- "Pain's just another prison. And I'm a free man."
- —Derek Sampson on his powers and freedom[src]
Derek Sampson (died November, 2018) was a former drug-dealer, specializing in the Stardust drug, as well as a former crime boss that opposed the Green Arrow and a rival crime lord Tobias Church. After being thrown into a vat of chemicals, Sampson experienced a mutation, losing his sense of pain and gaining a certain degree of advanced healing. Later, he became an ally of Prometheus' team to destroy Green Arrow and his team. He then became an inmate at Slabside Maximum Security Prison. He was last seen getting heavily burned in Slabside after a deadly fight against Ben Turner, the latter of whom had allied with Oliver Queen.
Fight with Team Arrow
Derek Sampson was one of Stardust drug dealers in Star City that was targeted by the District Attorney Adrian Chase as a potential snitch on the other dealers in the city. At the same time, he was being hunted by Team Arrow, especially Rene Ramirez, for his series of crimes related to spreading the drug.
Unhappy with Green Arrow's patient methods, Wild Dog took Evelyn Sharp on a "recon mission", which quickly turned into an attack on the drug dealers' hideout, as Wild Dog wanted it to. Sampson managed to successfully fight Ramirez back, to the point the brawl was now on the matter of life and death. With Evelyn distracting him with gunfire, Rene pulled Sampson off the catwalk they fought on. Sampson then fell into a vat of Stardust and other assorted chemicals and was left for dead.
The next day, Sampson's condition was so messed up by a mix of chemicals, altering him on a molecular level, that he was mistaken for dead by the police, prosecution and coroners. By the time he woke up from his condition, Sampson was about to be sliced on the coroner's table for an autopsy report. Sampson attacked the coroner, killing the man, and commenting on how he didn't feel anything. Now regenerating with great speed and ignoring all pain, Derek assaulted the hospital's security, invulnerable to bullets. The security guards were eventually saved by the Green Arrow, who tried to stop the mutated criminal, but was now overpowered by Sampson. The vigilante escaped, while Sampson decided to return to his organization.
On his way to his gang, Sampson killed a police officer that tried to shoot him down, then re-introduced himself to his partners in crime, referencing Mark Twain in saying that the reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Sampson announced that drug dealing was too small of an operation, and decided to start thinking big: creating an army of meta-humans with the same formula that gave him superpowers, to topple down Tobias Church and take Star City back. Sampson's gang then went on a raid of Allman Industrial, stealing a Molecular Transmodality Processor to refine the formula that would allow to create new mutated thugs.
Team Arrow targeted Sampson's hideout once again, with Curtis Holt setting up an explosive to destroy the gang's supply of the refined Stardust and the Molecular Transmodality Processor. Sampson fought the Green Arrow once again, taunting him with the mention of his newfound powers. However, he was defeated when the vigilante sliced through his tendons, making Sampson unable to move. The next day, he was apprehended by the police and finally arrested. With his superhuman traits, Sampson was placed in the meta-human wing of Iron Heights.
Allying with Prometheus
Sampson is later freed because Chase's prosecutions are discredited after being exposed as the serial killer Prometheus. Samson allied with Chase against Green Arrow to release Justin Claybourne's weaponized tuberculosis on Star City. He was finally defeated and incarcerated once again.
Imprisoned at Slabside
After his confrontation with Team Arrow, Derek was detained in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Two years later, Derek became part of the prison gang encountered by the imprisoned Oliver Queen, allying himself with Danny Brickwell and Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger. In prison, Derek became Brickwell's de-facto main enforcer, due to his superhuman powers. Oliver had a number of confrontations with Danny, Derek and Ben, eventually managing to turn Bronze Tiger to his side.
During the prison takeover led by Ricardo Diaz, Derek and Danny joined Diaz to take revenge on Oliver, but were defeated by him and Turner, being wounded severely by Oliver. Derek Sampson engaged Ben Turner in a fight, before falling down from the second floor of the building and was engulfed in flames, incapacitating him and killing him at the same time.
