Green Arrow – The Kill Machine/Outsiders War

GreenArrow_KillMachine
The emerald archer may be a superhero of the small screen today, but Green Arrow has been kicking around on the small page since 1941, a creation of Mort Weisinger and George Papp in the pages of More Fun Comics. A rich playboy stranded on a deserted island, Oliver Queen had to find his inner hero by innovating with the most basic tools, a bow and an arrow. When he returned to civilization, he decided to use his newly found survival skills against the criminals that he found preying on the innocent.

The TV series version of the character in Arrow is a deviation from the printed superhero, but that should come as no real surprise to any comic book reader. Not only does every TV program and film take liberties with the source material, the comics have been in flux since the Crisis of 1985 which saw the collapse of several fictional realities into one. Since then, DC Editorial has kept obsessively revising their creations every few years in an attempt to reach a new audience. Each time, the origin stories of these time-honored heroes have been revised and altered to the point where any connection to the source material is marginal at best.

This brings us to the New 52 (about to get over-written shortly in favor of the DC Convergence). Returned to an earlier point in his career, Queen was still a billionaire playboy who prowled the streets in a green costume armed with high-tech weaponry and ‘trick arrows.’ But editorial struggled in finding a personality for this GA and a revolving door swung open and closed on various creative teams.

Enter Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino who brought a new mythology and style to the series (just in time to cash in on the success of the TV program). Queen Industries was attacked. Green Arrow became a fugitive from the law and a blind sage rescued him from a deadly assassin with a mission to utterly destroy Queen and Green Arrow. Thus began a ‘from the ground up’ rebuilding of GA’s crime-fighting career and a journey that would uncover a vast sprawling epic with the focus being the very island where he found himself.

Pretty nifty, right?

This series of stories (spanning issues 17-33) firmly established a gutsy, all action comic with eye-catching visuals, a strong supporting cast and interesting threats. It also fleshed out GA’s home of Seattle, rife with criminal families and blood-thirsty vigilantes as well as The clan of Outsiders who secretly vied for world domination. It got a bit too much at times as Oliver’s back story became more interesting than the hero himself, but it was fun and entertaining. It even included am archer with a sharply-coiffed goatee who was not dissimilar to the classic Green Arrow of old.

Sadly, like all things in comics, the hard work of Lemire Sorrentino in The Killing Machine/Outsiders War did not last and they moved on to other things (so did the comic). But for a while there, Green Arrow was must-read monthly book that attracted attention from new and old fans, critics and those unfamiliar with this daring archer who was all but unknown from 1941.

Highly recommended…



Collected in print:

downloaddownload (1)Green_Arrow_Vol_5_23_Textless

Green Arrow’s new writer, Jeff Lemire

As some of you may know, I am a fan of Green Arrow. Throughout his long career, the emerald archer has had many different identities, running the gamut from billionaire playboy (Batman knock-off) to bearded liberal and even Mayor of Star City. His popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years but with the premiere of a weekly TV series GA is a household name.

Green Arrow by George Perez

Personally, I just like the hauntingly similar approach that DC and Marvel took in placing a ‘regular guy’ among god-like beings armed with only a bow and (trick) arrow(s). The devil-may-care attitude and quick wit made Green Arrow popular in the 1970’s, but as a crotchety ‘lefty’ rather than the purple-clad ladies’ man (waiting on Hal’s comment on that one) that Hawkeye was. In the New 52-verse, DC has struggled to find a new identity for GA, with two writers taking a turn but have mainly not succeeded in grabbing readers. It looks like they have finally found a good fit in fan favorite Jeff Lemire.

Already having made his mark with Sweet Tooth, Animal Man and the criminally cancelled Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., the announcement of Lemire as new series writer should attract readers (including myself).

Drat… now I’ll have to start collecting another monthly series.

Via CBR.com

Jeff Lemire: I am a huge DC Comics’ fan and I love a lot of the characters, but Oliver Queen has never really been on my radar. I didn’t read much of his stuff in the past. For whatever reason, he never really resonated with me. When he was offered to me, I did a double take because my initial reaction was, “No interest.” But as soon as I started thinking what I could actually do with it, I became really interested.

I’ve been writing the book now since July, and I’ve really fallen in love with the character. I haven’t felt this good about a project since I started “Animal Man.” It feels very natural and the direction I have for the book has been embraced by editorial. I’m honestly really excited about it.

