 

She's a badass and she knows it, and that cockiness often lands her in trouble. While she likes being her dad's partner in fighting crime, she often disagrees with Black Lightning on how she should help others. So she created another alter ego: the hoodie-wearing Blackbird, who robs from bad guys to help out a church. In one of the best scenes of the series, Blackbird beats up and robs an entire gang in an intense, tightly-choreographed fight set to Parliament's "Flash Light." Thunder is one of many LGBT characters in the Arrowverse, although her relationship problems are unusual: her girlfriend, Grace Choi, is secretly a shapeshifter slowly losing control of her powers. Anissa has rich, deep relationships and her emotionally complex plots, which is par for the course in a show that gives all of its supporting characters plenty to do. 

Worst: Mon-El

Supergirl hasn't had much luck in her romantic life. Winn Schott and James Olsen came and went pretty quickly as boyfriends, and both make better members of Team Supergirl than romantic interests. Daxamite Mon-El (played by Chris Wood) crashes on Earth in Supergirl's second season, and in a typical superhero meet-cute, they have a huge brawl. Turns out Mon-El is royalty from a planet despised by Kryptonians for their shallow, hedonist ways. In a typical rom-com move, Kara and Mon-El can't stand each other — he thinks she's a party-pooping goody-two-shoes, and she thinks he's a party boy with no moral center. Faster than a speeding "opposites attract," they fall in love. 

The problem is that Wood and Melissa Benoist have no chemistry and everything about their relationship feels forced. Mon-El's only interesting personality traits revolve around him being a hedonist, and when he decides to become a hero, it feels forced. His eventual sacrifice at the end of the season in leaving Earth is rendered moot when an older version returns from the future the next year, this time married. As annoying as he was as Supergirl's boyfriend, he was even more annoying as that ex who just wouldn't go away. 

Best: Kate Kane/Batwoman

This list has mostly avoided the stars of the Arrowverse shows, but Kate Kane (played by Ruby Rose) is the sole exception. From her badass introduction in the Elseworlds crossover to her star turn in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batwoman has proven to be a formidable presence in the Arrowverse. Though she has a grim, no-nonsense attitude like her cousin Bruce Wayne, her bone-dry sense of humor often shines through. Kane is given enormous depth as her character has been fleshed, especially as she tries to save the sanity of her sister, Beth. Beth's transformation into the psychotic Alice and all of the accompanying Lewis Carroll imagery has given Batwoman a morally complex dilemma in how to deal with the crimes of someone that she loves. 

Kane's relationship with her ex-girlfriend, father, and stepsister are all equally fascinating, especially as Kate is frequently shown to make the wrong decision. This first season of Batwoman is a fascinating companion piece to the first season of Arrow, as the protagonists start out sure of their actions and soon learn that they can't control everything. At least Batwoman has Supergirl in her corner, as that duo proves to have instant chemistry as friends and crimefighters. Future crossovers between those shows are something to look forward to.

Worst: Vandal Savage

Vandal Savage (played by Casper Crump) as a big bad for the Legends is a mistake the show thankfully never makes again. Legends of Tomorrow works best as a show with light continuity that instead focuses on the characters and their chemistry as a group. In the first season, the entire plot of the show revolves around convoluted time travel rules and Savage's twin desires for revenge and conquest. He wants to kill Rip Hunter and also wants to make sure that he once again kills Hawkgirl and Hawkman, as the immortal villain has done hundreds of times throughout history. 

The one thing Savage never acquires throughout his immortal lifetime is a personality. His imagination is limited to a typical, Nazi-inspired fascist regime, despite supposedly being smart enough to manipulate the events of world history in his favor. When the Legends finally put him away simultaneously in multiple timelines by stabbing him, electrocuting him, setting him on fire, and snapping his neck, they not only save the future of their world, they also save the future of their show. Savage later resurfaces in Hell as a kinder, gentler immortal Egyptian priest, making friends with Ray Palmer instead of torturing him. This version of Savage can come back anytime.