Or – “Occasionally, It’s Good To Have A Nice SHORT Mystery Cliffhanger…”


The look on Batman’s face right there is absolutely priceless. It reminds me of the moment where the Janitor hugged Carla on Scrubs, picking her up and shaking her side to side like a bear mauling a bull-moose, then sat her down, only to have her remark “I thought you were going to kill me.” His response? “I fought the urge.” Heh. Still, you know that something dramatic happened for anyone to wrap their arms around the Dark Knight, though if you read the Wedding Special, you may have a hint as to why.

BC1.jpgPreviously, on Green Arrow & Black Canary: After his near death (not to mention ACTUAL death) experiences, Oliver Queen made some changes. Rather than just TALK about changing the political bull$#!+, he went out and got himself elected mayor of Star City to MAKE the changes personally. He spent nearly a year training and refocusing himself to make Green Arrow a more effective crimefighter, and most amazingly, he abstained from any sort of feminine company, with the intent of making Oliver Queen a better candidate for husbandry. Black Canary left her partnership with Oracle to try and raise Sin, a child raised by the legendary Assassin’s Guild to be the new Lady Shiva, a human weapon designed only for killing, but the assassins came after them. Green Arrow was able to fake Sin’s death and spirit her away to the mountains of Tibet, causing Dinah to realize that he really had changed, and accept his proposal. When the Secret Society of Super-Villains attacked their wedding, Dinah and Ollie’s friends came down like Judah the Hammer to stop it, but the honeymoon got a bit awkward when he tried to kill HER, and she succeeded in killing HIM. This issue begins with Black Canary thinking back to the first time Oliver tried to ply his charms on her… “I’m a big fan of your mother’s,” he says, entering a really weird area. “She was a gal who could get the job done.”


Heh. I like that she got the upper hand on him there, even if it is a retcon… Now, on the streets of New York, a group of criminal idiots runs away from an unsuccessful heist, blaming each other for their failure. “This is what’s called a change in plans,” screams one of them, and the other cries back “I didn’t realize spontaneity was an option!” The idiots realize that they’re in deep trouble, as a fishnetted shadow comes out of nowhere and begins systemically kicking the teeth down their throats.


The gun backfires, and one of the fallen criminals tells her, “This isn’t over, you @#%#…” Dinah turns and walks towards him as he boasts that more of his guys are coming, and they will kill her, but Canary punches him unconscious… and then keeps punching, over and over, until an explosive arrow goes off behind her, distracting her from the beatdown.


Green Arrow II tries to gently ask why she was beating an unconscious man to death, but Black Canary simply snaps back, “I guess I should have challenged them to a pillow fight, right?” Connor just wants her to know that the fight ended well before she stopped swinging, and that ever since his dad died, she’s been doing that more and more. “Well, I guess everyone’s lucky you’re here to referee,” snarls Canary as she walks away. Some time later, Connor and his sort-of-de-facto sister Mia (Speedy) discuss how bad it’s gotten, and how difficult it’s become for Black Canary to cope. To prove it, we see BC lying across the glass tube in which her husband lies in state, thinking about all the people who have given her condolences on her widowhood.


Dinah insists that whatever is dead in that tube is NOT him, that the eyes are NOT the eyes of the man she loves, but Hal tries to convince her to accept reality. “No one believes me… no one but Connor.” Hal replies that Connor just believes that SHE believes, and Dinah angrily asks if Connor TOLD Hal that, and Hal says no. “Then why don’t you just SHUT THE HELL UP about what YOU think CONNOR thinks,” snaps Dinah as she leaps off the side of a building. I like that we’re still letting Black Canary be a force even when she’s obviously addled by grief, rather than having her be a crying mess. She tells Hal that she KNOWS Ollie, that the body is not Ollie, and HAL loses it. “Don’t you think I want him back? DON’T YOU THINK I WANT YOU TO BE RIGHT?” Hal points out that he brought Oliver back from the dead once before because he couldn’t bear life without him, and he can’t bear it now, either.


“…but it can be deceived.” The Batman leaps out of the shadows, and Black Canary can’t believe that HE, of all people, believes her. “If someone wanted you dead,” says Bats, “manipulating Green Arrow to murder you is a decent plan. But it’s been a month and no one has come to finish the job.” It doesn’t add up, and Batman believes that when things don’t add up, maybe you just don’t have the right numbers. “Oliver wasn’t into or on to anything that would be alleviated by killing him in secret. I know. I’ve checked.” Dinah throws her arms around him, asking if that means he believes her… Batman smiles, just a little, and hugs her, just a little, replying “I do.” Awww… That’s awesome. He’s still Batman, he’s still the control freak, but his obvious affection for his old friend comes through anyway.


