Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CBR Green Arrow: Year One (1995)


I was reading some more old Green Arrow issues when I come up around this one.
I almost forgot but Green Arrow already had one Year One story back in the 90s!

Like Aquaman: Year One it was part of DC's plan to reintroduce characters after one of their event.
But unlike other Year Ones, this one was almost never mentioned anymore.

Let's check it out!

Comic title: Green Arrow Annual #7: Green Arrow Year One
Art by Rick Burchett & Eduardo Barreto (framing story) and Chris Renaud & Gerry Ferndandez (origin story)
Story by Chuck Dixon

Published by DC Comics
From 1995
Lineup Green Arrow
Format: Single issue "annual special" format.

After the big comic book time altering event from the early 90s, DC Comics decided it was a good moment to produce several Year One comics as jumping points for new readers that might had decided to start reading new titles.
(and that event was Zero Hour, already mentioned in my Atom comics review)
Kinda inspired by what they had done in the past after the Crisis from the mid-80s, relaunching several titles like Batman, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, etc..
But this time just one-shots about ~40 pages of comics each, mostly recapping events to help bring readers up to speed on the various on-going comics at that time.

Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, wasn't "The" Green Arrow anymore at that time. It was his son Connor Hawke who took the mantle.
Writer Chuck Dixon who was handling most of the Bat-family characters already decided to take on the Emerald Archer at this time. Since Connor was Green Arrow, this Year One was supposed to reintroduce the classic G.A. to readers quickly and easily. This is where the problem lies for most fans, it didn't follow G.A. established origin that much, which was pretty consistent all the way through the 80s to the early 90s under Green Arrow's fans' favorite writer Mike Grell.

This Year One summarize and deviates from Ollie's classic origin. The basis is all here, we skip right from "survivor trapped on an island"-Ollie to bearded-Ollie.
(which either erases, skips or doesn't mention his younger years as a non-bearded Green Arrow and/or teaming up with his original sidekick Roy Harper!Speedy)

Time for a FLASHBACK!

"Clock's ticking Bowman.."
Thus the story opens in medias res, in the middle of a sequence. Green Arrow faces off against some mysterious foe...
Who is that villain, what is going on... But first of all, who is this Green Arrow guy anyway?

The story then jumps at the beginning, at the start of it all.
Oliver Queen grew up a spoiled kid. Despite a fascination for Errol Flynn (and archery to some extend), he never showed much heroism or any interest in other people besides him.
Rude, arrogant, Ollie was a real pain in the butt for all those who surrounded him, never getting too close to anyone even so.

But one day, aboard a yacht on a cruise, Ollie fell off..those he used to abuse and despise didn't bother helping him out...so he was left in the middle of nowhere...

The "longbow hunter"!!

This rich spoiled kid woke up later on, on a desert (or so it seemed anyway).
There, only his surviving skills and letting his attitude behind would help him get by and live to see the day he could amend for his past sins...

With a model to live by, his dreams and memories of his hero Errol Flynn, and a means to become proactive, a bow and arrows.

Finally, Ollie met someone else, a certain Steven Clothier, also another marooned person on the same island.
Both started working on a means to escape this hellish situation...until Ollie found out about "Nicholas Kotero", the Love Boat Killer...

This 1995 Green Arrow: Year One tale takes GA through the journey from the douche rich spoiled "Ollie" Queen until he set the price on making things right.

The art is pretty good, suited for a Green Arrow story. And even the change of artists from the overlapping story to the flashback wasn't that noticeable.
Chuck Dixon goes straightforward with a pretty simple story building up Ollie's origin and a brand new archenemy in the process. (which was only used in Connor Hawk/Green Arrow II on-going series later on)

Oliver Queen is an archer, but he will not soil himself with blood.
He wants to play by the rules...what is the price for such foolish considerations?

After playing hero when he found the plantation in one of the other islands near by,  "The Green Arrow" returned to land with a new goal for his live...and means to do so.

Overall, it's a pretty decent and simple enough story.
His whole origin was later on retold in the 2007 story Green Arrow: Year One.
Probably much better, and I'd recommend giving a try over this one.
But if you're a Green Arrow fan and want to experience some of the (rare) GA stories from the 90s (alongside Connor Hawk's) check this one out!

"Practice makes perfect"
This was also true to Dixon as well as Green Arrow. He later went on writing some great stories for Oliver Queen's son and successor (as well as some great crossover team-up stories with then-Green Lantern Kyle rayner)

By letting his foe live, Ollie tried to prove himself better than his would-be future enemies. He's a hunter at heart, but doesn't kill. (at least most of the time)
Then, this Love Boat Killer set on GA in his sights to toy with him, play with him, and prove he wasn't any better than him...

Is there a need and place for sawshbucklers in the world nowadays?
Is Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, good enough to hurt instead of kill?

I give it:

  1.5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

1 comment:

  1. I think one of the reasons that makes this forgotten was that it implied that Ollie was a metahuman.
    I like the Dixon run on GA, too.