Thursday, 6 September 2012

Green Arrow #0 review

Several years ago, nineteen-year-old Ollie Queen is working as a glorified office boy on his father's oil rig, in the latest chance he's been given by his magnate dad to prove he's not a feckless pillock. Unfortunately, he is a feckless pillock, and in this zero month special celebrating one year of the New 52 he's invited several dozen of his bestest pals onto the rig for a party.

By his side is best pal Tommy Merlyn, who laughs at Ollie's attempts to fire a bow and arrow straight, and girlfriend Leena, who reckons Ollie could at least try being something other than a 24-hour party person. Leena flounces off after a little tiff, just as supervillain Iron Eagle arrives, having taken advantage of the relaxed security Ollie's instigated for his shindig. The bad guy stresses that he's just after oil, and if everyone sits tight, no one gets hurt.

Unfortunately, this is the moment that an impulsive, overconfident Ollie finally decides to prove his worth - and it's his friends who pay the price

Judd Winick marks a brief return to Green Arrow with an impressive glimpse at Oliver Queen's past, narrated by the hero himself. The events on the oil rig set Ollie on the path towards heroism, both in terms of landing him alone on a desert island, and teaching him to think before he acts - except when taking aim; that's when a developed instinct must be trusted.

The story also shows us how Ollie became acquainted with Roy Harper, the future Arsenal, and makes it believable that Tommy might move from friend to foe. I was surprised to see Ollie having a play with a bow and arrow before his island sojourn, but an existing interest explains why he'd fashion a bow when he became a reluctant Robinson Crusoe. I've never thought any explanation necessary, mind.

Storyteller supreme Freddie Williams II puts a lot of work in here, giving us a vibrant cast of characters, great movement on the page and detailed backgrounds. For the first time in awhile, Williams has an inker, and Rob Hunter does a first-rate job, capturing the character of the linework. I'm not sure where Williams is going next, now his stint on Captain Atom is over, but I'll certainly give that book a look. The pages are sensitively coloured by Tanya and Richard Horie, and sharply lettered by Rob Leigh. The cover comes from penciller Ivan Reis, inker Joe Prado and colour house Hi-Fi, and actually manages to make the latest Green Arrow costume look good. It's just a shame the cover credits regular series writer Ann Nocenti for Winick's work. There's another error inside, with Ollie referring to Iron Eagle as Raven - wake up, chaps!

Otherwise, this is a top-notch flashback tale, deepening Ollie's character and setting up Merlyn (I never did understand that as the name for an archer - now it's his surname, which is fair enough) as Ollie's greatest enemy. Winick doesn't have any work planned for DC in the near future, but I hope this isn't the last time he adds to the Green Arrow myth.

6 comments:

  1. Martin, I liked this issue too. I thought it was going to go into what Ollie experience on the island some more, but still it was good story of how he ended up on that island in the first place. I also liked the idea of Meryln having been connected to Ollie pre-GA days. My only issue with GA in the New 52 is that he is seems so young. I always thought of GA as being about as old as Batman (though I did like the younger version depicted on Batman Braveand the Bold), perhaps it was the goatee (which I think should return).

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    1. (Weird, I'm sure I'd answered this, Mr Whiskas - my apologies for the lateness)

      I'm in favour of an older Ollie too, along with most of the traditionally senior heroes. With Ollie, though, the beard and attitudes make him seem more even older.

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  2. Oh, Martin, my copy of this issue had Ann Nocenti listed on the cover, but, as you report, she is not listed as the writer in the credits. What's up with that?

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  3. From what I hear, there's a new CW show about Green Arrow, coming so that his new "look" may simply be a case of corporate synergy in action.

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    1. Could be. Let's see how often comics Oliie gets to keep his shirt on once the show begins.

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