Green Arrow (vol.2) #101 (1995)

Green Arrow (vol.2) #101 (October, 1995)
“Run of the Arrow”
Writer – Chuck Dixon
Penciller – Rodolfo Damaggio
Inker – Robert Campanella
Colorist – Lee Loughridge
Letterer – John Costanza
Editor – Darren Vincenzo
Cover Price: $2.25

Figure we’d wrap up this impromptu Green Arrow week here at the humble blog… by killing the poor guy off.  Yeah, that’s sorta-kinda how we started the week too… but, this time around was quite a bit more “real”.

Before heading “below the hyphens” we’re probably going to need a little bit of context.  In Green Arrow #100, Ollie got into it with an environmental extremist, who was looking to wipe Metropolis (or at least a good portion of it) off the map… by aiming a plane with a mutagen bomb on board right into the city’s heart.

Oliver boarded the plane, and activated a “dead man’s switch”, trapping his arm… and leaving him with a choice.  Either lose said arm, and never be able to twang bow again… or go down with the plane.  And that is where we open…

On board the plane, Ollie’s arm is trapped in the “dead man’s switch”.  Superman pleads with him to let him save the archer.  Ollie ain’t havin’ none of it, though… and just seconds later…

The bomb explodes, and the plane crashes into a sparse field… Metropolis is saved… but at the cost of one Emerald Archer.  Another plane approaches… one carrying Ollie’s son, Connor Hawke… and his very blunt friend Eddie.  I mean, this dude doesn’t have much of a filter.

Superman helps right this plane, and sets it down safely.  He then fills in the passengers on what went down with Oliver.  It’s assumed that he vaporized in the mutagen blast.

Somewhat coldly, Superman excuses himself to take extinguish the fire.  Maybe he feels as though he failed his friend and doesn’t know quite how to deal with it… whatever it is, it’s strangely “matter of fact”.  Superman says dying was “his (Ollie’s) choice”.  Whole thing just feels wrong.  Once he’s gone, Connor and Eddie have a “heartfelt” chat… as the third member of their “troupe”, Camorouge, sneaks away.

We shift scenes to Warrior’s Bar, where several members of the hero community are having a little get-together in Ollie’s honor.  Again… this feels so cold.  Almost like the heroes are just going through the motions… only having this “celebration of life” because they think they’re supposed to.  I mean, they’re talking about his womanizing, not in an “Oh, that Ollie!” kinda way… but, just stating it as a fact.  Like they don’t know what else to say.

After a halfhearted toast, Roy Harper enters to say a few words… that we won’t hear, because we need to shift scenes…

… to Batman, naturally.  He and Robin are updating the files on the Bat-Computer to reflect Oliver’s new “deceased” status.  Along the way, Bruce mentions that he and Ollie were a lot alike.  Yup, almost trademark-infringingly so back in the day, my man.

Back to Warrior’s, where Superman and Guy are chatting up on the roof.  Superman thinks back to all the things he’s heard about his own funeral… and feels bad that Ollie didn’t get quite the same turn out.  Guy’s all “ehh, it’s what he would’a wanted”, which is one of those things we like to tell ourselves.  Guy then asks the one question we’ve all been waiting for:  Has anyone told Black Canary?

Well, let’s shift scenes again… to Connor meeting up with Dinah to break the bad news.  They may not have ended on the best note, but clearly Dinah still feels something for him.  Upon hearing the news, she takes a moment to process.

Next thing we know, she’s removed her coat… and is left in her leotard and fishnets.  It’s a very strange look for such a mundane scene.  It’s almost uncomfortable.  Worth noting, Dinah is able to deduce right away that Connor is Oliver’s son.

Dinah tells Connor she’ll tell him everything he wants to know about his father… and together, they start going through the belongings he’d left with her.  It’s pretty touching… she has a photo of Ollie, Hal, and herself from “better days”.  It’s weird to consider that, at this point, Dinah was the only one left!

Before parting company, Dinah tells Connor about Oliver’s Robin Hood fixation… and suggests that his “resting place” be decided the same way as Robin Hood’s.  Shoot an arrow into the air… and where it lands, will be his resting place.

We shift scenes again… this time to Japan, where word of Oliver Queen’s passing has reached Shado.

We rejoin Connor as he heads back to the Ashram… which is both, where he studied… and where he first met Oliver Queen (following Zero Hour).  He’s surprised to learn that the place is being sold… and the land will become… a Winkyworld?!

Speaking of Winkyworld, we next pop in on a Winky Corp. meeting, where the jerkfaced heir to the Winky-fortune, Mr. Keever discusses ways to keep dat money rolling in.  This scene is being observed by someone in a sorta native attire.

Next up, we rejoin Connor at Sherwood Forest… bow in hand.  He flashes back to a discussion he’d had with Oliver about Sherwood “in days of old”, and realizes he’s picked the right spot.

He fires an arrow…

… and where it lands, is heaven.

Kind of an… uncomfortable read.

Before we move into the story itself… gotta mention that this was one of them “Wizard books”… but, this time it actually felt like it had a good reason to be!  Apparently, this issue was severely under-ordered.  Ya see, most folks (retailers and fans alike) just assumed that if there was a “big” story beat was coming, it would happen in issue #100not issue #101.  And so, when fans learned that something big went down in this issue… they couldn’t get their hands on a copy!  Just an interesting (well, at least to me!) aside I thought I’d share.

Onto the insides… again, uncomfortable, for a few reasons.

First, Ollie’s dead… and it’s 1995, when DC was making big changes to the pantheon.  For all we knew (or were supposed to think) this was “dead-dead”… or at the very least not “revolving door dead”… and, none of the heroes seemed all that interested.  I mean, even Superman can’t muster up a paragraph worth of nice things to say about him!

And, a “celebration of life” in the back room at Gardner’s bar?  Superman referred to it as “pathetic”, and it’s hard not to agree.  I mean, the heroes pulled out all the stops when Hal Jordan died… and he wasn’t on anybody’s Christmas card list at that point!  Was Ollie just a complete afterthought?  He kinda died saving millions of people… right?  Wouldn’t they (Metropolis) at least wanna maybe bow their heads for the man?!

I’m not sure what the point was in having Roy show up at Warriors… since we don’t get to hear what he has to say.  I think I’d have preferred hearing Roy’s take, than hopping over to get a full-page of Batman and Robin typing the word “deceased” into the Bat-Computer.  Then again, I’m not the one in charge of trying to sell comic books.

The Connor and Dinah scene… was pretty good, yet still… uncomfortable.  This discomfort is amplified and punctuated by Dinah’s strutting around in her Black Canary get-up in front of her ex-lover’s son… but, whattayagonnado?  Still, a strong scene… definitely the strongest of the issue.

It seems like we’re wasting no time laying the groundwork for Connor’s first outing as the one, true Green Arrow… by pitting him against a Disney-alike.  I suppose that’s as good an antagonist as any, seeing as though Ollie was always brushing up against corporations.

Overall… I dunno.  This is an important issue, certainly… but, it’s just so weird.  Ollie gets a single panel before going kablooey (smart of them to use his being “vaporized” to avoid showing a body, by the way)… and, the hero community acts erratically for the rest of the book.  Connor walks the line between being a point-of-view character, and being his own man… which, for a transitional story such as this, works quite well.  I’d say, for historical significance… I’d recommend this.  For solid characterization… I’m not so sure.  Believe it or not, this issue is not available digitally!

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