Graphic Novelty²


Green Arrow

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 5): City Walls

The Riddler is loose in Star City. Apparently he’s decided to expand his franchise outside Gotham. But Green Arrow and Speedy soon discover that Riddler is a front, a distraction, for something bigger and badder. A millionaire named Davis wants to keep Star City safe, whatever it takes. He summons a magical barrier around Star City, one that even Superman can’t penetrate. No one can get in or out. What’s worse, he’s also summoned demons who uphold the law to the letter. These demons will appear to uphold the peace; from grand theft auto to a shove, nothing is above their notice. Green Arrow will have to break the spell, but he can’t possibly fight an army of demons all by himself, right?

… Man, I’m pretty done with this run. I don’t know if this volume was truly subpar or if I was reading it in the car on a road trip I didn’t want to take in the first place and was projecting =P I remember being frustrated with the last volume for some Women in Refrigerators plot points, and while this volume didn’t have as much of that, I still don’t think I’ll be continuing this run.

The art continues to be the reason I keep trying to read this arc. I’m a big fan of the bold lines and graphic style. However, it continues to be the only constantly good thing in the run.

The writing for the most part is solid. Most of the stories in this run have been compelling, especially those that are dealing with heavy character introspection and development. This kind of writing only seems to be reserved for the male characters, however. Mia Dearden finally put on a mask in this volume. I’d been waiting for it for a few volumes now, but couldn’t bring myself to get excited when it happened, because it felt like I’d slogged through too much male resistance to get there. Gee, that sounds pretty familiar in a Green Arrow story…

This run started with so much promise for me, but petered out quickly. Hit me up if there’s an iteration of Green Arrow that isn’t so macho manly man centered!

– Kathleen

Winick, Judd, and Phil Hester. Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 5): City Walls. 2005.

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 4): Straight Shooter

The Elevast Corporation wants to build a mega tourist center to bring a little life back to Star City. Trouble is, they want to evict residents of a neighborhood called Lamb Valley to do so. Lamb Valley is filled with construction workers that Elevast helped immigrate from Zimbabwe to build the project. Understandably, a lot of them are angry. Green Arrow has to chase them away from the construction sites they once worked on, but are now bent on destroying. By day, Ollie funds the lawsuit against Elevast, led by Joanna Pierce. The niece of Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning, has an appropriately electric personality that Ollie finds himself drawn to. But things are finally patched up with Dinah… he can’t throw that away. Besides, those Elevast construction sites are now overrun with ogre-like creatures. Ollie’s love life is just going to have to go on the back burner.

Either it had been so long since I picked up this series that I’d forgotten, or the last volume wasn’t as bad, but this volume was more violent than I’d remembered this run being. There was also a women in refrigerators plot point, which I’ve had enough of in my Green Arrow – see my post about Arrow Season 4. There is, however, plenty of emotional turmoil to go with your action in this run. Winick, as Meltzer did before him in Volumes 1-3, does a good job of balancing Ollie’s inner conflicts with the outside wars and drawing parallels between them. A side I haven’t seen a lot of yet reading GA comics is Ollie’s corporate fighting side, which was fun. Personally, I keep coming back for Hester and Parks’ art, because I’m finding the writing falling back on disappointing tropes.

– Kathleen

Winick, Judd, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 4): Straight Shooter. 2004.

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 3): The Archer’s Quest

Oliver Queen died, and then came back. He left behind a lot of people he cared about. He also left behind artifacts – his prized possessions from his time as the Green Arrow. He enlists Roy Harper’s help in retrieving them. It’s just like the old days – Green Arrow and Arsenal, out and around town! The reason why they’re gathering Ollie’s old things is to protect everyone’s identities. Not just Oliver’s, but Dinah’s, Roy’s, and their families. He did it to protect their secrets, but Ollie is still keeping the biggest secret of all…

Man, what a twist at the end. Ollie is a study in duality, even more so than Batman. That’s part of why I continue to read this run; Ollie’s character is so fascinating. Phil Hester’s art is clean and dynamic and is also a huge draw for me. I don’t want to say too much to avoid spoilers – but I can’t wait to see how Ollie’s secrets will come to light, if they do at all.

– Kathleen

Meltzer, Brad, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 3): The Archer’s Quest. 2003.

