Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Green Arrow (vol.3) #1 (2001)

Green Arrow (vol.3) #1 (April, 2001)
"Quiver, Chapter One: The Queen is Dead (Long Live the Queen)"
Writer - Kevin Smith
Penciller - Phil Hester
Inker - Ande Parks
Letterer - Sean Konot
Colorist - Guy Major
Editor - Bob Schreck
Associate Editor - Michael Wright
Cover Price: $2.50

Been wanting to talk about Green Arrow for quite some time... the only thing holding me back was my own obsessive concern over how to catalog the various volumes.  Do I count the mini-series as "Volume One"... a lot of places do that... or do I just go with the first issue of the Mike Grell series as "Volume One"... a lotta places do that too!  I figured, after a year and a half (hey, that's quick for me!) to throw caution to the wind and mark Mike Grell's as "Volume One"... 

... and then I changed my mind.

Okay, so... to assuage my own anxiety, let's parse this out.  For the sake of the humble blog, we're doing:

1983 Miniseries - Volume One
Mike Grell-launched Series - Volume Two
Kevin Smith-launched Series - Volume Three

Whew.  So Too much drama and intrigue before we even open the comic!


We open atop the Daily Planet building... during The Final Night.  Batman and Superman discuss the finer points of being cold.  Yes, this is going to be a gabby book, not that that's a bad thing when the gabbing is well-written.  More on point, they also discuss second chances... Hal Jordan, Parallax at this juncture, might prove vital in defeating the Sun-Eater.  As you might imagine, Superman is keen on accepting Hal's help... Batman, not so much.  During the chat, Superman feels a strange (and oddly phrased) sensation, as though "Something... left my person".

Elsewhere, still during The Final Night, Parallax leaves a bouquet of roses at an old friend's grave before heading off to sacrifice himself to save the universe... as he vanishes, another set of legs appears, and collapses.  This is a callback to the final issue of the prior volume of Green Arrow... from three years ago (publication time).  This volume was a lonnnnnng time coming.

We jump ahead to the present.  In New York City, Arsenal is playing the "waiting game", hanging low until he sees the perfect opportunity to take down some dealers.  He thinks back to his time as Oliver Queen's ward and trainee, and how Ollie instilled in him patience.  There's a pretty cool scene here of Ollie starting a water drip from a spigot and Roy trying to split a water drop with an arrow.  Turns out the flashback lasted just long enough to take down the drug lords.

At the same time in Seattle, Black Canary is playing a waiting game of her own, surveilling an apartment where a woman is washing the dishes.  This leads her to recall a time in particular where she was interrupted while doing the dishes... by a rather amorous Oliver Queen.  Without getting too crude, they get into a bit of a water fight.

She continues watching... knowing that the woman is being held against her will.  She continues remembering her former lover.  This time we go all the way back to The Longbow Hunters to when Dinah herself was held against her will and Ollie came to her rescue.  This next few pages is quite the stellar recap of she and Ollie's relationship.  Really dig it!

Her trip down memory lane continues all the way to the end.  She wasn't there for it, but she recalls Superman describing Ollie's final moments... his sacrifice... the explosion.  Like Roy's before her, her flashback conveniently ends right is it's time to leap into action.  She witnesses a large man beating the dishwashing woman and intervenes.  Turns out she's had her eye on him for quite some time as he's tied up in prostitution and drugs... just not a good dude.

We next shift to Green Arrow's son, Connor Hawke who appears to be back at the monastery.  He thinks about the time he'd spent with his father... exchanging archery and martial arts skills before they even realized they were bonded by blood.  He recalls taking over the mantle after Ollie's passing... and filling the boots to the best of his abilities.  He teamed up with Hal Jordan's replacement Green Lantern Kyle Rayner in a new-age Hard-Travellin' Heroes... and even joined the JLA!

We wrap up in Star City.  A man is being mugged on the street, when suddenly one of the assailants is hit with a makeshift "trick" arrow... one with a fork tied to its tip.  Then another gets his with an arrow with a bottle of bleach bound to the tip... the would-be victim looks back and sees... a ghost!?


Okey dokey...

This was a book I was a bit nervous about revisiting... and lemme tell ya why.  If I'm being completely honest, I stopped liking Kevin Smith films after Mallrats.  Not that I'm all that big into movies anyway... but after Clerks. and Mallrats, they really stopped doing much of anything for me.  They also hit when I was in my late-teens, so that might just have something to do with it.  I guess it was a bit of right place-right time with those flicks... and I was afraid the same would hold true for his run on Green Arrow.

Gotta say, I loved this issue.  Loved it in 2001, and still do today.  This is one of the first issues of Green Arrow I bought off the shelves, as my first real leap into the DC Universe came at a time where the character was dead and the title wasn't being published.  The way Smith pulled so many elements from Ollie's past into this issue made it so, even back then, I didn't feel lost.  You get a pretty good idea of who Ollie was, and what he meant to those who cared about him.

After reading Smith's Daredevil I was a bit concerned that there might be some things conveniently added or omitted to the story to make it work... and my first time through, I wasn't familiar enough with the property to know one way or another.  This time, I can see all the nods to older works (Grell and Dixon, especially) he included... and I think that's awesome.  I was surprised reading it today to see a brunette Dinah and a callback to The Longbow Hunters.  Such great touches, which if left out wouldn't hurt the story... but their inclusion really adds so much.

The opening taking place during The Final Night was neat, especially in how we're going to be factoring in Hal in Ollie's resurrection.  Superman feeling a something "leave his person" as this occurs, regardless of how clunky that sounds to say out loud is pretty cool.

My only writing quibbles is that, on certain pages there's too much of it.  Just too much dialogue... which I get the feeling is perhaps more impressed with itself than it ought be.  I mean, there's a panel where Black Canary barely fits next to her word balloon... it's just amazingly wordy, and would have been said better with less words (and yes I know, I'm one to talk... I just spent an entire paragraph complaining about over-writing).  I will say the dialogue is well-written... except for that unnatural Superman line in the beginning.

Phil Hester on art is pretty phenomenal.  He has a beautiful, clean, almost animated style... which separates this run from others aesthetically, but doesn't feel one bit out of place.  The look of Hobo-Ollie and his dumpster-trick arrows... just awesome.  It leaves us with so many questions, and unlike many comics... these are questions we (or at least I) really want to stick around to learn the answers to.  It's been... yeesh, over 15 years since I read this, so I've forgotten most of it (besides Stanley and his Monster eventually showing up), so I'm looking forward to giving this arc a reread.

Overall, I'd give this a pretty strong recommendation.  If you were a Green Arrow fan in 1998/2001, this was paying off a lonnnnng-standing cliffhanger (from Green Arrow vol.2 #137 - October, 1998 - This relaunch was majorly delayed)... if you were new to the character, or just curious about Kevin Smith playing in the DC Universe, you still got a great little chapter with wonderful art.  This has been collected and appears to be (pardon the pun) an evergreen trade paperback.  It is also, or course, available digitally.


(Not the) Letters Page:


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1 comment:

  1. That is the one thing that aggravates me about Smith: how verbose it is. Spots of Daredevil drove me crazy. Agree about Hester, absolutely perfect for this book. This is a comic I was buying when I wasn't buying many comics. I need to get the trade for a reread. Good stuff.


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