Green Arrow #1

Green Arrow #1

B-

Guest post by: Craig Colbrook

The fear with any kind of root-and-branch reboot — or even the “some roots, some branches” soft reboot DC is pushing — is what, exactly, they’re going to change. You’re going to have to get rid of some things, of course; otherwise, there’s no reboot (in some ways, you might say there’s no story at all). But you’ve got to be careful not to change the things that made the character special to begin with.

Green Arrow has not done that yet, but I think there’s reason to be concerned.

In Green Arrow #1, the Emerald Archer takes on perhaps the world’s first social media super villains while trying to keep his operation and his team secure in the face of corporate pressure from Q-Core — the company Green Arrow himself owns.

My illustrious host, Rebel Rikki, likes to say that if it weren’t for Green Arrow’s social consciousness — and inability to shut the hell up about his social consciousness – he’d be just a Batman knock off. I think there’s some truth to that, and thus, I’m a little distressed that Green Arrow didn’t mouth off with any of his opinions besides, well, “Criminals are very, very bad.”

Let’s be clear: this is a solidly constructed first issue. We quickly learn who Green Arrow is, what he does, who his supporting cast is, why they’re there, and what ongoing conflicts they all face. We also meet some interesting new supervillains, and get a pretty fun action sequence, complete with clever new arrows (remote access arrow? Slow Clap, J.T. Krul). What’s more impressive is that we do all of this without suffering through obtrusive exposition, awkward flashbacks, or any other cheats. Dan Jurgens isn’t exactly my favorite artist, but his work is clean and detailed, he knows how bodies move and how to keep track of his setting. You’re never lost looking through Jurgens’ panels.

But so far, I’m not sure what’s really supposed to distinguish Green Arrow from any other hero, be it Batman or Ambush Bug. To be sure, there are some hints that this Green Arrow will echo what we all remember about him — he gives a pretty impassioned speech, he assembles his team from an “anti-war” point of view, and, well, why put base him in a corporate HQ if you aren’t going to have him scrape up against corporate culture? But these are just hints of what’s to come, and you think that in a first issue, you’d lead with what makes your book special.

Still, if the things that make Green Arrow pop are coming (like, say, a certain fishnetted florist…), then I’d trust this team to pull them off. And frankly, those things may be even more fun in the world Krul and Jurgens have already built.

Pull list verdict: ON PROBATION

tags: dan jurgens, green arrow, jt krul, the new 52

  • Anonymous

    Great review, man. I definitely agree with you here. So far GA seems a lot like Batman, and although there are hints of his rabid liberalism, I could do with a little more. This book is fine, but it doesn’t feel like Green Arrow yet. 

  • Thomas Foss

    Considering that Green Arrow’s schtick has always involved his being a millionaire playboy with a teenage ward, themed weapons, and a themed car, plane, and cave. It wasn’t until Denny O’Neil caused him to lose his fortune and start crusading for the little guy against corporate fatcats that he started becoming a distinct character. It’s not entirely surprising that he’d be starting out like Batman, but it’s a shame if they’ve removed the Robin Hood aspect of the character.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that’s definitely true. I just think (and I think Craig would agree) that once O’Neil left that imprint on Ollie, it became a crucial part of him, informing creators like Smith, Meltzer, Johns, Winick and basically everyone else who left his mark on the Emerald Archer recently (including the guys behind the JLU cartoon). So I guess I can see where it would take a minute to build up to that character again, it’s really what separates him from the other superheroes at this point, so I think his creators need to hit that hard and fast. 

  • colby

    Why yes, I would agree. :)

    I’m not sure that this is one of those things where they’re building toward the lost fortune/Robin Hood arc. It’s not like he’s being portrayed as someone who needs to learn a lesson. And he does give a pretty impassioned speech, he clearly has some deep feelings and little interest for anyone who disagrees. My problem is, the speech he gives could’ve come out of dozens of super-heroes mouths.

    That being said, if he is a flaming liberal in issue 2, there is nothing in issue 1 that would make that seem weird. I would just think that since it is such a prominent part of the character (I’d argue the most iconic GA image is all about him being a loud mouth socialist), it’s weird that it’s almost avoided in the first issue. But it’s just one issue.

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