Tag Archives: Oliver Queen

A Green Arrow, Vol. 1 Review – Ollie’s Greatest Hits

Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver QueenTITLE: Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Life and Death of Oliver Queen
AUTHOR: Benjamin Percy
PENCILLER: Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra. Cover by Ferreyra.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow: Rebirth #1Green Arrow #15.
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASED: January 4, 2017

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The Life and Death of Oliver Queen gives us a lot we’ve seen before. But it’s wrapped in a fresh package, and frankly some of this stuff was sorely missed. So it works out, and makes for a fun book.

A human trafficking case in Seattle brings Green Arrow and Black Canary together, in more ways than one. But what they end up fighting is something much larger, and closer to Queen Industries than Oliver could ever imagine. As such, new alliances will be forged, and older ones will be tested. Our heroes are about to meet the Ninth Circle.

To an extent, this book feels like “Ollie’s Greatest Hits.” Green Arrow and Black Canary are one of the classic couples in DC Comics lore, and they’re back together here. We’ve got him losing his fortune, which famously happened during the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run of the ’70s. Percy also plays up the more political, social justice elements of Green Arrow, which is another hallmark of the O’Neil era. And then you’ve got the return of John Diggle, a character that originated on the Arrow TV show.

green-arrow rebirth #1, title pageWhen you put it all in a list like that, this book looks vderivative and unoriginal. But for a longtime fan like yours truly, it feel like a homecoming. I enjoyed much of what was done with the New 52 Green Arrow book. But this feels like the return of the genuine article. Of course, that’s what they were going for.

This book establishes that Ollie and Dinah are acquainted with one another, but don’t know each other very well. Obviously that changes here as they become romantically involved. But here’s my question: From cover to cover, how much time is supposed to have passed here? When we get to the end of Life and Death, the implication is that Ollie cares about Dinah as much as anything in his life. But the two haven’t been together long enough to justify such a connection, have they? Obviously they like each other. But there’s nothing in this book that justifies such a deep-rooted love from either of them. It might have been more advisable to use the events of this book to plant the foundation for their relationship. That way readers feel like they’ve been in the loop from the start.

That being said, the chemistry is there between the two. They have that familiar volatile affection for one another. Dinah challenges Ollie, pointing out the inconsistencies in his approach as Green Arrow. Ollie accepts her challenges and returns in kind. But in the end their fondness for one another is undeniable. They’re fun to read.

The Ninth Circle are a group of villains using a weapon that’s truly timeless: Money. Our heroes come across them while taking down a human trafficking ring, and as Ollie painfully finds out, they have their claws deep into Queen Industries. They’re perfect villains for Green Arrow, exemplifying the kind of corruption the character has fought against for decades, and should absolutely be fighting today.

green-arrow-black-canary-otto-schmidtOllie’s relationship with his half-sister Emiko is of particular importance here. We learn who her mother is, and we get an apparent heel turn from her. I was concerned about her development as the book went on. But without spoiling things, I’ll say Percy leaves things in a satisfying place by the time we close the book.

Artistically, the star of this Life and Death is Otto Schmidt. Sadly, he’s only around for about half the book. But his style is a terrific fit for Green Arrow, and superhero comics in general. It’s expressive, it’s animated, the line work is beautiful, and it’s got a tremendous energy to it.  It’s also very conducive to action, the Canary Cry in particular (shown right). Schmidt, who serves as penciller, inker, and colorist on his issues, renders them simply, but colorfully. Like most of Schmidt’s work on this book, it’s very charming.

The second half of the book is drawn and colored by Juan Ferreyra, who is also the cover artist. His work has an almost airbrush-like texture to it that’s interesting, and he’s very good at drawing the disfigured members of the Ninth Circle. His colors are wonderfully rich, and at times intense. But with all due respect to Ferreyra, it’s just not quite as fun as what Schmidt gives us.

