Friday, April 16, 2010

Green Arrow #32 - In Depth Dissection

Let me say this right now - this is NOT a good comic by any stretch of the imagination and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Why? Let me explain...

1. I've never been a big Barry Allen fan and I know that he's supposed to be a conservative American Mid-West, straight-laced, meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. He's not the kind of guy who is likely go agree with Oliver Queen on much of anything.

That being said, as apathetic as I am to Barry and as little as I know about him as a character outside of JLA: Year One, I am relatively sure he's not supposed to be this big of a douche.

Seriously, Batman wasn't this bad about Hal/Parallax back in the days when Hal was still widely considered to be a genocidal madman!

2. I know it's been a big running gag in the Fandom about how Star City must be the dumbest city in DC Comics to not put two and two together regarding ex-Mayor Oliver Queen and Green Arrow having the same beard. And granting that Nudocerdo isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, you'd expect him to be a little less shocked by the revelation.

3. I mentioned this before but Dinah is HORRIBLY written here and the logic behind her argument here is completely flawed on several grounds.

a. If Ollie really didn't want to be a father, why did he adopt one teenager in need (Roy Harper) and take in another teen runaway (Mia Dearden)?

b. For that matter, out of all the ways he could help the community, why did he take a day job that required him actively working with children and teenagers and acting like a surrogate father? (i.e. running the Star City Youth Center)

c. If Ollie really wants to be alone, why did he bust his ass to win Dinah back in the first place? He allegedly had what he wanted...

d. For that matter, if Ollie has always dodged his responsibilities as a father and wanted to be alone, why did he walk out of Heaven to save his son when he had a nice meadow where he was alone and able to practice his archery in peace when he was playing "Race The Arrow" with his good pal Barry Allen?

Wait... what?

e. Even if you dismiss all of the above as Ollie being a dick who doesn't really know what he wants or his doing a few good things out of guilt, that does nothing to dismiss the fact that out of all the drama that occurred after Ollie and Dinah got married, Ollie wasn't at fault for any of it. He wasn't trying to drive a wedge between himself and Dinah during all of that. And he damn well COULD have during all that nonsense with Cupid during the Kreisberg run of Green Arrow/Black Canary.

f. Considering that right before they got married, Dinah was ready to kill the League of Assassins members who kidnapped her adopted daughter Sin, probably would have if it hadn't been for Ollie's actions and that she damn near killed Merlyn regardless, Dinah is the last person in the world who should give Ollie ANY grief about questionable choices in the heat of the moment when things get personal.

I'm just saying...

4. I'd just like to note at this point that the ARTWORK IS HORRIBLE and that if it weren't for the super-imposition of the costumes and the writing noting that Dinah, Roy and Connor didn't show up for the trial, I'd think that these three characters were Dinah, Roy (with the wrong color hair) and Connor - Not Mia, Hal and Barry!

5. Speak of Barry, did I mention that Barry Allen comes off as the Fastest Douche Alive throughout this issue?

Just checking.

That being said, I do like Ollie's response to the bet.

6. The trial itself brings up a whole mess of problems.

a. Why doesn't Ollie just plead Guilty to the charges? - We're led to believe that Ollie is truly remorseful for what he did and believes he deserves punishment. Well, I can think of a few reasons why he would allow things to go to trial. The biggest one being that he wants to deny Nudocerdo the victory of getting Oliver Queen to admit that he is a lawbreaker in court. Bad as Ollie may think he is, Nudocerdo is worse and anything he can do to improve his image MUST be stopped. Still, it would be nice if it were explained WHY Ollie allows things to go to trial.

b. We never get to hear any of Ollie's defense. - It's a minor point since Ollie doesn't have much of a defense but it would be nice to see how his attorney might go about doing it. Especially considering that there's a slew load of technicalities that could easily see the whole case tossed out of court. For instance...

