As with volume 1, Arrow: Volume 2 collects the tie-in comics of the the CW show Arrow, in this case issues 7 through 12, into one book. And as before,As with volume 1, Arrow: Volume 2 collects the tie-in comics of the the CW show Arrow, in this case issues 7 through 12, into one book. And as before, the stories are arranged into a further 18 "chapters", each one a short vignette which takes place in the past or present of the first season of the show, taking a small part of the storyline or character development and adding a bit more flesh to it. As with the first volume--I feel like a broken record here--this compilation is really only for fans of the show rather than fans of the original DC comic character Green Arrow. That said, even though this is the second volume, both books are stand-alone as there's no cohesive, over-arcing storyline to them, so if one is read without the other, other than any niggling feeling you might have from reading a set of books out of order (or does that only happen to me?) you won't run into any problems.
Because each chapter is drawn by a different artist--some having come over from volume 1--once again you run into a range of style and talent. However, there seemed to be a greater consistency between the artists with this volume, not necessarily with them trying to emulate each other's work, but with the artists trying to achieve a more consistent look from story to story, i.e. the characters look more like the actors portraying them rather than generic "female victim" or "male hero." Each artist still puts his individual stamp on the story they're creating, obviously--there's nothing homogeneous here--but there's also no great disparity moving from one chapter to the next which could startle you out of the mood the book has created. You know, when one artist uses a lighter hand with his outlining and shadowing, creating a more delicate look, and then the next artist relies on deep shadows and heavy lines, creating a more raw or crude look. Does my rambling make any kind of sense?
As I stated earlier, Arrow: Volume 2 is most enjoyable for those fans of the show who would like to explore further the characters and history of the world Guggenheim et al have created. Anyone else might possibly enjoy the artwork or the stories for the interaction between characters without actually knowing who they are and why they're behaving as such . . . but I doubt it as I think it would simply raise more questions than answers for them. As for me, since I am such a squeeing fan-girl of the show, I got a great deal of enjoyment out of the book; I think my only disappointment came from the fact that the stories were so short, causing the book to end much too soon....more
Okay, for my review, a few things should be known: I'm an unabashed, squeeing, fan-girl fan of the show Arrow (same goes with its brother, The Flash);Okay, for my review, a few things should be known: I'm an unabashed, squeeing, fan-girl fan of the show Arrow (same goes with its brother, The Flash); I have a very sad and pathetic crush on the lead, Stephen Amell, mainly because of his salmon ladder pull-ups *hummina, hummina, hummina*; I'm deficient in any knowledge of classic Green Arrow comic history--my time at DC Comics was mainly spent communing with Wonder Woman. With those things in mind, here is my review:
Arrow: Volume 1 collects issues 1-6 of the tie-in comic for the CW show, Arrow. Inside this compilation are 18 "chapters", each of which takes a scene or character and expands upon what we learned in the first season of the show. Basically the "chapters" flesh out points of the show that may have only been flashes on screen, giving us a deeper look at the world of Arrow as created in part by executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. Do these "chapters" provide a deep and insightful exposé? Not particularly. But if you're a fan of the show--which is really the target audience for these comics--you'll enjoy seeing what happened to Diggle in Afghanistan, for instance, or discovering the tragedy that made Helena Bertinelli into the Huntress, or getting a glimpse into Chien Na Wei's childhood before she became China White. And, of course, we follow alongside Oliver as he patrols the city, carrying out the promise he made to undo his father's wrongs and serve the city.
The storylines are pretty basic, nothing particularly striking or revelatory about any of them, but they are entertaining, full of quips and fast-paced action. The artwork is pretty good--as with any graphic novel or compilation that relies on multiple artists, the work can at times be hit-or miss. In some of the chapters, it's hard to differentiate between characters: the men all look the same and so do the women. I'd have to say the work of Mico Suayan and Omar Francia was the best, in my opinion, with Mike Grell and Xermanico as runners up. At times, the artwork is rather primitive, at others, overly cartoonish, but again that's what you get with several artists working together. In the end, it all evens out, I think, and there's nothing so overtly "wrong" with any of it that might jar the reader out of the book. So I count that as a success.
