Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Buy the Green Arrow anniversary book

 I encourage you to buy the new 100-page giant celebrating the 80th anniversary of Green Arrow, because it's an absolute delight.

Only one of the (all original) stories is a clunker (Jeff Lemire's) and while the Denny O'Neil tribute isn't a "Green Arrow" story per se, it's a fitting tribute to the man who so thoroughly re-created Green Arrow for his time that most modern readers aren't even aware of any other version.

I appreciate tidy tables of contents.

The first one is a lovely and characteristically weird Golden Age GA tale, that makes no sense at the end... just as it should!

I approve of an Oliver Queen who likes Kandinsky.

The second is the backstory to one of Ollie's most famous tools.

And an amusing précis of his relationship with Batman.

The third is a story set in Ollie's "satellite era" days, which also riffs on his Silver Age battle with

a mechanical octopus.

Not to be confused with the Non-mechanical Octopus.

The third one is a mild sociological scene by Mike Grell.

The fourth is overview of the whole of Green Arrow's evolution, using the flight of arrow as a metaphor.

If they'd used the Arrowcar's catapult, it could have been literal.

The fifth is a wry collection of "wise advice" from Ollie.

The sixth is a pitch perfect tale of Connor Hawke trying to live up to his father's reputation.

Oh; sorry, Connor.

The seventh, and perhaps my favorite, is Speedy's origin told in the manner of a Navajo legend.

I have always felt strongly that the Green Arrow mythos has mostly wasted its organic connection to native American culture.

I don't want to spoil the eighth story, but suffice it to say it's about Ollie's empathy as one of his best "weapons".

Any story that spotlights how stupid and pointless Onomatopoeia is is okay by me.

The ninth is a great look at the effective synergy between Green Arrow and Black Canary.

Any story where Deathstroke gets the snot beat out of him is okay by me.

The tenth is a lovely meditation on the ecology of forests as a metaphor for Ollie's understanding of being part of team.

Look, I would NOT recommend a story by Benjamin Percy unless I really felt I had to.

The next is the clunker I mentioned (it's aiming for some sort of mythic weight that Green Arrow simply cannot bear) followed by the (artfully wordless) tribute to Denny O'Neil.  Oh and the book ALSO contains Ollie's CHILI RECIPE!

Try spinning, J'onn.

So.... buy it. It's a fun look at many different takes and aspects of Green Arrow that will help you appreciate the character more.

Really, I can only imagine one thing that could have made it better.


John C said...

I don't know Lamire well enough to hate him specifically, but I will say that The Last [insert character name] Story has got to be one of the most pretentious, faux-sophisticated hack moves available to fiction. Even Grant "I never met a Gardner Fox panel that I wouldn't stretch into thirteen-issue limited series" Morrison didn't try to pretend that DC: One Million was anything like the end of the DCU...

I do wish that artists drawing period pieces would stop trying to "dumb down" their styles. Either ape an actual period artist's style or draw it normally.

Scipio said...

"DC One Million" was the GM thing I enjoyed the most. It was simply fun. And could be completely ignored once it was over.

Anonymous said...

Lemire's run on "Green Arrow" in the nu52 was the only one that was any good, but honestly, it wasn't about Ollie Queen so much as another character who coincidentally was also named "Oliver Queen" and was into archery. It just didn't track with anything Green Arrow-y.

Lemire's main mythology building - which went nowhere - is that there are seven tribes of warriors, the "Outsiders", and each of them specializes in a different weapon. So not-exactly-Ollie's story was about his being attacked by, and learning about, and finally rising to lead the archer tribe. (Katana was part of the sword tribe, if memory serves.)

It was a pretty good story about archers, but not really about the Ollie Queen we are familiar with (any of the versions of him).

You know whose Green Arrow I miss? Judd Winick. He doesn't get nearly enough credit for doing a good Arrow family and characters that seemed right.

John C said...

Right, it could easily have been another Seven Soldiers or Multiversity, and I don't like how he tried to mainstream some aspects of that world like the sun-villain, but really ended up just being Morrison's version of...err...the forgettable "what would it look like if Stan Lee created the major DC characters?" series.

Thinking about it like that, I'd love a series that's a randomly chosen writer assigned a randomly chosen character and told to reboot the character. Twenty pages for the origin and first story, then never to be spoken of again...

Anonymous said...

... finally got a copy of this, and enjoyed it.

I liked that eighth story best, the one with Onomatopoeia and Ollie's empathy. They did something in that story I liked: it showed Ollie as genre-savvy. Not from a "meta" perspective where he knows the conventions of superhero stories, but he's dealt with enough types of supervillain attacks that he knew what to make of someone trying to probe his mind for imagery and symbolism. That's not something that pertains to archery in general, but Ollie's been around the block for a while (80 years now!) so he's been through it all. Including, recognizing when an attack isn't an attack.