c. Can Ollie be put on trial in Star City anyway? - The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that an American citizen can only be brought up on criminal charges in "the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed". Ollie killed Prometheus inside an extra dimensional space (i.e. The Ghost Zone). That's a bit outside the jurisdiction of the Star City D.A's office, even if the body was eventually recovered IN Star City.

d. How can they get an impartial jury in Star City? - Another important part of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution is the concept of an impartial jury. This is important to both the defense and the prosecution. So why is the Star City's D.A.'s office - ignoring the fact that they don't have jurisdiction over a crime committed in the Ghost Zone to begin with - willing to let this case go to trial, much less push for a speedy trial, so soon after the disaster which Green Arrow was nominally avenging?

e. Star City District Attorneys have GOT to be appointed... ... because I don't think there's any way in hell any D.A. who is elected to their office - even a crooked one in with the crooked Police Chief - is going to commit career suicide on this level. Even with all the people in Star City who hate Green Arrow/Oliver Queen for one reason (bleeding heart liberal) or the other (dangerous vigilante), most people are going to be a little peeved that the D.A's office is going to go through the effort of rushing to trial the case of a man who did what he did - at least in part - to prevent further damage to the city.

f. What kind of case does the Prosecution really have? There's no eye-witnesses of the actual murder. The Shade isn't there to testify that he took Green Arrow to the Ghost Zone. Flash and Green Lantern aren't there to testify that they found the body. And given how many times somebody has tried to impersonate Green Arrow in the past, finding a green arrow in the body is hardly conclusive. Add in the fact that Ollie turned himself in but apparently didn't formally confess to the crime and all the prosecution has is a lot of hearsay and guessing.

Of course as bad as the trial is, this is all small potatoes compared to...

7. The Aftermath.

According to attorney Dr. Ronald B. Standler in his article Differences between Civil and Criminal Law in the USA, the only punishments a judge can assign a person found Guilty in a criminal case are "(1) incarceration in a jail or prison, (2) fine paid to the government, or, in exceptional cases, (3) execution of the defendant: the death penalty."

Note also that there is no mention of Exile being a valid punishment in any American court.

Ipso facto, a judge cannot impose any form of punishment after a jury has passed a Not Guilty verdict. And declaring a punishment of Exile in an American court after a jury has found someone Not Guilty is right out!

All that being said, I am still looking forward to and am planning to pick up Green Arrow #1.

Why? I'll explain under this next cut.

Okay. So the artwork was horrible. The plot was nonsensical. Everybody except Ollie and Hal seemed to be written horribly out of character. And the whole damn thing reeks of Executive Meddling to an even worse degree than Justice League: Cry For Justice did! You can almost see the checklist J.T. Krul must have been given.

Break up Ollie and Dinah so Dinah is free for Birds of Prey? Check. Destroy most of Ollie's friendships so we can keep him out of Justice League? Check. Make Ollie a pariah in his home town? Check.

Yes, this book accomplished its' goals in a remarkably clumsy way. Yes, it was like trying to repair a watch with a sledgehammer. And yes, this is easily the worst thing I've read in 2010.

And yet... I am still looking forward to Green Arrow #1. Because while the old painting has been destroyed, a new canvas is before us. And I like what I see so far.

Consider this: As a character Green Arrow was, for most of his early career, nothing more than Batman with a bow. Despite the comparisons to Robin Hood - that great archery hero - Ollie had never, until recently, been a true Robin Hood figure.

In the 1970s, Dennis O'Neil tried to make Green Arrow something more than Batman with a Bow, turning him into a Robin Hood figure in costume and in attitude. He did make Green Arrow a champion of the common man/little guy and he did arrange for Ollie to lose his fortune and have to start over with not much in the slums of Star City.

Despite this, Ollie was never a true Robin Hood figure. But after the straight-laced Silver Age a longish-haired, goatee-sporting Jazz fan was probably the closest thing we could get to a Hippie outlaw in the funny pages.

