Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Green Arrow #17

This comic book just got a bajillion times better simply by not putting Ann Nocenti's name on the cover.

I was going to give up Green Arrow for Lent but now that Jeff Lemire is writing it, it might actually be good. And nobody gives up good things for Lent, do they? They might try but who goes through with it when they know it's stupid and silly and God probably doesn't really exist anyway so why deny yourself what you desire? I bet the day Lent begins sees the least incidents of masturbation while the day before and the day after rival each other for the most incidents of masturbation.

I said "God probably doesn't really exist" in that last paragraph because I was writing in the voice of somebody that actually believes in bullshit like Lent. I just didn't want readers to think I had doubts about the nonexistence of a single being that doesn't have to obey the laws of the universe because he created it. Do you think Milton Bradley felt he didn't have to follow the rules when playing The Game of Life?

Milton Bradley: "Spin? What are you talking about? My car just passed every Payday square twice and landed on this space where I found a priceless painting. Except the painting was more valuable than first thought, so I get ten times as much as the space says. Also it's my turn again, so you can all tithe me ten percent of your current worth. And could someone pay the prostitutes for me? I seem to have left my wallet in my other martini glass."

Now I want to play The Game of Life with Milton Bradley! That guy sounds cool.

Before I begin reading Green Arrow, should we review his life up until now? First he was written by J.T. Krul and he was a gigantic, judgmental asshole. He brought to justice people who had fame for no good reason. At least no reason that Green Arrow thought was good. Boy, that version of Green Arrow would probably want to hunt me down and kick my ass for writing Eee! Tess Ate Chai Tea! Anyway, that Green Arrow sucked and didn't last long. J.T. Krul promised a Black Canary story but then left the book because he had too much other crappy shit to write in Captain Atom, so Black Canary never appeared in the comic. Instead, Keith Giffen began writing!

During Giffen's short run, Oliver Queen's business life became more convincing. But some mutated guy and his girlfriend wanted to off him for some reason and Green Arrow had to save his life. It was written better but not very interesting.

At some point, Green Arrow starred in Grifter and was written by Nathan Edmondson. Even when compared to Grifter, Green Arrow still was not interesting.

Ann Nocenti took over and made him a womanizing, irresponsible gambler. Sounds interesting, right? It wasn't. He lost his company while enmeshed in some King Lear knock-off story where he never did figure out what the bear was for. And then he lost his company some more when some Chinese guy that wore a bunch of masks became the majority shareholder of Queen Industries. Or Q-Core. Whatever it's called. Green Arrow appeared in a number of half-assed stories with very pretty eyelashes. At this point, nothing could save him. Judd Winick was supposed to try but DC editorialized him right out the door and he was in and out on the Zero Issue.

Now it's Lemire's turn! Green Arrow has already had three or four distinct personalities, so I imagine one more isn't going to confuse any of the readers still holding out hope for this title. I lost all my hope for it after having to read multiple Wikipedia pages through the lens of Ann Nocenti and Green Arrow. I swear that woman gets all of her script ideas by just hitting the random button on the Wikipedia homepage.

Lemire's run on Green Arrow begins with Oliver Queen about to die in the deserts of Arizona.

Everything that came before was a joke. I can buy that.

After teasing me with the joy of seeing Oliver Queen die in the desert, the comic reverts to three weeks earlier when Ollie confronted Emerson about the loss of Queen Enterprises. Of course Ollie blames Emerson but it's not like Oliver was taking any interest in it. Chasing fame whores. Shooting arrows at low lifes all night long. Running off to Canada to shag some triplets. Pretending to be dead. Okay, he didn't mean to pretend to be dead. He kind of got framed on that one. But he still didn't take an active role in the company. He just wanted to siphon off as much money as he could so that he could build boxing glove arrows and Arrow Planes. And now he's going to blame Emerson for his new life as a destitute nobody.

That's probably Merlyn nocking the arrow that's about to kill Emerson.

So Green Arrow's father is Harvest? How else could he have planned Green Arrow's life so completely that it would eventually come to this moment where Oliver is broke and desperate and about to find out his true birthright? Too bad Ollie's dad couldn't foresee the next thing about to happen: Emerson killed by an arrow! Unless he saw that too. I guess if he successfully planned out Ollie's life this far, he probably knew Emerson was going to die here. More probably, Ollie's dad just had a kind of metaphorical plan that would involve Ollie losing all of his money and being forced to become the man that could accept his birthright. Now I don't know what his birthright is but I suppose if Emerson had known Ollie was Green Arrow, he wouldn't have waited so long to pass on the information.

The arrow that enters Emerson's back locks on to him while attached to a cable across to another building. The cable is yanked, Emerson's goes out the window, the arrow detaches, and Ollie is left looking like he killed Emerson. I wonder if Emerson accepted this as part of the plan! "Well, if it'll help Ollie become a man, go ahead and kill me. I wouldn't want to stand in the way of a solidly executed ten year plan."

The plan also involves blowing up the Q-Core building and kidnapping (if not killing) Jax and Naomi. Green Arrow really has lost everything now that ties him to the last horrible sixteen issues of this comic book. All that he has left are a few safehouses scattered around Seattle where he's able to pick up a costume, a bow, and some odd arrows. He also manages to find the Archer that killed Emerson.

This guy's name is Komodo. Since Tommy Merlyn has already appeared in Batman Incorporated as Merlyn, my guess is Lemire even threw out Winick's Zero Issue foreshadowed rivalry to introduce this new guy, Komodo.

Obviously Komodo knows that Green Arrow is Oliver Queen. Hell, I'm surprised more people don't know it. Especially since they apparently traveled together to China a few months ago. And the way one always sends the other to speak to people as if they're best friends. Like I've said before, it really kind of ruins the point of having a secret identity when you tie your secret identity so closely to the super hero. Because now people are going to go after Oliver Queen or his people if they want to get at Green Arrow. I'm pretty sure when you're in your super hero identity, you're only supposed to hob knob with other super heroes or else you're putting normal people at risk. At some point, heroes began having secret identities just because they were expected to have secret identities. The reasons behind them just kind of melt away into the background.

Komodo gets the jump on Green Arrow and beats him on all counts: hand-to-hand, speed, aim, shit talking. But just as he's about to shoot an arrow into Queen's throat, some guy named Magus shows up to rescue Green Arrow.

Jack Shepherd? Is that you?

So Aquaman saved him from the island sooner than the plan expected? I guess Aquaman was the M.U.L.E. to Robert Queen's Seldon. Holy shit. It's been twenty five years since I read Asimov's Foundation series and I still pulled that analogy out of my ass. I don't even know if Aquaman saves Green Arrow from the island. I do know Aquaman and Green Arrow have some bad blood between them. Perhaps it's merely a rivalry for Hero Most Likely to Suck Ass.

Now is Green Arrow supposed to get back to the island? Or will getting to Black Mesa, Arizona be good enough? At least the story was fucking coherent for once!

Green Arrow #17 Rating: +1 Ranking. Sure, Lemire just trashed everything connecting Green Arrow to previous issues but he had to do it. He had to clear cut that forest. Raze the fucking fields. Burn the covered walkway across the river. For this comic book to be successful from here on out, it can't have any of the taint left on it from previous issues. It also needs a coherent, well-written story that will engage the reader's curiosity so that he'll stick with this first story. I think Lemire was successful on those counts. And Sorrentino's art has a ragged, unfinished quality to it that matches the tone well. It's kind of like I, Vampire but with less red and more green.

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