30 years ago - Shado is born, the daughter of a Yakuza agent. Not long after her birth, her mother is kidnapped by a cabal of international criminals who torture her in order to force her father to reveal the location of a stockpile of Yakuza gold. He relents, and is forced to commit seppuku to atone for his failing. Her mother dies of her injuries, leaving her to carry her father's disgrace. She is raised by the Yakuza to study the art of Kyūdō.
11 years ago - 19-year-old Shado achieves an unprecedented level of mastery of her art, and begins to track her father's killers. She comes into conflict with Green Arrow when she kills her victims, but when they are discovered to be human traffickers, he kills one of them himself. She returns to Japan with the gold, but is considered a failure because of the one man she didn't kill. Her sensai sacrifices himself so she can escape.
8 years ago - 22-year-old Shado, still hunted by the Yakuza, steals a map to a store of Yakuza gold initiating rising tension between their organization and the American government. She shoots Green Arrow when he attempts to help, and they become romantic during his recovery. She plays all three sides off each other, With most of the gold going to the government, and the Yakuza losing territory to Kobra.
2 years ago - 28-year-old Shado triggers open warfare within the Monkey Fist Cult while playing them off of Kobra. Connor Hawke attempts to save her and in the process triggers new trials for everyone ever to survive their challenge.
Shado comes from a very particular era of Green Lantern books. In the 80's comics went through a very turbulent adolescence, trying to expand the notion of what mainstream superhero comics could be. Sometimes this meant deconstructing the concept of superheroes like in the Dark Knight Returns, in others it meant introducing metafiction concepts like in Animal Man... and then in other cases it meant deliberately sensationalized storytelling in what can only be described as 80's action-movie style. Shado was born right in the middle of this, and is part of some of the most unironically entertaining stories of the time, even if they all read like time capsules of a particular era.
Shado's Comic History
Shado appeared for the first time in 1987 in the miniseries Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters, by Mike Grell. The book introduced ideas that, especially in the 80's, were very real-world conflicts, making the miniseries and Grell's subsequent run on the new Green Lantern ongoing series feel more like a crime/spy thriller where the hero just happened to dress like Robin Hood.
A big part of this is the introduction of Shado. An archer and assassin trained by the Yakuza, she introduces the idea of lethal force to the book, which is something Oliver opposes at first until, in a moment that feels pretty cliche now but in the 80's read more crazy and sensational, he finds a human trafficker in the middle of torturing Black Canary and kills him. From this moment, Shado is a persistent character in the Green Arrow series, popping up in story after story, perpetually pulling Oliver away from Dinah and into world-traveling adventures that test the moral standing of the hero... and of course, test the open-ness of his relationship. Grell was always happy to admit his use of self-insert characters, and while the best parts of his Oliver were the way he served as an open power fantasy for the writer... the near James Bond frequency of his sexual escapades would at times strain credibility. By her third storyvarc it's implied that Shado's child is, in fact, Oliver's.
Shado would be referenced a few more times in the Connor Hawke era of Green Arrow, but she would make a big return in the New 52. Here, she's reinvented as a former lover of Oliver's FATHER, and we are then introduced to Shado's daughter and Oliver's half-sister Emiko, who would go on to join the series as Oliver's latest sidekick, eventually becoming the latest character to go by the name Red Arrow while Shado continued to serve as a pseudo-villain.
Our Shado Story
For a character without a ton of appearances, Shado actually exerts a lot of influence over the story of Oliver Queen and how we decide to use her actually makes a big difference in his story overall. First, we're keeping the original Longbow Hunters story intact. We're not including the torture of Black Canary, since physically torturing a female character to advance the story of the male hero is a bad look, but othewise the story holds up remarkably well. We'll go on to mimic the beginning of her interaction with Oliver, but stop short of suggesting that she's had a child with him. Frankly, there are a lot of characters that are hinted to be Oliver's illegitimate child, and after Connor Hawke, it just becomes derivative.
Meanwhile, in the world of Shado, we like the idea that she's this rogue assassin bouncing around the world, playing criminal organizations off each other to stay alive. We'll bring her into the world of the new Green Arrow, using her as the catalyst for a story involving all the various characters that have interacted with the Monkey Fist Cult, an attempt on her part to free herself from the influence of the Yakuza once and for all. Afterward, she'll be able to finally find a modicum of peace... although I imagine she might offer to train a certain young girl whose father is an archery based superhero and whose mother is an international assassin...
But... What About Emiko?
I was really torn here. Emiko is a popular character; there are whole stretches of the Rebirth-era Green Arrow series (which is in fact pretty good) that follow Emiko exclusively. She is one of the better parts of the later Damian Wayne Teen TItans series. This was a character that at least deserved some consideration. I even put up a survey on this website (our first one ever) just to get some feedback on what I should do with her.
Here is what it comes down to. Emiko is very cool, but as she appears in the comics she's essentially just a female Damian Wayne. There are a LOT of Green Arrow apprentices and sidekicks, and this character needed to bring something to the mythology here that wasn't being done elsewhere. We actually considered going ahead with the idea that Shado and Oliver DID have a child together, and that Emiko would still be a small child at the moment but would someday grow up to assume this identity... but then we realized that that's exactly the future we imagine for Lian Harper, the daughter of Arsenal and Cheshire.
But that sort of solved it right there. Emiko's look and attitude and training are awesome... and all of it can be given to Lian. This look is PERFECT for Lian in the future, when she's one of the most gung-ho of the newest, youngest generation of heroes. She can even train under Shado for a time before adopting this look. So no, we won't be using Emiko... but we'll be using Emiko to make Lian's future even cooler.