DC needs a good Green Arrow book right now. Just like they need a good Wonder Woman book, a good Flash book, a good Supergirl book, etc. With the emergence of the DC Extended Universe, as well as the “CWverse,” there’s so much potential for new fans to crossover into comics. I would argue that for a long time, DC failed to capitalize on that. With the DC Rebirth line, they’ve given themselves a valuable chance for a fresh start. And that’s what they have here with Green Arrow. While it’s not perfect, it’s something for fans old and new to latch on to.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Advertisements

A Superman: American Alien #4 Review – Playing the Batman Card

Superman: American Alien #4, 2016TITLE: Superman: American Alien #4
AUTHOR: Max Landis
PENCILLER: Jae Lee. Cover by Ryan Sook.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: February 18, 2016

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Superman: American Alien #4.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ugh. Max Landis, you were doing so well. I’d never have pegged such a good writer who cares so much about Superman to make such a textbook mistake.

You played the Batman card. Hell, you even played the Dick Grayson card! Not to mention the Oliver Queen card! What the hell, bro?

Shortly after moving to Metropolis, Clark Kent wins a student essay contest run by The Daily Planet. As such, he gets to attend the Cerberus Summit, a meeting of the three most important young businessmen in America: Oliver Queen, Lex Luthor, and Bruce Wayne. During his time at the summit, Clark gets some quality time with both Queen and Luthor. But he also gets to interview Bruce Wayne’s young ward, Dick Grayson. This garners the attention of a certain Dark Knight Detective.

Superman: American Alien #4, Batman capeI think I get what Landis was trying to do with Batman here. He was making a point about how Superman and Batman coexist in the same universe, and that Batman wouldn’t always have the upper hand in a fight. I appreciate that mindset. But frankly, I resent Batman’s shadow being cast over half of this issue, when this is supposed to be “an important juncture” in Clark’s development as a person.

On the last page, Clark even tries on Batman’s cape, with the caption reading “…do something big.” As a Superman fan, I find the notion that Batman helped inspire Clark to be a hero as the light to contrast his darkness to be offensive. And for the record, I love Batman as much as anybody. But it would be just as ridiculous the other way around. Picture a scene where Bruce Wayne somehow beats up a young Superman, then tries on his cape and an idea is sparked. Again, we go back to the idea of the DC Universe becoming “Over-Baturated,” with Batman being central to so many crucial events in this universe.

I’m tempted to think this might have been an editorial mandate, what with Batman v Superman coming out next month. But Landis did pitch a gratuitous Batman element in what would have been his Death of Superman story. Following Superman’s fight with Doomsday, Landis would have had Clark spend an extended period of time learning how to fight, courtesy of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. That was needless and disappointing, just like the Batman stuff here is needless and disappointing. Especially coming from Landis, who’s proven he can do so much better.

Lex Luthor, Superman: American Alien #4Less offensive are the appearances of Oliver Queen and Lex Luthor. Mind you, an early Superman/Green Arrow meeting still feels like something we’d see on Smallville. But given what happened with Batman, it’s tough to be cranky about this. Frankly, had Ollie and Lex been our only guest stars, the issue might have been just fine. Landis contrasts the perspectives of the two characters nicely, giving a young Clark something to think about. Queen sees himself as a spoiled rich kid given a chance to use his resources for good, while Lex predictably has a messiah complex. Lois Lane is also in this issue simply to foreshadow, which is something of a waste.

I stand by what I’ve said about Jae Lee being an ill-fit for Superman, his Art Deco-ish style being much more suited for Batman. Still, good art is good art. Lee draws a nice Lex Luthor here, fittingly in a dark and shadowy style typical of Lee. And while Dick Grayson is completely out of place in this story, Lee gives him a nice wisdom beyond his years. Our introduction to Lois Lane is also cool, with her figure drawn in front enlarged text.

