Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hellblazer #255 & #256

Peter Milligan has managed to do something I doubted any writer apart from Brian Azzarello could ever manage; make me seriously contemplate dropping Hellblazer from my subscription.

I can't really explain why, save that while he seems to be writing stories about a character named John Constantine who knows some magic and is a bit of a con-man, he doesn't seem to be writing about the John Constantine we know.

#255 continues the Regeneration storyline in which John awakens the ghost of an ancient Plague Doctor in his efforts to "hex" the stadium where the London 2012 Olympics will take-place. The last issue showed us flashbacks of a man stuck in London during one of the infamous plagues, who contemplates whoring out his eldest daughter to The Plague Doctor in order to assure his family safe escape from the city - a story that was seemingly unconnected to the main tale involving John being desperate for cash and feeling heartsick after his latest relationship ended.

Now we find that The Plague Doctor ghost is - in fact - the ghost of the father in the flashback and that his daughter wound up killing the Plague Doctor rather than lay with him. The father effected another plan to escape the city and wound up killing his whole family before killing himself - better that they die by his hand than he should lose them to the Plague or the soldiers killing the plague victims. He asks John to move his bones so that he can rest in peace apart from his family. John tells him to slag off and leaves him to haunt the site, condemning for taking the coward's way out.

This flies in the face of what few ethics John Constantine has ever been shown to have. In one of the better Garth Ennis stories, John did grant final rest to a man condemned to eternal life (a family member no less), noting that "one bastard can forgive another bastard". Given that John has done worse... a lot worse... in the name of saving his own loved ones and friends, it doesn't seem likely that John would condemn a man for trying to save his family from a more painful and slow death.

This "almost but not quite" feeling continued into #256 and the first part (Part One of Three we are told) of a story called Hooked. Following off the last page of #255, in which John's now ex-girlfriend Phoebe rebuffs his attempts at trying to ask her out again and he threatens to use his magic to make her love him. She says even he couldn't stoop that low... and here we open on John negotiating with a blue-haired alchemist over a love potion.

Even Epiphany, the alchemist in question, notes how horribly out of character it is for John to be doing something like this but John dismisses any such questions with instances that he is as big a bastard as everyone thinks.

That's the problem, though. I don't think he is.

In my estimation, most Hellblazer writers don't think that he is.

Even Garth Ennis said that John had a basically decent bloke deep down and that his biggest flaws were snap judgments, cowardice and an insatiable desire to poke at metaphorical wasp's nests. He thought John honestly did try to do the right thing for his and his loved ones - he wasn't a hero by any stretch of the imagination, but he was trying to be good. And giving the woman who dumped you a love-potion laced bottle of wine is about as not-good as you can get.

I'll give it another issue or two to see how it goes, purely because it is SOMEWHAT uncertain if that is exactly what John did and if he didn't use the love potion on another mage who is blackmailing him. We will see... but right now, this book is dancing on a knife's edge for me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ex Machina #42 & #43

Ring Out The Old: Parts 2 and 3 continue to push this series toward an all too quickly approaching denouement as pressure begins to build for technopath superhero turned New York City Mayor Mitchell Hundred.

* The corrupt governor who has spent three years avoiding him now wants to be by his side on New Years Eve in Times Square.

* Reporter Suzanne Padilla has joined forces with The Great Machine's ex-sidekick "Kremlin" to force Hundred out of office and is following bodyguard Bradbury to a mysterious "White Box" that has been kept secret from the public in case of some possible future emergency.

* Random people on the streets of New York are being attacked by rats in broad daylight, suggesting the return of The Great Machine's archenemy - the Dr. Dolittle of Darkness - Jack Phereson.

Honestly, I can't really talk much about this comic without rehashing about 40 issues worth of backstory to fully communicate just how awesome the book in general and the current storyline in particular is. Of course, this is a book with Brian K. Vaughn writing and Tony Harris artwork - if you don't know how awesome that is by itself, there's not much I think I can do to convince you of that fact.

Check out the free preview of Issue #43 here. It depicts a nightmare scene in which Mitchell is confronted by a zombie Phereson. If that doesn't grab your attention, I don't know what else might.

Regardless, this is one of the best books to grace the shelves in a good long while. If you like what you see, go pick up the first trade, Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days and start catching up. I think you'll be glad you did.

Two Doctor Who Comic Reviews

Because I've been putting these off for too long, let's get back into the swing of things and do some reviews!

Doctor Who: Autopia

The Tenth Doctor and Donna travel to Autopia; a supposed paradise planet that was meant to be entirely automated, allowing the race who built this paradise all the time they need to contemplate the universe and achieve enlightenment. Of course things aren't quite that simple and The Doctor and Donna quickly find that over time enlightenment came to mean "lazing about in a toga all day, reading the same poetry book over and over while ordering your robots to kill anyone who disrupts your routine."

The first Doctor Who comic featuring Donna Nobel as a companion, this comic draws off the rich tradition of robot stories started by Issac Asimov, exploring the same themes of how humanity and morality can be defined in the face of artificial intelligence; small wonder given the script is by John Ostrander, who has done quite a bit with those themes in his other works. It's not the most original story - most of these themes have been explored in Doctor Who before - but it is a serviceable story if not wholly original.

The art, on the other hand, hovers on the other side of adequate. David Tenant's likeness is rendered well-enough but Donna is only distinguishable in that she the one female humanoid who isn't wearing a toga. And shame upon the colorist who decided her hair should be bright orange!

I give it 6 out of 10. Worth picking up if you're a fan of The Doctor.

Doctor Who: The Time Machination

The idea of a mash-up between Doctor Who and The Time Traveler of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine isn't exactly a new one. Indeed, this comic acknowledges that former work - probably the most definitive novel in the Time-Travel Sci-Fi genre - with a number of liberal quotes throughout as well as references to the times when H.G. Wells appeared on the show as a character.

The plot involves the Tenth Doctor being stranded in England sometime just before H.G. Wells wrote his famous book. Not surprisingly, Wells is a friend of The Doctor and agrees to help him - as best he can - by getting a physicist colleague to help The Doctor in making the repairs to The TARDIS that he needs - a task made much more difficult by the fact that Torchwood is wise to The Doctor's presence and is after Queen Victoria's mortal enemy.

Despite being rather dependent on having some familiarity with the current series (i.e. Who Are Torchwood and why are they chasing after The Doctor?) and having quite a few in-jokes based on the original series (i.e. The Fourth Doctor appears briefly in his Sherlock Holmes costume - a reference to The Talons of Weng-Chiang) this comic is easily accessible to people who might not be completely familiar with The Doctor as a character. Of course it's unlikely anyone like that would be reading this book in the first place but it is a touch that I like.

The artwork by Jack Staff artist Paul Grist and colorist Phil Elliott has a sketchy feel to it which puts me in the mind of some of the early Vertigo artists who worked on Hellblazer. Very fitting for a Doctor adventure.

Call it 7 out of 10. Definitely worth a pick-up even if you aren't a Doctor Fan.

Special Thanks To...

tarotchan for inspiring a lot of these ideas if not developing them herself.

djt2445 for help with some of the continuity research and proof-reading.

Christopher Bird for the inspiration.

And every single one of you, for tolerating this month long diversion.

I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down...

At present, Ra's Al Ghul is in something of a difficult position.

His League of Assassins is shattered, torn apart by internal conflicts, petty infighting and outright civil war between various factions. He has but a few thousand loyal troops to command.

His one surviving daughter, Talia, has turned on him, denying him access to her son, Damien - the male heir of his own bloodline Ra's had hoped for.

His chosen heir by virtue of talent, Batman, is dead. And Ra's attempt to recruit The Detective's own heir and oldest adopted son, Dick Grayson, was all for naught.

Ra's days are numbered and he knows it. Before his own apparent death, Bruce Wayne saw to it that most of the places along the Earth's lei lines capable of sustaining of creating a new Lazarus Pit were destroyed. That is assuming, of course, that Ra's is even able to survive another bath in The Pit in his current condition. The sad truth is that barring another method of cheating death, Ra's Gal Ghul is going to need another heir to continue his work.

And then, as it often does to one fueled by the chaotic energies of the Earth, an epiphany came. And Ra's cursed himself for his own shortsightedness at overlooking so simple and elegant a solution

Once before, he had suddenly had such an idea just come to him - of how he might distract The Detective to the exclusion of all else, by stealing the bodies of Bruce Wayne's parents like a common grave robber and holding them ransom as they dangled over a Lazarus Pit. Now, he had the name of a prospective heir come to mind. One he had dismissed before as a talented dilettante but one who had, in recent years, proven himself worth of The Demon's respect.

Like The Detective, he had brought together a family of warriors. Like The Detective, he was a man of rare principle and devotion. But unlike The Detective, he was a romantic in much the same vein as Ra's. He was an environmentalist who shared Ra's Al Ghul's dim view of humanity but had not yet lost the hope that things could be made better. And he had taken as his consort, a woman whom Ra's himself had loved as he had loved no woman since Talia's mother.

So it was on one night that Ra's Al Ghul was waiting in The Arrow Cave as Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance came home from patrol. He had made sure that it was at a time when the rest of the family would be absent so he could make his proposal to Green Arrow and Black Canary alone.

He was impressed with what they had done together, Ra's said. Not only had they managed a confidence game that managed to confound some of his best agents (the whole rigmarole with faking Sin's death and keeping her hidden for a few months) but they had managed to bring together a small, but effective team in the form of both The Arrow Family and the Birds of Prey that had managed to fend off several long-established groups with more resources. Ra's even went so far as to apologize for attempting to kill Dinah, saying with a faint thin-lipped smile that even 700 years is not enough to teach a man how to accept heartbreak easily.

After being told to get to the point, Ra's does; his days are numbered and he wants The League returned to what it once was. To that end, he is prepared to name Oliver Queen his heir with Dinah Lance as a trusted second. His men are theirs to train and command as they will. His resources are theirs to exploit. All he asks is a promise that they will devote themselves to rebuilding the world he dreamed of saving.

All of this comes out to the rest of the Arrow Family and The Birds shortly after Ollie and Dinah both say yes. And that is when the spit hits the fan.

Nobody is quite sure exactly what is going on. Have Ollie and Dinah somehow been hoodwinked or mind-controlled into becoming the new lieutenants of the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world? Are they hoping to play both sides against the middle and deal a blow to the League of Assassins while playing at being Ra's new heirs?

Or has the world's most dangerous eco-terrorist actually turned over a new leaf? Is Ra's honestly seeking redemption of a sort by turning his resources over to those most likely to overcome his daughter's League and usher his dream into the next millennium? Or does he have another agenda - one involving ancient lore set aside for the proper time?

Something that tells of bodies without souls and another means through which death may be cheated?

Could Ra's be plotting a way to come back as a younger man, at the side of the woman he loved, at the head of a newly empowered League of Assassins?

The entire DC Universe will be fighting as the truth is sought...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do you know who I am or have you forgot about me?

The next attack on the Arrow Family comes, oddly enough, with an attack on John Prince himself. At one of his many public appearances, he is shot from a distance. With a green arrow. And a man dressed in the familiar green leather costume of Green Arrow is seen fleeing the scene.

Opinion is split, with half the town convinced that Oliver Queen, jealous of the city's new golden boy, decided to settle things once and for all. Even those who count themselves friends of the Emerald Archer are uncertain that Ollie might have been pushed to this after months of being a Cassandra.

Naturally, the Arrow Family is convinced that Ollie is innocent, for two very good reasons. The first reason is the fact that while Oliver Queen has killed in the past, he has never done so unless lives were endangered and only in the heat of battle. It is out of his character to plan a cool, calcualted assassination attempt like this.

The other reason is that whoever did shoot John Prince missed making a killing blow. If Ollie wanted to kill someone, he wouldn't have missed.

Clearly, someone is impersonating Green Arrow. Probably someone with a grudge against Oliver Queen, which is a big list. Someone with the talent to make a difficult bow shot and be assured of wounding a target non-lethally, which is a narrow list especially if you limit it to "people with a grudge against Oliver Queen". And someone who would have reason NOT to make a lethal shot, which limits it to anyone willing to work as a paid assassin on behalf of John Prince.

Merlyn is the first suspect to come to mind but a quick investigation reveals he is still in prison. The Spider tried something similar once before - framing Green Arrow for murder - but he's dead. And Deadshot, when questioned about it, says that while he wouldn't object to framing a hero for murder, it would offend his sense of style to use a bow instead of a gun and he wouldn't do it any any price.

And in all of this globe-trotting, as everyone runs around searching for every assassin, super-villain and just plain nut who could pull this off, one name is forgotten; Lord Kalesque.

Small wonder, really. He fought with Green Arrow only once before having his VISA revoked and being sent back to his native England for trial before he just "disappeared". He was a British noble who fancied himself a master archer, who wished to test his skills against the legendary American hero Green Arrow. Lord Kalesque put numerous ads in the paper begging for Green Arrow's attention (Ollie still having a secret identity at that time) but Ollie shrugged it off, having little interest in testing his skills against any challenger.

Angry at being ignored, Lord Kalesque came to Seattle and began killing random people with arrows. After a slight crisis of faith, triggered by his guilt over the innocent people killed because he dismissed the challenge in the first place, Ollie tracked down the noble and stared him down. Ollie refused to fight back, knowing that Lord Kalesque would not kill him because if Ollie died at his hand, he would never know for sure that he was the better archer.

Time has passed. Lord Kalesque went on the run, the last of his family fortune being cashed out before he disappeared and began living under an assumed name. He is still every bit the gentleman, despite having taken up the role of an assassin for hire, and still lives the roving playboy lifestyle under an alias. But the years have made him mad - in both senses of the word. He is angry at how his confrontation with Green Arrow went and that anger, has in turn, aggravated his obsession with Green Arrow to the point that now - having framed Oliver Queen for an attempted murder he didn't commit, he still wants to prove that he is the better man.

The good news is that the charges against Oliver Queen are dropped when several other businessmen turn up with cloth-yard shafts through their hearts. The bad news is that there is now a crazed archer, who might be the equal of Oliver Queen roaming the streets of Star City.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Good girls go to Heaven, but the bad girls go everywhere...

John Prince's first step is to find a way to neutralize the Birds of Prey. Of course the team is still - for the most part - a covert entity. But everyone knows Black Canary lives in Star City and with a host of other heroines trickling in and out of the city... well, Star City is becoming a regular Metropolis.

So being of a mind that like should fight like and being a man with an eye for the ladies, John Prince puts out a call for female mercenaries of all stripes; cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists. People with experience fighting archers and superheroes preferred.

John Prince got everything he hoped for and then some.

The Body Doubles - Carmen Leno is a Mafia princess out to prove her worth to The Family. Bonny Hoffman is a porn star looking for work as a real actress. Together, they are freelance assassins as deadly as they are beautiful.

Double Dare - Aliki & Margot Marceau are two circus-star sisters with a talent for three things; acrobatics, robbery and murder.

Lady Vic - Lady Elaine Marsh-Morton is a British noble continuing a long family tradition of elegant and subtle assassinations.

Crackshot - Melanie Jennings is a securities expert and expert sniper, who has been selling her talents for a good number of years. She's crossed Connor Hawke's path more than once and has been meaning to look him up for a while...

Vicious - She's a little bit crazy, a lot good with a knife and been looking to carve up a certain Canary for quite some time.

Moonbow - Brittany Brandon was a thrill-seeking heiress and would-be hero; an expert archer who sought to rob from those who threatened her family's company. For reasons known only to her, she joined up with Circe's all-villainess army a few years ago and then vanished into obscurity... until now.

It was Vicious who suggested the name, noting that her old team was gone - either dead or turned traitor. Vicious said it seemed to her that everyone on the team was like her; women looking for a new start and a little respect. And everyone liked the idea of having a name that suggested a dark bird. Very fitting that.

The plans were simple at first. Double Dare would provide the feint - a series of easily noticed robberies. At that point, the rest of the team would attack en mass, hoping to overcome the local vigilantes through sheer numbers and firepower.

Problem is, not everybody in The Ravens is fully committed to the cause.

Crackshot just answered the call because... well, she's still got the hots for that cute, innocent Connor Hawke kid. And the only time he ever seemed to pay much attention to her is when he was trying to get her to stop killing someone.

And Moonbow? Well, she's in it for the kicks and the test of being able to play Robin Hood against the expert, playing at being a bad girl as she looks for a way to bring down John Prince from the inside, using her clever villainess disguise.

Yes, the Birds have more allies than they know... but that knowledge may be slow in coming. And this is just John Prince's opening salvo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

He feeds of the other people's misery... The power is his greed...

The way I see it, there are two basic kinds of villains in superhero stories.

Type A is the villains who match the hero in power and ability, either through having the same power/talent or by having an ability that counters the hero's own.

Type B is the villains who are symbolic of everything the hero is not.

You tend to get a lot more of the Type As, but it is the Type Bs who are truly dangerous because they have to face the hero, not as equals, but from a defensive position. They can't match the hero as an equal so they have to find some way - through trickery or planning - to neutralize the hero and exploit their weaknesses.

You can go through the various pantheons and make a list to see the point. Superman has Bizaro, Doomsday and a host of other powerhouses for Type A and Lex Luthor for Type B. Batman has Scarecrow, Two Face and a host of other people who utilize fear as a weapon against their enemies... but it is The Joker who truly mirror's Batman's power to inspire fear and twists it into a weapon against order.

Green Arrow has a lot of Type A villains; master marksmen (like Merlyn or The Red Dart) and villains who can make him unable to use a bow (Count Vertigo or Auntie Gravity) but he's never really had an truly effective Type B villain.

So where do we go in creating such a villain? Back to the Robin Hood legends that inspired our modern take on Oliver Queen, of course.

Amazingly, we don't have to tweak a lot to look at the modern Arrow Family and see a new band of Merry Men.

You have the disposed noble son turned bold outlaw hero. -> Oliver Queen/Robin Hood

You have the lady fair and true love, more than capable of holding her own in a fight -> Dinah Lance/Maid Marian

You have the red-stressed right-hand man. -> Roy Harper/Will Scarlet

You have a monk who would prefer a life of peace, but stands ready to fight when needed -> Connor Hawke/Friar Tuck

I admit there's no clear parallels for Mia, Cissie, Sin or Lian... but most of the modern takes on the Robin Hood legends allow for there being a fair number of MerryWomen and young children being among those peasants who united under Robin of Locksley's banner. So I think I can be cut a little slack on the metaphor.

My point is that while Ollie has been painted as a modern-day Robin Hood by many a writer, nobody has taken the rather obvious step of playing up to that legend in order to give him a worthy enemy.

Enter John Prince - a captain of industry from an old money family and every bit the charmer Oliver Queen was back in his days as the CEO of Queen Enterprises.

Mr. Prince breezes into Star City with a fist full of cash, a lot of promises about revitalizing the local industry and a controlling interest in the Star City Rockets. He hasn't got much business experience, but he does have a pedigree and a reputation based on his graduating at the top of his class at Harvard. Between that and his boundless charm, it's easy enough for him to sell the city on his first plan to help the city; build a new stadium for the Star City Rockets.

