So in the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I picked up this comic because...moreThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
So in the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I picked up this comic because of the show, Arrow. Yes, the show is a bit cheesy and melodramatic, but it is a lot of fun to watch and it made really curious about the original version of this character.
The Green Arrow seems to be one of those characters that everybody knows but no one seems to read. First created in 1941 by Morton Weisinger and George Papp. He’s had a number of image changes over the years, but I’ve always associated as someone who dresses like Robin Hood, sporting a gravity defying beard. His real name is Oliver Queen and he is a billionaire living in Star City. In many ways he’s the bow and arrow version of Batman – using his wealth to be a defender of morality and the every day citizen.
His character developed a reputation of being pretty left wing and progressive, especially in the 1970s when he was briefly paired with the Green Lantern. From there he remained in regular circulation until Oliver Queen was killed off in the 1990s and replaced by his son – Connor Hawke. Connor, however, wasn’t quite a hit with the fans and Oliver was eventually brought back in 2001 by Kevin Smith. He is regularly paired with Black Canary (one of my loves from Birds of Prey) and they were married in a 2007 plot arc written by Judd Winick. However, in 2011, like many other DC Comic characters his series was relaunched but unlike some of the other characters it’s been a rocky transition. Originally written by J.T. Krul and then by Ann Nocenti the series wasn’t very well received but it’s found a new writer in Jeff Lemire and things seem to be getting better since then.
I chose to go with the story arc “Year One” because it’s Oliver Queen’s origin story. It isn’t connected to a larger series so I figured if I enjoyed it I could move on to a bigger series and if I didn’t then it’s wholly self contained and I could move on.
The premise of this comic is similar to that of the current CW show. Oliver Queen, a reckless, billionaire playboy finds himself lost on a seemingly deserted island. Although in this case it wasn’t a storm that brought him there – it was out and out betrayal. He’s already pretty proficient with a bow and arrow (rich kids and their hobbies) and fashions himself one from the wreckage.
It doesn’t take long for Oliver to find out that something much more sinister is going on. I loved the way the plot is constructed. Step by step pieces of information are revealed to the reader. I couldn’t imagine reading this book when it first came out and waiting for the next issue. I devoured the whole thing so quickly because I wanted to know what was at the heart of this crazy conspiracy.
I really liked the development of Oliver Queen throughout this plot arc. In the beginning you can’t stand him. He’s spoiled and annoying and I kind of wanted to push him off the boat. But as events transpire he really grows as a person. It wasn’t just a matter of him deciding to right some wrongs and fight evil. He changed as a person. By the end I found his respectable and even a bit admirable. It made sense to be why he became the Green Arrow. And in the end that’s what you want. Not just an explanation but the motivation and drive behind it.
I liked the artwork in Year One. It wasn’t overly busy or cluttered. It was only what I needed to see. I also really liked the vibrant colours that were used through out. Bright purples and greens and reds. It was very eye catching. Since the majority of the story takes place on the island I thought the artwork would be gritty and rough so it was a surprise to find the opposite – and thankfully a surprise that worked out.
I think the Green Arrow: Year One is a good example of what a super hero origin story should be. It allows for character development, introduces the world and some of the secondary characters as well. And since Oliver Queen doesn’t have any super natural powers it also felt pretty believable.(less)