Sunday, March 07, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #9: Green Arrow

Real Name: Oliver Queen
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941)
Group Affiliation: Justice League, Black Lantern Corps
Gaming Credentials: Justice League: Task Force (1995); Justice League Heroes (2006); Batman: Brave and the Bold (TBA/2010)DC Universe Online (TBR/2010)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #25

A few weeks ago, the HOTW featured Golden Age Green Lantern in response to a brief cameo in the JSA movie-length special, Justice for All. Let's face it, though. If you want green jeans in a feature role, you can look no further than the DCU's most proficient archer in arms, Green Arrow.

GA found his way into the HOTW proceedings last year, and if you missed out on that laboured entry, you might like to go back and acquaint yourself with it. For those not so inclined, allow me to reassure you that the goateed adult Green Arrow of the DC comics isn't nearly as much of a punk as the guy in Smallville. He's a bowman whose skills and character have gone far beyond the Robin Hood tinged exploits of a poor man's Batman, creating a legacy within the DCU that includes long running membership with the JLA, a partnership with Black Canary in all senses of the word, and a string of allies and partners who've trained beneath him.

It's those people closest to Green Arrow who've suffered the most in the comics, however, which is what has brought the emerald archer to my attentions for this week's feature.

Printed concurrent to DC's epic Blackest Night event, but taking place before (and after); Justice League: Cry for Justice has been an exercise in infamy.

Writer James Robinson -- better known for his work on Starman -- turned in what was admittedly one of the worst comics I read in 2009.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to review more than the first issue [elsewhere], but I'm sure you can find plenty of other sensible reviews that adequately describe just how awful this mini-series was, and how mentally challenged it's depictions of justice and the Justice League were.

Over the course of six issues, the story meandered through different events, spotlighting different characters, but in the end, despite all the attention heaped upon Mikaal and Congorilla, the heaviest consequences of the final issue were reserved for Green Arrow and co. In brief; it all came down to the destruction of Green Arrow's iconic home, Star City, and the death of it's residents by the will of JLA uber-villain, Prometheus. Which itself was preceeded (in issue #5) by the dismemberment of GA's bow-slinging son, Red Arrow (aka; Arsenal), who will no doubt miss the arm Prometheus removed whilst disguised as Captain Marvel.

If all of this sounds slightly ridiculous to you, don't worry. It is!
The pay-off of the entire series, which was originally conceived as the opening arc to a new JLA on-going series, is Green Arrow's choice to seek the ultimate "justice" -- by putting an arrow through the skull of the unbeatable villain. Something that occurs, canonically, after GA spends some time as a Black Lantern in other series, but doesn't seem especially influenced by that.

The wanton destruction of a home city was part of a 1994 shake-up of the Green Lantern franchise, which resulted in a contrived fall from grace for the most famous Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. That decision, which led to his villainous turn as Parallax, was finally rescinded with the 2005 mini-series, Green Lantern: Rebirth, which effectively acknowledged the stunt as a long-running bad idea. One has to wonder if Green Arrow's predicament, which kicks off a promised big year for the character with a bang, won't lead to the same regrettable and avoidable conclusion.

Green Arrow's exploits continue in next week's Justice League: Rise and Fall special, before unfolding into mini-series detailing The Rise of Arsenal and The Fall of Green Arrow. It will be here that the success of the Cry For Justice story may really be determined, assuming anyone can forgive what was otherwise an incredibly poorly executed seven issue arc. For more info, be sure to check out!

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