Of course financing a new stadium will require a tax increase; the Rockets can't pay for it all themselves! And of course they WILL need the city to use the Eminent Domain laws to buy up the land for the stadium which - sadly - will necessitate relocating a few hundred people out of the substandard housing that Mr. Prince's associates have determined would be the most beneficial place to build a new stadium. To say nothing of all the work that will have to be done widening roads and building bridges to accommodate all the extra traffic the stadium will generate... but hey, it will bring jobs into the city.

Minimum Wage Jobs. Six Months out of the year. No benefits. The kind mostly worked by teenagers looking for work experience and immigrants looking for a slice of the American Dream.

It's a bandage on a cancer and Oliver Queen is one of the first to say so. He's also one of the few who will say so, with most of the city being firmly behind the new stadium, thanks to a public campaign financed by Mr. John Prince pleading to people's civic pride and saying that a half-cent sales tax increase really isn't all that much when you're talking about an investment in the city and your childrens' future.

Naturally, the only futures John Prince is concerned about are in his stock portfolio. Because not only does he own a controlling interest in the Star City Rockets, he also has quietly bought up a number of contractors outside the area; contractors who will, miraculously, win the bidding for the construction jobs on the stadium, the roads and the bridges. And since John Prince is signing their paychecks, he can be assured of every expense being spared in the construction of the new Star City Stadium as more and more of the city's money is funneled into his pockets.

It's sleazy. It's crooked. And there's not a damned thing Oliver Queen can do about it as an activist or a hero.

Ollie does win some support among the friends and family of the neo-Homeless of Star City - all of whom were cheated out of the fair price for their homes since the agent doing the appraising was in John Prince's pocket. But once the vote is passed and the tax increase is approved by the people, there's nothing anyone can do but howl at the winds and curse John Prince's name. And there's precious little of that as John Prince, with his perfect blond coif and bright smile, starts appearing all around town at different charity events. He doesn't ever seem to donate anything but he does appear at a lot of events. And the people love him for it.

How can you be a defender of the people when they don't want your protection? This is a question Green Arrow - and the rest of the family - will have to address as John Prince begins to use his money to make things more difficult for the local vigilantes...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We stood there lost in our embarrassment... As the conversation dragged.

It was not Oliver Queen's best idea. It was a noble one. It was a thoughtful one. And it would forever remembered as Mistake #1 whenever the individuals involved considered "The Lost Weekend".

As the holidays approached, and plans were being made, Ollie asked Connor - matter o'factly - just how long it had been since he'd visited his mother.

Connor admitted that - while he called her at least once a week - it had been a while since he'd seen her in person. Ever since Moonday divorced weapons-dealer Milo Armitage, he didn't feel like he had to check up on her as much as he used too. Throw in how busy things had been around Star City, and...

"Say no more!" said Ollie. "Why don't we invite her to spend the holidays with us?"

Ollie extended the same invitation to Cissie and Bonnie, saying that he always wanted a big traditional family Christmas and that he wants all his kids under one roof - just once. Of course the problem that everyone else sees - and Ollie successfully ignores - is that The Arrow Family is far from traditional and is made up entirely of some very volatile personalities.

Dinah, for her part, is fine with Ollie's idea. At first. It's not that she doesn't trust him. It's not that she's in denial of Ollie's past as a womanizer. It's just so much easier to ignore the past when there aren't two walking, talking reminders of "old times" under the same roof.

Moonday, for her part, is nice enough. But she abandoned her hippie idealism for capitalism a LONG time ago and arrives at the Brownstone with a car full of gifts, picked out of the Neiman Marcus catalog, for everyone. The divorce left her with an extremely generous alimony package and she does love to flaunt her wealth... much to the embarrassment of the non-materialistic Connor.

And Bonnie? Well, Bonnie isn't all that comfortable with the truth of her past indiscretions being known, even though Cissie has said repeatedly that she doesn't care about what Bonnie did in the past. She's also somewhat afraid that Ollie's taking an interest in Cissie is going to result in history repeating itself... either with Cissie being rejected as a worthy heir to his legacy or being absorbed so completely into it that she'll be better remembered as Green Arrow's daughter than as Arrowette.

Tensions mount as the weekend passes and hilarity ensues. Roy and Mia, for their part, are wise enough to spend their time playing with the kids, minding the food in the kitchen and just generally staying out of the way of everyone else while making sure that the key to the liquor cabinet stays lost, following Bonnie's tirade about how at least SHE didn't have to divorce a guy to get a meal ticket.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's the time of the season...

Here it comes - the one where cissie_king will probably rip me a new one.

It's probably the best known secret conspiracy among DC Comics fans - or at least the Arrowheads - on the Internet. You can find a dozen references to it on other sites, but the original page is long vanished into the Ether.

The idea had been suggested repeatedly, both as a joke and in all seriousness. From Cissie King-Jones' first appearance in Impulse and all through her time in Young Justice, the question was asked; Is Arrowette is yet another of Oliver Queen's bastard children? And the discussion might have just stayed there; a joke or something just tossed about by die-hards had it not been for one man; Scott McCullar.

Possibly the greatest scholar of Green Arrow trivia there is (and if he isn't, he certainly has the best resume out of all the contenders) - Scott wound up producing a theory... a conspiracy theory... that not only was it possible for Oliver Queen to have been Cissie's father but there was an evidence chain in numerous old stories which made it highly probable.

The exact details and issue numbers aren't important. For my purposes, the general details are enough to build a story on. I mention this in order to credit Mr. McCullar for a fine bit of detective work, because without that theory, I wouldn't have had this idea to work with.

Bonnie King operated as Miss Arrowette as Ollie was just starting his career as Green Arrow. Ollie quickly figured out who Bonnie was since she was the one person in the world worse at hiding a secret identity than he was. He told her that he knew the truth, revealed his own identity and suggested that the two of them could be a good pairing... in more ways than one.

The two did date for a time, but the relationship went south after Ollie tried to talk Bonnie into retiring from the crime fighting game. He suggested this partly because she more interested in fame and fortune than helping people and partly because she was a poor student, who refused to follow his directions and whose trick arrows were a joke at best and a hindrance at worst.

It wasn't until a month later that Bonnie realized that she was pregnant. Too proud to ask Oliver for help and not quite unwilling to air her own dirty laundry in order to embarrass him with a scandal, Bonnie entered into a quickie marriage with Bernell "Bowstring" Jones; a news reporter who she knew had something of a crush on her.

Eight months later, Cissie King-Jones was brought into the world and all was, if not happy, than peaceful for a few years. Bonnie was still upset by what she saw as a betrayal when the man she loved and idolized all but forced her out of the hero business. And that upset became bitterness when she developed severe carpel-tunnel syndrome and was forced to quit archery - even as a hobby - altogether.

It was at this time that Bonnie began to look at her daughter and see a way to recapture her old glory days - she trained Cissie with the bow as best she could but it wasn't until Bernell passed on (something about tainted shellfish and an allergy) that she was able to pursue the plan fully. Without another parent to object and the money from the settlement over the tainted seafood, Bonnie was able to buy a full complement of trick arrows and a costume for her daughter.

It was then - with news of Green Arrow's death having reached her and of a new Green Arrow taking his place - that Bonnie set about trying to reclaim the life she wanted for herself through her daughter's career as a vigilante. Sadly - or thankfully, depending on your point of view - the new Arrowette's career proved to be even more short-lived than her mother's, as a concerned hero (Max Mercury) took action, seeing signs of Bonnie's derangement even then. He called Child Protective Services and Bonnie was arrested on charges of child endangerment.

Cissie herself was handed over to the St. Elias School For Girls and that might have been the ending of things had a talk with a counselor not convinced Cissie that she could still be a hero without following the path her mother dictated for her. Sometime later, Cissie would fall in with Young Justice and the rest is history.

(Just so we're clear, I don't intend to rewrite any of Cissie's history regarding Young Justice. I don't need to.)

Even after striking out on her own, Cissie's career as a hero was brief. She retired after nearly giving into her rage and righteous anger, nearly killing the man who killed her counselor. She still remained close to her friends in Young Justice, however. And she still practiced her archery, going on to represent the United States in the Olympics. She won the Gold, of course.

Now, with a string of endorsement contracts giving her savings enough to go to the college of her choice without scholarships (she's been offered a slew-load of athletic scholarships, of course) and take care of herself and her mom for the rest of their lives, Cissie wasn't feeling much motivation to go back into the heroing business... despite the best efforts of her classmate and best friend Cassie Sandsmark trying to talk her into joining The Teen Titans. No, Cissie wasn't feeling much motivation at all... until her brief stint in the Borrowed Time Timeline.

And now she's wondering what she's missing out on being retired. She's wondering if there's a place for Arrowette in the world again. And she's also wondering if what she remembers of that universe is true and if Oliver Queen really is her biological father. She took a month or two to mull this over and then returned to Star City to confront Oliver regarding his past with her mother.

Ollie, for his part, admits to the possibility given when she was born and is more than willing to submit to a blood test. Cissie, for her part, is a little nervous about the truth. As much as Ollie being her father would explain a lot of things (her temper and a natural talent for the bow that exceeds her mother's), she does feel like she is betraying the man who raised her somewhat by trying to investigate the matter.

The End Result? Oliver Queen is indeed Cissie's birth father. Ollie, for his part, offers Cissie whatever support she wants and needs. Cissie, for her part, notes that she is having a hard time accepting this and is going to need some time to process things. It's an awkward situation all around.

And then Roy says "So... are you going to be Cissie King-Queen now, or what?"

And somehow, the ensuing groan from all assembled makes the awkwardness a little more tolerable.

Cissie and Ollie: Awkward City, at first. Roy quips that you'd think Ollie would be used to this sort of thing by now but... finding out you have a kid you never knew about is never easy - especially for someone like Ollie who places such a strong value on family. Neither he or Cissie is quite sure exactly how they should feel about one another but both are slowly reaching for trying to find some common ground.

