This Green Arrow is part Green Arrow Industries, part Smallville (thanks to corporate synergy), part Iron Man, and mostly awesome.
Green Arrow #1
Writer: J.T. Krul
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: George Perez
Colorist: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Dave Wilkins
Asst. Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Editor: Pat McCallum
Previously in Green Arrow: Classically Green Arrow has been Oliver Queen, billionaire industrialist behind Queen Industries, who suffered a tragedy in which he was stranded on an island and forced to become a hunter and live off the land. Whether the latter part of the origin is still in continuity or not remains to be seen, but our Oliver still knows how to run a business!
QUEEN INDUSTRIES: THE APPLE OF THE DCnU
Right from the get-go we see that Ollie is still in charge of his Queen Industries, whereas in the DC regular he had been forced out in a corporate takeover long ago. Specifically, Ollie is running his own division, Q-Core, makers of the Q-Phone and Q-Pad, which obviously aren’t related to any existing product in the real world. In an interestingly done scene, we see that Ollie is participating in a teleconference with the Queen Industries board while simultaneously stalking some YouTube celebrity villains in Paris as Green Arrow. We see he now has his own personal Oracle, Naomi, as well as a lot of technologically advanced trick arrows (unfortunately no boxing glove so far), designed by another Q-Core employee. We get some fighting, a good bit of talking, and some character development that sparks my curiosity; Ollie mentions that he can’t sit on the sideline anymore because “The last time [he]did, [he]watched people die. People [he]could have saved.” I don’t know if that means that a modified version of Cry for Justice is still in effect (which would explain why he’s in Seattle and not Star City), or if it’s referring to the story of a parents’ death while in Africa that I believe J.T. Krul originated in his last Green Arrow run, but it will be interesting to see how the DCnU continuity unfolds.
This take on Green Arrow really reminds me of a re-imagining of Iron Man where instead of building a power suit, Tony Stark picked up a bow and made Pepper Potts sit in front of a computer to be Oracle for him. It’s not clear how much of his tech he makes and how much is made for him (he does have a pacifist engineer he has hired to make weapons for him), but I’m hoping we still have the Oliver Queen who can design his own trick arrows when needed. Speaking of which, I’m quite glad that we have trick arrows again. While I can dig the whole grim and gritty Mike Grell shoot everything with broadheads Green Arrow on occasion, J.T. Krul couldn’t really write him that well. This Green Arrow seems more reminiscent of Judd Winick’s run on the character in its tone, if not much else. I know Winick’s comic writing career had its ups and downs, but in recent years he has really found his voice and written good comics; I’m hoping that J.T. Krul may be finding his voice as well and settling into being a solid comic book writer. This issue seems to be a step in the right direction. The villains for this arc don’t seem particularly inspired (they’re like Spider-Man’s rogue Screwball; they film themselves committing crimes and upload them to YouTube for fame), and at the end of the issue we see a larger team of them which seems to include the Juggernaut, the not-so-Cowardly Lion, and Wonder Woman’s costume from before the relaunch.
Green Arrow’s redesign has the potential to grow on me. I actually really like the Smallville-inspired costume, but am still irked that they got rid of the goatee. I absolutely DESPISE the mutton chops on the cover, but thankfully the interior art is chop-less. There’s some shadowing around the goatee region, so I am hopeful they could bring that back, but otherwise the art in this issue is fine. Dan Jurgens is a great artist, and no one is going to malign George Perez’s inking.
BOTTOM LINE: A GREAT START
All in all, I think this could be a great start for Green Arrow. I didn’t expect to like this issue (J.T. Krul has burned me one too many times with Green Arrow), but he may have finally found a version of Ollie that he can write. I’m on board for the foreseeable future, or until Green Arrow grows mutton chops for real, at which point I am hitting the eject button. 3.5 out of 5 stars for Green Arrow #1, and a cautious optimism for the future.