Green Arrow/Black Canary #1 (2007)

Green Arrow/Black Canary #1 (December, 2007)
“Dead Again, Part One: Here Comes the Bride”
Writer – Judd Winick
Artist – Cliff Chiang
Colors – Trish Mulvihill
Letterer – Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor – Elizabeth V. Gehrlein
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $3.50

Was so taken in by yesterday’s discussion of the Wedding Special, I decided to continue along.  Was pretty surprised (and stoked) to learn that I already had this issue in the long boxes!

When last we left the newlyweds… Ollie lost his mind, tried to kill Dinah… only to have Dinah kill him instead!  Where do we go from here?  Well, let’s pop under the hyphens and find out!

We open with a flashback of Dinah and Ollie checking out each other’s butts, for… some reason.  We then jump into the present, where Canary is trailing some armored nogoodniks by some docks in New York City… and she’s very clearly not screwin’ around.

She proceeds to spend the next half-dozen pages beating these goofs within an inch of their lives before being called off by… Green Arrow.  Yeah, not that Green Arrow, this is Ollie’s son Connor.  Dinah thinks to herself that Connor probably had just as bad a month as she has… considering, ya know… Ollie’s dead… again.

They chat for a bit.  Connor expresses concern with Dinah’s “take no prisoners” approach over the last little while.  Dinah replies with a passive-aggressive remark and walks away.  Later, Connor reports what just happened with Mia Dearden, the new(ish) Speedy.  This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to Mia…

… because, it’s been a month since Ollie’s death, and Dinah still hasn’t buried the poor guy!  Instead, he lay in some sorta iron lung lookin’ thing in the basement.  Wonder if you need a permit for that?  Anyhoo, Dinah’s down there… and reliving the events of her wedding night, when she was forced to kill her new husband.

Then, she thinks back to all of the support she’s received from the superhero community since his passing.  Gotta wonder… is there going to be a police investigation… or are the heroes just hoping to handle this “in house”?  Because, I mean, there is a dead body… stands to reason that law enforcement might at least wanna pop their heads in.  Anyhoo, for the most part, the community has been supportive.  Hell, the Amazons even offer her a place on Themys… Thimes… Timescy… Paradise Island.  The flashback is interrupted, however, by the arrival of… Hal Jordan.

He thinks it’s high time they held a funeral.  Dinah just ain’t havin’ it.  Ya see, she knows in her heart that the man she was forced to kill on her wedding night was, despite all evidence to the contrary, not Oliver Queen.

Then, two-thirds of the Hard Travelin’ Heroes run off to a rooftop for a pretty emotional back and forth.  Lemme tell ya, I really dig this… and, I really dig the art in this issue, but here… Hal sorta looks like a gorilla.  Kinda takes me out of it.

JLApe redux!

Hal tries to reason with Dinah… he wishes she was right, and Ollie’s actually not dead.  After all, it was Hal Jordan himself who brought Oliver back from the dead the first time around.  Unfortunately though, his ring is telling him the dead man is Oliver Queen… and there ain’t no arguing with that.

Unless, you’re Batman.

Because… of course it’s Batman.  He doesn’t listen to a ring… or even really, his gut.  He investigates… and that’s what he’s been doing for the past month.  He sees there’s no real pattern here… like, there really should be another shoe waiting to drop… and it just ain’t fallen.  So, basically… he believes Dinah when she says the fella on the slab ain’t Ollie.

This takes us to the Batcave… and it’s time for a Bat-Autopsy.  Dr. Mid-Nite is along for the ride.  They warn Dinah that it’s about to get a bit gruesome… as Batman revs a chainsaw.

The fellas get down to business… and wrists deep into Ollie.  They remove a few organs, including the precious brain.  I’m very glad this is Cliff Chiang and not some hyper-realistic artist, because… I’m trying to drink coffee as I write this.

Everything seems to be in order.  This body definitely belongs to Oliver Quee… hey, waitaminute… Dr. Mid-Nite just noticed an odd cell cluster.  Not Ollie’s DNA, and they’re still reactive… so, Mid-Nite decides to put them “to work”, injecting them into the cadaver.

And then…

It’s Everyman!  Who?  Oh, just some shapeshifter from the weekly 52 series, no big.  Dinah is overjoyed by the news.

She is also wildly impatient… and wants Ollie back right this second.  Batman’s all… first things first, because they haven’t the foggiest of notions where Ollie might be… and/or who might have him.

Batman asks Dinah if anyone had approached her since Ollie’s “death”, with a strange offer.  She thinks back to the Amazons offering her a home on… that island.

And whattaya know… looks like they got Ollie!

We wrap up with the Amazons pointing their spears at him… and him calling them “big bitches” because, mid-2000’s Judd Winick.

Hey!  Another really good time!

If you’ll allow me to briefly go “off topic”… when I started this blog, it was to celebrate books that I already loved… and discover new (old) books that I’d never gotten around to.  What I didn’t expect this to become was an opportunity to challenge my preconceptions about certain creators/characters/stories.

Last week we took a look at the Titans crossover, Total Chaos… a story that, up until last week, I would have just said “it sucked”.  It wasn’t until I challenged myself… forcing myself to revisit it (and actually read the whole thing) that I came around to a more well-rounded stance on it.  Sure, there were parts that weren’t very good… but overall, it deserves far better than a knee-jerk “It stinks!”.

I said all of that, so I could say this… if you were to ask me what I thought about Judd Winick three years ago, I’d have given you that same knee-jerk “he stinks!” reply.  It’s only after forcing myself to read his work with an analytic eye (as analytic as I can be), that my position has changed.

Sure, he’s sometimes “sex mad”, he uses foul language for absolutely no reason… at times where it adds nothing to the story, his dialogue can be a bit cringy, he does the “soapbox” thing a bit too often… I swear, this is all coming around to a compliment… and, his pet causes sometimes interfere with the overall narrative of the story, but… when he’s “on”, he’s really quite good.

These two issues, while not perfect… and have some of my lesser-liked Winickisms present, were a helluva lot of fun… and overall, highly enjoyable reads.  Pair that with some fantastic art from Cliff Chiang (and the Wedding Special’s Amanda Conner) and you’re looking at a really good time.

So… whatta we got here?  Dinah’s taking Ollie’s “death” really poorly… and taking out her frustrations on any nogoodnik she can get her hands on.  The fact that she fully-believes Ollie to not actually be dead might make you wonder why she’s still beating the holy hell out of all’a da bad guys… but, I suppose we could chalk that up to frustration and confusion.

I really enjoyed Hal trying to reason with Dinah… and the callback to The Final Night was definitely appreciated.  Of course Batman had to hop in and stomp all over Hal’s toes… but, considering their contentious relationship during this time, we can probably allow it.

The reveal that it wasn’t Ollie all along was… well, c’mon… we knew that was going to be the case.  I wasn’t around the “comics internet” much back then, so I dunno if this was spoiled ahead of time.  I suspect it was, because… everything is… but couldn’t say for sure.  Not that it really matters now, over a decade removed.

The reveal that Ollie’s been captured by the Amazons?  If I’m honest, that’s a bit of a turn-off.  The Amazons, to me, are some of the most boring characters in the DC Universe.  Really can’t muster a single bit of enthusiasm about reading an Amazon-focused story… so, I probably won’t be continuing this one.  It doesn’t look like I own the second issue anyway… so, even if I wanted to… it would require a hunt.

Overall… despite not being terribly interested in the Amazons… this was a pretty fantastic little chapter.  I’d certainly recommend it, and hell… if the Amazons are your thing, you’ll probably dig where this is headed!  For your convenience, this issue is available digitally.

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