Green Arrow (vol.5) #1 (August, 2010)
“Man of the People”
Writer – J.T. Krul
Penciller – Diogenes Neves
Inker – Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist – Ulises Arreola
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Editor – Adam Schlagman
Special Thanks – Geoff Johns
Cover Price: $3.99
And we’re back… The Dark Things are behind us, and maybe… just maybe, we can get back to checking out something worth reading.
This run on Green Arrow was one of the first things I saw when I came back to comics after the The Great Chrisession of 2008-2009. It was promoted heavily in the back of many of the books we’ve already looked at during #BrightestMay… and at first blush, I wasn’t sure it was going to be “for me”.
The lingering image, which I’ll include below, is Ollie shooting off a fella’s nose. It’s pretty graphic (for comics), and I recall seeing that and just shaking my head. More DC-darkening for the sake of it. Or was it? Curiosity (and a five-dollar bill burning a hole in my pocket) later led to me grabbing this first issue to find out.
It’s been nearing on a decade since I read it… let’s see how it aged.
We open in the ravaged Star City. Star City was destroyed during Justice League: Cry for Justice… which, as of this writing, we’ve only covered the first issue of here at the blog. Since the Brightest Day “happened”, the decimated city has been filled in with a lush forest. A forest, in which a woman is currently being chased by some nogoodniks. Lucky for her, it would appear she’s got a van dyked guardian angel. And here’s the bit with the nose-flesh.
Ollie shows himself… and proceeds to beat the hell out of the rest of the baddies. He checks with the girl to make sure she’s okay, and starts walking her out of the woods. It’s here that we learn a few things. The Mayor and Police Commissioner of Star City aren’t Ollie’s biggest fans… which is why he’s been “exiled” to the woods. Also, this new forest almost seems “alive”… after getting “turned around” Ollie says that it seems to “change”, and although he’s combed the entire area… it still surprises him.
They finally make it out of the dark, and we get our first good look at the decimated Star City. It looks pretty bad. I mean, Gotham City was once deemed a “No Man’s Land” for far less!
We shift scenes to the top of the Queen Industries tower, where the glad-handers and yes men prepare to meet their new owner, the eccentric Isabel Rochev. We know that she’s eccentric because, well… she looks like this. Yikes.
She introduces herself to the board… and ensures them she’ll rebuild the “good name” of Queen… referring not to Ollie, but Ollie’s father Patrick Queen.
We pop over to a gala event being held elsewhere in the… not so ravaged part of Star City. It’s here that we meet Evan Gibson, a reporter for the Star Gazette. He rushes over to the “guests of honor” Mayor Altman and Commissioner Nudocerda and lambastes them for wasting taxpayer money on such a gaudy event when so many Star Citizens are struggling.
Once inside, the Mayor and Commish are alerted to the fact that… gasp… all of the food for the event has been stolen! Outside, Ollie does the Robin Hood thing, giving all the grub to some impoverished children.
The following day we join the Commissioner who is stuck in traffic… well, kinda. He’s being held up by a city worker holding up a Stop Sign. An annoyed Nudocerda bursts from his car to confront the civil servant… only to have his throat slashed!
The accompanying officers give chase to the worker… and quickly learn that it was someone wearing a mask, leaving them with more questions than answers. Green Arrow is on a nearby roof watching the entire thing unfold.
He is soon joined on the roof by our new friend, Evan Gibson. They think on who might’ve killed Nudocerda for a bit… with Ollie suggesting that the Commish had far too many enemies to pick out a single suspect. He’s happy it went down this way though… it looks like the Mayor is starting to panic.
Speaking of the Mayor, we rejoin him visiting with “The Queen” at Queen Industries. She presents him with his new security detail… the dollar-store Hellfire Club!
We wrap up with a visit from Hal Jordan. He’s decided to check in on this new forest… unfortunately as he closes in, his ring goes kaput… sending him careening to the ground. Lucky for him, he lands right next to his hard-travellin’ homeboy.
I liked this. I liked it a lot, actually.
I want to start by taking a look at how Ollie is presented here. When the New-52! hit, so much of the focus was on “youngifying” all of our favorite heroes. They’ve all got to be 25 or younger. When it comes to “dating” a hero, I always err on the side of less being more. Just looking at this Oliver… he might be in his late-twenties… or, he might be in his mid-forties. It’s immaterial, doesn’t get in the way… and it doesn’t open up the can of worms where we have to try and “place” things from his past.
I’ll admit that I’m a guy who gets tangled up in the minutia and continuity. Probably more than most people who just want to enjoy a good story. That said, I had no problem “reconciling” this Ollie, and as a bonus… I also dug the story!
Let’s talk about that story. Ollie’s shouldering a lot of the blame for everything that’s gone down, and as such has been exiled to the woods by the crooked Commish and Mayor of Star City. It’s a really good set-up to illustrate Oliver as a… Man of the People (heyyy, that’s the title of this issue!).
The Robin Hood act… which is usually a “too on the nose” pass from me, really worked this time around. It’s not every story that revolves around a group of fat-cats ignoring the survivors of a literally destroyed city… so, it works without being too gratuitous. There is also, somewhat surprisingly, no political “hot takes” for such a potentially political story (starring one of the more political characters in DC’s pantheon). That’s always something I’m going to appreciate. The Mayor is a bad guy… that’s all we need to know. It doesn’t matter who he voted for in the last election. Granted, for all I can remember… this might all come to roost next issue.
The “Queen”… ehhh. I’m not quite sure how I feel about her. The Cobra Commistress look is kinda cool, but I just can’t see that working in the board room. I mean, she looks like something out of that old Passions soap opera… and I think that might be about as seriously as I could take her.
I feel like my only complaint (if you could call it that) is one that isn’t exclusive to this book… it’s the over the top violence. The “dark Didio DC” has always left me a bit cold. You know when you were like twelve years old… and you thought the fact you were reading things with over the top violence and/or bad words made you “mature”? Then, as an adult, you look back at your twelve year old self… and kinda cringe? That’s kinda how I feel about the gorier parts of this issue (and comics in general).
The nose-meat bit… hell, even the Commissioner getting his throat slashed… they were just a bit too much. It’s the kind of thing I figure normies (that is, people who don’t read comics) picture when they think of comics. And, in this case, damn DC for making them right!
There’s also a fair bit of decompression here… but again, that’s not Green Arrow’s nor J.T. Krul’s fault. That’s just the way things were/are being done.
Worth mentioning that the art here… is reeeeeeeediculous. Just gorgeous work here from Neves. Everything looks amazing… from the Cobra Commistress’s silly mask, to the shattered Star City skyline… just absolutely breathtaking work, that I’d encourage folks to go out of their way to check out.
Overall… I certainly enjoyed this. A really good opening chapter that, decompression accepted, doesn’t waste any time getting the story started. Worth a look… available digitally.