“I have a lot of toys. But I don’t play games.” A quote worthy of the Dark Knight. Too bad he didn't say it. Instead, it was recently delivered by the character who has been called “Batman with a bow and arrow.”
Unless you had Super, Bat, or Justice in your title this week, you probably didn’t get much attention. In case you didn’t know, Green Arrow was among the 13 #1s released this week. Like several of the New 52 titles, Green Arrow takes us back to an earlier time in the life of the Emerald Archer. So far back, in fact, he is not yet sporting his trademark facial hair. Instead, he bears a striking resemblance to Connor Hawke, the son of Oliver Queen, who took up the mantle of Green Arrow following Ollie’s untimely demise in 1995. The character design is also reminiscent of Green Arrow’s appearance in the Smallville television series, featuring less of a Robin Hood motif and more of an armored look for the costume. This armor styling seems to be the latest craze among many of the DC heroes.
Bringing this younger Ollie Queen to the page is a multi-generational powerhouse made up of three notable talents, some of whom are mixing it up this time around. While J.T. Krul is picking up where he left off in July as writer for Green Arrow, Dan Jurgens (Booster Gold, JLI) is taking a break from writing to provide the pencils, and DC artistry legend George Perez (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman), has settled for the role of inker. An interesting assortment of talent that might feel like overkill for what turns out to be an unoriginal storyline.
This era of Green Arrow has Ollie in a role that evokes thoughts of both Tony Stark as he is seen in Iron Man (2008) and Sam Flynn, the protagonist of 2010’s TRON: Legacy. Queen Industries (now located in the very real Seattle, not the fictional Star City) is played up as an Apple-like corporation (putting out such products as the Q-pad), and Ollie is its young, irresponsible CEO who is too busy to make it to board meetings, where he is likely to be butting heads with the older, more established businessmen. But who has time for suits and stuffy conference rooms when you can be running across the rooftops of France, hunting super-powered baddies? As we see Ollie taking out the Euro trash, we are introduced to his equally youthful partners, Naomi and Jax. Naomi is essentially Oracle, sitting amidst a sea of screens and interfaces, feeding Green Arrow his intel. Jax turns out to be Ollie’s Q, designing the arsenal of trademark trick arrows.
The lack of originality in this book is staggering. Almost every other page contains an image, a theme, or even a character that immediately evokes memories of something that you’ve already read or seen in the past. One of the most blatant examples is a speech that Ollie took straight out of Tony Stark's mouth.
The high-ranking team of writers and artists that has been assembled for Green Arrow has a lot of work to do if they plan on keeping readers coming back for more. I didn’t think that I would have doubts that this latest volume of Green Arrow would surpass the 15 issues of its predecessor, but those doubts definitely exist now. Here’s hoping there’s something momentous on the horizon for the Emerald Archer.