- For the comic book issue of the same name, see Vengeance (Arrow: Season 2.5 issue).
Arrow: Vengeance is an Arrow tie-in novel written by Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo. It was initially due to be released on March 31, 2015 and published by Titan Books. The release date was pushed back to January 26, 2016 and then February 23, 2016. The novel retells the events of the first two seasons of Arrow, but from the point of view of Slade Wilson, Isabel Rochev, and Sebastian Blood, along with additional background information about them. The novel mostly adapts scenes directly from the show, though it makes minor alterations to the dialogue in a few scenes.
Oliver Queen returns from the dead to create his persona as the Arrow. Yet others work in the shadows to fashion his downfall… and plot the destruction of all he holds dear.
Also a survivor of Lian Yu, Slade Wilson's ultimate goal is Oliver's doom, and he recruits Isabel Rochev, whose hatred for the Queens knows no bounds. Brother Blood, while seeking to do what is right, also finds himself inextricably tangled in Wilson’s machinations.
This is the untold story behind the rise and fall of the Arrow
The book is divided into 3 short prologues, "Deathstroke", "Rochev", "Blood", and the main story, "Revenge".
The first section picks up in the flashback storyline of "Unthinkable", and describes the Amazo's sinking and Oliver defeating Slade. Afterwards, from Slade's perspective, everything goes dark as he is dragged under. However, his burning hatred for Oliver keeps him alive and after he is submerged, the water allows him to shift the debris holding him down so he can free himself and swim out. He swims around the entire ship looking for Oliver but finds nothing aside from dead pirates.
Returning to Lian Yu, Slade spends days scouring the island in search for Oliver, but finds him nowhere, unaware that Oliver was taken away by Amanda Waller. Slade eventually finds the corpse of Billy Wintergreen and it reminds him of his past life, before Lian Yu, as an ASIS operative. Deciding Oliver had perished and he had to go home, Slade prepares himself to swim off the island. He gives Shado's grave one final goodbye, at which a hallucination of her tells him Oliver is alive somewhere and has to die, and Slade promises he will avenge her. He finds his damaged mask on the shore before his departure, so he uses his super strength to singlehandedly drive a piece of driftwood into the clay and rock, and leave the mask there with the arrow that Oliver put through Slade's eye embedded in the mask's eye as a warning to Oliver should he ever return to Lian Yu that Slade survived and would keep his promise.
Slade vigorously swims through the North Pacific for almost two weeks without even thinking of resting or eating. Encountering a typhoon off the coast of the Philippines, he attempts to push onwards, but the storm drags him under and smashes him against rocks and coral, ripping his skin to the bone. The battering onslaught had the mirakuru working overtime to keep Slade alive, but when a massive rock crushes Slade's head, its hold on his mind begins to loosen. Floating in and out of consciousness, between life and death, Slade's mind begins to clear and he remembered his wife and his son Joe. He remembered the first promise he made, before his fateful mission to rescue Yao Fei; that he would see his son again. With renewed strength he fights to swim to the surface once more, finding himself now in suddenly sunny, calm weather.
Encountering a Tagalog fisherman, Slade uses his knowledge of his language to request a radio. Using the radio, Slade tuned into the ASIS frequency and calls for help. Using the fisherman's GPS he gives his coordinates to ASIS and begs for them to rescue him. Extremely fatigued for the first time since his injection, Slade accepted an eyepatch from the fisherman and gives in to his tiredness.
Found by an ASIS helicopter, Slade returns to Australia to a hero's welcome. Wintergreen's half-brother Wade DeForge was crestfallen to hear Wintergreen died, but Slade kept the truth about Billy's betrayal and the nature of his death a secret. To Slade's shock, a blood test reveals no hint of the mirakuru. After telling Wade a version of what happened on Lian Yu substituting Bill and Yao Fei for Oliver and Shado, Slade goes home to meet his family. Struck deeply by the love and amazement pouring from his son, Slade can't bear to keep his heart burning with hatred. He wishes to be with his family like old times, and requests a desk job, much to Wade's surprise. At ASIS, however, an upgraded tactical armor catches Slade's eye as Wade tried to convince him to go back to the field, but Slade persists.