In the end, I honestly don't see fans, especially die-hard fans, of the classic Green Arrow comics particularly enjoying these comics or graphic novels as they're aimed at the viewing audience of the Arrow TV show. Even then I don't think casual or highly critical viewers of the show will find the need to read these or take much away from them as they probably won't answer the questions or issues they have with the show and will seem more superficial than beneficial. Me? Gimme more, gimme more!...more
Reading this made my inner child (who often escapes and runs amok as an outer child, but that's an issue to deal with another day) gleefully, squealinReading this made my inner child (who often escapes and runs amok as an outer child, but that's an issue to deal with another day) gleefully, squealingly happy. About the only thing that would've made the whole thing even better would've been the presence of unicorns. But that's just my horse-obsessed inner child speaking.
The story revolves around a very familiar theme, that of loneliness and not belonging and wondering if everyone would be better off if you just ran away. Believe me, as a teenager, I ran the gamut of these emotions, so I could fully empathize with Star, the protagonist of the story. As a black pegasus in a world where black pegasi aren't an everyday occurrence, Star feels like an outcast. Add in an ancient prophecy attached to those rare black pegasi, one of which is born every hundred years, which states that the pegasus foal will either unite or destroy the herds and become the most powerful pegasus in the land, and it's no wonder Star is either shunned or actively bullied by the other foals, not to mention many of the adult pegasi. As a final insult, Star doesn't fully belong to his herd: His mother had been driven away from her herd and was taken in by the Sun Herd, then died after giving birth to Star; the lead mare, Silvercloud, promised Star's mother she'd protect him, a promise she's kept all these years, to the detriment of her relationship with the herd's over-stallion, Thunderwing. So not only is Star concerned about his destiny, he feels guilty for destroying the lives of those protecting him. This makes for one sad, lonely little youngster. The fact that, on top of all these issues, Star is a pegasus who can't fly . . . Well, it's no wonder he feels depressed! In the end, Star comes through his trauma and finds his place in the world, but it's a bumpy road he has to travel before reaching that peak.
This is definitely not a light and fluffy book, an impression one might get upon hearing that it's all about pretty, pretty pegasi. But right from the start, in the first chapter, we deal with bullying and fear and the threat of death. From there the book gives us fighting between herds and even within the herd--fighting that ends in a lot of death--more bullying, physical violence, betrayal and vengeance, near-death experiences due to starvation and infection, a forest fire that kills yet more pegasi . . . you get the picture. But don't be put off and think it's too dark for a kid. Trust me, at heart kids are sociopaths, and I mean that in the most positive way: They're still forming their moral compass and books that show how things can go wrong, how life isn't always fair, but how things like love, compassion, cooperation, and sacrifice can save the day provide helpful guidance. Kids are plastic, elastic, and flexible; they can handle more serious issues that we adults might want to shield them from. But exposure to the darker side of life, even viewed through the lens of fantasy, gives kids a more well-rounded attitude and the potential to cope with any future issues that might befall them. They'll sympathize with Star and root for him even as they growl at Star's enemies, especially Brackentail; they'll cry when things go wrong and yelp for joy when Star finally starts to fulfill his destiny. In short, I can see both girls and boys devouring this book and any follow-up volumes.
I've noticed some people dinging the bit where Star's tears cause flowers to spring up in their wake, complaining it's too far-fetched and silly. Um, we're talking about a book concerning talking pegasi and a star on a hundred-year cycle that gives one particular pegasus a unique power. You're going to complain about the idea of flowers growing from tears? *opens mouth, pauses, shuts mouth and shakes head* Yes, Star's tears bring forth flowers, which I took as an obvious and overt sign that his destiny isn't written by an ancient prophecy. Star's destiny is one he will write every day, one of his own making. A destiny I'm eager to read about in however many sequels Ms. Alvarez decides to write (very, very many, I'm hoping)....more