Green Arrow has exploded into the pop culture scene with as just much ferocity as Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye in 2012’s The Avengers. With the CW’s Arrow focusing on DC’s Emerald Archer and ebbing into its third season with the grace of a more seasoned series, fans are beginning to flock to conventions, charity events, and the comics in order to provide them with insight on one of DC Comics’ most in depth and rich characters.
With DC’s reboot of their entire universe in September of 2012 it marked an all-new start to most of the DC family, however, along with Batman and Green Lantern, Green Arrow was spared the agonizing growing pains and retained much of his prior continuity in spite of being rebranded as a jumping on point for new readers.
Instead of being a blessing, it was a misstep in disguise— Unlike Batman and Green Lantern, Green Arrow was just starting to gain traction and notoriety in the pop culture community, but his fan base was not (yet) strong enough to support a reboot without context. This misread of the market, unfortunately led to shaky steps for Green Arrow’s serial, resulting in a fledgling series from the get-go.
Green Arrow’s origin isn’t even touched upon in the opening pages of Dan Jurgens, J.T. Krul, and Keith Giffen’s first ‘NEW 52’ volume of Green Arrow (subtitled, The Midas Touch), and many readers were left in the lurch because it relied too much on prior continuity. The transition was jarring, because the setting, supporting cast, and plot were all based upon older incarnations of the Emerald Archer, which provided confusion for potential fans.
Jurgens, Krul, and Giffen present Green Arrow in his ‘home-away-from-home’ in Seattle, WA, and continue his adventure by focusing on some of the offbeat, smaller villains of his past. The stereotypical, irresponsible, playboy attitude of Oliver Queen is ever-present, and this normally wouldn’t be an issue (no pun intended) because it plays into Green Arrow’s alter ego which of course draws public attention away from him. However, the character is never set on a path of growth or change which can make or break a character.
The character itself doesn’t have to go through a dramatic transformation, but the audience does need to believe that the character is chasing down some facet of himself to improve. If this omitted, oftentimes you get a disjointed tale (or series of tales) that are too shallow to hold an audience. Even if Green Arrow is the only one to change and Oliver Queen remains the ever present cliche, it doesn’t really matter, because at least the audience was privy to the change even when the rest of the cast wasn’t.
As a personal aside, I almost wish that the narrative would find its way back to Star City. Originally the purpose of moving to Seattle was to ground the book in a harsher, more-realistic reality in order to make the Green Arrow book grittier and darker, thus universal appealing. However, the current iteration of the book is nearly as light as it can be which forces the setting. If the narrative took a more macabre turn akin to Grell’s, Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunter (which was the original causality for bringing Green Arrow to Seattle), or if the current creative team would consider moving the character back to Star City to help reestablish the lighter tone, it would strengthen the bonds of the book. In turn, I think that the art direction would aid tremendously in either fashion, because they would be able to link the plot to the art more effectively.
Art-wise, Dan Jurgens, Ignacio Calero, George Perez, Ray McCarthy do their best to mimic Jim Lee’s style (which is currently the DC Comics’ standard), but it comes off as forced because they are not adhering to their own. It makes for choppy artwork at times, which is disappointing, because all three of the aforementioned artists are stellar in their own right. That being said, the colors used for the setting are apropos. As a native Washingtonian, I was pleased with how Seattle was presented— It was believable and eye-catching.
Other than some mild disjointedness and the lack of cohesion, Green Arrow, Vol. 1: The Midas Touch is not the worst of the bunch, but nor is it the best. I would recommend borrowing this one or getting a digital copy on the cheap if you are a Green Arrow completionist, but for everyone else I would recommend holding off. For more coverage on DC’s NEW 52, the Emerald Archer, and all things comic book related check back here for more #ArrowWeek.
#ArrowWeek is a celebration of Green Arrow and DC Comics in all its numerous forms. Running from October 1st to the 8th of 2014 on ARSchultz.com, The Martian, and their respective Tumblrs, which will be posting all things Green Arrow related for #ArrowWeek culminating with the season three premiere of CW’s Arrow. Join us in our celebration by commenting and sharing as we post.