Oliver Queen is a different cat from the characters you usually write for DC Comics. He’s not a misfit, per se, like Buddy Baker, Frankenstein or even John Constantine.

He’s pretty grounded in a way that, like you say, is different from most of the stuff I’ve done for DC and Vertigo. I am usually working with horror or magic-based characters. But I think that was the point. I really wanted to do something different than what I’ve been doing. I really wanted to flex some different muscles. I’ve been doing books like “Animal Man” and “Sweet Tooth” and my big, fun team book with “Justice League Dark,” and I really wanted to do a book that was, for lack of a better term, a crime book. I really wanted to do a hard-hitting, thriller/action/crime book like the best Batman/Daredevil/Green Arrow books have been in the past. It was something I was interested in trying and I’m having a blast with it.

And getting Andrea Sorrentino on art was a real win for me, because I really wanted to make a really bold new take on the character, as well, give the book a really distinct look and separate it from the rest of the superhero comics that DC and Marvel are putting out. He’s certainly delivering on that.

In the announcement posted on The Source, you teased the series would feature a big, new mythology and new villains. We’ve just gone through the relaunch of the New 52 — is this another relaunch?

It really is a departure from what happened in the first 16 issues of the series. It keeps that same continuity — all those things happened and we’re not rebooting by any means, but it’s definitely a drastic change in direction and tone. Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t writing #17 as a new #1 in a lot of ways so new readers can jump on and get right into it, but at the same time, not throwing out what Ann [Nocenti] and J.T. [Krul] had done in the first 16 issues.

I really wanted to explore Oliver’s past and build this new mythology around him and his… I’m going to spoil stuff, so I better be careful. But it’s going to be a really big, sprawling mythology that reaches into the history of Seattle and the history of the Queen family. Through that, we will see a series of new and old villains — some new ones that I’m creating and some old favorites that I want to bring back. Like I did when I got “Animal Man,” I went back and read as much “Green Arrow” stuff as I could, and Mike Grell’s stuff really stood out for me — tonally and just the way he approached the character. There is definitely some stuff from the Mike Grell run that I really want to mine and some of those characters will come back.

It’s the kind of work that if things go well, I could do for a long, long run. I have pretty big plans.

Oliver Queen goes against the Royal Flush Gang in Arrow

CW’s Arrow series continues to flesh out the superheroic DC universe with the latest episode which introduces the Royal Flush Gang, a former group of Justice League of America foes.

Stephen Amell as Green Arrow


Via Spinoff

Oliver Queen will be going off-list in an upcoming episode of Arrow. The CW’s new hit series finds the Emerald Archer taking down people from his late father’s enemies list, but in an upcoming episode called “Legacies,” he’ll face off against a new threat: the Royal Flush Gang.

We’ve known for a while that Kyle Schmid and Currie Graham were set to play Ace and King, respectively. Now, thanks to The CW, we can see them in all their hockey-masked glory. That’s right, instead of being a super-powered gang of criminals, this incarnation makes their name robbing banks.

Arrow‘s playing card-themed episode “Legacies” will air Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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With the Royal Flush gang and Deathstroke adapted for the live action series, who else do you think should be introduced? Merlyn the evil archer? Clock King? The Riddler? Lady Shiva?

Green Arrow TV series picked up by CW

It’s a golden era for archers as DC Comics’ emerald bowman takes to the small screen in his own TV series on the CE. Hoping to fill the void left by Smallville, the hero made popular on that series should attract a healthy following.

Created in the 1940’s, Green Arrow was originally a playboy with a bow and arrow motif that rivaled Batman’s bat obsession. The two characters were incredibly similar in many ways leading to a few changes that gave him his own identity. The hero grew to popularity after he was re-introduced and re-invented in the pages of the Brave and the Bold. His fortune was lost, his face had gained a beard and he also obtained a string political/social view of the world that leaned decidedly to the left.

One of DC Comics’ second-tier heroes, he is a cult favorite with readers who are attracted to his devil-may-care attitude and arsenal of trick arrows. A devout left-winger with an attitude, the Green Arrow has represented ‘the man on the street’ to off-set the mythical imagery of his fellow members of the Justice League of America.

