On the Panel – Green Arrow
First DC review -on this website anyway- but I thought with Arrow beginning the third season this week I’d see what he’s up to on the printed page. I haven’t done that with The Flash who debuts this week on TV but that’s possibly because there wasn’t a main series Flash comic out this week.
One thing that really struck me was the similarities to the TV series that have snuck in since it began. Oliver looks a lot like Stephen Amell, the costume is similar and he has teamed up with an ex military guy named Diggle. This is nothing new for DC or Marvel who both tend to have their comics follow aspects of the popular live action versions of the character simply because it makes it easier for new readers to follow what’s going on if they feel like they already recognise the world. It comes as no surprise that TV show writers Ben Sokolowski and Andrew Kreisberg write this issue given how many nods to the show there are.
I liked the opening of the issue even though it seemed somewhat typical of a Green Arrow comic or episode as he does what he does best by stopping some criminals. It’s a pretty cool sequence that’s well drawn and filled with lots of introspection from Oliver. It’s almost the perfect introduction page for new readers as we get to see his methods and a quick summary of who they guy is.
A large chunk of the issue involves Oliver talking to Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor who are there to make him a collective business offer, I have to admit I was surprised to see Lex there given his normal villain status but the comic explains that he seems to have changed his tune for reasons I haven’t yet looked up. For this issue it doesn’t really matter though as Oliver isn’t interested in their proposal for some really interesting reasons. Oliver’s rationale is that he would rather keep his company to himself where he knows all of the people who work for him and wants to retain that more personal relationship. Another reason is that he’s using his resources to support The Glades -another TV show connection- and doesn’t want to spread his resources elsewhere.
The comic does this exchange very well showing that Oliver has no time for Lex Luthor -whom he believes to be evil- or Bruce Wayne and isn’t tempted by their offer in the slightest. It’s also interesting to see Bruce Wayne portrayed in something of a villainous light because we’re seeing this comic through the perspective of Oliver. In terms of characterisation this version of Oliver Queen is far closer to his more altruistic roots than his portrayal in Arrow. Green Arrow was often the moral center of the DC universe so it’s nice to see this retained in an age of dark and broody anti heroes.
Throughout the comic there’s a repetition of a desire to have Oliver Queen killed which culminates in a surprise reveal of none other than Felicity Smoak. Again her appearance here is probably a further nod to the TV show but Felicity has been a character in DC comics for many years so it’s not really a surprise that she would return at some point. It’ll be interesting to see what this particular comic series does with her especially since at first glance she seems to be something of a villain. Clearly this was put in to shock viewers of the show who know her to be very close friends with Oliver there.
A strong issue that seems to be geared to new readers with a swift and well written introduction to the character and his motivations as well as subsequent pages that quickly catch the reader up on what has been happening recently. Viewers of the TV show will recognise much of what appears here which is absolutely no accident considering the popularity. The real meat of the issue involves Oliver Queen’s moral standoff with Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor in an exchange that is really smartly written with Oliver’s altruistic tendencies heavily on display. At times the references to the TV show are a little too heavy handed with the reveal of Felicity Smoak clearly designed to shock viewers who know her as Oliver’s ally.