Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chronic Review: Green Arrow # 32

Green Arrow # 32
DC Comics

Script: JT Krul
Pencils: Federico Dallocchio
22 pages for $2.99

Boy, was I excited about Green Arrow # 32. You may recall I read the last issue and was pleasantly surprised. Krul was writing the story of a man gone too far with real emotional gravitas. There was blood on Ollie's hands, he was irritating everyone around him, and he was clearly not done with his vendetta.

The promise was for months and months of bridge-burning, moral choices, and a fresh ballsy take on a character I had previously been uninterested in. Green Arrow # 31 set quite a banquet. Green Arrow # 32 pulled everything off the table and then whizzed in my mouth.

I have never seen any book kill so much positive momentum so quickly. This was a runaway sports car that inexplicably hit the emergency brake and spit its smoking transmission out onto the pavement.

I don't want to give too many of the spoilery plot points out. To be clear, there are "happenings" in this book. It isn't that it lays still. Far worse than that, it reverses everything it was headed toward just 30 days ago in such an abrupt and unfulfilling manner that I half feel like filing a complaint for emotional abuse.

Ollie's quest for vengeance takes a left at Albuquerque.....hard. I won't say that his decision made no sense. In many ways, it made perfect sense, and sort of salvaged him as a heroic figure. But then why go through the sham of being interesting in the first place?

Ollie Queen went from a compelling man on fire to mopey-ass wet fish before you could turn the page. Gone was all the rage, all the intriguing possibilities, all the months of drama that could have been milked. Instead we get self-esteem problems and apathy. How wonderful.

Green Arrow turns himself in and heads to trial. That's where the only interesting item in the issue occurs - what Ollie does to Superman during court is actually entertaining. But this is also where the story gets disingenuous. If you're going to pull the rug out from your readers, at least make it sensible.

Queen is declared "not guilty" for the murder of Prometheus by a jury of his peers, and now insufferably self-pitying Green Arrow chastises the jury in his inner monologue. But waitaminute.....if Oliver so desperately wants to be punished for his sins, why didn't he...oh, I don't know....plead guilty??? If that's how he really felt about it, it makes no sense to put it in the hands of a jury. The decision is bullshit, patently transparent bullshit that serves preserving the status quo instead of the story.

I would have preferred one of two things. Either:

A) Go forward with where things were headed, and let Green Arrow's path of vengeance churn out months and months of potentially relevant and certainly entertaining stories about a hero gone bad.

B) Go forward with the new and not so improved Depressive Arrow, plead guilty, and run wild with a comic book preview of that "Supermax" Green Arrow prison movie they've been whispering about for years. You want action? You want redemption? Throw that dude in the clink and let him duke it out with the riff-raff. Sure, Brubaker just did it with Daredevil. You try to top him, out do him. I would respect that.

What we get is a judge who reads the "not guilty" verdict and somehow decides to gulag the man from Star City. Correct me if I'm wrong, here, but "not guilty" means "free to go". You can't just disagree with a jury and make up your own punishment if you don't like it. I know this is comics, but how am I supposed to buy into ANY of this?

This wasn't a story. This was a complete demolition of a story in the name of creating a fresh new re-booted # 1 issue. Fuck that. Fuck that in the face. This could have been special, folks. But we'll never know how special, because a whole year's worth of good comics were absolutely GOAT-ASSED inside of 22 pages. I'm guessing it's an editorial edict. Maybe Krul just lost his balls and bailed. Whatever it is, it sucks.

The sad thing is, this is probably a decision built on dollars. "We can't make this beloved character legitimately human and edgy, what will people think?" Well, they might actually buy your books. There's a novel concept. It's so weak, and right now I'm embarrassed for DC over their ridiculous bait and switch, and I'm embarrassed for myself for still buying into it.

Green Arrow just hit the chopping block.....NEXT!

- Ryan

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