Superman: American Alien #4 is a surprising letdown, considering what’s come before has been mostly good. I maintain that Max Landis is a great writer. He went on record saying this issue was supposed to make us think. Sadly, I wasn’t exactly thinking good things…

Image 1 from author’s collection. Image 2 from dangermart.blogspot.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/

A Green Arrow: The Midas Touch Review – A Writer’s Redemption

Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Midas TouchTITLE: Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Midas Touch

AUTHOR: J.T. Krul, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens
PENCILLERS: Dan Jurgens, Ignacio Calero
. Cover by Brett Booth.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow #1-6
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE DATE: May 30, 2012

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Few characters got a bigger overhaul via the New 52 than Green Arrow. And as much as I enjoyed the old version of the character, he needed it. Let’s take a look at just how much baggage our old buddy Oliver Queen had picked up in the years prior to the reboot…

– Became mayor of Star City, only to be removed a short time later.

– Married and divorced Black Canary.

– Killed a supervillain for murdering Roy Harper’s young daughter, and destroying much of Star City.
- Unmasked by a corrupt police chief after being arrested for said murder.


- Moved into a forest that suddenly grew in the middle of the city, and started living with a guy named Galahad who thought he was a knight.

Green Arrow #1, 2011In Oliver Queen’s case the reboot was certainly justified, and I’m a big fan of what DC has done with this character.

In the world of the New 52, Oliver Queen is the owner of Queen Industries, which is a global leader in “energy, transportation, infrastructure — virtually every aspect of civilized life.” Most notable is Q-Core, the company’s technology division and seemingly this world’s equivalent of Apple. Instead of iPads and iPods, this world has Q-Pads and Q-Pods. Little do (most of) the folks at Queen Industries know that Oliver uses Q-Core technology in his career as Green Arrow, Seattle’s bow-wielding superhero. In this book we see GA take on a gang of murderous internet celebrities, and a duo consisting of a deadly female ninja and a human toxic waste dump. Not a bad way to make your re-debut!

Green Arrow, Dan Jurgens, The Midas touchI really dig the “What if Steve Jobs was Green Arrow?” approach here. The talk about Q-Pads and what not gives readers an immediate correlation between Oliver Queen and a real world figure. Thus, we get an idea of just how important Oliver is in this fictional world. It provides some nice tangible imagery that we don’t always have with say, Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises.

J.T. Krul didn’t do Green Arrow any favors in books like Rise and Fall and Into The Woods. But with this fresh start, he excels. He only writes the first half of the book, but with those issues he does a wonderful job of establishing who Oliver Queen is, both as a businessman and a superhero. Like the old Green Arrow, this version cares more about social justice than anything else. He’s not afraid to let you hear about it either, as we learn in issue #3. Krul also gave GA a compelling supporting cast right off the bat, with tech wizards Jax and Naomi (the latter of whom looks a lot like Rihanna to me) helping him out at Q-Core, his assistant Adrien helping him out on the business end, and the ever-frustrated CEO of Queen Industries, Emerson. The club of internet killers were also a nice choice for GA’s first opponents, as their modus operandi strongly lends itself to what’s obviously meant to be a modern day reinterpretation of the character.

Green Arrow #4, Dan JurgensKeith Giffen tends to be the guy DC calls when somebody suddenly leaves, or to clean up a mess, i.e. his work on The Outsiders and The Authority. So when I saw him attached to Green Arrow as a co-plotter, I panicked. But the transition is fairly smooth. Ignacio Calero jumps in as penciller for issue #6, which proves to be a bit rockier. But not so much that the book gets thrown off course. The villains we get for the second half, Blood Rose and Midas, aren’t as compelling as their predecessors. But they do okay.

I walked away from this book with renewed enthusiasm for Green Arrow, as well as J.T. Krul’s writing. It also gave me a new appreciation for Dan Jurgens’ art, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Midas Touch loses some momentum in its second half, and the creative shakeups hurt it a bit. But from a conceptual standpoint, I think it’s one of the most fun relaunches the New 52 has produced.