After being shown the ropes by Matt Nakauchi, Slade finds his cubicle job got him access to a global surveillance system. Slade begins to get used to his life behind the desk, occasionally sparring with Digger Harkness to stay in shape. However, he is curious and uses the government surveillance system to research Oliver Queen, his family, his friends, and his past. He learned of someone who despised the Queen family, Isabel Rochev, and noted their similarities. Slade also realizes just how much losing Robert and Oliver had broken the Queens.
Four months pass and Slade finds himself regretting having been so obsessed with Oliver. The affection he gives and receives from his own family eats away at his hardened consciousness and to his surprise, Adeline deduces he held a vendetta for whoever scarred his eye, and she told him to forget about it and kissed him and for the first time since Lian Yu, Slade finds inner peace and happiness.
Unfortunately for Slade, it doesn't last long, as a report on ARGUS activities in Hong Kong he reviewed included an image of Oliver Queen. His rage boils again and his healing factor and super strength spark up suddenly during a training session with Digger. Being overtaken by the mirakuru yet again, Slade storms into Wade's office and demands to be sent to Hong Kong to investigate the ARGUS case. Appalled at this, Wade reveals that they had been monitoring Slade's obsessive research on the Queens, and he is disgusted Slade would be so eager to leave his family again after all that had been done. Slade comes up with a lie on the spot and tells DeFarge that it was Oliver who killed Billy, only for DeFarge to reply that vengeance is wrong and he shows Slade a report of Tommy Merlyn going to Hong Kong to search for Oliver, only to find it was a ruse by criminals. Slade is shocked and DeFarge begs him to relax, forget Oliver, and go back to his family life.
Two years later, Slade again struggles with the returning mirakuru, his sanity slipping. He hallucinates Oliver's face randomly when sparring, and calls coworkers "kid" as if they were Oliver. One day while playing soccer with Joe, the ball goes into some trees and Joe runs after it. While waiting for him to come out, Slade sees Oliver appear and run after Joe with a malicious grin. Desperate to save his beloved son, Slade charges into the trees and tackles Joe, scaring him. A snake suddenly lunges at them, and Slade rips it in half, causing Joe to run off in shock.
At ASIS, while sorting old documents and files, he finds one containing all their information on Yao Fei. Inside, he finds a flash drive marked "Shado". To his surprise, it is full of videos of pre-Lian Yu Shado, running around happy and carefree. (The drive would go on to be featured in the episode "Suicide Squad".) A hallucination of her accuses him of breaking his promise because he loved another woman and wasn't the one to kill Oliver. Driven mad, he attacks Nakauchi and Wade and runs out of ASIS, all the way home. There, he yells at his family and suddenly his house is surrounded by soldiers and snipers. Wade enters with a heavily armed squadron, revealing a team went to Lian Yu and found Billy's body, Shado's grave, and evidence that Slade was the one to have killed Billy. Just as he says it, a report on the television screen announces that Oliver Queen had returned to America, having "survived five years alone on a treacherous island" and affecting Australians Securities Exchange. Consumed with fury, Slade admits to killing Wintergreen and announces that he will do the same to Oliver. Blinded with his mirakuru-enduced rage, he engages in a brutal battle with them until he thinks he killed everybody and he leaves to take down Oliver Queen.
The second section, "Rochev", details Isabel's past with Robert Queen and Malcolm Merlyn and her recruitment by Slade into a crusade against Oliver.
The third section, "Blood", details Sebastian's past, the formation of his Church, and his recruitment by Slade into a crusade to take over Starling City.
The fourth and longest section, "Revenge", composing most of the novel, details the events of Arrow season 2 from the point of view of Blood, Rochev, and Slade, concluding with Slade's curing and imprisonment on Lian Yu.
Some scenes from the novel were different or retconned on the show:
- Joe Wilson is said to be alive and missing in the season 5 finale, though it is possible his death in the book was hallucinated thanks to Slade's mirakuru-induced madness or was one of the changes Post Flashpoint.
- Oliver plants Slade's first mask on a shaft with an arrow through an eye on the beach of Lian Yu as a memorial to his former friend when he returns for the last time in the season 5 flashbacks, saying it was he who found the mask washed up on the shore, not Slade.
- Slade informs Blood about Laurel's file in his campaign office in the show instead of at his home.
- The concept of Slade Wilson's origin story will go on to be featured in Season 6, in a two-parter focusing on Slade's flashbacks.