The New 52 reviews continue with the relaunch of one of comicdom’s earliest copycat characters.

General Information

Title: Green Arrow #1

Author: J.T. Krul

Illustrator(s): Dan Jurgens (pencils), George Perez (inks), David Baron (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.

Premise

Oliver Queen is a corporate CEO who works as a superhero on the side, equipped with all sorts of high tech toys and supported by a team of employees. The character started as a blatant knock off of Batman in the 1940s, was reinvented as a counter-culture left wing extremist in the 1970s sporting a famous van Dyke style beard, and has now been relaunched as a beardless but scruffy CEO again.

High Point

This is one of the brighter toned comics of the new lineup so far, feeling more like 1970s Iron Man than any Green Arrow run I’ve read.

Low Point

The character still doesn’t feel unique. The first three pages feel very much like the classic “Dark Knight” Batman, right down to the rooftop pose. Once the action starts, a distinct classic “Iron Man” flavour kicks in. There’s nothing wrong with that tone, but when you have a character who was most popular in a unique, counter-culture incarnation and then you relaunch him as a derivative hero again, it feels like a massive ball was dropped.

The Scores

Green Arrow has rarely been an original hero. First launched shortly after Robin became Batman’s sidekick, the first incarnation of the character was an orphaned billionaire with advanced technology, a tragic past, and a teenage ward sidekick who fought crime with his arrowcar, arrowplane, and other arrowtech developed in his arrowcave. It took almost 30 years to revitalize the character and turn him into something unique, an extreme left-wing counter-culture hero who was paired with the right wing Hal Jordan incarnation of Green Lantern in a spectacular run by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. This was the version brought back to life by Kevin Smith, and the anti-corporate sentiment would still have a home today. I was stunned that this is not the take in this relaunch. Instead, we get the classic and derivative hero. I give it 2 out of 6.

The artwork is very well done. Jurgen and Perez make a great team. No complaints here. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is told well enough. This incarnation of the character is well conveyed. I just don’t understand why this was the incarnation they chose to use. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization feels clear, because it feels like the classic indistinguishable 1960s DC superhero template. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response I felt was worse than I’d expect from someone picking up a Green Arrow comic for the first time. The issue is well made, but (at the risk of repeating myself) this isn’t the version of the character I expected or wanted. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is smooth, and the action moves nicely throughout the issue. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a title well suited to a reader who wants a retro, optimistic feel to their heroes. I generally do, but not from Green Arrow. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Green Arrow #1 receives 27 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman