Friday, June 7, 2013

365 Comics...158: Green Arrow #21 (2013)

Holy shit!
Pardon my language but... holy shit!
This issue of the miraculously revived Green Arrow doesn't feature your conventional "holy shit" moment, like a, say, Red Wedding or Avengers Arena #10, but instead it features what can only be described as a revelation for Green Arrow as a series, character and property that quite bluntly points out what the Oliver Queen has been - - missing for 80-ish years: a mythology.

Thanks to Jeff Lemire Green Arrow is now part of something bigger, and I don't mean the Justice League. No, with this issue Lemire introduces The Outsiders "seven houses, seven clans, all formed around a totem weapon --the arrow, the spear, the fist, the shield, the sword,the axe, and another long ago lost and forgotten".  Andrea Sorrentino (who gets more amazing with each issue) provides each of the clans its own icon, a simplified sigil representing the weapon and the the family, all of which excites me in a way I rarely yet excited about when Green Arrow is involved.

The Arrow television programme has redefined the character, rebuilding him off of Andy Diggle's excellent Year One series.  Aways a B-lister at best having his own successful show raises his profile to Wonder Woman, Hulk and Captain Marvel (Shazam) levels so his comic really needed to match that, making him younger, more reckless... the old Ollie Queen was an extreme leftist, a crusader and TV Ollie is much of the same.  New 52 Ollie is in search of his, but it seems to be finding him wheter he's prepared or not.

  Diggle's Year One island is now the centerpiece of the character.  On TV the island represents a third to a half of the show.  Here Lemire uses it as well as integral background for Ollie's transition from society lad to vigilante.  But now he's on a quest of discovery and Lemire is bringing something new to the table which could be as important an addition to him as the Lantern spectrum was to Green Lantern.

It will be interesting to see what DC characters fill in the slots for the totem weapons, although Ollie meets minor DC character John Butcher (the axe) here.

I love where this is headed.  DC's not doing too much right these days but they have a winner here.  This is new, fresh, interesting relaunch of a character the best they've done so far outside of Wonder Woman.


CalvinPitt said...

I wonder if this is strictly Lemire's idea. Nocenti's placed the Sword Clan as Katana's primary target, and she's made mention of the Outsiders as well. Which is kind of cool. I always like when a few different writers get together to explore a concept from different directions (assuming they don't start contradicting each other in noticeable ways).

Graig Kent said...

I was wondering if "the sword" would be Katana... I'm trying to figure out who else might fit into these groups... We know Butcher is the axe, GA is the arrow, Katana likely the sword. Im going to guess Richard Dragon as the fist, the spear is a tough one (perhaps one of the old Global Guardians, the Huntsman?) and the shield... the Guardian is the only notable shield bearer in the DCU. As for the 7th Im going to guess its Hawkman, just because his backstory needs more convolution

King Beauregard said...

This is very interesting, but it could go all wrong in the hands of an injudicious writer. Like when they tried to make Spider-Man the bearer of a spider totem, or something, and that kind of stunk -- Spider-Man works best as an independent agent, and one of science.

(There's an old Marvel Two-in-One in which Lord Order and Master Chaos claim to have made Spider-Man possible to accomplish one solitary task -- to punch a thing during a battle with Thanos -- but that's such a "soft" deterministic moment, it's hard to object.)

I'm going to toss out a possibility: Ollie ISN'T destined to be the head of the archer clan. I say this because Lemire is smart enough to not make Ollie a magically good archer or an archer who is the best because of a totem or because it's part of his lineage. But if Ollie is an anomalously talented archer outside the framework of the archer clan ... well, that could go so many ways.

Graig Kent said...

Very good thought, KB... Ollie has been facing Komodo, another exceptional archer, who has a daughter that he seems to be training in archery, so it could be a fake-out that Ollie is the totem holder. I'm not even that certain though that the totem is a magical thing, altogether or if it's just a Skull and Bones secret society type thing. There's all sorts of ways this could go really.

King Beauregard said...

I guess the thing that concerns me at some level is how this is passed from father to son. So does that mean there's an archer gene, or a magical archer family bond? If it does, at some level it takes away from Ollie, who has innate talent but nothing I would want to believe was foreordained.

You know who would be a good leader of a mystical order of archers? Connor Hawke. He couldn't be Ollie's son, but what if they shared a father? If some sort of foreordainedness has to be part of this, I'd rather it strike someone other than Ollie -- Connor was the one who was foretold (or whatever), and also there's Ollie who came as a surprise to everyone.