The New 52: An Arrow to the Knee [Rant]

To move forward with reviewing Green Arrow, there was something I had to get off my chest.

Well, it took some time (more than ten months actually), but last month I was finally able to piece it all together, and by doing such, I found myself in a position where I could look at the new Green Arrow comics fairly and without estranged bias. I thought I had managed this a few months earlier, as I did manage to review issue #6 of the rebooted Green Arrow series, but with issue #7 came more complications with the new writer, and the rants began to pour out from me again while attempting to merely write reviews. But after sitting myself down to let out my feelings on the subject, I was able to finally put all that aside.

See, my problems with the reboot actually began with Green Arrow #15, the last of the pre-reboot run. As I finished the book and saw Ollie walking away, I couldn’t help but think… this is how it ends? Its not that it was a bad story, far from it, it was just… THIS is how it ends. It was a painful thought, and the more I sat there just thinking that thought, the more sorrowful I became. I had a similar reaction as I finished reading Titans #38, as Roy took back control of the Titans with Jericho at his side, standing as a hero once again, but it wasn’t this severe… it wasn’t this impacting. The impact was so great, in fact, that I was unable to write a review, as every time I tried it left the subject of the book and fell to a lamenting fanboyish ramble about how I didn’t want the reboot anymore, even though I had previously been all for it… and then Green Arrow #1 hit.

I remember walking into my Local Comic Shop to pick it up, and as the owner handed it me I just looked at it for a second. The cover sank beneath my skin… that wasn’t Green Arrow, at least it wasn’t my Green Arrow. As I drove home, I kept looking over at the comic, both fearful and excited at the prospect of reading it to see what it would do. The one thing I had to keep telling myself was, “Its written by J.T. Krul, he’s a great writer, he’s done great with Green Arrow (while not being bogged down by editorially mandated Brightest Day crap), he won’t let me down, this is gonna be good… its gotta be good… right?” Wrong.

Reading the book, I found myself flustered. How can this be what they’re giving me? But still, its just a first issue, maybe it’ll get better… right? Right? After reading the issue I was going to give it a chance, but then the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws hit (a title I was actually going to start reviewing, as well) and I was infuriated. My rage was well deserved, however, it surprised me as to why. The portrayal of Roy here wasn’t exactly bad (it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad), but the portrayal of Starfire was down right insulting. I know, right? Starfire, of all people, is the one that broke the camel’s back for me. It must have been all those classic Titans comics I had been reading around the time, but whatever. Fact is, this pissed me off so bad that I decided to boycott the reboot altogether (at the end of the day, I had read most of the new #1 issues of the reboot, and didn’t really care for any of them, though was only truly insulted by one).

But herein lies the dilemma, and this I went over a little in my review of Green Arrow #6, as a fanboy completionist, it began to nag at me that there were issues of a Green Arrow titled comic out there that I didn’t own… so after Green Arrow #4 was released, I finally caved and picked up all the GA comics from the reboot, and began to pick it up monthly again… and that’s when I began just looking at the stories while trying to ignore the shock of the reboot.

First, there was J.T. Krul’s story. It wasn’t bad, not great, but not the worst I’d seen of Green Arrow. I actually felt kind of bad while reading the whole story. You could almost tell that Krul’s love for GA had been squashed, having to give up an entire planned storyline that had been hindered in the beginning by Brightest Day, and then was basically thrown in the trash by the powers that be upon the reboot. It was like they were telling him his stuff wasn’t good enough, so he had to come up with something different, and you could practically feel it in his writing… this wasn’t his Green Arrow, and it wasn’t mine, but its what we had, and I completely understand why he decided to leave the title.

Unfortunately, that lead us to the post Krul writers.

Now, first of all, I don’t understand why they didn’t go back to James Patrick. He had managed to do a phenomenal job with the last three issues of the pre-reboot Green Arrow series (that replaced Krul’s issues since they needed to draw the ongoing to a close), why not give him the title again? But then, maybe they offered it to him and he said no, either way, its unfortunate that we didn’t get him, because who we ended up with was Keith Griffen and Dan Jurgens. I’m not going to say they were the worst choices, but given their three issue story arc, I’m glad they’re gone. Their ‘action first, character later’ approach, while befitting of the reboot mentality, was far too close to why I dislike Geoff Johns… that said, however, by the time they got to issue #6, I was ready… I could accept this, and I could write a review, so I did. My feelings for this storyline are mostly there, and the beer in the belt thing still strikes me as one of the dumbest decisions of the reboot, but I digress. Bottom line, after this issue, I was hopeful for what the future would bring… but then Ann Nocenti came along and violently hit me back down to the rant.

