In the world of Flashpoint, Oliver Queen is no longer the Emerald Archer; instead Queen runs a major military company that hunts down super-villains and appropriates their technology for use in weapons that they then sell. Think Iron Man meets Robin Hood.
FLASHPOINT: GREEN ARROW INDUSTRIES (One-Shot)
Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Pencillers: Marco Castiello (pages 1-5), Ig Guara (pages 6-20)
Inkers: Vincenzo Acunzo (pages 1-5), Ruy Jose (pages 6-20)
Colorist: Stefani Renee
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover: Viktor Kalvachev
Assistant Editor: Kate Stewart
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Previously in Flashpoint: Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, has somehow initiated an episode of Complete Makeover: Continuity Edition for the DC Universe, where everything we know is wrong. Batman is Thomas Wayne, Abin Sur is still the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, and Oliver Queen is Tony Stark. Also, just to get it out of the way, go ahead and have your giggle-fest now: Yes, this one-shot is written by someone named Pornsak.
THE PERFECT ELSEWORLDS SET UP FOR THE DCU
As much as DC likes to say that Flashpoint isn’t an Elseworlds tale because it’s supposedly happening in the mainstream DCU, at this point the event boils down to a giant alternate reality Elseworlds tale. As someone who loves Elseworlds and alternate takes on characters we already know, this issue is fantastic. The beauty of an Elseworlds tale is its deconstruction of a superhero; examining what we already know, and how they would be different if events had conspired in an alternate fashion.
In Green Arrow Industries, we discover that while this Oliver Queen did have his original company stolen out from under his nose, he apparently never had his shipwreck on an island origin that forced him to fend for himself with a bow and arrow. In fact, while this Oliver Queen holds a bow to pose with his companies new Green Arrow missiles, he’s later shown to be unable to use a bow and arrow to save his life.
The pacing of this issue is perfect. There were several moments where I read a page and had a question or an incredulous comment which was immediately addressed on the first panel of the next page. An example of this is the aforementioned scene where Ollie poses with a bow in front of the Green Arrow missiles for a group of generals. My initial reaction was negative, thinking “Well, I guess it’s important that they tie this new Oliver Queen to the one we already know, but it was rather absurd to have him hold up a bow with the missiles, even if they are called the Green Arrow missiles.” Next page, first panel, Roy (in mainstream DCU his former sidekick, Speedy, later turned into Arsenal and Red Arrow) echoes my incredulity, saying “You brought a bow just so you can pose with your missiles?” This sort of sensitivity to the mindset of the reader is in every aspect of the pacing. I did not recognize the writer’s name (though with a name like Pornsak Pichetshote, I’m not likely to forget it), but I am eager to see more works written by him (upon a perusal of the Internet, it appears he’s primarily an editor for Vertigo; I’d love to see him write something in this relaunch–make it happen, DC!)
In terms of the content of the story, it’s everything I could ask for in an alternate reality Green Arrow story. Ollie is a weapons manufacturer a la classic Tony Stark, but with a fun twist: he hired an ex-military team to hunt down super-villains and take their weaponry to use the technology for military-industrial applications. Trickster’s anti-gravity boots used with rocket propulsion for super-speed flight. Folded Man’s dimensional technology for making cumbersome tech more portable. The Top’s atomic grenade top. I had never really thought about it, but some of these C and D-list villains’ gimmicky technology have some absolutely ridiculous applications when reverse engineered and put into military grade weapons. The concept is a great basis for a comic, made even better with characters that we already have a background with.
Roy Harper is Ollie’s right-hand man in this business, acting as one of his Green Arrow mercenaries that forcibly acquire villain-tech. He plants the idea in Queen’s head that Green Arrow Industries could become a sort of corporate superhero. After this page we jump forward a bit to the aftermath of an assault on the island. Roy is dead, and Ollie decides to follow the last of the assassins, using some of the villain-tech. Rather than just summarize EVERYTHING in the issue, I’ll just say that Pornsak does a great job with dialogue, and has a very intriguing plot that delivers a perfect alternate reality Oliver Queen story. I loved the pacing, the dialogue, and the plot; this issue is my favorite Flashpoint tie-in so far–and really, other than “this is an alternate reality” you don’t need to know anything about Flashpoint. The Amazon-Atlantean war is mentioned once, but it is just a passing reference.
A HAIR OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
In terms of the art, everything is well done, with some minor complaints. Roy looks to be about the same age as Ollie, when he should be about fifteen years younger. I love the character design for Ollie in this; removing his mustache and having Roy sport the typical Green Arrow facial hair was a brilliant plan. I’ve been ogling this cover ever since they released the solicits for the issue; Kalvachev did incredible work on it; the symbolism of the quiver of missiles is perfect for the concept of the story.
Another minor quibble in the art; one of the terrorists is revealed to be the daughter of Oliver and Mari McCabe, in this reality a villainess named Vixen. This is a good plot point, but I felt that the character didn’t look enough like she could be the child of Vixen and Queen; Vixen is typically seen with a lighter hair color, almost an auburn. The assassin’s hair color is extremely dark, basically black. Also, her skin tone looks a little darker than Vixen’s typically is, which–while certainly possible–doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense if the reader should be able to figure out that she’s the child of Oliver Queen and Vixen on their own before the reveal.
BOTTOM LINE: SHOOT TO YOUR COMIC SHOP, AND BUY THIS ISSUE
As I mentioned, this is my favorite Flashpoint tie-in so far. It accomplished everything I could’ve asked for it to do, and was an extremely enjoyable read. You don’t need to know anything coming into the book, though a cursory knowledge of Green Arrow’s personal continuity is particularly helpful in catching some of the nuances of the book. I highly recommend this, and am proud to give 5 out of 5 Stars. What’re you waiting for–go buy a copy!