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 2): Sounds of Violence

Things seem to be looking up for Ollie – which is good, ‘cuz you kinda need a break after returning from the dead. Both his biological son Connor and his ward Mia are living with him. Connor and Ollie make a great team, but Mia is looking to make the duo a trio. Ollie even has a date with Dinah, the first since he’s been gone. She doesn’t see it that way, though. Small setback, but no big deal, right? Then Connor is attacked by a villain who’s been taking out new heroes and speaks only to say words that are also noises. Okay, maybe things aren’t going so great after all…

This volume was a little shorter than the last one, but it’s so fast-paced you might not even notice. Ollie is still finding his feet after getting back, but he really hit the ground running! Multiple threads going on at once pull the story along nicely. The identity of this villain wasn’t resolved here, but I’m sure it will be resolved in a later volume. Most interesting to me is the question of whether Mia will become part of Team Arrow or not ;D

Hester’s art is still appealing to me, because of the clean lines and blocked-in shading. However, in this volume I found that a lot of facial expressions looked the same even when expressing different emotions. Something about the way he draws eyebrows leaves everyone looking a little too serious or angry. There was also a sequence where Dinah fights naked which I found tasteless. I was a little shocked after there was nothing similar in the last volume, and I do hope it’s the last. Tentatively looking forward to the next volume.

– Kathleen

Smith, Kevin, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Green Arrow (Revival, Vol. 2): Sounds of Violence. 2003.

Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 1): Quiver

Happy New Year, everybody! Let’s kick off the new year with a new (to our blog at least =P ) series! Part of this story was in the compilation volume For Better or For Worse, featuring my second favorite superhero couple, Green Arrow and Black Canary. I liked the art so much that I sought out the comic it came from!

Green Arrow is running around Star City once again. Only problem is, it’s not Connor Hawke. It’s Oliver Queen. As in, the supposed-to-be-dead Oliver Queen. He has absolutely no memory of the 20 or so years that have passed since his death. The last thing he remembers is going on a road trip with his best friend, Hal Jordan, one of the Green Lanterns. Oliver himself isn’t too worried about it at first. He’s trying to find the Star City Slayer, a villain who is kidnapping and killing children. The Justice League is extremely worried about him, and even Batman thinks it’s not really Oliver. Once it becomes clear that finding out what happened to him is linked to finding the Star City Slayer, will Oliver continue to deny his own mystery?

Wow! I have never read a Kevin Smith comic before, but now I want more!!! He writes Green Arrow with wit, humor, and heart. I laughed out loud more than once as I raced through the pages, desperate to know what happened to Ollie and how he came back to life. The tension between Oliver, the rest of the League, and the threat of the Star City Slayer is handled wonderfully. As I said, the art is what drew me to find this comic. It’s very clean. The lines are heavy, and the shadows are marked only with black areas. The anatomy is solid, and there are no unnecessary fan-servicey shots of female (or male, for that matter) parts. I’m stoked for the next volume and more of Oliver’s adventures!

– Kathleen

Smith, Kevin, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. Green Arrow (Return, Vol. 1): Quiver. 2002.

Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or For Worse

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I love Green Arrow and Black Canary as a couple. They have a lot of history and are so freaking cute besides. This volume compiles various stories of Ollie and Dinah starting from the Silver Age. Some of my favorites were:

  • “In Each Man There is a Demon” by Denny O’Neil, Dick Dillin, and Joe Giella. One of the first GO/BC stories, in which various members of the Justice League have to battle their evil selves!
  • “Zatanna’s Double-Identity” by  Elliot S! Maggin, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. Zatanna casts a spell that accidentally gives her the Black Canary’s personality – and she tries to get between Dinah and Ollie as a result!
  • “The Hunters” by Mike Grell, Lurine Haines, Julia Lacquement, and Steve Haynie. Ollie reminisces on the old days of crime fighting before proposing to Dinah. Her answer will change the course of their relationship. The art in this story was by far my favorite, and I want to pick up “Longbow Hunters” (the GO comic it’s from) as a result!
  • “Feast and Fowl” by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Jaims Sinclair, and Sean Konot. Contains Ollie and Dinah’s reunion after Oliver’s death, which is just the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever read.

As with any compilation, the art and writing styles varied considerably throughout. There was only one I absolutely hated, but it’s one of the short ones so that was good! I really wish they would have put cover pages at the start of each individual story like they do in the Greatest Stories Ever Told. They did kind of at the end, where all the stories were connected – but they only wrote what was missing between them. This might not bother some, as it does make it a little more cohesive, but it’s something I didn’t know I appreciated until it was gone!

… For some strange reason, I felt some weird deja-vu as I read the first few stories especially. I felt as if I’d read them before. When I texted my boyfriend what I was reading, he said he’d bought that one and I must have flipped through it at some point. Great minds think alike =P

– Kathleen

Various. Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or For Worse. 2007.

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