So there I was, reading her first issue. Now, I get the whole “up the sex” angle of the reboot mentality, and while I don’t agree with it, I can accept it, but this issue went too far. As insulted as I was with The Outlaws’ portrayal of Starfire, I was doubly horrified by the idea of the incestuous four-way we were presented with in Green Arrow #7. Sex is one thing, incest is another, and there is absolutely no place in mainstream comics for that. I was horrified, and when trying to review it, I couldn’t stop ranting.

Now, ranting about the incest would’ve been fine, I get that, but unfortunately the rants kept rounding out to an off topic all encompassing condemnation for the reboot. Issues #8 and #9 returned to the mediocrity of the issues before #7, but both times, I found myself ranting, so the reviews never came to be… but while I was ranting instead of writing the review for issue #9, I came to realize that maybe I just needed to rant.

I had this rant in my head, in my body, and in my soul, and it just needed to get out. As a fanboy, it was like I had taken an arrow to the knee, and the only way to heal was to let out my frustrations. Some of my friends would say I’ve been letting it out since the first month (even my editor here can attest to that), but I needed to sit down and let it all out, and so I did. And you know what? I felt really good after doing so. Of course, it was then edited and altered over time to become what you’re reading now, but still… it felt good to let it out.

Say what you will about the reboot, we all reacted to it differently. Some loved it, some hated it, and some were even able to overcome their fanboyism and chose instead to move on and away from their once love, but here I am. I loved the idea, then hated the execution… but I’m going to try, I’m going to deal, and I’m going to enjoy what I can because I just can’t find the strength to turn away. The New 52 put my fanboyish love for Team Arrow through a rugged trial, but it has come out the other end in tact. And if nothing else, I’ll always have Cartoon Network’s Young Justice to give me the truest forms of my top two possible at this point, as they have thankfully been moving more closely with the pre-reboot era than this has, so there ya go. Television saves the day again.

But I guess its not all bad, as there may yet be one really great thing to come from all of this. While I may have now come to a point of acceptance with the reboot, from my initial outrage and boycott I managed to discover another archer that I now love almost as much as my top two in the form of Marvel’s Clint Barton (Hawkeye), who is unsurprisingly quite a bit of an amalgam of Ollie and Roy. So there it is. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have… the facts of life.

Thanks for letting me vent, true believers.

More Green Arrow @ acomicbookblog.com/tag/green-arrow


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4 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    I dropped this book after issue #5. For some reason i just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I like the idea of Green Arrow, but I just couldn’t keep my attention to it

    • Tom Parry says:

      Oh, I more than understand why you would, the title was very sporadic and all over the place. However, I think we may now be starting to see a turn around on that beginning with issue #11. For the first time since the reboot, we’re actually getting some character development, and that’s making me quite hopeful for the future. You can check out my review of it for more about that if you’d like, and I actually comment on people who dropped the title at the end, saying that now may be the time to pick it back up.

  2. B.D. Hefner says:

    Hey Tom, that was a pretty fantastic rant. I feel your pain, though I am trying to be a bit more optimistic. I’ve only been a GA fan since somewhere in the middle of Vol. 3 and Kevin Smith’s fantastic Year One (probaby around ’07) but I get it. Funny not metioning the lack of goatee which I suppose would seem trivial but all us Arrow fans know that deep down it was the first twinge of uncertainty,ha.
    Keep up the good writing my friend, you got a new reader here.

    • Tom Parry says:

      Thanks for the great comment! And truth be told, I did actually include a knock at the lack of the goatee in the original draft of this rant, but while editing it to flow easier (and to be a bit softer edged), the comment was removed. First because it was a total side point that didn’t truthfully effect the final outcome of how I felt, and second because GA didn’t always have a goatee pre-reboot. He was always depicted as clean shaven in his early years because his original Golden Age design lacked facial hair (it was Neal Adams who gave him that in the 70′s).

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A DC fanboy at heart, even if I have more than a few problems with the reboot, my love for DC heroes (especially Team Arrow) is a significant part of my life.