The new TV series will bring some changes to the character as well as nods to the comic book legacy such as Black Canary.

Stephen Amell as Green Arrow

Amid a flurry of pilot pickups, The CW has given a series order to “Arrow,” the hour-long drama based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow.

Created by “Green Lantern” screenwriters Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim and “Fringe: co-executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, the series centers on Oliver Queen, a wealthy young bad boy who, after spending five years shipwrecked on an island, returns to Starling City — changed from Star City — with a mastery of the bow and a determination to make a difference. Here’s the official description:

 After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he’s become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow – a vigilante – to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be – flanked by his devoted chauffeur/bodyguard, John Diggle – while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver’s own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on – and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.

The series stars Stephen Amell (“Hung,” “The Vampire Diaries”) as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn,Katie Cassidy (“Supernatural,” “Melrose Place’) as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey (“Dexter, “Blue Bloods”) as John Diggle, Willa Holland (“The O.C.”) as Thea Queen, with Susanna Thompson (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Kings”) as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne (“The Dresden Files,” “24”) as Detective Quentin Lance.

The pilot was directed by David Nutter (“Game of Thrones,” “The Pacific”) from a teleplay by Kreisberg and Guggenheim and a story by Berlanti and Guggenheim.

Via CBR.com

So will you be watching?

Green Arrow headed for the small screen

I must have missed a memo, but it appears that CW is prepping the emerald archer for a TV series. The bow and arrow adventurer is a perfect fit for a series in my opinion, with his wild charisma, devil-may-care attitude and sharp wit.

Controversially (perhaps) the series will not be a continuation of the Smallville version of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance but a revamp from the ground up. Titled ‘Arrow,’ the series hopes to take up the mantle left by Smallville not long ago. Word is that this has s better chance of success due to GA being a lesser known property in comparison to Wonder Woman.

Judging from the footage I have seen, the real issue with the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman’s failure had less to do with her being well known by TV viewers and more to do with it being crap.

Green Arrow by ncajayon

“Supernatural” alum Katie Cassidy has joined the rapidly expanding cast of “Arrow,” playing Dinah “Laurel” Lance in The CW pilot based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow, Deadline reports.

The newly greenlit project, from “Green Lantern” screenwriters Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim and “Fringe” co-executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, has already lined up Stephen Amall (“Hung”) as young Oliver Queen, David Ramsey (“Dexter”) as Oliver’s bodyguard John Diggle, and Susanna Thompson (“Once and Again”) as Oliver’s mother Moira.

Described as as “very provocative and sophisticated and edgy,” “Arrow” centers on wealthy bad boy Oliver Queen, who after spending five years shipwrecked on an island in the South China Sea, returns to Star City with a mastery of the bow and a determination to make a difference.

Cassidy, who appeared as the manipulative demon Ruby in Season 3 of “Supernatural,” will play Laurel — the alter ego of DC’s Black Canary — a crusading legal aid attorney who shares a romantic past with Oliver. According to a leaked character breakdown, she’s waging a one-woman war against the 1 percent following the death of her younger sister aboard Oliver’s yacht.

No stranger to The CW, Cassidy also starred on the update of “Melrose Place” and had a recurring role on “Gossip Girl.” Via CBR.com

Actor Stephen Arnell has cast as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, the playboy turned crime-fighter/radical politician. The addition of Dinah Lance/Black Canary is a wise one as it will expand the appeal to viewers and fans of the comic book heroes.

The pilot was greenlit (pun there) earlier this year. If it proves to be a success, expect to see the (soon to be) Anne Nocenti penned comic book series to step in line with the televised continuity… or vice versa.

More as it comes.

The Justice League’s Green Arrow hits the mark in his first solo animated short

Green Arrow by George Perez

Showcase Presents: Green Arrow

–  review
The third animated short from Warner Entertainment, Showcase Presents: Green Arrow came bundled with the deluxe edition of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (reviewed here).

A character dating back to the 1930’s, Green Arrow as created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp was essentially a Batman-clone with bows and arrows instead of batarangs. Each was a bored playboy (Green Arrow was secretly Oliver Queen), each had a cavernous hideout, each had a characteristic array of vehicles (Arrow-plane, Arrow-car, Bat-plane, Batmobile) and each had a young ward assistant (Batman has Robin, Green Arrow had Speedy).

