Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Arrow #7

GOOD THING: This issue is perhaps the single best examination of the character of Oliver Queen in the past ten years. JT Krul has done the impossible and actually found a way to justify Judd Winick's uneven portrayal by going back to the origin written by Scott McCullar and giving Ollie a deep-rooted sense of survivor guilt regarding the death of his parents.

The main thrust of the issue has Ollie being visited by the spirit of his dead mother, who forgives him for not being able to save her life and encourages him to find it in him to forgive himself for his failures, warning that he will need faith in himself and in people in general to win the battles to come.

By painting Oliver Queen as a good man who doesn't believe he's worthy of being loved because he will inevitably fail those who love him, Krul has crafted an explanation for much of Oliver's seemingly random jackassery over the years. He has also added another level on to the character, tying together some of the most pivotal Green Arrow stories of all time through the common thread of Oliver Queen being unable to tolerate the idea of someone he loves dying through his own inaction.

BAD THING: Your enjoyment of this issue is entirely dependent upon how well you can tolerate mystical elements in a "street-level" comic like Green Arrow. Of course this sort of thing was bread and butter to Mike Grell, who had Herne the Hunter make an appearance when Oliver visited Sherwood Forest in one story, but I can see how this might be "off" to those who are unfamiliar with the rich tradition of spiritual/magic elements in the Green Arrow mythos.

The Final Verdict: JT Krul has taken a lot of flack this week for some stories he wrote this year that seemed to be heavily influenced by editorial fiat. This issue stands as proof that left to his own devices, Krul can tell a truly great story. This issue examines and lays bare the psyche of Oliver Queen like nothing else in the past ten years - possibly twenty. If you're looking for a good jumping on point for Green Arrow, this is it.

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