Fans of the CW’s Arrowverse has had the pleasure to see many good characters grow into great heroes, but it’s time to honor a very special one. In honor of Black History Month, I’ve decided to highlight one of my favorite Black characters: John Diggle.
(This has Arrow spoilers, so be sure to catch up before you read!)
From an underrated bodyguard to a Green Lantern, Diggle has made quite the journey the past eight years. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Here’s the big man’s top ten moments!
10) Debuting in the comics in 2013 – Did you know that Diggle is an original character created by Arrowverse producers? The character became so popular that DC decided to bring him to print. He made his debut in New 52’s Green Arrow Vol. 5 #24.
9) Disobeying Amanda Waller’s direct orders – Diggle’s relationship with A.R.G.U.S. is tricky to say the least, and it doesn’t help that his wife, Lyla Michaels, is a higher-up in the organization. We first get a glimpse of this world in episode 2×16: “Suicide Squad”. He gets direct orders from Waller to abandon the mission, but Diggle refuses when he realizes innocent lives are in danger. While she’s heartless enough not to care, Diggle knows leaving those people to die is the wrong move. It’s a big deal when any soldier (active or veteran), disobeys a direct order, especially when that direct order is coming from the seemingly omnipotent Waller.
8) Daddy Diggle – While the circumstances surrounding it were gloomy —Team Arrow was mourning the death of Sara and had yet to find her killer— the birth of baby Sara gave everybody some much needed happiness. Sure, leave it to Barry Allen to disrupt the timeline and that erase all that, but she’s replaced by JJ and then later restored after Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s really sweet seeing Diggle be a new father with a whole new set of priorities when he enters the field.
7) Giving Oliver some whiskey – It might seem like a small gesture, but it meant a lot when he did it. Oliver was feeling insecure about Felicity and everything going on in the beginning of season 4, and Diggle senses this with his Diggle sense. He offers the sad archer some whiskey and lets him vent about his feelings, patiently understanding. He’s a real one.
6) Wearing the Green Arrow suit – Diggle has worn Oliver’s suit on a few occasions now, but he first did it in episode 1×05 to make the authorities drop charges against Oliver for being the vigilante. Oliver has an impressive enough physique to look intimidating in the hood, but Diggle looks absolutely terrifying in the suit with his hulking form. Plus it’s cute imagining him struggling to squeeze into Oliver’s suit.
5) Reacting to Barry’s super-speed – Throughout the Arrowverse as a whole, it’s a running joke whenever Diggle reacts to Barry Allen’s super-speed. He always barfs. When it first happened in episode 1×08 of The Flash, he didn’t barf but dropped everything in his hands just as hilariously. He reacts to superpowers the way any normal person would, and we all love him for that.
4) Finally getting the codename Spartan – Another running joke throughout the series (and even by the actor David Ramsey) is that Diggle’s alter ego is just “Black Driver”. It wasn’t until season 4 that Diggle got the respect he deserved with a full suit and codename. On par with his character, Diggle’s suit is minimalist but also strong and durable.
3) Joining Oliver’s crusade – Diggle’s first appearance is laughable at best. Sure, John is a capable enough military veteran, but does The Hood really need a bodyguard? The answer is just as we thought: no. But while Oliver didn’t need a bodyguard, he needed someone to keep him in check. Diggle did just that and then some. It’s because of Diggle that Oliver took his mission beyond his father’s list, choosing to save the city in general, rather than just getting vengeance.
2) Calling Oliver out on his nonsense – This happens in just about any given episode: Oliver as the stubborn and impatient leader, and Diggle as the wise and understanding voice over his shoulder. Most notably, this happened in episode 6×17 when their differences peaked when the team split up after Oliver invades their privacy in blatant mistrust. While both Oliver and Diggle had valid reasons to be angry at one another, they both said things that uncharacteristically went too far and they didn’t have to make it a physical fight.
1) Getting the ring – The Arrowverse loves to tease, so it’s no surprise we didn’t see this until one of the final scenes in the very last episode of Arrow. While we don’t actually see the ring itself in the scene, a glowing green object from space can only mean one thing in the world of DC. The first hint of Diggle being Green Lantern was in Elsewords, Part 2 when Earth-90 Flash asks him why he isn’t wearing his ring and in Arrow’s season 7 we find out that his stepfather’s name is Roy Stewart. While this isn’t John Stewart’s story per se, I think Diggle is the perfect choice for the ring.
Arrow may be over, but the characters it created live on. John Diggle is an outstanding role model for Black kids every where and an exceptional example of positive representation of Black people.
What do you think of Dig? Any moments that I missed? Let me know some of your favorite moments in the comment section below!
Nothing but love.