GREEN ARROW 80TH ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR #1/ Scripts by MARIKO TAMAKI, TOM TAYLOR, STEPHANIE PHILIPS, MIKE GRELL, RAM V, BRANDON THOMAS, DEVIN GRAYSON, PHIL HESTER, VITA AYALA, BENJAMIN PERCY, JEFF LEMIRE & LARRY O’NEIL/ Art by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, NICOLA SCOTT, CHRIS MOONEYHAM, MIKE GRELL, CHRISTOPHER MITTEN, JORGE CORONOA, MAX FIUMARA, PHIL HESTER, ANDRE PARKS, LAURA BRAGA, OTTO SCHMIDT, ANDREA SORRENTINO & JORGE FORNES/ Colors by JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, ANNETTE KWOK, MIKE SPICER, LOVERN KINDZIERSKI, IVAN PLASCENCIA, MATHEUS LOPES, MAX FIUMARA, TRISH MULVIHILL, ADRIANO LUCAS, OTTO SCMIDT, JORDIE BELLAIRE & DAVID STEWART/ Letters by ANDWORLD DESIGN, CLAYTON COWLES, TOM NAPOLITANO, TRAVIS LANHAM, ADITYA BIDIKAR, STEVE WANDS, ARIANA MAHER, CLEM ROBINS, BECCA CAREY, NATE PIEKOS OF BLAMBOT, & ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS
If you’re any kind of Green Arrow fan, the odds are good you’re probably planning to pick this book up, regardless of my review. There’s a selection of amazing variant covers to choose from, if you’re not inclined to collect them all. Those people do not need to read any further. But what if you don’t know much about Green Arrow? Is there anything of value to be found here, if you’re a newcomer to the Emerald Archer? Thankfully, yes.
Admittedly, established Green Arrow fans will get the most out of this collection, given that half of the stories are by creators who had lengthy and popular runs on various Green Arrow comics. Mike Grell, for instance, is in as fine a form as ever, writing and drawing a story teaming Green Arrow and Shado to take on a group of human traffickers. It is a classic Grell story and enjoyable, if you like that sort of thing. However, if you have no idea who Shado is, I suspect it might be somewhat confusing. That’s the rub with most of these retro stories; they’re all more of the same from creators you like, but largely poor introductions to what made their original runs so amazing. This is particularly true of the Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino offering, “The Last Green Arrow Story.”
With two exceptions, the most generally accessible and enjoyable comics in this collection are those produced by other teams. The opening story by Mariko Tamaki and Javier Rodriguez, for instance, is a flawless recreation of the Green Arrow comics of the 1940’s, with a kooky villain and lots of trick arrows. I also greatly enjoyed “Happy Anniversary,” by Vita Ayala and Laura Braga, with colors by Adriano Lucas; an amusing, action-packed story set during the brief period in which Green Arrow and Black Canary were married.
The only real dud in the bunch is “One,” the volume’s only story centered around the Connor Hawke Green Arrow., which has muddled artwork and a script that doesn’t quite catch the rhythm of the character. The best story in the bunch, in my estimation, is “Punching Evil,” which details the creation of Green Arrow’s most infamous trick arrow during a sparring session with Wildcat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; we need Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott on a monthly Green Arrow & Black Canary comic NOW.
If nothing else, this volume is worth picking up for the final story; a tribute to Denny O’Neil written by his son, Larry. While Denny O’Neil didn’t technically create Green Arrow, he redefined the character and made him into a Modern-Day Robin Hood after years of being written as a half-hearted Batman rip-off. Every incarnation of Green Arrow since then owes a debt to Denny O’Neil. So do most Batman fans, come to that, for it is unlikely we would have seen the Dark Knight Detective restored after the Adam West era had it not been for O’Neil’s Green Arrow. But I digress.
If you’re a fan of Green Arrow, you need to pick up this special, if only for the walk down memory lane and a tip of the bycocket to the creator who made it all possible. If you’re not a fan, some of these stories may well make you into one. Just be ready to ask your friendly neighborhood comic shop about ordering some trades. I personally recommend starting with Quiver.