Comic Book Review

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  • Authors: Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, Ande Parks
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50


A new story arc begins for DC's newest superhero "family"

By Tony Whitt     April 23, 2002

Green Arrow gains a family in GREEN ARROW #13.
© 2002 DC Comics
I'm sure you've noticed by now how certain superheroes in the DCU have virtual "families" surrounding them. Hell, DC even published books titled SUPERMAN FAMILY and BATMAN FAMILY for the longest time, and even though those particular heroes' nuclear families have lost or gained an electron here or there, they remain prominent. Other major (and minor) players have the same deal: Wonder Woman has Troia and the rest of the amazons; Wally West has what amounts to a "Flash Family;" even Kyle Raynor, now virtually a god, has lost a Green Lantern Corps but gained a "Green Lantern Family." But whoda thunk that Green Arrow, of all people, would rate such a unit?

That's the sort of framework writer Kevin Smith has created for the resurrected Oliver Queen, though, and it works amazingly well. Dinah Drake, for one, fits better in the "Green Arrow Family" than she ever did with the Bats, and her absolutely necessary inclusion here goes a long way towards strengthening her character. In a wonderfully memorable opening argument between Ollie and Carter Hall, Carter calls Dinah a "broken mess" because of her involvement with Ollie. He might as well have said she's been a broken mess as a character ever since her main foil was taken out of the DCU, thus making this new GREEN ARROW series a new lease on life for her as well as for Ollie. Add in Connor as the dutiful son and Mia as the rebellious teenaged daughter who could be the next (choke!) Arrowette, bring in Roy Harper on occasion, and you have a successful support system for a character who always seemed to need one, despite his strengths.

The way Smith writes Ollie, though, he's strong. How many other people do you know who could handle being resurrected from the dead and plunged into a world far more advanced than he remembers, but who can catch up quickly enough to throw out pop culture references with the best of them? Oh, yeah, and he's pretty good at mopping up the villains, too. Not since the Neal Adams GREEN ARROW/GREEN LANTERN run has this character been so good. Whoever follows Smith's initial tenure on this book has quite a task ahead. They'd also better hope they get to retain artists of the same caliber as Hester and Parks, if they don't get to hold on to the genuine articles themselves.

I go on incessantly about how important it is for comic book characters to be realistic, to have faults and drives similar to ours, so I won't harp on that here - suffice to say, Smith makes that happen. But he also deftly handles the typical superhero stuff, particularly in this issue's introduction of a character who could only be called a "hero-killer," and whose next victim might change the course of this series already. If Smith knows what's good for this series, though, hopefully he won't go where the dénouement of this particular issue suggests. That's my only concern with this issue and the story arc it initiates: there's nothing worse than creating a great support system - even one with dysfunctional elements such as Ollie and Dinah's relationship - only to tear it down again.

It's this blending of superbly human motivations, all-out action, and tremendous artwork that has made GREEN ARROW such a remarkable series so far. It might be a bit too early to rename it GREEN ARROW FAMILY, though.


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