The current Brave and the Bold cartoon series remembers this and has no qualms about bringing the gag back again and again.

He was re-introduced in the 60’s by way of Showcase Presents (ironically), an anthology series spotlighting characters without an ongoing monthly book. After a few oddball adventures courtesy of Jack Kirby, he was robbed of his playboy lifestyle given a new costume, a new personality and facial hair (courtesy Neal Adams and Denny O’Neill). The cranky left-wing bowman with an eye for the ladies is how Green Arrow is viewed today, but in actual fact, that is a rather modern take on the hero. It’s the best one, too. Mike Grell furthered this journey with a hard-hitting and gritty comic in the 80’s that was published for mature readers (it was a different time). This iteration ran its course until he was blown up on a plane with his arm stuck in a bomb. Revived in typical convoluted comic book logic via Kevin Smith’s story Quiver in 2003, the beard-twirling bowman has been entertaining a new generation of readers ever since.

I’ve always been partial to Green Arrow (and his plumb-hued counterpart Hawkeye at Marvel), possibly due to the fact that he’s just a man with lots of courage and determination fighting a battle that is often dominated by armor-plated or super-powered men and women. It takes a lot of guts to grow your beard that funky too.

Even with such a long history in comics, the animated short is only his fifth appearance on TV as a cartoon character (a brief walk-on in Super Friends, a costarring role in Justice League Unlimited, a co-starring appearance in The Batman and the afore-mentioned Brave and the Bold team-ups making up the other moments). A cocky and highly charismatic personality, Green Arrow is perfectly captured in this cartoon in ways that make you wonder why he never had his own series. DC Comics is known mainly for its mythology of heroes rather than its depth of characters, but there are exceptions with Oliver Queen being one of them.

The plot is simply that Oliver Queen is late to pick up his girlfriend and fellow superhero Black Canary at the airport. It’s no ordinary meeting, either. He’s packing an engagement ring and is nervous that anything could spoil his big moment. as a lifelong macho bachelor, this is a tense moment. On the way to pick her up he spots an old foe in the crowd, the evil archer Merlyn (voiced by Malcolm McDowell). In some ways, happy for the distraction, Queen takes action. Changing to his superhero duds, he soon finds himself thwarting an attempted kidnapping of a foreign princess on her way to becoming the heir to the throne of her land.

The action is fluid and non-stop, a quality that I admire more and more in these Showcase animated shorts. The physics of the human form and fighting moves are very exciting and really carry the action well.

The voice acting is superb and never distracting (a common problem with animated projects). Neal McDonough captures the smarmy and genuinely sincere persona of Green Arrow perfectly. She doesn’t have much to work with but veteran voice actress Grey DeLisle is a good choice for Black Canary. I do have to admit that I was a bit heads over heels with McDowell as as Merlyn. His smooth yet mad British accent is a magical thing and it fit the villainous bowman to a tee.

There has been some talk of a Green Arrow feature film entitled SuperMax. Set in a maximum security prison for super crooks, it would pit Green Arrow as the only hero stuck inside during a breakout. It’s an unusual pitch, but would really make the strengths of the character evident. It’s still in development limbo but as Warner panics over what to try after Green Lantern, it may come up again.

Even with a feature film appearance in the cards, I have to admit that the more I see these short animated features the more I want to see them rather than big budget versions with overblown CGi effects, bad acting, questionable scripts and studio politics getting in the way of what should be a 1 to 1 adaptation from page to screen. I mean, how good can the live action Green Lantern be compared to the First Flight animated feature? Why bother filming a Wonder Woman live action film when the animated movie suffices?

DC Comics has really hit upon something with these animated films and the Showcase Presents short films is just a steadily building layer of icing on a delicious cake.

If you have missed out on these wonderful shorts, Warner Bros. has released them in extended form as part of a budget-priced volume along with a new feature spotlighting Shazam and Superman against Black Adam. It’s a great set and comes highly recommended.

Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (DC Showcase)

Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection - Volume 1

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters

I had written recently about the revisionary process that comic book creators face when trying to breath new life into a third-tier character in regards to Aquaman. It’s a constant problem, essentially when you realize that many of these creations have been around since WW2. As the demographic of readers that publishers are targeting changes, so must the characters themselves it seems. For this reason both DC and Marvel Comics felt the need to make their characters more ‘gritty’ in the 1980’s. Adapting some of these admittedly dated concepts to a more sophisticated and adult take can be hit and miss depending on the starting point. In the case of Green Arrow, Mike Grell had already been involved rather deeply with the superhero and had developed a feel for what made him tick. The result isn’t so much of a jarring modernization but more of a maturing of the creation. That doesn’t mean it is without flaws, but it is an interesting and refreshingly different place to start.

George Papp and Mort Weisinger’s initial creation was a modern-day Robin Hood using gimmick arrows to do everything from fight crime to soar over the streets of Star City where he protected the innocent from super crime. A playboy by day and vigilante by night, he shared numerous similarities with Batman. As the hero progressed, he became a member of first the Seven Soldiers of Victory and later the Justice League of America, entering the big time alongside Batman and Superman. A fan favorite, Green Arrow found a new home in the pages of the JLA and later still as a co-star with Green Lantern. After losing his fortune, his look was redesigned and his character defined as a cranky liberal always mouthing off at the other heroes who didn’t understand the ‘real world.’

While not as marketable as other superheroes, Green Arrow had a cult following. In fact, he even made a guest appearance on the Super Friends cartoon.

Green Arrow as designed by Alex Toth

Alex Ross' classic take on Green Arrow and Black Canary

The 1987 revitalization of Green Arrow is a multi-pronged attack. The three issue mini-series ‘The Longbow Hunters’ re-established Oliver Queen in a new setting (Seattle), with a new base of operations (Sherwood Florist) with his girlfriend of some years Black Canary. Grell made the decision to age Queen, stating that the archer was in his 40’s, something very bold if rather confusing as it begs the questions ‘if Green Arrow is in his 40’s,how old are the other guys?’

As Oliver Queen questions his future, even to the point of proposing that he and Black Canary start a family, he discovers a new reason to fight crime as a series of grisly murders haunt the populace. The tone of Longbow Hunters is greatly assisted by the lush water colors. The city streets are slick with rain and the fear-filled faces of murder victims splattered red with blood. Grell perfectly captures the mood and character of Green Arrow even to the point of retelling the time-honored origin story where Queen single-handedly captured a gang of drug runners on a deserted island as something that the press trumped up as bigger than it really was.

It’s clear early on that Longbow Hunters is determined to have a realistic slant rather than a fantastic one. From the murder mystery/arms dealing plot to the redefining of an aged super hero, this is one of the first comics that I read where the term’ suggested for mature readers’ makes perfect sense. Kids just wouldn’t get it.  Grell expertly connects the dots of the influence of a ‘simpler time’ that Robin Hood evokes to Oliver Queen combined with the identity of a hunter that he picked up while shipwrecked on the island in order to present his new more refined Green Arrow who feels somewhat silly using trick arrows and admits that he walks a thin line between being a hero and a hunter.

To provide a foil to Green Arrow as he hunts the killer on the streets, Grell introduces the young archer Shado. An interesting character, I admit that I was confused by her inclusion at first. It becomes clear over the course of Longbow Hunters that she is a reminder that the crime that Oliver Queen is fighting is very real and not so abstract as it had been in previous comic books. She also provides a deeper look into the soul of Green Arrow that even Queen himself is not comfortable with.

After all this gushing, let me explain where the flaws are.

The plot is… more than a little convoluted.

There is a killer on the streets striking at lone women that Black Canary is investigating. There is also an archer killing old men who oddly have no military history though they have training and ties that imply otherwise. The two plots circle around each other so vaguely that I often got too lost in their intricate lines to figure out how they related to each other. There’s also some complicated plot to sell guns to terrorists in order to launder drugs…  or money… I’m not sure but Oliver Queen ends up with a duffel bag full of unmarked bills.  In time it all comes together but it still strikes me as being more at home in a Death Wish movie than a Green Arrow comic. Another strange thing is the treatment of Black Canary who gets brutalized in this story. It seems too extreme for my taste and done mainly for sensationalism. It served the plot but still just never feels right to me. This is a woman who fought supervillains yet she gets taken in by some old guys. Strange.

