Sunday, August 22, 2010

CBR Green Arrow: Year One

Hi gang!
Sorry for the delay until the upcoming "big review" on the blog. I haven't finished, didn't find the time for it, my current playthroughs of both Resident Evil 4 and Splatterhouse 3.

Since I wasn't able to have those around for this week, here's a new Comic Review in the meantime!

Comic title: Green Arrow: Year One
Art by Jock
Written by Andy Diggle

Published by DC Comics
From 2007
Lineup Green Arrow
Format: Trade paperback containing Green Arrow: Year One issues #1-6

Not long after the release and success of Batman: Year One, DC Comics launched a new line of Year One titles to replace the Secret Origins titles (though the slowly came back every now and then).
They started to retell DC history, first for Bat-related characters (Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl..) and slowly they started retelling other characters origin (JLA: Year One...).

Around the 2000s, since Green Arrow was getting popular, since the relaunch that Kevin Smith did, DC decided it was time to tell Oliver Queen's origin for the current new audience.

The creative team behind the Losers was chosen, with Andy Diggle writting the book and artwork by Jock.

How did this turn out?

It started out with a selfish rich dude on the sea...

Oliver Queen, Ollie for short, was a selfish playboy and young billionaire.
All his life, he had it all easy, laid out on a gold plate for him.
Nothing really mattered for young Ollie. Everydays were parties, putting his life at risk for no reason and not taking care of anyone.

Though archery had been a passion for a time, nothing really seemed to care in his eyes.

That is, until the day his friend Hackett betrayed Ollie on the sea, and poor Queen found himself marooned on a deserted jungle island...

On an island, he rediscovers himself...and became something else...

GA: Year One starts out like any good origin story should.
It lays out Ollie's character, show is interest in archery, though it doesn't seem to matter for him at that point (he buys "Robin Hood's original bow", from Howard Hill, in an auction).

Then Ollie gets stuck on an island...
There, he rediscovers simple things, like hunting, surviving.. and for the first time, he's really happy with his own life.

Because, even if people (myself included) like to see Green Arrow as a somewhat-Batman character.
Ollie's a bit more rooted in reality, despite trick-arrows and a fun character.
(it was in GA that the first drug-problems were touched, we'll discuss that other book some other time, and Speedy, GA's current sidekick can kick bad guy's ass despite her HIV condition).
When Ollie discovers that the island isn't deserted and people are getting exploited there, he decides to strike back.
Sometimes, an individual can make a difference and make things count.

Also, GA isn't your usual superhero/crimefighter. At his heart, Ollie's a hunter. He survives.
Even if he's inspired by such simpler and ideal characters as Robin Hood, Ollie discovers nothing's perfect. The world has its flaws...

Thus is born Green Arrow, the legendary archer!

Ollie helps people on the island, fights back at the bad guys.
There's still some superheroic shenanigans in this story. Ollie confronts China White, the leader of a heroin cartel installed on the island.

In the end, Oliver Queen returns to Star City changed.
From now on, he will help others. He will continue to put his life at risks, but for a reason now.

Ollie learns in this tale that living for a reason, giving everything for others counts.
This "accident" opened up his eyes for the very first time.
He had fun using his archery master for good.
For the first time in his life, he has a purpose, a motivation.

Overall, Green Arrow: Year One is a fantastic starting point if you are interested in the Emerald Archer!
Jock's art is magnificent!
The way he lays out his panels, his pages.. This is a high quality graphic novel!
There's a lot of visual references to GA's future career.
And the story...
Diggle writes a very powerful, even if quite simple at heart, story.

This is your basic Robinson Crusoe story. Only, using a Robin Hood-type of character.
It's not that much your usual superhero comic, it makes me think of those great indie or Vertigo graphic novels.

It's a highly recommended read if you're a fan of Green Arrow, DC Comics in general, archery or original origin stories.
It looks great, is quite well written and, hey, if you buy the Paperback, there's even an introduction by Brian K. Vaughan, which makes it kinda a must read/buy immediately in my eyes!

I give it:
  2,5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!


  1. Looks like another book to look into, among the others I've been buying.

  2. It's a well written piece with gorgeous art, sure, plus a great introduction to Oliver Queen!