Thursday, 23 February 2017

Green Arrow, Volume 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen Review (Benjamin Percy, Juan Ferreyra)


Green Arrow and Black Canary are a couple again and they’re fighting bankers - this couldn’t possibly suck could it? It could. It does. Bah. Fucking Rebirth! 

Benjamin Percy’s painfully hacky script utterly ruined what I (foolishly) hoped would be a half-decent Green Arrow book. The first two pages had me asking, disbelieving, “Really?” The scene: a rich, attractive Republican (read: NAZI) woman storms out on a dinner date with Ollie muttering “Liberal pig” followed by Ollie handing a hundo to a Dickensian street urchin whose mother is playing a guitar with the Woody Guthrie sticker “This Machine Kills Fascists” on it. Percy simplistically portrays this world like a fucking cartoon! There’s the rich and the conservative - they’re BAD - and there’s the poor and the liberal - they’re GOOD! It’s so ridiculous.

Then Ollie proudly calls himself a Social Justice Warrior (cringe!) and Dinah gives him shit about being white and privileged. Ugh, why? This cancerous left-wing bullshit ruins everything. So Ollie has to “prove” he’s good enough for self-righteous Dinah by showing her all his amazing charity work in Seattle (I guess Star City didn’t make the transition into Rebirth?). I just don’t know why she’d want to make him feel bad for being a heroic vigilante on top of his community work - what a bitch! And what’s she doing with her rock star money that’s so much better anyway? 

Continuity-wise, it’s a mess. This is pre-New 52 Green Arrow and DC You-era Black Canary but they’ve also never met before so we get to see their romance from the beginning… and when did Ollie get a Japanese sister?! 

The story is full of cliches. Ollie’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit, there’s a friend fighting friend scene, there’s a Japanese ninja lady wittering on about “honor” because that’s what Japanese people do right? And, I swear to Jeebus this is real, after Ollie speaks to his company’s CFO and leaves, the room darkens, a shadow crosses the CFO’s face, lightning cracks outside, and the CFO picks up a phone and says “It’s time.” Corny. As. Fuck. Can you tell he’s the villain??? There’s also some lame dialogue sprinkled throughout, the worst of which was Dinah saying “It seems like every time I get close to someone… everybody gets hurt, including me” (which she says twice). Faceplant. 

The villains are awful. Percy bases them around Dante’s Inferno so there are characters called Dante and Virgil, the bank is literally called the Inferno, the group is the Ninth Circle (as in the Ninth Circle of Hell, where traitors go), and quotes from Dante’s poetry appear as well. Unimaginative, contrived drivel. 

Why so much focus on Middle Ages Italian poetry? No idea. Percy just likes villains with a literary flavour I guess. Why do they burn their workers? No idea. Why are they stealing Seattle’s homeless and trying to frame Ollie? Look, this book is garbage, alright? None of it makes sense, they’re just bad guys being bad guys! Percy really didn’t need to literally demonise bankers either, they’re already the worst scum around without actually needing to be physically deformed and bankrolling supervillains - and anyway wouldn’t they make more money ripping off ordinary men and women like they’ve always done?! 

I love artist Juan Ferreyra’s work (see his Dark Horse series Colder for some sensational art) so it’s a real shame he got saddled with such a shitty script. His work is very decent here but not nearly as impressive as it is in non-superhero comics. 

Green Arrow, Volume 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen is utter rubbish. Derivative, bland and uninspired, I couldn’t have been more bored reading it. The ending is crap too with Percy looking to repeat Ollie’s origins yet again. I’m starting to view the Rebirth label on books as a warning to stay away from them!

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