We promise, the guy in the mask is not Jason Voorhees. After weeks of speculation, the new vigilante in Arrow has been revealed to be Wild Dog with actor Rick Gonzalez playing the role. Wild Dog is described as “a new vigilante in Star City whose reckless and violent nature causes Green Arrow to take him under his wing.”
The character first appeared in Wild Dog #1 in 1987, making him one of the first new superheroes created following Crisis on Infinite Earths. Created by Road to Perdition writer Max Allan Collins, “his super power is guns.”
Star athlete Jack Wheeler went to college on a football scholarship, but had to drop out and become a mechanic after an injury forced him off the team and he couldn’t afford tuition. Before working as a mechanic, though, he enlisted for a tour of duty with the U.S. Marines, only to see most of his friends killed by a terrorist bomb. After returning home, he fell in love…but the woman he was in love with was gunned down in a seemingly-random shooting, later revealed to be a hit because her father was a reputed mobster. Wheeler snapped and became Wild Dog — a vigilante beloved by the public for “cleaning up the streets” but wanted by the police for his brutality.
After his own series failed to make him popular, the character would appear in Actions Comics Weekly for a time until he slowly began to fade into obscurity. His most recent appearances on the printed page were in an alternate-reality story in Booster Gold, in which Wild Dog was part of a team of revolutionaries led by Green Arrow and working against Maxwell Lord and his army of OMACs.
During his Booster Gold run, Wild Dog was depicted as being very conservative, something that seems like it will come into play on Arrow since Oliver Queen is now the openly liberal mayor of Star City.
Fans who picked up a copy Green Arrow #1 today might have noticed that a group of men wearing masks similar to Wild Dog’s appeared on the cover, although the character does not actually appear.
Green Arrow writer Ben Percy had this to say regarding Wild Dog:
“That’s not coming right away but it’s coming down the pipeline. That first cover is sort of previewing some of the obstacles that lay ahead in the first few Rebirth arcs. I won’t say too much except that there was a lot of discussion at the DC offices about how we could channel some of what was going on in the news, particularly what was going on in Oregon at the Malheur Nature Reserve which was taken over by that militia.”
It seems someone is trying to popularize this otherwise underrated character, raising him from the depths of obscurity and bringing him into the spotlight. Are you excited to see this character come to Arrow? Or are you more anxious to see how he plays into the new Green Arrow comic series? Let us know by commenting below!