Current Reviews


Green Arrow #19

Posted: Monday, December 16, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artists: Phil Hester (p), Ande Parks (i)

Publisher: DC

The book opens with Green Arrow breaking into a Kord Industries lab, to gain access to the JLA transporter that was installed there. We then see him use it to transport himself back up to the Watchtower, where he has a run-in with Green Lantern, and we see the tension is instantly present, as Kyle believes Oliver thinks he's a wannabe who doesn't deserve to wear the power ring. However we see Oliver makes it clear that his only problem with Kyle is that he can't help but look at Kyle and be reminded of his old friend. We then see Oliver claims he's there to meet J'Onn, but after Oliver transports himself back to the surface Kyle learns that J'Onn never met Oliver, and what's more Oliver's collection of trick arrows have vanished from the trophy room. We then see the true object Oliver was after was the diamond-tipped arrow that he used on the adventure that earned him his invite to join the Justice League of America. We then see the next object that Oliver heads after is located in the Flash Museum, and thanks to a heads up from Kyle, Wally West arrives to keep Oliver from getting inside. However, while Oliver acts as a distraction to keep Wally occupied, we see Roy managed to sneak inside and make off with a costume ring that Barry made for Oliver shortly before his death.

Since he's alive this issue left me a bit confused as to why Oliver was so determined to complete his dying wishes. Now I recognize that it's simply a plot thread that Brad Meltzer has come up with to move us around Oliver's past, and that sometimes people simply have to do something they set out to do, and Oliver's stubborn streak makes him the perfect candidate for this type of obsessive quest. However, in order for this story to work Brad Meltzer should've used Roy as a method of questioning why Oliver feels he has to embark on this scavenger hunt, as it would really help this story if the reader was given some insight into why Oliver was so bound & determined to take back all the souvenirs of his past adventures. I mean the original logic behind the quest was to protect Oliver's loved ones from the wrath of a villain who discovered his secret identity after he had passed on, but I honestly can't see ow an enemy would figure out any new insight through the study of a diamond-tipped arrow, and all they would've gotten from the ring would be his first name, which has hardly been a closely guarded secret. In the end there's just a sense that this story hasn't justified itself to the reader.

This issue delves into the Silver Age of Green Arrow's past with great gusto, as the objects that Oliver retrieves from the Watchtower and the Flash Museum both have a great deal of nostalgic value to them. We also get a great little exchange between Oliver & Kyle Rayner, as I do believe that Oliver died before Kyle took on the role, and as such there is a very real source of tension that should exists between these two, and this story does a wonderful job of defusing this situation. Plus, we also get a wonderful little moment where Kyle asks what the deal was with the overabundance of boxing gloves during the Silver Age. We also get a cute scene between Oliver & Wally West, though Oliver's plan does have a fairly serious flaw, as since the theft of the ring was happening inside the museum truth be told Wally could be in both places at once. Still even though the thefts did allow for some cute moments, such as Kyle's reaction when he discovered Oliver played him for a fool, the simple fact of the matter is that if he wanted these objects back he could've simply asked for them. I mean one would think Oliver has enough pull in the super-hero community that he doesn't have to sneak around like a theft to get back his own property.

Phil Hester shows that he's a pretty good fit when it comes to the idea of super-heroes, as while the only other members of the super-hero community that we get to see in this issue are Green Lantern & the Flash, both of these characters look quite impressive in this issue. I mean I'm not a big fan of Kyle's new costume design, but Phil Hester actually makes it work with his heavy shadow work, though I have to say I don't think any artist could make Kyle's hair style work. The little scene where Kyle makes his own boxing glove was also a great little moment, and the art did a great job of slowly revealing this fun surprise. The scene where Wally arrives to confront Oliver was also a nice understated use of the character's speed, and even though Phil Hester gave Wally a build that was a bit too bulky, that shot of him standing in front of Barry's memorial is a great piece of art. There's also the amusing little details like Oliver entering the Watchtower with an empty quiver, and leaving with it full, or the fun trip down memory lane as we see some of the arrows that Oliver & Roy pull out of the quiver. The cover to this issue is also a wonderful teaser visual, even if the suggested conflict this visual makes doesn't play out inside the book.

Final Word:
This issue feels a bit slow and while there's moments that I enjoyed quite a bit, the promising mystery from the opening issue has kind of lost its way, and the lack of any real action in this issue had me focusing on the unanswered questions that this issue avoids addressing. I mean one has to wonder why does Oliver feel he has to skulk around like a thief to get objects that are clearly his property, when he could simply step forward and ask for them. The question of why he feels he needs these objects is also a bit loosey goosey in the logic department, though I will concede that Brad Meltzer does come up with a pretty solid reason why Oliver would want the diamond-tipped arrow. I'll also give him full marks for the way he dealt with the tension between Oliver & Kyle, with the boxing glove question generating a very cute little moment of nostalgia. Less impressive though is the scene with the Flash, as it does make Wally look a bit slow on the uptake, which just feels wrong.

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