Doctor Mid-Nite and the Batman carefully and disgustingly dissect the body, removing the organs, processing, weighing, checking, testing… His brain is clean, and Batman asks if there were any red flags, but Doc has checked down to the cellular level with no results. Then, he sees a tiny group of cells, a milligram of tissue, cells that AREN’T Oliver Queen’s DNA, and even more interestingly, they’re still reactive. Batman asks if they’re alive, and Mid-Nite tells him that they’re dead, but he thinks he can make them do their thing if he stimulates them… Oliver’s skin begins to shift and crawl, reforming into a different body altogether.


With the proof finally before her, Black Canary allows herself to shed a few tears, but quickly gets back to business, convening at the Hall of Justice with Connor, Mia, and Batman. “He’s out there!” she cries, “And we need to find him!” Batman puts his mind to work, asking Dinah if anyone out of the ordinary has approached her, if anything unusual has happened. She tells him that nothing odd has happened, just people giving their condolences, when she remembers… Athena and the Amazons! Why would they have anything to say to her? I’ll give you a hint, in the form of a voice heard on Themyscira. “Y’know, I gotta tell you gals, a lotta guys might pay a pile of money to find themselves sitting in a situation like this, but I AIN’T one of them.”


So Granny Goodness Athena managed to replace Oliver with Everyman sometime between the wedding and the honeymoon… Or did it happen DURING the fight in the cave? So many questions. And doesn’t Ollie look to be in pretty good shape for a man who has been in a cage for a month? Either way, I’m glad that they didn’t drag out the reveal for months and months, (I’m looking at YOU, Skrullapalooza, Who Is Wonder Woman?, Who Will Be The New Captain America?, Is Iron Man Dead?, What’s Up With Vixen’s Powers?, and Where is Deena Pilgrim?) instead choosing to give us Oliver’s whereabouts and make the mystery about the how, why, and when of Oliver’s abduction.

There are some writers whose work seldom fails to work for me, and Judd Winick is one of them (your mileage may vary, of course, but remember to be nice.) This issue’s dialogue is awesome, giving us an approachable (yet still very Batman) Batman, a Black Canary whose grief doesn’t turn her into a quivering emotional mess, and even a humanizing moment for Hal Jordan, the usually uber-confident Green Lantern. This was a nice start to the “new” series (it’s really a continuation of the old Green Arrow book) but they avoided the trap of having Black Canary fall into a secondary role and thus, out of character. I’m going to give this one a hearty 4 stars out of 5, and I’d recommend this to anyone who likes their street level characters with the pathos and romantic interaction without the sappiness.



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Hmmm…in one Universe, they make wild, adrenalin-fueled love on a pier, in their costumes, in front of a bunch of dead or dying goombahs. In the ‘Original’ Universe, she hugs him for believing her so as to further the cause of justice, and he smiles a little.

    Yes, Mister Mind really did mess with those 52 Earths…

  2. After reading the Wedding Special and this issue, Judd Winnick has made me care about two DC super heroes I never thought I would. Great #1 issue.

  3. Thank the maker! Seriously. I now take back the angry vitriol I shot at Winnick. GA is alive! Hurray. And, thankfully, the reveal was in this issue. It’s a nice change of pace to the different mysteries keep story arcs going, instead of the whole “is he alive, isn’t he alive” angle.

  4. I would have thought the dead Green Arrow was a GA from another Earth (any of the 52), and the story ties into Infinite Crisis. But alas, its just Everyman. Where’s the fun in that? I would have preferred the storyline to coincide with a Universe-wide event.

  5. I dunno about you, but I suspect that the Everyman reveal was as much to take that idiot out of play as it was to solve the mystery. :)

    But at least having Oliver be Oliver and not a creepy alien something something works for me, and honestly, works better than having him be the evil Oliver from the mirror universe would have.

  6. Oh, this is good on so many levels…!! Not only is Ollie not dead and Dinah no second banana, but all the other characterizations sound great….AND the Amazons/Granny Goodness story continues. Thanks for the good news!

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