Green Arrow #1 – The Original
With the start of a new Green Arrow ongoing series this week, we have decided to create an all new featured blog centering on the Emerald Archer, himself. Periodically the blog will tackle reviews and comparisons of the older Green Arrow issues, and take note of important factors that will play a key part in later issues, and more notably, such that seem to be playing a key role in the current ongoing series, itself. This week, to celebrate the release of the all new Green Arrow #1, we’ve decided to just take a look back to 1983, all the way to the very first Green Arrow #1.
Having co-starred with Green Lantern for a time, and then appearing as a co-feature in the Flash comics during the late 1970′s, DC Comics decided it was finally time to test Green Arrow’s popularity with his very own solo title. This was an odd thing to say because this is a character introduced during the heyday of Golden Age heroes. An oddity of the comic book industry, Green Arrow had been introduced alongside his noble sidekick, Speedy, back in November of 1941 within the pages of More Fun Comics #73 (the very same issue that Aquaman was introduced in), but having been considered a rip-off of Batman thrown into the trappings of Robin Hood, complete with a bow and arrow, his popularity never really took off. It wasn’t until 1969 when legendary comic writer Denny O’Neill got a hold of the character and made him lose his fortune that people began to really take notice. It was under O’Neill’s guidance in the late 70′s that the character was added to the Green Lantern title, and through this pairing, DC Comics was finally lead to the realization that Green Arrow may be worth something more than just a back up feature. The result was a four part mini-series that would begin in May of 1983.
I can only imagine the feel of the task placed before then writer Mike W. Barr while tackling the very first Green Arrow #1. You don’t want to retread, but at the same time, you have to establish a history of the character for new readers. Luckily, Barr managed to pull this off quite nicely. Given an all new story of a matured Oliver Queen reluctantly coming back into money, Barr still managed to tell the essential back story of Green Arrow without ever feeling forced through a fluid flashback that gave such information as much of a side note rather than a focus. This ploy worked nicely and allowed itself to refrain from the forced feeling that can often accompany such nods.
But how does it hold up against the modern Green Arrow #1? Well, in truth, they are two very different animals. The new Green Arrow #1 is representative of a character story break. Basically, we’ve moved into another era of Mr. Queen’s life, and DC Comics fascination with #1′s that has come about during the last decade indicated such as being a valued moment for such to take place. So while the new first issue of the current ongoing is, in fact, the start of something new, it could have just as easily been called Green Arrow #33, or even Green Arrow #108, as the previous series break was made for the same reason, upon the marriage of Oliver Queen and long time love interest Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary). This original #1, however, had to establish the character on its own merits. It didn’t have any previous Green Arrow title to fall back on for supposed knowledge, and thus the story comes across with fewer strings, as there weren’t really that many for it to hold to. That said, however, without said strings, the story doesn’t seem to be as important to the reader, and the emotion felt for the character is much less under the circumstances, even when the character’s own emotions run hot.
That said, the writing is still superb, and the artwork provided by Trevor von Eeden and Dick Giordano were top of the line for the time, though by today’s standards they would almost seem lacking, as the times have changed what we expect to see from our artists. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t really hold much relevance to the current standing of the character’s involved. It is with that mind that I rate the comic as I do. But don’t misunderstand, it is still a great issue, and likely the best starting point for Green Arrow comics, given as the character, unlike so many others, has withstood most any retcons since his first solo title, though his island origin story has been tweaked periodically, even through half a dozen Crises.
Bottom line, the first #1 is still worth while, though its not nearly a emotionally charged as Green Arrow has been since Mike Grell’s run, but such can’t really be held against it, as Grell had yet to set the standard by which the character would be written forever after.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The ideal intro issue for newcomers to Green Arrow.||Lack of importance to the current run, and dated artwork.|