The entire experiment of the Longbow Hunters was a roaring success, spawning an ongoing series that Grell wrote for 80 issues. It cemented the character in place as a sophisticated superhero who fought real world crimes.  This makes it all the more sad when it came time to transform Oliver Queen back into a superhero… then kill him… then bring him back from the dead in a a comic written by Kevin Smith.

Comics are weird.

It’s an unusual and happy event when a comic book creator who is truly invested in a character gets an opportunity to bring about the kind of change that Grell did with Green Arrow. Despite its challenges, no matter what else happens in this character’s long history, the Longbow Hunters remains a high watermark.

Green Arrow: Year One

A character in a long line of playboy-by-day pulp heroes, Green Arrow (like many obscure comic book characters) has become something of a hot property of late. This is largely in part to the character appearing in Smallville, a TV series that is an ingenious experiment in the marketing of DC Comics‘ many properties. The very fact that my mom not only knows who Green Arrow is but is excited about him is a testament to the success of the program in making super heroes household names.

Green Arrow started more humbly as a creation of Mort Weisinger and George Papp. A colorful character with an array of trick arrows, GA‘s origin story is more or less a simple one. A rich businessman stranded on a tropical island, Oliver Queen develops a unique method of self-preservation using a simple bow an arrow at first, but his keen mind soon comes up with unique trick arrows that allow him rule the very land that was once so foreign and threatening to him. These skills are put to the test when he encounters a gang of criminals using the island as a safe house. Queen soon realizes that the selfsame skills he had acquired in hunting for survival can be turned on the crooks, turning him into a hero.

As can be expected, the comic is dated, quirky, and of course full of many plot contrivances. Nevertheless, the character has survived these many years and proven to be a fan favorite character, earning him his own series… many times, despite numerous cancellations.

More recently, it was decided to grant the character a ‘Year One’ event mini-series more fitting with modern audiences. Former 2000 AD Editor and writer of the revamp of Jack Kirby’s Losers, Andy Diggle and compatriot artist Jock were announced as the creators of the series and fans slavered with anticipation.

While working on his research for this series, Andy Diggle commented on fellow screenwriter John August’s blog on the subject of ‘old things’ sucking. To clarify, John August was working on a screenplay for a Captain Marvel (alias ‘Shazam’) movie and had stated on his blog that the original comics were poorly constructed so he had chosen to discount them as valid research entirely. In the flurry of comments on this statement, Diggle weighed in.

Not to ‘out’ Diggle but just to be precise on his words, I re-present them here:

“But what you quickly realize is that old-time comic books were awkwardly written, crudely drawn, and bewilderingly inconsistent with their rules.”

Having recently had to wade through a bunch of awful, ancient B/W reprints before writing GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE, I can confirm this 100%.

Doesn’t mean you won’t still draw hell from the nostalgia-nerds for saying it out loud, though…

The only reason that I mention Diggle‘s words at all is because of the comic’s good and bad points. After the introduction Brian K. Vaughn expounds on how comic writers have only one page to grab a reader, I was surprised to learn that the entire first issue was unnecessary. Queen is re-presented as a rich playboy as before, but this time a mysterious friend (an English life companion named Hackett) is introduced to provide exposition.

Without Hackett‘s dialog, I’m not sure how the comic would have progressed. He starts out telling his traveling companion Oliver Queen what he has been doing with his life and that there is something missing from it in an incredibly ham-fisted style and returns now and again to remind readers what is going on like a one-man Greek chorus. Bearing this in mind, I’m confused by Diggle comment shooting down the old comics as being poorly done by his estimation.

Here is an excerpt from ‘Mr. Exposition’ Hackett:

You told me nobody knew about this little fun factory of yours.

You told me the Yanks took it off the map when they used it for bomb tests back in the Fifties.

So either the natives are getting restless, or someone’s stumbled in from the outside.

Either way, it’s messing with my peace of mind.

After all, I’m s’posed to be dead, ain’t I?

Thanks Hackett, but we covered all of that last month.

The second issue fares better and is also where artist Jock gets to stretch his muscles a bit more at showing Oliver Queen find the hero in himself. In truth, the bits of Year One that essentially retell Weisinger and Papp’s comic are the best parts of the entire 6 issue series. The inclusion of Hackett, an opium drug czarina ‘China White ‘and pregnant freedom fighter/surgeon Taiana are such obvious plot devices to keep the story moving hardly keeping with the sophisticated direction of the mini series.

