Thursday, August 09, 2012

Green Arrow is Dead

It was with sadness that I removed the New 52 Green Arrow comic from my pull list this week. I really had hopes for that book, but after sticking it out for 12 months I had to conclude that the writer and editor had no clue who Green Arrow was.

Like many of the New 52 heroes, GA came through Flashpoint a younger man than he was previously. But that's not the problem with him or his book. Sure, he's got a three day growth of beard, not his famous Van Dyke beard and mustache, but that's not the problem. I can deal with him looking younger. What I can't deal with is his lack of a personality. Or the personality he has always had.

Oliver Queen has functioned as the DC universe's social conscience since his road trip with Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) back in the 70's. Ollie lost his company and really got in touch with the real world and problems like homelessness, poverty, and drug abuse. That last because his own ward, Roy Harper (Speedy) was found shooting heroin.

But Ollie was in many ways more "real" than his compatriots. As he concludes in the Archer's Quest storyline, he has always been his own worst enemy. He screwed up his relationship with Dinah Lance (Black Canary). He was distant from Roy/Speedy and Roy turned to drugs to fill the void. He lost his company.

Prior to the New 52, GA was shown in the Brightest Day storyline that preceded the Flashpoint event that became the New 52 universe. In Brightest Day, Ollie was living in the forest in Star City, keeping company with a homeless man who called himself Galahad. His dual identity was no longer a secret, but he continued to wear his mask out of habit. Dispossessed of his company and his secret identity, Ollie still strove to be the hero that Star City needed.

In the last 12 months, the GA book has had 3 different writers, which tells me that DC is also not happy with the state of the book. While I'm sure DC doesn't need or want my advice, it would be, "Get Ollie back to his roots. Give him some reason to do what he does. Make him more than a guy in a mask with a bow and quiver."

Sorry, Ollie. I'll be back if you ever come to your senses.


Starman said...

You're more stuborn than I am. I consider myself one of the biggest Green Arrow fans on the planet and I gave up after Issue #9.

Krul was obviously uninterested in continuing the character, giving us a decent enough set-up but no real motivation for why Ollie was doing what he was doing save for some vague talk about doing nothing to save lives when he could have done something.

Jurgens gave us what might have been a suitable fill-in storyline had Ollie's personality in the new reality been at all estaglished.

And Ann Nocenti? She tried to give Ollie a personality but her attempts to make Ollie sound like an off-beat, cultured hipster read like a parody of Dennis O'Neil's work from 40 years ago. And she seemed far more interested in proving her own cultured roots to the reader than making Ollie an engaging character.

Kevin said...

Great analysis. I'd have to agree 100%. I love Ollie, it's a shame they screwed him up.