This is the original Speedy – Roy Harper before he lost his arm, child, and any sense of reasonable character development. The use of the exploding arrows and Speedy’s serious personality harks back to his occasional appearances in the Teen Titans cartoon. This Roy is older than the other characters and that shows in his demands to be taken seriously as his own hero and not just as a side kick. His look is classic Golden/Silver Age.
The comic book Roy Harper hasn’t really worked as Green Arrow’s side for a long time now. Harper developed a drug problem, kicked that, set out on his own, took the name Arsenal, worked as a government agent, and had a daughter called Lian with a supervillain called Cheshire (yeah, that Cheshire – we’ll get back to her). After all that Roy remained clean and often worked with the Titans. He was eventually recognised by the Justice League and brought on to the main team when writer Brad Meltzer took over. He marked his membership by changing his codename to Red Arrow in recognition of his mentor. It’s that identity which is picked up for “Infiltrator”.
Speedy was included in the opening sequence of “Independence Day” as something of as a red herring. He’s part of the classic Teen Titans line-up, but he storms out during the second act. Production artwork teases that he’ll be back later in the series having become his own man. Greg Weisman has commented that Speedy is 18. The character of Artemis appears to be partly based on Roy’s daughter (Lian Harper) with the supervillain Cheshire.
Speedy is voiced by Crispin Freeman who voiced Superman in the Justice League Heroes videogame. Freeman also voiced the Guardian character in “Independence Day” which may not be entirely coincidental as the two characters both share the surname Harper and have been related in some versions of DC continuity.
Speedy was Green Arrow’s sidekick. At eighteen he was the oldest of the four sidekicks (himself plus Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash) who were brought together at the Hall of Justice for their alleged induction into the Justice League. Green Arrow had already been very open with Speedy about the Justice League’s secrets and activities – specifically on how the Hall of Justice was only a public front for a teleporter station reply to the Watchtower (the League’s true space station headquarters). So when the Martian Manhunter announced that the sidekicks now had access to the Hall’s library, kitchen, and gymnasium Roy got angry. He was insulted that the “induction” was a sham and accused Batman, the League’s leader, of still not trusting them with the League’s secrets. He threw down his cap and stormed out after telling the other stunned sidekicks that their lack of protest was a sign that the League was right to consider them not yet ready for membership (“Independence Day”).
While the younger sidekicks had not instantly leapt to Speedy’s defence they didn’t entirely disagree with him either. They sought to prove to the League that they were indeed ready for the big time by liberating a teenage clone of Superman called Superboy from the Cadmus Project. Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Superboy forced Batman to reconsider his hard line. Batman’s solution to their argument was to create a Justice League splinter group which would carry out low-key and covert missions (“Fireworks”).
Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad were excited to tells Speedy about the new group and sought him out while he was busting a group of gun runners led by Brick. However, Speedy was dismissive and told them:
I’m done letting Arrow and the League tell me what to do. I don’t need a baby-sitter or a club-house hangout with the other kids. Your Junior Justice League is a joke, something to keep you busy and in your place!
I don’t want any part of it.
In order to make a stand as his own man, and as an equal to Green Arrow, Roy changed his code name to Red Arrow and updated his costume. As Red Arrow he became aware that the League of Shadows had abducted a nano-technology genius called Sterling Roquette from Royal University in Star City. He traced her to the Shadow’s base on Infinity Island and rescued her, but not before she had been forced to create a super weapon called the Utility Fog (a swarm of nano-machines called Infiltrators). He realised that he would need help protecting Dr Roquette and attempted to recruit his friends. However, he teleported into Young Justice’s headquarters just as Green Arrow was presenting Artemis – his replacement sidekick – to them.
Roy instantly knew that Artemis wasn’t Green Arrow’s niece as he claimed, but he didn’t speak out and preferred to keep his silence as he tried to figure out why Green Arrow and Batman were lying to Young Justice. He then explained the situation about Roquette and the League of Shadows, but washed his hands of the mission when Green Arrow insisted that Artemis would be joining Young Justice. They ultimately protected Roquette from the League’s assassin (a woman called Cheshire) without Red Arrow’s help. He later approached Artemis and told her that he knew she and Green Arrow were lying. He also warned her about hurting his friends (“Infiltrator”).