RATING: 7.5/10

Image 1 from 4thletter.net. Image 2 from dc.wikia.com. Image 3 from simplydcu.wordpress.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/

A Green Arrow: Into the Woods Review – Robin Hood Meets…Galahad?!?

Green Arrow: Into the WoodsTITLE: Green Arrow: Into The Woods

AUTHOR: J.T. Krul
PENCILLER: Diogenes Neves, Vincente Cifuentes. Cover by Mauro Cascioli
COLLECTS: Green Arrow #1-6
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $22.99
RELEASE DATE: July 6, 2011

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I always understood the motivation behind DC Comics breaking up Green Arrow’s marriage to Black Canary and making him a forest-dwelling loner. It puts the character in touch with his Robin Hood-esque roots. But that doesn’t mean it was a good decision.

After murdering the villain Prometheus in Justice League: Cry For Justice, Green Arrow’s identity as Oliver Queen has been made public, his marriage to Black Canary is over, and a large portion of Star City lays in ruins. G.A. now lives in the forest that suddenly sprouted in the middle of the city at the beginning of Brightest Day. As Oliver continues to serve Star City as best he can, a mysterious woman calling herself The Queen has taken over Oliver’s company, Queen Industries. Her motivations are questionable, to say the least. But Green Arrow will soon discover this woman is linked to the father he barely knew.

Green Arrow #3, Galahad, Diogenes Nieves, 2010This book was a disappointment for me. After reading some of J.T. Krul’s previous work, I was hoping he’d be able to really knock this one out of the park. He doesn’t. It’s not that putting Ollie in the forest was a bad move, per se. It was an interesting attempt at shaking up his status quo, and the fact that the forest seems to be the center of the white entity from Brightest Day adds a bit of intrigue. But the creators either don’t play the forest element up in a way that’s interesting enough, or they push the Robin Hood thing so far it becomes silly.

For instance, in this book Ollie gains a new sidekick/confidant in Galahad, a man who claims to be a knight from King Arthur’s Round Table. This character, in my opinion, was a ridiculous and feeble attempt to make Green Arrow more akin to Robin Hood by pairing him with someone with a medieval vibe. Apparently being a bow and arrow wielding, forest dwelling outlaw wasn’t enough. It’s one thing to be reminiscent of a classic character, it’s another thing to rip that character off. This book pushes Green Arrow a bit too close to the latter for my tastes. Personally, I’d rather have seen him find a civilian to bounce dialogue off of. Oddly, we almost get that in a reporter who Ollie gets information from. The reporter would have been a much better choice than some dude who thinks he’s a knight.

Green Arrow #2, 2010, Green LanternWhen I picked up this book, I was hoping to see Ollie really use the forest to his advantage in battle. I figured we’d see him eying targets from treetops, setting up clever traps, and really using the environment to his advantage. We really don’t see much of that. He and Hal Jordan have a battle scene with some of The Queen’s “Royal Guard,” and there’s a moment where he uses such a trap on an out of control Martian Manhunter. But that’s the best stuff we get in that regard, which obviously left me wanting more. I was hoping to see the forest really become a part of Green Arrow’s persona. Instead, it really just acts as a new setting that happens to act weirdly sometimes.

What I did enjoy about Into The Woods was the look at Oliver Queen’s parents. It was interesting to see how their influence made Ollie the character he is, and their relationship to The Queen does make for an interesting dynamic.

Though it’s all very well drawn by Diogenes Neves, everything else this book offered fell into “meh” territory. That’s a shame, as this book could have been much better. It likely isn’t a coincidence that the Green Arrow we’ll meet in September via the DCU reboot is essentially placed in the exact opposite circumstances as this version of the character. Instead of being a forest-dwelling outlaw with little use for technology, Green Arrow will be flying around the world apprehending criminals, using illegally gained intel to his advantage. In short, Ollie will be out of the woods very soon.

I can’t say I’m sad about that.

