Green Arrow #1 review

One of the aspects of the New 52 books from DC that I’m appreciating is the extended scope of adventures. In the old days a hero was more likely to visit the dead planet Krypton than, say, Wales. When a country other than the USA did appear, it was usually there only to be blasted out of existence by the villain du jour.

This week, that changed. We’ve had stories set in Africa (Batwing), Peru (Justice League International) and with Green Arrow #1, France, which has a Meta-Military. Who knew? The hero is there to capture three low-level supervillains, Dynamix, Doppleganger and Supercharge. And nab them he does, using hi-tech (or as we called them in the old days, ‘trick’) arrows and … Frisbees? He’s throwing something disc-shaped, anyway
– they could simply be plates from the party that the hero and villains have crashed.

GA, AKA billionaire Oliver Queen, also has assistance from his aides, patched through from Seattle – computer genius Naomi (actually, no one says she’s a genius, but this is a comic book so of course she’s a genius) and weapons designer Jax. Their interraction with Ollie adds an extra level of interest to the fight scene.

Away from the battlefield, Ollie runs Q-Core, sister company to Queen Industries. The former develops technology ‘to build a better world’, the latter aims to profit from technology in ‘virtually every aspect of civilised life’. Overseeing Queen Industries is Emerson, who may be Ollie’s big brother, depending on whether Ollie’s dialogue refers to George Orwell, or siblings. Whatever the case, they don’t get on and Ollie wants to keep his company away from ‘the Dark Tower’ – Queen Industries is based in a massive Q-shaped skyscraper, likely designed by whoever came up with the similarly ridiculous Lexcorp and Titans Towers in times past.

Speaking of Lexcorp, Emerson gives us some idea of the industrial hierarchy in the new DC Universe – Lexcorp and Waynetech are up there with Queen Industries, along with Holt Industries, which we’ll see something of in the new Mr Terrific comic.

This comic, meanwhile, impresses with its use of a young Ollie Queen, likely influenced by the version on Smallville (he even has a basic Chloe stand-in, in Naomi). He’s smart, skilled and idealistic without being as self-righteous as the older Oliver featured in DC Comics since the Seventies. Plus, he doesn’t kill, which is how I like my heroes. And the new supporting characters show promise, especially Naomi and Jax with their opposing views on how to handle criminals.

The villains this issue seem throwaway – one’s claim to fame is menacing Milan Fashion Week (there’s that global reach again) – but may grow in stature over time. It’s not like we want to see Ollie overwhelmed in his first issue. Next time, maybe.

Writer JT Krul has crafted a decent debut here, presenting Ollie and his world, and hinting at his backstory (I do, though, need urgent clarification on those Frisbees). While the dialogue is serviceable, a bit of sparkle would be nice; hopefully the characters will gain distinctive voices quickly.

Dan Jurgens, as a veteran artist and writer, knows how to tell a story, and his work here is exemplary. The new Green Arrow costume isn’t anything special, but neither is it an abomination – it’s green and black and segmented all over, very New DC. Inking Jurgens is George Perez, who brings a pleasing scrappy quality to the work; I rather like this artistic teaming, one I remember fondly from Jurgens’ shortlived Teen Titans run.

Dave Baron colours with his usual flair, making nighttime Paris look especially nice. And the Doppleganger character gives Rob Leigh a chance to have fun with overlapping word balloons.

The cover by Dave Wilkins is a winner, if you ignore Ollie’s horrendous Abe Lincoln chin foliage – he’s unshaven inside, but not quite so tragic. The new logo, sadly, is rubbish – that arrowhead ‘O’ just isn’t enough to pull it out of the realm of ‘generic’.

This isn’t the most compelling New 52 book I’ve read this week, but it’s a fun diversion, and so long as Krul keeps Ollie likeable, and takes us to fresh corners of the world, I’ll likely be sticking around. 

7 thoughts on “Green Arrow #1 review

  1. Call me old-fashioned despite only being 30, but I like/prefer the old Ollie to this new one. Sure the old one had many, many flaws, but that;s why we/readers liked him. Also, why bring back Queen Industries? Ollie ultimately rebelled against this type of thing, so does that mean that this new one will too eventually?

    I guess this new 52 thing really is for newer readers because it's not doing anything for me that the old DC wasn't already doing.

    Somethings I could see changing(Superman to a degree, Batgirl, some others,) but not this or some of the other titles.

    -On a side note, sorry I haven't posted here more often Martin, but I do read all of your reviews, and truly enjoy them. Keep it up sir!

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  2. Has any super-hero visited Wales since since Rom the Space Knight's brief sojourn there in the mid-80s? Y'know, if it's good enough for Torchwood, it's good enough for SHIELD!

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  3. Something tells me the artist influence comes from Smallville just look at the costume on Ollie. Also my first thought when you mentioned Naomi it was influenced by Chloe. Other than that it does sound interesting. Although I do like the classic Oliver also.

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  4. Fair points around Ollie's character, Dale – maybe he'll get fun new character flaws … And thanks for the encouragement!

    Allan, I can't think of a single one. Anybody?

    I bet we see the older-style Ollie sometime, Terrifan2 – just as soon as a new creative team decide a sales-boosting revamp is in order.

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  5. I agree with you on the art. Jurgens is a master at this kind of thing, and Pérez complements him very well.

    I was less taken with the story. It was too ordinary. Like JLI, it was just a straightforward super-hero romp, but unlike JLI didn't have the sparkling script to make it work.

    At the moment it's a “no” for me. At other times it might not be, but this month there's too much competition out there.

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  6. I read new comic and I was very saddened by it. The old Ollie was a deeply flawed individual; he has internal demons that he constantly struggles against and most times, he overcame them. He was a deep, interesting, well thought-out character, flawed individual and one of my favorites in the DC Universe.

    The new Ollie comes off as an over-confident douche-bag. There are no apparently character flaws, he relies far too much on his gadgets, he has his own versions of James Bond's 'Q' and Bird's 'Oracle' at his beck-and-call. He is little more than a Star City Batman on Ritalin. What I had expected to be my favorite comic is now top on my list of comics to drop next month.

    Unless they make this opening story “5 years in the past” and give us the flawed and broken Ollie we knew and love in the current timeline a few issues form now, I fail to see how this new book will survive the end of the year.

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  7. So far as the story goes, David, it's the villains who will likely make or break this book for me. The first lot were unprepossessing, so I hope there's better to come … I liked Krul's Teen Titans generally, but his baddies weren't the best.

    I think this is present day Ollie, Androcles. You're right in that he should have some flaws, hopefully they'll show up soon. I'm good with a younger GA, but wouldn't wish blandness of character on him.

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