Even in the grim-and-gritty days of late 80s and early 90s he was never really an outlaw. True, the police weren't too crazy about their new vigilante but they didn't go out of their way to cause him problems either. In fact, Ollie had an open identity and worked with the police on several occasions by the end of the Mike Grell run.

In fact, excepting a brief period during The Black Arrow Saga, Ollie was never a true outlaw. And even then his crimes were false charges meant to stop him from exposing a government conspiracy. The closest to Robin Hood Ollie ever came was in the recent Green Arrow: Year One mini-series, where Ollie became a hunted man in a tropical jungle, fighting to free an enslaved populace on an island paradise turned drug farm.

Consider all of that. And now consider where we stand now.

The fact is... everyone knows Oliver Queen is Green Arrow now.

The fact is... Ollie is an exile and an outlaw in his home town.

The fact is... the populace is split between those who see Ollie as a troublemaker and those who see him as a Hero.

The fact is... the corrupt cop who has lived to make Ollie's life hell is going to have a hell of a lot more pull with the people who hate Green Arrow after this and a hell of a lot more power as a result.

Ollie is now, more than ever, a TRUE Robin Hood.

And he is now, more than ever, the hero Star City needs.

And as of Brightest Night #0, there is now a giant old-growth forest in the middle of Star City - growing into the star-shaped blast-zone created by Prometheus' bomb.

Why? Well, it could be a symbol of rebirth. It could be a symbol of nature triumphing over all. You might even say it's a symbol of something good growing out of the burning pile of slag that was Cry for Justice.

But personally... I think the universe just knows that Robin Hood needs a Sherwood. :)

The Final Verdict: The book stinks. It appears to have been driven entirely by editorial fiat and only some good characterization on the part of our hero makes it readable. That being said, a lot of possibilities have been opened up and I think it likely that J.T. Krul might be able to do for Oliver Queen what, several years ago, Gail Simone did for Dinah Lance.


  1. I'm wondering if the plan had originally been for Ollie to go to jail to have it match that planned GA movie that I think stalled out. The one where he'd be in a super-crime prison...

  2. Hang on a minute - Ollie's supposed to have a secret identity since when?
    Wasn't all that stuff abandoned when he lived in Seattle? I even remember the line:
    "Turns out no one made the connection because they weren't looking hard enough."
    And this was all BEFORE Oliver Queen died at the same time as Green Arrow, returned from the dead at the same time as Green Arrow, married Dinah Lance, who also has no secret identity, as a highly publicised media circus of a wedding with a thousand and one superheroes in costume?

  3. I'm wondering if the plan had originally been for Ollie to go to jail to have it match that planned GA movie that I think stalled out. The one where he'd be in a super-crime prison...
    Supermax, yeah.
    That would explain a little bit... but not all of it.

  4. Hang on a minute - Ollie's supposed to have a secret identity since when?
    Since Brad Meltzer decided that Ollie had to go on a quest to hide all the evidence that Oliver Queen was Green Arrow that was left behind after he died in The Archer's Quest.
    Wasn't all that stuff abandoned when he lived in Seattle? I even remember the line:
    "Turns out no one made the connection because they weren't looking hard enough."

