Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Green Arrow #1

Since DC's relaunch was first announced, fans have insisted that sooner or later, DC will bring everything back to the way it was. This is not something I agree with. Oh sure, we'll see some old costumes again, and Lois and Clark will get married again eventually, but by and large, I think the new status quo is here today. However, after reading Green Arrow #1, I'm convinced that this is the one character whose changes won't stick.

It's not that Green Arrow is the worst book of the relaunch. I don't even think it's all that bad of a comic. But in a week where every title was full of energy, where even titles that were clearly an homage to days gone by felt fresh and new, this comic just felt dated and dull. If Ollie Queen hadn't gone through so many changes, I would've been convinced that I'd grabbed the wrong issue, and that this was a Green Arrow story from 10 or more years ago.

From the book's opening scene, in which Ollie participates in a business meeting while hunting down a group villains, I felt that DC was aiming for something but falling short. Many have compared this new version of Ollie to Steve Jobs, but I have a feeling he was modeled after the film version of Tony Stark. He draws his inspiration from other sources as well- the versions of Green Arrow seen on Smallville and Brave and the Bold as well as various takes on Ollie from comic book history- and together he feels more like a hodgepodge of characters than one cohesive version. His characterization doesn't seem consistent from scene to scene. In some moments, he simply feels like a younger version of bleeding heart liberal Ollie, while in others, he throws out one liners like he's a character in cheesy action movie. It's almost like DC is still experimenting with the character even now, and are using this comic to figure out what works and what doesn't.

The basic premise of the story- Green Arrow versus supervillains that post violent videos on the internet- is one that turns me off. It's the sort of thing I can't read without thinking about how badly it'll age. Still, the comic doesn't lack for action, and utilizes Ollie's trick arrows in a variety of ways. The comic also introduces a new character, an Oracle-esque computer whiz named Naomi who seems to serve as this Green Arrow's sidekick. The character seems likable enough and has plenty of potential, but she and Ollie lacked chemistry, and there wasn't anything fun about their interactions with each other. 

More than anything, this comic just felt lackluster. While reading the other relaunch titles, I felt as though the writers were having an absolute blast writing them, and that energy carried into their stories. I certainly can't speak to writer J.T. Krul's motives, but I didn't get that feeling here. Krul's past work on Green Arrow has been highly controversial, but I don't think the stories he's telling here will be memorable enough to inspire that kind of anger. Instead, I think most people just won't pay attention to them.

Dan Jurgens and George Perez are both solid, capable artists, but like the rest of the comic, their work here just isn't very exciting. There's nothing about the art that will keep people from enjoying the comic, but there's also nothing here that elevates the story, and this story could really use an extra push. I think Green Arrow is a title with a lot of room for visual experimentation, and it's disappointing that that's never taken advantage of. Much like Wonder Woman, a different version of the Green Arrow costume was seen on some promotional materials, and I hope that the art looks so drab only because the creative team was pressed for time.

I've seen people raving about every one of the relaunch titles, and Green Arrow is no exception. There are definitely folks out there that will like this comic a lot more than I did. In spite of that, I don't feel like I can recommend the new Green Arrow to anybody. It's just a lifeless comic, and with so many interesting new books, I don't see any reason to spend time on this one. I was hopeful that this title would make me into a bigger Green Arrow fan, but for the time being, this is a comic I won't be following.

By Marceline with 1 comment


Ugh, you confirmed all my worst suspicions. Everything about this book-from the choice to keep Krul as a writer, to the young look of Ollie- kept me away. Krul's run on GA was thoroughly mediocre, and I don't know why they chose to keep him for the reboot. James Patrick would've been a much better choice. His work on the last few issues was excellent.

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