Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Arrow #5

BAD THING: The heart of the conflict of this book - Ollie's fight to save the city that abandoned him - is put on hold for the sake of the Brightest Day crossover. Despite being full of action, this issue still seems kind of flat. The Blackest Night zombie battles are old hat at this point (though Ollie's solution for fighting them is ingenious) and there's little emotional attachment to the early battle with the master-of-disguise/ninja assassin Nix when we're given no motivation or identity to latch on to.

GOOD THING: If J.T. Krul has managed nothing else with this series, he has helped to shed a new light on Ollie's character by drawing a parallel between existing stories. The flashback here where Ollie confronts the Black Lantern version of his own father draws upon stories by Scott McCullar and Mike Grell, using both to justify Ollie's seemingly out of character actions in Cry For Justice.

In brief, a young Ollie saw his parents die before him at a point when he thought he could have saved them... if only he could kill. This led to him breaking his rule about taking life in Longbow Hunters when he wound up in a similar situation with Dinah Lance - seemingly about to die - and the only thing that could save her was his killing someone. This establishes a weakness for Ollie - an inability to sit idle when those he loves are endangered, which explains why - apart from plain heroism - he went out of his way to go after Prometheus following the crippling of his adopted son and the death of his spiritual granddaughter.

The Final Verdict: A collection of mindless action sequences hides some very deep characterization, drawing upon some long-neglected stories to add clarity to the character of Oliver Queen. It's a small thing but it's enough to make a long-time Arrowhead happy despite most of the issue being devoted to yet ANOTHER zombie fight.

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