Green Arrow #1

Writer: J.T. Krul

Pencils: Dan Jurgens

Inks: George Perez

Colours: David Baron

Letters: Rob Leigh

Cover: Dave Wilkins

Publisher: DC Comics

 

This week we’re also taking a look at another of the new DC 52 number ones, this time the Emerald Archer himself, Green Arrow. Coming off a tumultuous year in the life of Oliver Queen, the series has been rebooted, taking Queen back to a location he’s not been in some time. Intrigued? Then read forth.

The Road So Far…

Oliver Queen is cast in the familiar role of billionaire by day, vigilante by night. With his endless cache of trick arrows, martial arts blended with street fighting skills and a flare for heroics, he protects the streets of Seattle as Green Arrow.

What’s the Story?

Green Arrow keeps an eye on some criminals in issue one.

In midst of a board meeting at Queen Industries’ headquarters in Seattle, Oliver Queen is nowhere to be seen. Unbeknown to the board, Queen is half a world away leaping from one Paris rooftop to the next as Green Arrow. From high atop a building directly across from a cruise ship that will operating as a dance club, he spots some local criminals and decides to engage. He briefly checks in with his information and intelligence brokers, Naomi and Jax, before leaping from building to building until he dives through a skylight and onto the ship’s dance-floor. Green Arrow quickly takes on and temporarily subdues each of the three criminals, later firing a special arrow into the ship’s controls which allows Naomi to take control of the ship. Arrow continues to assail the criminals, taking each of them down with ease using his various gadgets and trick arrows ranging from freeze to electric, up to and including old-fashioned, straight forward arrows. In the aftermath, Queen travels home and talks to Jax about why he needs him, but more importantly what motivates him to fight crime as a vigilante. Meanwhile at a prison in France, the criminals Green Arrow had rounded up on the cruise ship are paid a visit by a group of super-powered villains.

This story is a complete departure from Krul’s work on the previous Green Arrow volume, and I can’t say it’s for the better. Foremost it seems the location of the story has been shifted from Star City to Seattle, which I believe is the first time since Grell’s Longbow Hunters story this has been the case. That’s a very small element however of what’s displeasing with this first issue. The Brightest Day Green Arrow story had the potential to function in the image of classic Robin Hood styled Green Arrow stories, plot elements which included helping disadvantaged families or children throughout the story, while fighting against “corporate America.” It had an air of edge to it in the wake of the Cry for Justice story and its fallout, but the book was quite good. This version taking place in the new DCU is a very formulaic piece that removes those elements of social justice and simplifies the character’s personality, stripping the Green Arrow character of what makes him who he is. The story itself takes him away from his hometown and has him fighting criminals in Paris for no discernible reason, while the story, although well thought out and paced, is quite bland and boring. Knowing that Krul is capable of more, the writing itself was less than what I expected and had too many forced, cheese-ball references to the criminals being “losers” or “badasses.” The writing felt very watered down, almost as though the target is to appeal to younger readers, while once again making Oliver Queen a carbon copy of Batman, complete with his own Oracle type character.

Green Arrow watches some criminals step onto a cruise ship

The Pretty, Pretty Pictures

For the most part I enjoyed Jurgens’ work in the issue. Although I’m not a fan of the costume redesign coinciding with the relaunch, Jurgens made it look somewhat okay, with its arm and shin guards, combined with what I presume is lightweight body armour complementing Queen’s classic Green Arrow garb. His work is still very solid throughout. I really liked the panel where Arrow crashed through the ship’s skylight, landing on his feet mid-stride seemingly with little shards of glass crashing to the floor below. It was a very nice piece of artwork altogether. I also enjoyed the elements of the arrows, which Baron brought to light using elements of ice and electricity to apprehend the thugs as equally well as he did in creating the effects of their own superpowers. Jurgens did some fairly cool panel work too in mimicking Queen’s firing of his arrows. This was accomplished by constructing very thin vertical panels, leading directly into the arrow making contact with the ship’s control panel in two subsequent squared sequences. I enjoyed the fight scenes between Green Arrow and the thugs, as it seems Jurgens’ knack for creating solid action has appeared once again. My sole complaint is with the costume which reminds me of a streamlined version of the Green Arrow costume from Smallville, while I can’t say I enjoy the youthful Oliver Queen as a whole.

Ollie and Naomi talk about the mission

Final Thoughts

This was a very disappointing issue. After what I viewed as the elements of a successful Green Arrow book coming out Cry for Justice, this iteration of Oliver Queen falls completely flat. It’s a boring rendition of a traditionally edgier, outspoken character which has been relegated to fundamental crime fighting as opposed to sticking to the classic Green Arrow credo. The dialogue is additionally tedious during his fight with the crooks, calling them “losers” and mocking their belief in their “badass-hood.” It’s forced and not very smooth conversationally during these bits. The story premise as a whole feels ripped off from a Batman Inc. comic, or perhaps borrows elements of the “Watchtower,” information broker dynamic from Smallville with the addition of Jax and Naomi to the mix in place of Black Canary, Speedy or Connor. Unlike the previous first issue of Green Arrow, this one leaves me wanting. Hopefully several plot elements are divulged in the near future and his origin story is fleshed out such that some interest can be found here, because as of this point, Green Arrow is not worth reading.

Andrew Ardizzi Written by:

Andrew Ardizzi is an honours graduate of journalism from Humber College, and is currently working out of Toronto as a freelance writer and editor. He's also the Senior Editor at Crystal Fractal Comics. You can find him at his blog, or follow him on Twitter.

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7 Comments

  1. Anthony Falcone
    September 13, 2011

    Does he still have the boxing glove arrow? I think we all can agree that its inclusion is an essential part of Green Arrow lore. 

  2. Bill Angus
    September 13, 2011

    …which I believe is the first time since Grell’s Longow Hunters story…
    Actually, Grell’s entire run on the ongoing Green Arrrow series (which followed Longbow Hunters) was based in Seattle. I’m not sure at what point after that it shifted back to Star City.

  3. September 13, 2011

    I haven’t really caught up on the Grell’s Green Arrow following Longbow Hunters. How long ago was it? I have some of the issues before Ollie’s death prior to the Kevin Smith run, but nothing considerable.

    As for the trick arrows, no boxing glove yet sadly.

  4. September 14, 2011

    I was actually lucky enough to stumble onto the three volumes of Longbow Hunters a few years back. They were a little expensive, but worthwhile. I asking more towards what period Bill was referring to, because I don’t know too many Green Arrow stories that aren’t Star City centric.

  5. Bill Angus
    September 18, 2011

    Grell wrote the first 80 issues of the 1988 series, which followed-up on Longbow Hunters. To the best of my knowledge (though admittedly I have read every issue) that series was based in Seattle.

    This is the series I mean.

    I’ve only read Grell issues (and as I mentioned above, not all of them), so I don’t know at what point they moved him back to Star City.

    It might not have been until the Kevin Smith relaunch… Someone more in-the-know will have to clarify that.

  6. Bill Angus
    September 18, 2011

    The trade was published in 1991, btw.

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