Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Least Likely to Change: Green Arrow
Talking about Green Arrow is always difficult. Particularly right after breakfast.
But Green Arrow is one of the handful of characters who has remained around since the Golden Age and through all the subsequent ones.
How much has he changed, or, more precisely, how different is the current, modern Green Arrow from his Golden Age version?
Uses arrows? Uses trick and gimmick arrows (no matter how loudly fans insist that he doesn't)? Is a wealthy public figure? Has a ward who assists his crimefighting under the name of "Speedy", while wearing a red and yellow outfit and using arrows? Lives in Star City? Civic-minded do-gooder? Is well known and respected among the superheroic community, no matter how absurd his schtick? Total lack of regular, non-laughable foes?
You know, in many ways, Green Arrow has changed surprisingly little. But again, I have to correct myself. Green Arrow has changed a lot; he grew ridiculous, secret-identity-ruining facial hair, acquired a sociopolitical patina, cultivated cantankerousness, fired his original sidekick for becoming a drug addict, went on a roadtrip in an RV with some brain-damaged toy salesman, lost his fortune, changed his costume and became a dark loner, died, acquired an illegitimate offspring (or, uh, two...? I lost track!), started and stopped a romantic relationship with Black Canary 142 times (roughly... I kind of lost track), came back from the dead with a new body, raped our childhood with the help of Stanley & His Monster, spent a year looking for a piece of jewelry he lost, studied some martial art (somewhere, at some point; I lost track), acquired a second or third fortune (I definitely lost track), adopted a prostitute, fought the sound-effects guy from Police Academy, started hanging out with Black Lightning, got replaced in the Justice League (three times; I kept track), became mayor of his city, and proposed to an old flame.
But how much he's changed isn't the question; it's how different he is now from his Golden Age version. Yes, he's changed alot, but he's come back to a form surprisingly similar to the one he started in. What's now his backstory has changed a lot; but most of his changes in the last several years have been centering back to the core of his Golden Age version. He's being portrayed less as a self-centered, pompous hothead, and more as a talented individual looking to better himself and the world. Less serious about himself and his opinion than about what he does. Almost, you know, respectable (if not likeable).
I'm not necessarily making the case that Green Arrow is the Least Changed from his Golden Age version. I'm just saying he's probably not as different as you think.
How different do YOU think the modern Green Arrow is?