Art and Cover: Jock
Color: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
What's it about?
Oliver Queen, multi millionaire playboy, has no aim in life. He has a passion for Robin Hood, but not much else. He hires someone to take him on danger trips, then gets a helicopter home and gets extremely drunk at charity fundraisers.
Suddenly he is shipwrecked on a desert island and has to fend for himself. This being a superhero comic, he does so by becoming an ace archer. Handily enough, he discovers an opiate farm on the island and sets about trying to put things right.
Despite what it may sound, this isn't a daft or silly book. The art lends a lot of gravitas to the story and it is really about one man coming to terms with his potential, turning his life around and committing himself to the fight for social justice.
What's good about it?
It's a proper riches to rags to riches tale. It's legendary and myth making, at least within the confines of the setting. Oliver Queen loses everything and has to build himself up from scratch, risking life and limb to do so. He emerges as a worthy human and ready to fight the good fight. There are cold hearted villains and damsels in distress (but not too much distress, and said damsels are perfectly capable of looking after themselves, thank you very much), and a clear cut divide between the good and bad folk.
Frankly speaking, everytime I read this book I get a little thrill.
What's bad about it?
Some of it is a bit cheesy, and some plot turns may raise the odd sceptical eyebrow. Oliver Queen has no superpowers but in the tradition of comics heroes he appears to be somewhat blessed with his natural abilities. Don't let this put you off.
Some fans are unhappy with the portrayal of two of the women in the book and to be honest there are some ill judged moments and characterisation included. For starters, there's two Asian women, one is an evil dragon lady sort of character, the other is more of a, well, you could describe her as a submissive Asian slave girl character. The latter is intelligent and certainly not incapable, but despite this, it smacks of Asian sterotyping.
Then there's the plot about Oliver Queen saving the helpless villagers. This is fine for a hero trope, heroes need to save the day after all, but becomes bit more dubious when you consider it as a White man saves backwards Asian villagers from evil manipulative dragon lady crime boss. I think the creators may have tried to move away from these tropes, but I don't think they did it very well.
What's the art like?
Gorgeous! Absolutely wonderful. Read this and feel as if you're in a forest. In contrast to the humour and slight silliness of some dialogue the art is very earthy and completely changes the tone of the book into something far more serious and impassioned.
Thematically, lots of greens, yellows and oranges are used. The yellows and oranges reinforce the heat of the island and the green is evocative of Robin Hood and his forests.
The action shots are great and the style of faces as well as the way they are drawn are unusual in comic artistry. With a different artist this book may have been mediocre. With Jock it becomes superb.
If you want to read more about Green Arrow, try Green Lantern/Green Arrow volume 1 or Green Arrow Black Canary: For Better or For Worse.