Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

GREEN ARROW #1 by J. T. Krul and Diogenes Neves

I love Green Arrow as a comic. Here’s a guy that kicks butt and takes names with a bow and arrow and some vicious martial arts. In the beginning of his career he was a Batman-wannabe. His fortune, his good looks, his gadgets and (gasp) Arrowcar and Arrowplane (see what he did there?) were just imitations spun out of the Dark Knight’s own world. He even had a ward.

Then, in the 1970s, Denny O’Neil gave us a much more maligned Batman, a tortured soul beneath the cowl that most readers had never given any thought about. O’Neil also twisted Green Arrow and took him through darkness as well.

Instead of being a tortured soul, though, Oliver Queen became a rebel and a smart-aleck. He challenged the status quo of the world, made Green Lantern, Superman, and even Batman look at things differently. In those moments, Green Arrow became my ultimate hero. Until then, I’d wanted to grow up to be Batman (because I’d given up on the idea of being bitten by the radioactive last remnant of a lost planet, you see).

Batman kept to the shadows, though, and Green Arrow was right there in your face. I loved the pointed beard (tried to grow one myself but was irritated by how much it got in the way and was distracting, so I can’t imagine combatting evil, but Green Arrow made it look way cool. And his suit got changed into an urban Robin Hood combat uniform.

Green Arrow ran in backup strips in comics for a while, and he really got noticed when an artist named Mike Grell started drawing the strip. Grell’s artwork was lean, clean, and full of action. Not only that, but Green Arrow started really punching people out instead of just using trick arrows.

In time Mike Grell took over the Green Arrow comic, stripped away the trick arrows, and made Ollie Queen more of a fallible person (tons of romantic problems) and made him out to be more of the hunter. That concept of Green Arrow has stuck, it seems, and I’m glad of it.

However, even that idea has had problems. Chuck Dixon actually killed Oliver Queen and created a new Green Arrow (an illegitimate son Ollie didn’t know about). Kevin Smith had to resurrect the Emerald Archer. And he’s kind of gotten killed since then too. If nothing else, Green Arrow is durable. (As a sidenote, Marvel Comics has had their own problems with Hawkeye, their premiere bowman. What is it about archers that makes them so hard to handle?)

Now, as part of the ongoing Brightest Day package running through DC Comics, a new Green Arrow #1 has been released. A mysterious forest grew in shattered Star City overnight, and now Green Arrow has taken up residence in those misty woods as an avenger, fighting corrupt cops, villains, and predatory evil.

I really like J. T. Krul’s direction in the story so far, and the homage to Robin Hood has never been stronger. Diogenes Neves’s artwork is superb and is really striking.

The new villainess is interesting and obviously has ties to Oliver’s past in ways we don’t know. But I’m already beginning to wonder, since she refers to herself as the Queen, if there’s a familial relationship brewing. I don’t think we know what happened to Ollie’s mother, and maybe Ollie’s dad had a wandering eye just like his son. Things are definitely curious in Star Wood, and I’m wondering what Green Lantern’s visit is going to do to shake things up.


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