Monday, February 04, 2008

Green Arrow Minus Green Arrow Equals Nothing

Let's talk about this, shall we?

We all know I'm not the biggest Green Arrow fan in the world. In fact, I'm sitting in my study with my dog, and it's still fair to say that I'm not the biggest Green Arrow fan in this room.

But I do enjoy Black Canary/Green Arrow, and how the book has help humanize and redeem him for me. I have always been kind of peeved how his absentee fathering of Connor Hawke has been sloughed over or whitewashed. This most recent issue tackled it head on, and showed that, no matter what anyone else thinks about it, including Connor, Ollie feels guilty about it, and deservedly so. That's once of the most decent, human things done with Green Arrow for some time.

That said, I am cheesed by the hacky plot non-resolution of Connor's shooting. He's not dead. But neither is he alive.

Boo! Hiss! Get off the fence! The only thing in the middle of the road is roadkill!

Honestly, I have no strong feelings about Connor himself. If someone had ever had the guts to make him gay (or stopped a certain someone from preventing him from being gay), I might care more. But they didn't.

Sure, I like him more than I like Ollie, but what human being wouldn't? Connor was calm, loving, fun, competent, etc. But for the most part, I just think of him as another failed "Earth-8" style replacement for a Silver/Bronze Age icon.

He is, however, a GREAT Heroclix figure.

Sadly, I feel that Connor has been offed, at least partly on account of the cruelties of the Dynastic Centerpiece Model (which longtime readers will recognize as one of my pet concepts). DC has been (re-)building a dynasty around Black Canary (Female Counterpart) and Green Arrow (Centerpiece). Red Arrow (Junior Counterpart), Speedy II (Youth Sidekick), Black Lightning (Ethnic Counterpart); they all had a place... .

But Connor didn't. Red Arrow fills the Junior Counterpart slot, and with some 60 years of seniority, isn't easily dislodged from it. Connor literally had no role to fill in the Green Arrow dynasty, once his original role (as replacement Centerpiece) was taken from him.

Personally, I think that's a mistake. One of the slots in the Dynastic Centerpiece Model is the "Black Sheep". I think that's where Connor should have fit in. Not because he's the "naughty" version of Green Arrow. Quite the opposite; Ollie's the jerk, so Connor made a perfect "white sheep", so to speak. In the same way Wonder Woman has a Male Counterpart (Hercules, by they way) in her dynasty rather than the regular Female Counterpart, in the Green Arrow dynasty, Bad Boy Ollie Queen would have a "White Sheep" in his family: Connor Hawke.

Usually he was written that way, too. Why wasn't that enough to warrant keeping him? I guess Judd doesn't read my blog (*Silver Age sob*!).

But setting all that aside: killing him is one thing. Bringing him back from death's door (which has been done several times already) is another. Repairing his body but leaving him brain dead as a result of some absurd "poisoned bullet" macguffin, however, is nothing. Unless Winick goes somewhere fantastic with this (like he did with Ollie getting stabbed in the throat by his bride on his wedding night), it seems like a grand cop-out. Show of hands if you're confident Judd's going to go somewhere fantastic with this...!

Let's see, as I recall the recent storylines for Black Canary and Green Arrow, they've been:

  • "Humanize the Series Principal #1 by showing his reaction to losing someone close" story, when Dr. Light & Co. blew up Ollie's house and everyone in it;
  • "Humanize the Series Principal #2 by showing her reaction to losing someone close" story, when she thought that the girl, Sin, was dead.
  • "Humanize the Series Principal #2 by showing her reaction to losing someone close again", when she seemed to have killed her husband, Ollie.

Was it necessary, wise, or imaginative to follow those immediately with a "Humanize the Series Principal #1 by showing his reaction to losing someone close" story, where Green Arrow loses Connor?

Does Judd really only have one story to tell us? If that's the case... well, I enjoyed it the first three times. Now, it's time for someone else to write a different story... .


B.G. Christensen said...

Wasn't/isn't Connor more the Ethnic Counterpart than Black Lightning is? I don't see BL as part of the Arrow family so much as a character Judd likes so throws in whenever possible. I think what Connor was missing is a name. So long as they don't start calling him Yellow Arrow...

Marcos said...

So long as they don't start calling him Yellow Arrow...

...or worse, "Yerrow Arrow".

Unknown said...

No no. Jade Arrow. Bam. Ethnic and ties into Green Arrow.

Anonymous said...

Connor's going to make a full recovery, and soon (or at least he'll return to consciousness with a prognosis of full recovery). There's really no other way to take this: he can't linger in a coma very long without it demanding resolution, and if he was going to die there was no reason not to kill him right away. I can see Ollie making some sort of Mephistophelean bargain with Neron or the equivalent, and that will drive a subplot or story arc.

Anonymous said...

Also, something that hasn't been covered: Oliver has the supernatural ability to make his voice travel at the speed of light or faster. Or maybe it was somehow amplified and hyperphase-shifted through his proximity to Black Canary.

I don't normally care about physics in comics, but sound simply doesn't travel thousands of miles per second. So, um, dream sequence?

SallyP said...

Surely something can be done with Conner. However I am pretty sure that Mr. Winick is NOT the person to entrust with it. He does seem to be something of a one-trick pony when it comes to plots.

Derek said...

Anon II, are you referring to Ollie's cry for help? Because I think that had less to do with Ollie's vocal range than Superman's super-hearing, which has been shown to defy normal physics.

Gus Casals said...

I'm also ready GA/BC with the same feeling as watching roadkill or a car accident: something draws me to it, but I can't put my finger on it. ( actually I know, I love Dinah ).
I'm not a Winnick basher, basically because it always reeks of homophobia ( an strange kind of homophobia towards an straight man, go figure ), but I have to agree that " character x is dead/not dead, character y reacts" is going nowhere fast. GA/BC works when it's madcap hihg adventure ( " Themyscira!" ), not when it's pretend drama. And next issue's soapy cover does not bode well ( although the "they are not married" plot brief does ). I'll keep reading. For the moment.

Anonymous said...

Remember Grell's run? Me too. Which makes me think GA's crowd needs culled MORE. Kill everybody except Dinah.

There's no such thing as a "solo" book anymore. They're all team books, just with one name on the cover. Baggage, baggage, baggage.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the character in a coma avoids the inevitable silly resurrection story. So, I'll take a coma story (tired as it is) over a death story (which is even more tired). However, I'd prefer a simple _____ goes on a cruise explanation for the character's absence. The author probably won't achieve much drama that hasn't been milked before from the coma story. Maybe it's best just to move on to other things then having to give period updates on the non-drama.

That said, my only interest in GA/BC is that I'm waiting for Chiang to leave and move on to something more deserving of his talents. Ideally, the Legion of Superheroes. -Alex P

Anonymous said...

Concerning Connor's Heroclix, does it bother anyone else that he has the "Justice League" keyword instead of the "JLA" keyword? All the other characters from his era on the team (Zauriel, Aztek, Electric Blue Superman) have the JLA keyword, but he got stuck with "Justice League" which doesn't represent any particular era.

HappyGuy402 said...

No, Judd has a second story:
Female character inexplicably reveals she's lesbian for no compelling story-related reason.