The Green Arrow Year One comic in its entirety is a good way to reintroduce readers to the character and may be more approachable than the source material, but it is hardly worthy of rubbing shoulders with Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Batman Year One as Vaughn‘s introduction suggests. It’s pretty to look at and cinematic in its feel, but all of its innovations are just awkward add-ons that should have been cast aside to make the comic tighter. Seeing as how Diggle is a former editor, I’m confused as to how these simple problems got past him.

If you are an avid collector or casual fan of ‘graphic novels’ and looking for the best-looking Green Arrow book to rest on your shelves, this is a good candidate. Since Mike Grell’s ‘The Longbow Hunters’ is not in print, ‘Year One’ is a good second-best ‘definitive GA story.’

Recommended:

Green Arrow/Black Canary VOL 01: The Wedding Album
Green Arrow: Year One
Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection – Volume 1
Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or Worse
Showcase Presents: Green Arrow, Vol. 1
Green Arrow: The Archer’s Quest (Vol. 4)

The Batman’s Stan Berkowitz

Writer Stan Berkowitz was the subject of an interview with World’s Finest where he described some of his problems working on the new series.

“I wrote my first script for ‘The Batman‘ in early 2006 (the Riddler origin story), and writing it was exactly like writing any ‘Batman’ episode. No difference whatsoever. After that season, though, the network focus-grouped ‘The Batman’ (and ‘Legion of Super Heroes’) and found out that what our very young male audience wanted was more fights, jokes and costumes and fewer female characters.”No surprises there, but for some reason, I had an incredibly difficult time adjusting to these new imperatives when I was working on the Green Arrow story for the show’s 07-08 season. The script generated endless notes from just about everyone, and it wasn’t finished until 15 minutes before it was due to be recorded. Not the way I like to work.

“Before starting on the next script, I asked Alan Burnett if I could see Len Uhley’s Hal Jordan/Green Lantern script for the show, and once I read it, I had a much better sense of the tone the network wanted. I guess the point is, it comes more naturally for me to write for a slightly older audience. But you can’t deny the value of focus groups; the kids will always tell you what they want and don’t want, and if you pay attention, they’ll watch your show.”

An episode devoted to Oliver Queen AND an episode all about Hal Jordan?

Sounds like Batman Season Five will be a very fun ride!

The new season premiers September 22nd… set your TiVo.

Green Arrow – Supermax

Green ArrowDavid Goyer (Blade, JSA) recently conformed that he is working on a Magneto screenplay as well as another project called ‘Supermax.’

Taking place in a maximum security prison for super powered villains, the script follows the adventures of its hero Green Arrow fighting his way out.

The script is still in development, but could easily play on the interest generated in the character since he appeared on Smallville and my mom called me up asking who Green Arrow was.

(these youtube tribute vids are very odd… aren’t they?)

A quick-witted bowman with amazing archery skills, Green Arrow was basically a Batman clone with arrows until he was revamped by Bob Haney and Neal Adams into the bearded bowman we know today.

After a stint on the road to rediscover America with square galactic cop Green Lantern, he rejoined the Justice League of America in the 70’s. Looking for a purpose to give Green Arrow, the writers decided that he should take on the role of the loud mouthed liberal in the super group. It makes sense given that not only was he a former businessman turned pauper but being surrounded by men and women capable of tearing apart cars with their bare hands, he acted as a kind of conscience for the team.

After a very long stint in comic book limbo, Green Arrow returned in a series written by popular filmmaker Kevin Smith. Smith brought his great love for the character to the series along with his high-profile star power, turning the series into a blockbuster success for the first time since the 60’s.

Bruce Timm included Green Arrow in his Justice League Unlimited cartoon series as a kind of action hero meets Star Trek’s Doctor McCoy. The character was so popular with writers that he practically took over the series.

Whatever the fate of this unusual script, I think its intentions are good. I trust Goyer‘s instincts and feel that a hero fighting a prison full of super villains armed with gimmick arrows would be a huge boost to the character’s reputation.

Suggested Reading:

Green Arrow: Quiver (Book 1)
Green Arrow: Straight Shooter (Vol. 3)
Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection – Volume 2
Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold – The Batman Team-Ups, Vol. 1

Justice League Unlimited – Season One (DC Comics Classic Collection)