Powers and abilities
- Meta-human physiology/Enhanced physical condition: Due to the molecular mutation caused by a mix of chemicals related to the Stardust drug, Sampson's natural physical limitations have been greatly reduced.
- Accelerated healing factor: Sampson's enhanced metabolism has a higher rate of self-healing than normal humans. He is able to quickly heal burn marks and wounds from projectile weaponry.
- Enhanced endurance: Sampson has high-immunity to pain from any injuries and highly augmented resilience to damage in general. This allows him to be able to take more damage than a normal human. Furthermore, he has also shown a seemingly limitless stamina able to endure even most fatal wounds with no reduction in his performance.
- Enhanced strength: Sampson can exert much greater muscle power than normal humans. He is shown able to choke man and break their neck with a single hand. He was also able to quickly injure Green Arrow with only a few blows, which was enough to force the vigilante to flee.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Sampson was a highly experienced and accomplished brawler, alone among his gang who was able to overpower Rene Ramirez, a similarly trained fighter, requiring Evelyn to distract him with gunfire for Rene to push him off and lethally to a vat of Stardust. After being empowered by Stardust, Sampson had become far more formidable than ever, as shown by how he effortlessly choked Rene and could even challenge the Green Arrow alone for a time, even at one point emerging victorious when he had the advantage of Oliver being surprised. Along with Danny Brickwell and Ben Turner, Sampson could take down Oliver although he held back. He also managed to briefly overwhelm Turner wielding a knife before being slashed and pushed back where he was burnt alive.
- Expert tactician/Leader: Sampson is a charismatic leader, able to unite the gangsters under his command, who at first considered him dead and a lost cause, into a force with purpose, to take the city back from Tobias Church.
- "Just because you can't feel your tendons being sliced doesn't mean you don't need them."
- —Green Arrow on Sampson's weakness[src]
- Standard anatomy: While his overall physical performance is seemingly relentless, he still has the same general anatomy limitations as a normal human, such as needing his tendons intact to move. When he got into a confrontation with Oliver Queen (as the Green Arrow), after Oliver sliced the tendons in Derek's arms and legs, Sampson was effectively paralyzed, losing the fight. He's also still able to bleed-out like a normal person, requiring immediate medical attention to survive, as indicated when Oliver slashed Derek's femoral artery, stating that the latter had minutes to live before he would bleed to death. However, Sampson was later seen limping around with a tourniquet tied around his leg above the cut, appearing to have successfully staunched the bleeding.
Behind the scenes
- Derek's last name, Sampson, may be a reference to the Biblical figure Samson, one of the last Judges of the Israelites, who was granted superhuman strength by God.
- Sampson was also likely named after first chronological Green Arrow villain ever by appearance, Ezra Samson, who opposed Oliver Queen and Roy Harper in More Fun Comics #73's story Case of the Namesake Murders, in which Samson was a murderer and an extortionist targeting fellow members of History Club, each of which was a namesake of a famous historical figure. Similarities between Samson and Sampson include running a small criminal enterprise and using an aid for their legs at some point: Samson wore stilts to look higher, while Sampson was wearing a tourniquet on his leg after his femoral artery was sliced by Queen. Some of Sampson's outfits also share the color scheme with that of Samson's disguise.
- The character was originally going to be called Garret Runnels, which is a combination between Cody Runnels' middle and last name, before it was changed to Derek Sampson. However, some TV guides still billed Sampson's original name.
- Sampson was referred to as a new zombie, referencing Tony Woodward in episode "".
- Sampson's villainous origin story has similarities to that of the Joker, falling into a vat of chemicals after a struggle with the vigilante at the above level.
- The Stardust drug that Sampson deals with is a reference to his actor Cody Runnel's WWE Ring name Stardust.
- In the episode "" Sampson was screaming in pain after Oliver broke the former's arms despite his inability to feel pain. In "", when Derek was set on fire he could be heard screaming in pain while he burned to death. However, given the unique nature of mutation, it is possible he was cured following his appearance in "". This would explain why he was sent to a prison that was not known for holding meta-human criminals and was able to interact with non-powered criminals.