Thursday, May 11, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Arrow Analysis - Green Arrow #62

We’re going to do something different this time. Usually, when I don’t like something, I write a silly little parody that points out its’ flaws or write a big long rant poking holes in the argument of whichever blowhard has me peeved off.

Well, since The Powers That Be at Comics Nexus want more graphics in our columns and since some of you have asked me for more specific answers as to why I don’t like Judd Winick’s Green Arrow and since someone kindly posted the offending pages I want to talk about someplace on-line so I didn’t have to spend my money on a comic I am boycotting, I’m going to taking you all through six-pages of poorly written, badly drawn Hell.

Yes. It’s the first six pages of Green Arrow #62, under the microscope. Forgive me if I over explain things in this analysis, but I want to make this accessible to everyone who isn’t reading the title and familiar with the extensive back story of the characters involved.

Page One: The Setup.

The guy in the orange and blue is Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke The Terminator. He is one of if not the best assassin and mercenary in the world. He has been hired to kill Star City Mayor Oliver Queen aka the archer superhero Green Arrow aka the blonde guy with the goatee.

Deathstroke has been nursing a grudge against Green Arrow for a while now, due to injuries he was responsible for inflicting during Identity Crisis.

The bald African gentleman is Fredrick Tuckman, Mayor Queen’s chief aide.

Deathstroke has been hired by certain business interests to do away with the incorruptible (at least by rich white men wanting to turn the ghetto into a casino) Mayor Queen – a job he’d quite gladly do for free at this point given the grudge. Aside from being a master tactician and practiced with every weapon ever made, Slade’s also got superhuman strength, speed, dexterity, reflexes a brain that process information 90% faster than a regular human and a healing factor.

Page Two: Anatomy of a Professional Killer

Here, Slade shoots Tuckman with a dart tipped with “a fairly devastating nerve toxin.” He notes that Tuckman may recover “or have paralysis, blindness, brain damage. I can’t be sure without knowing his weight.”

Now, I’m not the biggest Deathstroke trivia buff in the world, but I note several mistakes here that I’m sure a seasoned assassin like Slade wouldn’t make.

1. The Approach.

Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to kill somebody at their home rather than their place of work, particularly a place of business as public as City Hall? Granting that Slade was good enough to sneak in unseen, there’s a lot of unknowns he couldn’t account for once he got there.

2. The Target.

Call me crazy, but given the choice of a trained fighter (even one unarmed and without his weapon of choice) and a civil servant, I’d take care of the trained fighter first... I don’t care how bad ass I am.

3. The Weighty Issue.

This guy is a master assassin of several years. You’d think he’d be able to judge a target’s weight from a distance of three feet by now.

And in honor of an anonymous friend, whom I spoke to while writing this column, who IS a big Deathstroke fan... rogue that Slade is, he’s always been a consummate professional even when going after people he DID have a grudge against. He has a record of following his contract to the letter; no more and no less. As such, it seems unlikely that Slade would hurt an innocent bystander like Tuckman, particularly in light of what happens on Page 4.

Page Three: The Art of Monologing!

Again, I’m not an expert on Slade Wilson’s character, but from what I’ve read Slade is more a man of action than a classic villainous monologue giver. No rants with Sue Storm tied up above a lava pit while he talks about his ingenious plan to conquer the surface world for this villain!

Surprising then, that he spends the next two pages “monologuing” in fine Incredibles tradition.

On another note, why has Ollie been standing still this whole time? You’d think he’d at least made a token dodge attempt or a break for the door to get his security guard John Smalls (I’d assume the security guard would be close) rather than getting shot dead center in the chest!

Granted, Slade has superhuman reflexes but he still talks at normal speed. Ollie could have been over the desk or out the door by now!

Page Four: The Cunning Plan!

So Slade discusses his plans and how he’s not just going to kill Ollie – he’s going to humiliate him by leaving his body in Thailand, surrounded by drugs and murdered prostitutes.

(If this sounds vaguely familiar to you Green Arrow fans, see Green Arrow Vol. 2, #2 or Chapter Two of the Quiver TP)

One small problem; you have a witness who saw Slade before getting knocked out.

If Slade is honestly unsure as to whether or not the poison he used on Tuckman will merely disable him for a while or render him permanently blind, dumb and paralyzed – then his revenge scheme doesn’t make any sense. Any attempt to defame Ollie’s name posthumously would be pointless since you have someone who could confirm that Oliver Queen was attacked and taken against his will somewhere.

And even if Tuckman is killed, won’t that just raise questions leading to someone investigating the truth? Or are we to believe that the death of the Mayor’s right-hand will just be one more thing blamed on the Mayor that won’t be investigated at all?

Of course this is presuming Slade wouldn’t have issue with killing someone outsides the bounds of his contract... which, as we said before, goes against past characterization. But this is just fanboy nitpicking compared to the fact that Ollie is pushing the button on some kind of trigger.

Yes, the man who had just been hit full in the chest with a dart poisoned in such a way that could render a man paralyzed, brain-damaged and blind or just disabled depending on his weight...

You’d think a professional like Slade would at least be prepared to have THAT measured out in advance, given that he’s fought the target a few times and would have opportunity to observe him and make sure he got the weight guessed right. But perhaps I presume too much about Slade's professionalism.

Page Five: BOOM!

Not much to say here, except that even comic book physics are stretched allowing for an explosion that can knock a full grown, muscular man backwards with enough force to get embedded in safety glass without having similar adverse effects on the people on the other side of the desk.

Page Six: The Quick Change

Okay. A lot to cover here, so I’m just going to list the obvious questions.

1. Ignoring the paralysis, how the hell did he change into costume that quickly? I realize he was probably wearing the tunic under his suit (despite that rather large leather hood having to tuck away with no bulges around the shoulders) but it takes a whole lot of time to put on archer gloves. From one who knows. And even then, it’s hard to believe he could get his shirt and jacket off without a tear-away male-stripper suit.

2. Where the heck did he get the bow and arrows from? Even if he did have a hidden cache, wouldn’t Slade have found it while casing the room as it seems he did?

3. What did Slade have to do with the death of Ted Kord? That was the fault of Checkmate, an organization unaffiliated with “The Society”, the villainous group Slade IS a part of. (Something you’d think Judd Winick would know having written parts of the DC Countdown book in which Ted Kord died…)

I hope this will explain to you doubters why Judd Winick’s writing of this title has been such a big issue for me and why I felt the need to start a petition to remove him from this book.

That said, I’m calling off the petition. It was never meant to be serious in the first place but the joke is being lost on a lot of people.

No, I’m not giving up. And I’m not quitting. Just changing tactics. Because it has become apparent to me that while there are a lot of Green Arrow fans who want a different writer on the book, there aren’t many willing to set the precedent for forcing writers off of books through written documents.

So the petition to remove Judd Winick from Green Arrow is over.

The petition to put another writer on the book is just starting.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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