    Another comment from one of the cops: "It was supposed to be a secret?"
    And this was all BEFORE Oliver Queen died at the same time as Green Arrow...
    Don't forget that he got a full-page obituary on the front page of The Daily Planet, written by Clark Kent, which identified Green Arrow as Oliver Queen.
    ...returned from the dead at the same time as Green Arrow, married Dinah Lance, who also has no secret identity...
    Well, I dunno about that.
    It makes sense that Dinah wouldn't have one any more after Ollie got outed in the lead-up to The Black Arrow Saga. Someone would be bound to make the connection between Black Canary and Oliver Queen's long-time girlfriend.
    But strictly speaking, I can't recall anything in Birds of Prey which outright said Dinah had an open identity now.
    Mind you, it's not like she's going out of her way to hide it even if it IS a secret.
    at a highly publicised media circus of a wedding with a thousand and one superheroes in costume?
    I could have sworn that Ollie and Dinah's wedding was a private ceremony with no press. I could be wrong though, as I only read the wedding special once.
    There WAS a lot of media attention following Ollie's bachelor party - I remember that.
    But yes - one thing about the marriage I wasn't happy about (one thing?), is that they never really explained just how Ollie and Dinah handled the marriage outside of their costumed identities. And you just know that the former mayor getting married to a gorgeous woman is going to make the Society Pages of the Star City newspapers if nothing else...
    And, as you say, there should have been a legal paper trail of some kind. Unless Ollie and Dinah just opted for a personal ceremony and didn't bother filing the paperwork to become legally married.
    That does seem somewhat likely given that neither of them have placed much stock on ceremony or pieces of paper. And after the guy at the wedding turned out to be Everyman instead of Ollie, they opted for a quiet, personal ceremony with Diana as the minister/priestess/whatever and a few close friends.
    It isn't done often, but I believe some people DO get married by their church without bothering with the legal necessities. Especially in cases where the government won't acknowledge their marriage. *cough cough*
    That would explain why Dinah giving the ring back seems to be the be-all and end-all of this with no talk about filing divorce paperwork or what not.
    By the way, are you as disturbed as I am that we've apparently put a lot more thought into this than anybody at DC Editorial did?

  5. I'm thinking specifically of the one-shot that created Birds of Prey, in which Dinah not only ditches the wig in favour of being permanently blonde, but then is recognised (out of costume) by Lynx.
    Idk, for a long time Dinah's only actual job is Oracle's operative, and even the second Sherwood Florist (in ? Metropolis?) was more of a hobby than her job. Does she have a florist shop ni Star City? Does she, in fact, have anything that's "Dinah Lance" rather than "Black Canary"? All this says to me that there's no differentiation between the two. Although I think it's more that Dinah's never been a fan of life outside of heroing - see JLA:Y1, where she said something about how "this is the real me".
    What I mean is, I don't see a Dinah/Canary duality; I'm not sure it exists. Everyone who would have a reason to go after Canary definitely knows who Dinah Lance is, so why sweat the rest?
    I can totally buy the wedding being symbolic rather than legal, actually, because... well, Ollie would think he was making a political statement ("We don't get legally married until it's legal for everyone!") and Dinah would probably only care about the personal vows to each other, and that their friends were there. (Babs turning up at the full in-costume superhero ceremony as the maid of honour was either ridiculous or the greatest show of friendship-over-mission I've ever seen.)
    I dont' want to dig out the wedding special to catch the media attention, but I do know that pretty much everyone was there and I can't imagine for a second that a massive gathering of superheroes such as that wouldn't attract the press, really.
    Actually, no, it doesn't bother me at all; that's what fandom is. I just wish DC editorial gave more of a damn than say, my non-comic reading flatmates.

  6. I was pretty sure that Dinah was working for Oracle full time now. Certainly she had the salary to do so. But Babs also bought the store for her AND pulled strings for Helena to get her teaching job back since she felt it was important they have SOMETHING outside of their heroing.
    Of course Dinah has been playing owner/manager rather than working the place herself. And it's been a while, but I believe Dinah's shop was in Metropolis and Rhosyn (of Rose And Thorn) was running it now.
    Something I just remembered that really does bother me after the fact - I know Dwayne McDuffie made a big deal about security for Ollie's bachelor party and how they relocated to the Hall of Justice after it became clear that Hal and Roy had bungled things on every level.
    But nothing was said about the female heroes making similar precautions that I can recall regarding Dinah's bachelorette party... at a public strip club.
    I think Babs may have arranged to rent the place for a private party... but still... that would be a LOT easier for someone to sneak into than a privately booked hall, I'd think. And it would have been a hell of a lot more damaging if some of what happened there (I'm thinking Power Girl walking around with two guys slung over her shoulders...) was made public.
    And yes, I meant it was disturbing that we thought about this more than the editors... not that we were thinking about it at all.