For Cissie's part, it's weird trying to reconcile the way the world views the legendary Green Arrow, what little Bonnie has said about him and the idea that this man is her father. Ollie, for his part, is willing to give her all the time and space she needs, noting that from what he's heard about her career as Arrowette, he couldn't have trained her better personally. That praise will start to chip away at the wall - but anything resembling a close student/mentor relationship is a long time in coming.

Cissie and Dinah: Not surprisingly, Cissie will wind up bonding more with Dinah than anyone else in the family at first. Dinah can sympathize with Cissie's homelife, having grown up the daughter of a heroine herself. And yet, they couldn't be more different since Dinah had to fight to claim her mother's legacy whereas Cissie had a legacy thrust upon her. Still, the Mama Bird's maternal instincts will win out as she tries to make a little more room in the nest for Cissie.

Cissie and Roy: Neither of them is likely to be around very much but Roy will be quick to welcome Cissie with the same older-brother teasing treatment that he gives the rest of the family. She'll take this as mockery at first but will eventually start responding in kind - sneaking a shampoo arrow into his quiver.

Cissie and Connor: Connor probably grows the closet to Cissie out of anyone in the family... both sharing a legacy of a father who had no hand in raising them. Connor offers Cissie the two things nobody else in the Arrow Family can really offer regarding her situation; complete understanding and a truly sympathetic ear.

Cissie and Mia: Good Daughter/Bad Daughter sibling rivalry. As Cissie comes around to joining the family, she'll become a little jealous of the closeness that Mia and Ollie share. Mia, for her part, will be a little defensive about the prettier, more athletic, world-famous "new sidekick" hanging around... but it will become a friendly rivalry, sooner or later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The stars are out tonight...Only they can hear you breathing...

I freely admit I may be wrong about this, but I don't believe anyone has ever done a story where Black Canary fights Poison Ivy. And that shocks me.

Think about it... They were both botanists by trade. They both started out in Gotham at about the same time and logically would have been going to the same college at the same time. So why not do a retcon where Dinah Lance and Pamela Isley went to college together and were close friends before Pamela went off to spend the summer interning for Dr. Jason Woodrue?

My original idea was to do this as sort of a one-off Times Past affair... but thinking on it, I can easily see using this as the basis for a Black Canary: Year One storyline. A young Poison Ivy would certainly be a worthy enemy for a young Black Canary. And I also think it would be fun to show Dinah having to butt-heads with a certain Dark Knight in her costumed identity even as Bruce Wayne starts coming to Dinah Lance - flirting, at first, but then asking questions that seem oddly relevant to the plant-based crimes Black Canary is investigating...

It has everything - The conflict as Dinah finds out a good friend has become something more than human and a bitter enemy. The romance between Dinah and Bruce as Dinah figures out his secret long before Bruce has any inkling that Gotham's new blonde vigilante is that quiet brunette girl who works at the flower shop. And a lot of butt-kicking, plant-wrangling fun.

And yes, I am going to see if Bruce Timm would be free to draw it.

THIS JUST IN: Wizard Magazine Publisher To Publish Family Game/ToysMagazine


FunFare, the newest consumer magazine geared toward families about the joy derived from toys and games, hits retailers today. Published by Wizard Entertainment founder and CEO Gareb Shamus, FunFare takes the humor of Wizard's collector-targeted magazine ToyFare and expands the focus to families.

Yes, Wizard Magazine is starting a toys/games magazine aimed at families. And I have a preview of the first issue's cover right here, behind the cut!

I admit it. I should probably be deeply ashamed for this.

On the other hand, Wizard Magazine hasn't had the greatest reputation for creating family-friendly entertainment in the past.

What with half of all Wizard Magazine covers featuring a half-naked starlet or cheesy superheroine pin-up, most of their articles featuring photos of similarly unclad starets, a strip club running a large booth at Wizard World Chicago and the last Wizard World Texas sharing floor space with a major Horror Con... to say nothing of the last time I went to Wizard World and the biggest draws being The Suicide Girls and some woman who poses semi-nude on MySpace...

... well, I think you can forgive me poking a little fun in this case.

God Bless the USA and her Liberal Parody Laws! :D

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Found You In A Chain Of Flowers...Sleeping Like A Marble Girl...Sleeping In Another World...

After nearly a month of journeying through harsh terrain, the party arrives at Shamballah.

After Ollie decks Travis Morgan and just barely avoids getting skewered by Tara's guards for his trouble, the questions are asked; where is the nearest exit out of here and can you magic up some medicine for Mia.

The good news is that the scribes and healers of Shamballah - having access to the ancient powers of Atlantis - know something about HIV. They call it "The Wasting Plague", but the symptoms are the same. What is more amazing is that they have actually devised a cure for the condition.

Naturally, there is bad news too. Quite a lot of it...

1. The Wasting Plague is now so rare that they don't bother to keep the potion/vaccine that cures it handy.

2. The key ingredient of the cure is a flower of a particular species of plant.

3. This particular plant is found only in the darkest part of The Shadow Forest.

Jennifer Morgan is able to weave a spell of stasis around Mia, giving the rest of the team what they need most; time. But even with that problem out of the way, they still need an expert woodsman and survivalist to lead the way into the Shadow Forest. And it would take a trained botanist to distinguish this one flowering plant out of all the others, based on the vague descriptions in the notes of the ancient Atlanteans.

Good thing Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance are there, eh?

Recovering the plant is a tricky business, what with the usual dangers of Skartaris on the way to The Shadow Forest. And then The Shadow Forest has its' own dangers, what with the near-total darkness, cannibalistic natives and man-eating plants.

And then... there's the other, less physical problems once the plant is actually found. Namely... they're sitting on a cure for HIV - what do they do with it? Or more accurately, what CAN they do with it?

Dinah is the first to point out that the plant isn't easy to get by any stretch of the imagination and that as best she can tell, there's not really a way to synthesize or cultivate the plant outside of Skartaris. So mounting regular expeditions from the outside world to gather up however little is left isn't practical, even if you ignore the complications in getting into/out of Skartaris in the first place. So as much as she'd love the credit for "discovering" this amazing plant, she doesn't see how it is practical to reveal the secret to the world.

Connor agrees with Dinah in principle, noting that there's also the issue of just what will happen to Skartaris as a result of the outside world becoming informed of the place. Specifically, what happens when some big business finds out about The Cure and they start rushing in trying to lay a claim on The Shadow Forest. Sure, it is a dangerous inhospitable realm... but everything has its' place and reason for being and even if the rules of Skartaris would allow this sort of thing to happen (they might not - magical realms are funny that way), there are a lot of peaceful natives who would be displaced along with the dinosaurs, cannibals and bad stuff.

Zinda? She's all for loading up a cart full of flowers and giving it the old college try. She's not much for Connor's talk about balance (cute as he is when he gets all serious) and as for Dinah saying it can't be done... well, no harm in trying right?

Mia? She appreciates what Connor and Dinah are saying... but honestly, she can't see how she can do this for herself and not at least make the attempt to bring The Cure to the outside world. Maybe this is how it is supposed to happen? Maybe this is how Skartaris gets dragged into the real world?

Ollie? Well, he sees the wisdom of both paths. Sitting on the cure for a major illness doesn't sit right with him for a lot of reasons. But he trusts Dinah's judgement on how feasible it is and agrees with Connor's points on how they can't foresee the consequences of the outside's world effect on Skartaris, or vice versa.

What do they decide? Good question. Why don't you tell me in the comments? ;)

Either way - with a sample brought home or everyone deciding to leave well enough alone - everyone makes it home okay... just a few days after they left thanks to the wacky way time works in Skartaris.

Mia astounds her doctors with a miracle that is written off as a false positive the first time she was tested.

And on a quiet night a few weeks later when everyone else is on patrol or being babysat elsewhere... Dinah does show Ollie an outfit that Queen Tara had made special for her.

Dinah: "Me Jane. You Tarzan. You never speak of this to ANYONE."

Ollie: "As Mel Brooks said, It's good to be da King of the Jungle."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Do you come from a land down under?

It was supposed to be a nice, simple family vacation. Go to Nepal, to the hidden sanctuary where Connor Hawke escorted Sin to be kept in hiding away from the League of Assassins and then head back home to Star City with the family complete. Of course, The Arrow Family being what it is, things aren't nearly that simple.

Even though Ollie's ruse to fake Sin's death worked, The League has a habit of watching certain people "just in case". Particularly ones who have fought their agents before. Which would be - oh, just about everyone in the Lance/Queen household. So someone watched. Others followed. And before you could say "Change in Plans, Leggit!", our heroes (Ollie, Dinah, Mia, Connor, Sin and Lady Blackhawk for this adventure) found themselves trapped in the mountains without a ride as Aerie One was shot down and a horde of LoA agents showed up.

And that's when they noticed the cave. And the search for shelter became a much bigger quest for survival as they suddenly found themselves in a tropical jungle. Where the sun didn't set. Where the natives were primitive. And - oh yes - there were dinosaurs.

And that's when Ollie remembered a chance encounter with a man who could have been his twin, save for a few years difference in age, a few inches difference in height and the fact that Ollie's wardrobe never included a fur breech-cloth. A man who told Ollie and Dinah about having become king in such a land...

Yes. They are in Skartaris; Warlord's stomping grounds. And their first encounter with a small tribe of raptors would be just the first of many misadventures as they search for a way home.

Some will be humorous, such as Zinda deciding to "go native" after her costume gets ruined and trying to talk Dinah into going Irish McCalla with her.

(Ollie, naturally, will try to encourage this as well but Dinah will have none of it.)

Some will be deadly serious, as darn near every enemy that Travis Morgan has ever made will stumble across our team and mistake Ollie for Travis.

(Yes, Ollie and Travis will eventually met. Yes, Ollie is going to get him back for this.)

Of course Skartaris is deadly enough in and of itself. But for Mia, their side-trip may well become a death sentence - as her HIV medication supply begins to dwindle and questions begin to rise about just what kind of diseases Skataris may contain...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Think Home Alone... only with two girls and a lot more arrows...

Since my birthday is this weekend and I'm not sure exactly when - if ever - I'll be around to type these entries into the computer, I've decided to give you all Saturday and Sunday's entries a little early.

Pete Lomax is a nobody. An ordinary person. And something of an idiot savant minus the savant.

Bad enough that he decided to go into the villain business and then killed his agent. Bad enough he decided to adopt an archery theme in Star City. But worst of all, he made the mistake of shooting Black Canary with an arrow in front of Green Arrow... and then tried to out-shoot Green Arrow.

Still, the prisons of Star City are crowded enough with real murderers let alone attempted ones. And since he wasn't really a costumed criminal, it was easy enough for Pete to get early parole. He emerged into the world to learn that Green Arrow and Black Canary's names were public knowledge.

He knew who they were. He knew where they lived. And thanks to some photos on the Internet, he also knew they had kids. And he knew - after a few days observation - that most of the family was in and out of the house pretty often leaving one person behind with at least one young girl... maybe two.

That's what Peter Lomax knew. But what he didn't know could fill a battleship.

He didn't know that Oliver Queen had fallen asleep on the couch the day he made his assault.

He didn't know that Sin, Black Canary's daughter, had been trained by the League of Assassins in martial arts since birth.

He didn't know that Lian, Red Arrow's daughter, had been trained by her dad in all manner of unarmed and armed fighting techniques and that her favorite toy as a toddler was a box full of unloaded guns.

He didn't know that Ollie had been training the kids for just such an emergency, in case something ever happened and he wasn't there.

And what Pete Lomax didn't know above all else - was that today was going to be the most painful AND humiliating day of his life.

Think Dan Backslide screaming for The Dover Boys to rescue him. :)


This one came about because of three things.

1. My desire to do a story where Lian and Sin have to team-up to fight a villain.

2. My desire to bring back Pete Lomax (a.k.a. Arrow Man, a.k.a. The idiot who shot Black Canary with an arrow in front of Green Arrow and then tried to out-shoot him, from Alan Moore's Night Olympics) for one story.

3. , who has been helping me a bit with image scans and continuity research of some issues I don't have access too (especially the Roy Harper and Cissie Jones-King stuff), suggested the "Young and the Restless" parody title in order to stop me from using "The Brats and the Bold" when I described the idea for this story to him. It's a good one... although in retrospect, I seem to recall somemone calling Ollie and Dinah "The Bold And The Beautiful".

Thanks, Roy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I never pretend to be something I'm not, You get what you see when you see what I've got...

Since my birthday is this weekend and I'm not sure exactly when - if ever - I'll be around to type these entries into the computer, I've decided to give you all Saturday and Sunday's entries a little early.

Even in an extended family full of orphans and semi-neglected children, Mia Dearden wins any “hard luck” contest.

Ollie may have been orphaned at a young age, but he had a trust fund to fall back on.

Dinah may have become as much a mother to her parents as they were to her, but at least she never doubted their love even as she worried herself sick staying up nights as her grades slipped.

Roy may have been orphaned and cast out by adopted family… twice, but he managed to land on his feet.

Connor may have been ignored by his mother most of the time, but at least he eventually found the support he needed at the Ashram.

Mia had no one. No money. No support. No love.

Her mother died at an early age leaving her with an abusive father, who took her innocence in every since of the word. The abuse drove Mia into the streets and into the arms of a pimp named Richard who promised her the love and protection she needed. Richard kept half his promise in a half-assed way, renting her out by the hour to anyone with the cash to pay the rent on their hotel room for another day or another hit of Meth..

It was better than life with her father but not by much. At a time when most girls are thinking about which college they should go to or what boy they’d like to go to the Freshman prom with, Mia was already an experienced call-girl and a junkie. Mia didn’t see much of a future for herself or a way out… until a knight in green leather saved her life. And then, more remarkably, gave her a chance at a new life.

Oliver Queen – newly returned to life and action as Green Arrow – happened upon the young lady as he was conducting a raid on the drug party of a corrupt city councilman. Quickly coming to the conclusion that the young lady the councilman was sharing his bedroom with was a) an unwilling participant and b) horribly underage, GA made his displeasure known (i.e. he roughed the councilman up), told Mia that there were a lot better ways to make money and gave her the business card for a youth center that needed help. A youth center run by his good friend Oliver Queen.

Mia, being fairly smart and street-smart, saw through Ollie’s "disguise" in under a minute. Still, with nothing else to look forward to (especially after having knifed a “frisky” Richard the night before), she threw herself into the role of kick-ball coach and an uneasy ally of the city’s protector.

Mia stuck around through all the weirdness – the revelation that the Ollie she knew was a soulless shell and a copy of the original, the return of the original Oliver Queen and a new roommate in the form of an easily teased monk and a half-dozen disasters ranging from alien invasions to demonic attacks. She pestered Ollie about learning the bow and becoming a superhero.

He reluctantly agreed to the former when she pointed out that – given his lifestyle – odds were she’d need to protect herself somehow. But Ollie protested against the later, noting that his experiences with Roy had taught him that teenagers have no business being put into the hero game but that he’d be glad to teach her everything he knew about heroing… once she was 21.

That plan changed drastically down the line, when a particularly harrowing disaster demanded extra help and Mia was the only other person in the city Oliver could trust watching his back. And in the aftermath of a full medical check-up following the attacks, that was when the whammy hit: Mia tested positive for HIV.

Whether it was from the sex or the shared needles was unclear. What was clear was that Mia’s life would never be the same. Things in general became a lot more urgent, as did Mia’s personal need to do something to impact the world in a positive way. So after taking every possible precaution and ensuring that Mia was in good enough health to manage some light vigilante work, Mia officially became the new Speedy.

Mia took to being Ollie’s partner like a shot although she didn’t take to being a Teen Titan nearly as well. Ollie may have meant well when he tried to get her a place in the Teen Titans, hoping some time among other young heroes might benefit Mia as it did Roy but Mia stood out like a sore thumb. In terms of life experience, she was much older than anyone on the team save perhaps Robin and as supportive as everyone was about her condition, Mia really felt more comfortable among her adopted family.

Today, Mia’s role on the team has evolved somewhat with her having taken the role of the Arrow Family’s technical genius - a role which has been assumed more out of necessity than inclination. In truth, Mia doesn’t have much of a natural inclination toward computers or electronics. She’s no Barbara Gordon. She’s not even a Wendy Kuttler. And yet, Mia has taken on the role of the team computer geek for one reason – she’s the only one who can do it.

Ollie is uncomfortable with any technology more advanced than a crossbow and is still resisting trading his old vinyls in for CDs.

Roy is competent with a computer but isn’t around Star City enough to be a reliable tech guru.

Connor is – well – a monk. Say no more.

And Dinah – after years of personal tutelage at the hands of Oracle – is now using an iMac to manage the books for Sherwood Florist II. It’s not that Dinah is as bad with computers as she claims – she just feels uncomfortable with any electronics that doesn’t double as a fashion accessory. This is the real reason why her earpiece was built into an earring and her microphone into a necklace. Covert operations be damned – she just wanted something she could wear and not lose.

Still, Mia has used what talents she has effectively. It’s amazing how many criminals are stupid enough to post videos of their crimes on YouTool or brag about things to their friends on SpaceBook. And to two mentors who are used to using Mapsco, the ability to use GoogleEarth/GoogleMaps may as well be a superpower

Mia and Ollie: Mia admits that she ride the old man harder than anyone besides Dinah (“Ummm.. forget I said that THAT way.”), but she honestly does love Ollie. How can she not? She’d never voice her feelings in that way (before witnesses, at least) but she has totally bought into what Green Arrow had to sell the night he changed her life.

Mia and Dinah: With Dinah being who she is, she couldn’t help but become the closest thing Mia had to a real mom in a long time. Even when Dinah and Ollie were just dating, she took a hand in seeing Mia get some basic martial arts training (“Can’t have you making the rest of us girls looking bad.”). From there, a bonding of sorts formed, as they realized that they alone in the world had the power to make Oliver Queen freeze up with a few words.

Mia and Roy: See #13.

Mia and Connor: See #17 and #19

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The emptiness, The craziness, Satisfy this hungriness...

There’s a romantic cliché that opposites attract – and what could be more opposite than a snarky ex-prostitute and a Buddhist monk? And there’s so much comedy potential in a man who blushes too easily being paired up with a woman who lives to make people uncomfortable with her frankness. But that’s not why I’d like to write a Mia and Connor romance. I want to do it because it was all there to be written… and yet nobody ever followed up on it. And if you think about it, they would be so good for one another.

Connor – being, for all intents and purposes, a monk – hasn’t had much experience in either the sex or romance department.. And as much as he dismisses other people’s concerns about why he doesn’t seem interested in that sort of thing (“why don’t you have a girlfriend?”, “you’re SURE you’re not gay?” and so on....), he does still have urges like any other young man. And while he doesn’t feel the need to rush into a sexual or romantic relationship and knows these things come in time if they are meant to happen... he does feel SOMETHING missing.

Mia is in much the same situation, not wanting to rush into a relationship - but for totally different reasons. Mia had – to put it mildly – a very rough childhood and grew up way too fast. She is old before her time and wise beyond her years. And while she learned all there is to know about sex at a young age, she knew very little about love; both the love of a family – which Ollie and Dinah have finally given her – and the romantic love that most teenage girls dream about.

Romantic love seemed to be closed off to Mia forever when she was diagnosed with HIV. She feared that nobody would ever find her attractive again. She was afraid that everyone would see her as tainted and bad and nobody would ever love her in that way.

Those fears were put to rest when Connor kissed her. And while he quickly dismissed the gesture as that of a friend trying to comfort another friend… deep down they both knew the truth. It would show itself in little ways across the coming months – quiet moments together, holding hands… Connor’s violent reactions to Mia being injured in the line of duty. All of them pointed toward something developing between the two.

After both of them returned home – Connor from his journey of self-discovery and Mia from her disastrous relationship with professional thief Dodger – the two realized how much they had missed one another… and exactly why, as much as they missed the whole family, they missed one another the most.

Dinah and Ollie were shocked at the news but not at all unhappy. Roy claimed later that he saw it coming and jokingly warned Connor about corrupting his innocent namesake. But it made perfect sense - Connor needed someone who could be patient and help him work through his own discomfort about his inexperience and naivety. Mia needed someone who wouldn’t judge her for her rough past. In that respect, it was a perfect match.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

They just want Heaven On A Stick...

As Connor Hawke said in JLA #9 while considering a case full of Oliver's trick arrows, "My father... was either a genius or a madman."

I want to bring a little bit of that genius and madness back into the Green Arrow mythos, if only to remind people of one simple thing; Oliver Queen is an aerodynamics genius.

Think about it – even if he did wind up borrowing a lot of the tech that wound up going into his arrows - as in the recent revelation that his Cryonic (i.e. ice-making) Arrows were based on Mr. Freeze’s ice gun - Oliver still had to figure out how to get them his trick arrows to fly... literally.

Bad as he was at keeping a secret identity, even Oliver Queen had enough common sense not to go to his scientists as Queen Enterprises and say "So... let’s say I wanted to put a computerized lock-pick on the end of an arrow? Just for the sake of argument, could you build that?" No, I think Ollie had to figure out how to adapt every single idea he had into an arrow himself.

And not every idea required out-sourcing. In fact, most of Green Arrow’s tricks were built in-house, simply because Ollie loved tinkering. He still does, in fact. Yes, some of the gadgets he came up with were impractical ("A Giger counter on a stick?") but that wasn’t the point.

The point was that it was there and like a man who climbs Everest is compelled to try and reach the top, Oliver Queen is compelled to see if he can fold a working parachute inside an arrow shaft strong enough to support a 180 pound man in freefall.

So expect to see a lot more use of the classic trick arrows along with some new ones. Especially since James Jesse is around to add his own sense of creativity and fun, as he and Ollie brainstorm new “trick” ideas.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not sure if this has been on scans_daily before or not...

... but I figured one of you wacky people would know for sure. And could identify what issue of Legion of Superheroes this scan sent me is from.

This panel does inspire many questions. Why do fashions in the 30th century resemble those of the late 70s/early 80s? Why are pants forbidden to women in bars.. OF THE FUTURE!? But the question that most concerns us is this...

Why is it the first thing Charles Xavier did once his legs healed was travel to the future and mack on Kitty Pryde's descendant?

Take the world to a better place, Given them all just a little hope...

There is a lot of confusion about Connor Hawke. If you’re only a casual fan of the Green Arrow Mythos, then there’s a fair chance that almost everything you know about Connor is wrong; his past, his parentage and his sexuality. So let’s get a few things clear right now at the start.

He is not the son of the assassin Shado. His mother is an ex-Hippie named Sandra or – as Ollie knew her – Moonday.

His parentage is a mixture of African (on his grandfather’s side), Korean (on his grandmother’s side) and Anglo/Saxon mutt on his father’s side. He is not Black/White.

Ollie didn’t cheat on Black Canary with Connor’s mother. Pre-New Earth and Post-New Earth, the relationship was over long before Ollie became Green Arrow, much less met Black Canary.

He is not gay. We’ve seen him kiss too many women passionately (even ignoring Shado, and Gawd knows we’re trying) for that dog to hunt. Asexual and a little naive would be far more accurate as he has said that he doesn’t consider sexual pleasure to be the ultimate end of any relationship. He might be Bi-Curious if you want to read a LOT of subtext into some stories but he’s only ever been seen kissing girls and being attracted to women.

Okay. So that covers what he isn’t. So what is he? And how did he come to be?

It all began about twenty years ago. Oliver Queen was still a shallow limousine liberal, more Bruce Wayne than Bruce Wayne ever pretended to be. Still, Ollie did make the rounds at the local rallies – partly for appearances sake and good publicity for Queen Enterprises, partly because it did allow him to do some good in the world… but mostly because you met some very free-spirited and open-minded women at these events.

That was how Ollie met Moonday Hawke; an idealistic young woman with a wild streak like equal to his own. They attended a few rallies and “partied” a few times. But that was the end of it for a few months… until Ollie found out from one of her girlfriends that she was pregnant with his son.

He rushed to the hospital, ready to propose right there. But Moonday would have none of it. The anti-traditionalist in her didn’t want something so shackling in her life as a marriage. And the romantic in her didn’t want to be tied down to a man who didn’t love her and was only proposing so he could “do the right thing” and ease his own guilt. Ollie had a fleeting few minutes with his son and had one photo taken before Moonday asked him to forget about them.

Ollie did try. But the finest booze in the world and as many wanton women as he could cope with couldn’t help ease the pain of what he thought would be his chance to get back the family he’d lost. Even after Ollie cleaned up and found new purpose with his life, the thought of the son he’d lost and the family he might have had kept him trying – in subtle ways – to reclaim the family he’d lost as a boy.

(I am ret-conning this history slightly from the way the scene played out in Green Arrow/Black Canary – mostly because it makes no sense in terms of the current for Connor’s birth to have played out immediately after Green Arrow: Year One .)

It would be years later before Connor would come back into Oliver’s life after a chance encounter as Ollie returned to the Buddhist ashram he stayed at briefly after and Oliver would find himself liking the young monk. The young man reminded Ollie – fresh off his break-up with Dinah and the torment of seemingly killed his power-mad best friend Hal – of better days and his own nearly dead idealism.

Connor told Ollie of his past. How he had been a big fan of the Green Arrow growing up and how he had come to the ashram shortly after being expelled from public school. Being a mixed kid with a single mom and a vicious temper, Connor got into a LOT of fights. Connor talked his mom into agreeing to the ashram school pointing out that they taught a lot of that meditation and calming techniques he was supposed to learn but his interest lay more in the archery program as well as the fact the ashram was, to a Green Arrow fan, the equivalent of Graceland to an Elvis fan.

Connor told Ollie all about this… but not that Connor had been told, shortly after finding a scrapbook of Green Arrow stories in his mother’s closet, that Green Arrow was his father.

The two had a falling-out before Ollie’s death – with Ollie having learned the truth of who Connor was from a not-dead-yet Hal Jordan. Angered that the young man he had come to like so much has been hiding something from him and fearing why Connor had kept his silence about who he was for so long (Blackmail? Seeking violent revenge? Brainwashed into seeking him out to kill him? Roy had turned on him not too long before, so it wasn’t much of a stretch…), Ollie took off on the quest that would eventually lead to his death.

Filled with sorrow at Ollie’s death and blaming himself somewhat for the circumstances, Connor made a faithful decision to follow in Ollie’s footsteps and keep the legend of Green Arrow alive. He delivered the news of Ollie’s death to Dinah Lance, who gave him Ollie’s favorite bow, which he had left behind at their home together in Seattle.

Despite a brief tenure in the Justice League, following an adventure where he single-handedly saved the Justice League from the machinations of The Key, Connor was never a big-name superhero. His name and identity were big enough that he was unable to find insurance during his brief tenure as a landlord running one of the apartment buildings his mother owned but he never achieved wide notoriety outside of the circles of professional martial artists, where Lady Shiva sought out a duel with the young hero… and would have won had it not been for Robin calling in the debt Shiva owed him for saving her life.

Still, Connor did build up something of a reputation but was all too happy to retire from heroics after winning the Ashram back from the corrupt developers who bought it. He got back into the business of heroics shortly after his father’s return from the dead and has – barring one or two brief adventures of his own – remained by his father’s side ever since.

Connor’s role in the family is – not surprisingly given his monk’s training – the voice of reason. When tempers flare and passions burn, it is usually Connor who attempts to play the peacemaker between whoever is fighting this time.

In the team dynamic, both on Team Arrow and the Birds of Prey, Connor is ‘the tank’. His newfound powers have made him a much more durable melee combatant and his own natural talents and training as a martial artist trained in defensive, incapacitating techniques makes him a natural to lead the charge, distract the enemy and allow the more aggressive fighters a chance to choose targets best suiting their talents.

Connor is – despite having taken his father’s name and role as a hero following Oliver Queen’s death – a better martial artist than he is an archer. This is a part of why he has taken the Black Hawk identity in the wake of the ban that keeps him from wielding a bow effectively.

Connor has “the Queen charm” and attracts women like moths to a flame. But as much as he respects his father as a hero and tries to follow his example, Connor has gone out of his way to avoid aping his father’s behavior as a Casanova when he was the same age Connor is now. And having spent most of his life in a Buddhist ashram, Connor has learned how to repress his physical urges as befitting the monk he was.

He is – like his father – a devout liberal. In fact, with his devotion to an “alternative” religion and his strict vegetarian diet, you might say he’s an even more stereotypical modern liberal than Ollie. Where they differ is that Connor is nowhere near as outspoken as Ollie about his beliefs. He will go to a rally for a cause to be a face in the crowd but he won’t shout at the news camera or wave a sign.

Connor also has Ollie’s temper but he has become much better about controlling it thanks to his time in the Ashram. It still slips out when Connor is confronted with mass stupidity in the name of greed or mass destruction and senseless violence. He’ll let his fists settle things and then shout to the heavens asking why people can’t be better than they are when it would be so much easier in the long run. Any doubt that Oliver Queen is his father is removed in those moments, for Connor share’s his father’s eloquence during those few occasions when he gets a good rant going.

Connor and Ollie: If Roy Harper can be said to respect Ollie as a mentor, Connor outright worships his father. Things have become strained in recent years as Ollie’s actions have sometimes brought tension between father and son – but Connor has never wavered in his commitment to upholding his father’s example even as he moves away from upholding his legacy.

Connor and Dinah: They grew closer without intending it, bonding at first as they coped with the loss of Ollie... then as fellow warriors… and finally, as the upholders of their respective parent’s identities. Apart from their interests in martial arts, their dry humor and sensible personalities meshed as well. Dinah was astonished when Connor announced he was changing his name in honor of her but not at all displeased.

Roy and Connor: See entry #13

Connor and Mia: They grew into being brother and sister easily enough, with their respective personalities clashing and complementing each other perfectly. He’s purity incarnate. She’s a dirty-minded child of the streets. He’s a trained martial artist. She’s a dirty fighter who gets by on sheer chaputz. They grew even closer following Mia’s being diagnosed with HIV… closer than anyone, even Ollie and Dinah, seem to suspect..

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's easy sometimes when you just coast along, But like it or not something always seems to go wrong

Fresh off the disbanding of the Justice League, Dinah Lance found herself a leader without a team.

Following The Joker’s attack on their base in Platinum Flats and Barbara Gordon declaring that she was quitting, the Birds of Prey found themselves a team without a leader.

It occurs to me that the one problem should naturally solve the other. Because as much as Barbara Gordon may like to think otherwise (Babs is rightly proud of her talents and accomplishments but she CAN be arrogant at times), The Birds can adapt to work without her… especially with a strong leader like Dinah in charge.

This is all pending approval from DC Editorial – whom don’t seem to have any plans for Huntress in the Bat-Books post-Battle for the Cowl and certainly don’t have any plans for Lady Blackhawk anywhere that I’ve seen – but I don’t think anyone would object to my bringing Dinah’s girlfriends into this book as supporting cast for the world-hopping adventures alongside the rest of the Arrow Family. Especially with a new bird in the form of Connor (as Black Hawk) taking an active role as Dinah’s protégé. Of course the core team will be made up of Dinah, Zinda, Helena, Connor and Mia but other heroes and heroines will be brought in as needed.

If she's free, I'd like to bring Spoiler into the team - let Dinah finish the job of training her that she started once upon a time.

I’m already imagining the shenanigans when Ted Grant and son find themselves needing back-up. Cats and Birds? It will write itself.

I’m also interested in the dynamics that Connor and Mia would add to the team.

Connor and Helena seem an interesting pairing, if only because she’s so cynical and he’s so innocent. They never did get a chance to interact in the JLA so I think it would be fun to bounce them off one another.

Mia and Helena I can becoming best friends since they are the respective “bad girls” of their circles and share the same snarky sense of humor.

Mia and Zinda would likely be at one another’s throats. As much grief as Mia gives Ollie about his old-fashioned ways, Ollie is a pup compared to Zinda, who is still astonished that there’s a Hank Williams Jr. and still calls gay men “Fancy Lads”. As easy going as Zinda is, she doesn’t take lightly to being mocked.

Zinda would be a bit wary of Connor taking the name he does and raise holy hell about it… at least until she was allowed to take Connor out for a test flight and see how he flew. Of course Zinda being Zinda and the Queen Charm being what it is, she’ll probably try and take Connor for a ride in the euphemistic sense as well; something that Connor will try to beg out due to there being someone else.

And now, for those who wonder why I started writing this in the firstplace...

SOURCE: Heh. You guys thought GA/BC couldn't get any worse. from The New Scans Daily

The main feature this month focuses on the DC Universe’s bizarre answer to Thelma & Louise as Black Canary and her rival Cupid end up on the lam from both Big Game and the Star City Police! Meanwhile, this issue’s co-feature sees Green Arrow doing his best to bring down Big Game himself before the baddie can find either woman in GA’s life!

*face palms*

*goes to liquor cabinet*

*mixes up a Suffering Bastard*

So Dinah... in the span of three months... has gotten over her apparent (and highly illogical) jealousy of the psychopath who is stalking her husband.

The same stalker who killed a fair number of people and tried to kill an even larger number with her pathetic attempts at proving her love?

And Dinah is teamed up with her, Thelma and Louise style, running from the police and some other new villain?

*sighs* I don't think I could begin to describe what is wrong with this with only 30 points.

Ah well... it makes tomorrow's entry all the more ironic. You'll see what I mean in an hour.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be Warned - This One Involves Going Through Lots Of Continuity - Tie A String To The Labyrinth Door!

When it was discovered that Connor Hawke had somehow developed a healing factor and a higher than normal pain tolerance, Batman and Dr. Midnite both took it upon themselves to find out why.

Their conclusion? While Connor had been kidnapped and brainwashed by long-time Captain Marvel enemy Dr. Sivana (as seen in Green Arrow/Black Canary), he had been experimented on and infused with the DNA of an also kidnapped Plastic Man. This gave him Plastic Man’s heightened durability, increased pain tolerance and ability to heal much faster than normal.

It was a plausible explanation. It fit the evidence at hand. It was also, in every important respect, dead wrong.

Even great minds screw up in the rush for answers. And scientific minds will often accept something blindly if the first explanation they can find seems scientifically plausible if not logical. So when Batman and Midnite found traces of Eel O’Brian’s DNA meshed with Connor Hawke’s they assumed that correlation equaled causation while neatly ignoring several larger logical questions. Namely…

1. Why would an infusion of Plastic Man’s DNA give someone some of the secondary effects of being made of living plastic but not the main effect – i.e. stretching/shapeshifting?

2. Why would Dr. Sivana – who seems to have developed a grudge against all superheroes rather than just Captain Marvel – give super powers to a hero who didn’t have any?

There are no logical explanations other than “Sivana is just that good a mad scientist” and “Sivana is crazy enough to do it for the hell of it”, respectively. He was already using Connor as bait to lure a larger group of heroes into a death trap. He was successful in using Connor’s natural genetic talents to create a semi-invincible ninja army. So why not kill Connor at that point when his usefulness had run out?

Because he couldn’t do it.

Even before Sivana decided to use Connor as a test subject (“Waste not, want not. Besides, he’ll be dead along with the rest of the heroes when I spring the trap, so why not risk his life for an experiment now? They’ll come to rescue him – corpse or no.”) he noticed that Connor had shrugged off an amazing amount of damage with no obvious ill effect. Further experimentation determined that Connor did indeed have some sort of healing power and a heavy resistance to pain beyond that of even of an unusually focused monk but that Connor had no Metagene. Indeed, Dr. Sivana couldn’t find any scientific explanation for it. But having spent a good deal of time fighting Captain Marvel he knew that there were many things that science – even HIS science – couldn’t explain.

Conclusion: Whatever powers Connor Hawke has must be based in magic.

Try as he might, Sivana was unable to harm Connor in any significant fashion. Even an infusion of Plastic Man DNA – which he HAD learned how to inflict pain on – did nothing to change whatever the magic was doing to him. Thankfully, Connor’s mind was not similarly affected so it was a simple matter for Sivana to brainwash Connor, place him amongst the hordes of his clone army and simply hope that a gigantic island-shattering explosion as his lab escaped would be enough to destroy what all his engines couldn’t.

The trauma of the incident did have some effect on Connor, of course. Months of torture and brainwashing aren’t something you can shrug off overnight. Yet some of the changes Connor went through after the incident seemed to have little to do with post-traumatic amnesia as understood by the medical community. While it is possible for someone to forget major details of their life and personality following a trauma (the technical term is Dissociative Fugue Amnesia) this is also accompanied by a total loss of memory regarding loved ones and the development of a whole new personality.

Connor, it should be noted, did not forget his loved ones. Outside of the soap operas, that sort of thing rarely happens. So what happened? Why did Connor suddenly develop a taste for meat? Why did he forget his pacifist ways, going out and looking for a fight to test his fighting skills rather than pitting himself against one of the many fighters he knows in a controlled situation? And how on earth does Amnesia cause someone to forget how to use a bow so badly that they can’t hit a target from 10 feet away despite days of personal instruction from the greatest archer in the world?

No answers were forthcoming and Connor took the loss of his talent hard. It was one thing when he was a better martial artist than an archer because of base aptitude and training. But how could he honor his father’s example and be worthy of his name when he couldn’t master a simple bow shot? Naturally, Ollie talked with Connor and told him that it didn’t matter what name Connor used as a hero or if he even tried to be a hero at all – Ollie would love him regardless. It was your typical dad speech and it did make Connor feel better. But what really helped him was the talk Dinah gave him after that.

What Dinah understood better than Ollie was what it was like to try and model yourself on a heroic parent and want to uphold their legacy. But, as she told Connor, you can trap yourself in that way of thinking – thinking you just have to be like them when you can be better. (“You’re a lot like Ollie in all the right ways, Connor. But in a lot of ways, you’re better than he ever could be. If you still want to be a hero, try focusing on what you can do better than him instead of trying to be him.”)

It was Dinah who suggested that Connor take some time to just go out into the world for a time to find himself. So like his father before him, Connor went out into the world on a voyage of soul-searching and self-discovery. And it was there – communing with Buddhist mystics as he tried to reeducate himself in the ways of his lost faith – that they discovered The Dragon’s Mark was burned into his soul and that a Dragon’s Blood flowed through his veins.

And in that moment, Connor’s memory of one particular incident came back. A trip to Japan with Eddie Fyers for an archery tournament, held in honor of a legendary hero who saved Japan with one perfect bowshot into the weak spot of a dragon’s hide. A battle which ended with Connor fighting a murderous villain in a pool of dragon’s blood… which was reputed to make any who bathed in it immortal.

Well, immortal may have been exaggerating a little bit, but the Dragon’s Blood pool did convey a blessing which made whoever bathed in the pool much more difficult to hurt in combat; i.e. pain resistance and healing powers – both abilities long associated with dragons in Eastern mythology. But such magic, even blessings, has a price. And as many dragons had banes regarding what they could and could not do, so did this dragon’s gift had a cost. A warrior would become all but invincible in close-combat but the weapon which slew the dragon would forever be denied to him. No more could the warrior wield a bow without ill luck directing his shafts in mid-flight.

Call it a curse. Call it a bane. Call it a telepathic block. Whatever you call it, that is the explanation; Connor Hawke did not forget how to use a bow. He literally can not use a bow because of the Dragon’s gift. And the hunger for meat and combat? A side effect of the Dragon Spirit’s influence upon him.

The Borrowed Time incident occurred before Connor could come home with the news. Once things calmed down, Connor made a faithful decision. While he took his father’s name and had followed his example, he had realized that someone else had been a greater influence on him once he got into the hero business.

It was Oliver Queen who inspired him to become a hero… but it was Dinah Lance who gave him the tools and training he needed to excel at it.

She gave him Ollie’s favorite bow in the wake of Ollie’s death. She trained and sparred with him, feeling some need to see that Oliver’s legacy didn’t die out despite the bad blood between them before his death. And once she and Ollie made their peace, she was the only one in the Arrow Family who could give him a decent workout when it came to mixed martial arts sparring.

The conversation went something like this.

CONNOR: Dad, you know I love you and I want to honor your legacy. But with what I’ve found out, I don’t think I can be Green Arrow anymore.

OLLIE: Connor, I don’t care what you call yourself. Long as I can still call you son.

CONNOR: I know, Dad. But it also occurred to me that while you put me on the road, it was Dinah who kept me there.


CONNOR: You could have turned me away when I came to you looking for answers after Ollie died. But you didn’t. I don’t know if I would have stayed on the path I was on if it hadn’t been for your encouragement. Between that and all the sparring and training afterwards… I owe you a lot. And it seems to me that I can honor more than one legacy. Besides, it’ll be a few years before Sin is ready to fill your fishnets.

OLLIE: Umm...you’re not going to…?

CONNOR: No. But I did think a new costume would go well with the new name.

*CONNOR holds up a costume. It is much the same as his old one, save that the green parts are now black*

DINAH: Oh no... you're not...

CONNOR: What do you think of Black Hawk?

OLLIE: ... At least it’s not Hawke Man.

DINAH: Zinda is going to hurt you.

OLLIE: Not if Roy and I start giving him pilot lessons now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And The Conservatives Thought They Had It Bad With Keith Olbermann...

Ollie has always been opinionated and politically active. And he did spend a goodly amount of time writing his Queen’s Gambit column for the local paper in Star City. So is it any surprise that the local talk radio station might have hit upon the idea of giving the local liberal poster boy his own show or that Ollie might welcome the chance to speak his mind to the masses?

Of course the show wasn’t quite what anyone involved in producing the show expected. But the people who knew Ollie best weren’t shocked at all when the ratings tanked as Ollie failed to find an audience.

Why? Because Ollie turned out to be a fair and balanced host who went after both the left and the right with equal amounts of annoyance. He criticized the idle rich conservatives he lived among for their apathy to the working man AND the bohemian liberals who thought all you needed to do to make a difference is write a check or go buy the cast album to RENT. Hard to build an audience in talk radio without catering to one audience or the other but the ratings did go through the roof simply because everyone loved to argue with him. But Ollie, amazingly enough, got sick of arguing with everyone else.

The final straw was a special show on Hunting Issues in which he managed to alienate both the local chapter president of the National Hunters Association (“You say you need an assault rifle to go deer hunting. I say you need to learn how to aim!”) and the state chairman of Animals Are People Too! (“You say meat is murder and I think you’re right. Because after a week stuck on an island eating roots and twigs, I was ready to kill for a good cheeseburger.”)

After that, Ollie just got too sick of hearing everyone and their mother complaining about his opinions to be bothered with venting his spleen on anything other than a soap box. Besides, it’s much more effective for Green Arrow to appear at a fund raiser for Save the Wolves than to appear on MSNBC screaming about the so-called “sportsmanship” of wolf hunting from a helicopter in Alaska.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Underneath the stars, And spinning never quite free, Through all thetrials and tribulations...

(For anyone who is curious, yes, those are all quotes by Roy Harper - the singer. Either interviews or song lyrics.)

I’m not anticipating getting to use Roy a lot, given that he’s basically owned by The Titans at this point. Still, with him – as of this writing – wanting some time away from the hero game following the break-up with Hawkgirl, I can easily see justifying him coming home for a little “me” time with the family. And even if I can’t justify that, I still have a story or two I’d like to use him for but – thankfully – Roy’s managed to remain relatively unscathed by recent stories and hasn’t been damaged nearly as much as a character that I feel I NEED to use him to fix him, like I do the rest of Ollie and Dinah’s children.

Orphaned at a young age like Ollie and raised on a Navajo reservation, Roy fixated upon the archer hero and practiced his own archery to an obsessive level. Despite Roy’s whole-hearted embrace of the Navajo culture and the support of the shaman Brave Bow, Roy was never widely accepted by the tribe and grew up very much an outsider. Knowing things would only become worse in his absence, Brave Bow contacted Green Arrow through some charity that the famous hero had been linked to and pleaded his case for the hero to take Roy into his home.

Oliver agreed; partly due to his still hurting from the rejection of Moonday Hawke some years earlier and the loss of the family he always wanted and partly because, even then, the idea of training someone in the heroic arts and starting a legacy had occurred to him. Roy quickly endeared himself to Oliver and vice versa, with the young man teaching Oliver of the depths he didn’t know he had and Oliver teaching Roy the fine points of crime-fighting apart from bowcraft. Roy took Oliver’s lessons and his example to heart, for better and for worse. And today Roy Harper is very much Oliver Queen’s son.

Like Ollie, Roy has thrown himself whole-heatedly into fatherhood. He is an enthusiastic and loving caregiver, who always puts his daughter Lian first.

Like Ollie, Roy fancied himself something of a ladies man in his younger days. To a degree, he still does. But like Ollie, he has mellowed in recent years and – while still looking for the right woman - he is a bit more discriminating about exactly how many ladies he takes home, knowing now his tendency to fall for bad girls like Cheshire. He still has an example to set, even though Lian goes to visit one of her many uncles, aunts or Grandpa Ollie when Roy is… ahem… entertaining.

But in a way, Roy is Dinah’s son as well. She didn’t have quite the hand in raising him that Ollie did but she definitely had an influence upon him outside of the realm of training him to be a more effective crimefighter. And Dinah, for her part, was changed as well by the little Lothario who brazenly tried hitting on her in open imitation of his old man – something that she found much more amusing than Ollie did.

It is Dinah who gave Roy the example in leadership he needed when he became head of the Teen Titans. It was she who taught him that he didn’t have to complete with Dick, Donna or anyone else who ever led the team – he just had to find what it was that he did better than anyone else; what was unique about him that nobody else could match?
In Roy’s case, it was his ability to improvise. Because more than any superhero in the world, Roy is a master of the last minute save
That is why he mastered Moo Gi Gong – a martial art devoted toward turning every day objects into improvised weapons.
It is also why Dick Grayson always sought to bring Roy into every superhero team he formed, despite the rivalry between their mentors and themselves. Batman is a planner and trained Nightwing to be the same. But Dick Grayson is canny enough to know that for every 50 plans you have, there will be occasions when all 50 plans will be made invalid. That is when you need someone who can look at all of your assets, and quickly think of something – anything – to utilize what you have to maximum ability. That is when you need Roy Harper.

Roy and Ollie: Ah, the Old Man. Things were tense there for a few years and they’re never going to have a 50’s sitcom relationship… but Ollie and his eldest son have made their peace over the past. Roy still idolizes Ollie and models himself after his adopted father, for good or ill. Ollie, for his part, is in awe of the man and the hero Roy has become in spite of Ollie’s shortcomings as a parent. There is love there, but more – there is respect.

Roy and Dinah: She started out as a crush/point of jealousy between Father and Son. But after the worst night of his life, she became something more; something between the mother and the older sister he never had. He couldn’t put a name to what he’d call her, but it is enough that Dinah loves him and vice versa and cared enough to keep checking up on him even when he and Ollie weren’t speaking.

Roy and Connor: total opposites on the surface and yet more alike than most would care to guess. Both are thoughtful to the point of melancholy at times, though Roy is more outspoken about his feelings and more likely to try and distract himself from his sorrows. And as the two most spiritually inclined people in the family, they have had a number of discussions noting the similarities between Buddhism and the Navajo nation traditions. Still, despite their mutual efforts at understanding and finding balance, Connor has begged out of any future visits to the strip club in the name of “curing his shyness”.

Roy and Mia: At first, Roy was a little weirded out by the idea of having a namesake. Still, he took the time to take Mia out for a weekend, get to know her and found himself liking the young lady Ollie took under his wing. They get along great, both taking a great delight in making sure that “the old man” doesn’t get too complacent in his old age. Any family gathering will typically have at least one “battle of wits” with the two trying to see who can get out the best snarky one-liners as measured by the biting of Dinah’s lower lip and the blush in Connor’s cheeks.