RATING: 5/10

Image 1 from craveonline.com. Image 2 from xmanscomicblog.blogspot.com. 

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/

A Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game Review

Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big GameTITLE: Green Arrow/Black Canary, Vol. 5: Big Game
AUTHOR: Andrew Kreisberg
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes. Cover by Jose O. Ladronn.
COLLECTS: Green Arrow/Black Canary #21-26
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2010

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s no accident that the Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly title jumped in quality once Andrew Kreisberg took over.

Many fanboys would likely recognize Kreisberg’s TV work before his comic work. He’s written episodes of Justice League, The Simpsons, Fringe, and recently Star Wars: The Clone Wars. So for DC to put him in Star City was a big cue.

This book is the second volume of his work on this title. Picking up where Green Arrow/Black Canary: Enemies List left off, we find the city in a state of chaos, as a new villain has caused everyone in the city (including our heroes) to temporarily go deaf. This story is inter-cut with scenes from Dinah Lance’s youth, as she finds out about her mother’s life as the original Black Canary, and the dangers of her supersonic “Canary Cry.”

Green Arrow/Black Canary #24, Cupid, Black CanaryLater, an old enemy of Green Arrow’s called Big Game, returns to wreak havoc in the city. This forces Black Canary to form an extremely reluctant partnership with Cupid, a villainness romantically obsessed with Green Arrow. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen’s tactics are slowly but surely growing darker and more vengeful, conveniently leading him down a path that will take him directly into the events of Justice League: Cry For Justice.

What was supposed to have made Green Arrow/Black Canary different from any other title DC puts out was the fact that Ollie and Dinah are married superheroes. That’s a twist you rarely see in the DC Universe. When Judd Winick wrote the book, that idea tended to fall flat. But Kreisberg seems to do his best to thrust it to the forefront, while reminding us that Ollie and Dinah can be two very different people.

He accomplished this by introducing the Cupid character, a delusional, deranged stalker character, who he portrays brilliantly. There’s a scene in the book where she ponders raping a man she’s dressed as Green Arrow, but then simply shoots him in the head. It’s fantastic character work, and a bit of a refreshing take on the classic stalker angle.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, flashbackThe looks back at Dinah’s youth are also a nice little character insight. Plus, in the previous volume Kreisberg took a page out of Batman’s book, and created Lucas Hilton, a detective character for Arrow and Canary to bounce dialogue off of. They have a nice little dynamic going.

The slightly awkward thing about Big Game is that the story framework is a bit awkward. As these issues were being published, DC was beginning to experiment with adding co-features to some of their titles, Green Arrow/Black Canary being one of them. This allowed them to bump issue prices up a dollar, in exchange for several more pages of content. Thus, Blue Beetle was added to Booster Gold, Captain Atom to Action Comics, etc.

In Ollie and Dinah’s case, about 60 percent of an issue’s story would be told from one character’s point of view, and the rest from another’s. For example, Green Arrow might take the lead for the majority of an issue, and Dinah would end it. For my money, this sometimes creates a needless shift in perspective that can distract or confuse readers. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it can be off-putting.

Green Arrow/Black Canary, SpeedyIn terms of art, Bill Sienkiewicz’s pencils get the job done, but after inking and coloring, some of his panels come back looking a little sloppy for my taste. Mike Norton’s look a lot more crisp and clean. Renato Guedes stops by mid-book to tell a story involving Speedy (who debuts a brand new costume in this book) for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, his art looks good.

In the long run, I think Green Arrow fans will look at Big Game as one of the stepping stones on the path that Ollie took heading into Justice League: Cry For Justice. It’s a bit awkward at times. But it’s a fun book to read, and Kreisburg’s characterizations of Ollie and Dinah are pretty spot-on. I hope to see him back in the DCU someday soon.

RATING: 7/10

Images 1 and 2 from comicobsessed.blogspot.com. Image 3 from dreamwidth.org.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter @PrimaryIgnition, or at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition/