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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tale From The 50 Cent Bin! - Green Arrow #1 and #2

Next up on “Wanna-be Batman Month” (which isn’t a good title since most of these guys aren’t wanna-bes) is a guy who actually started out as a copycat: The Green Arrow. He first appeared in More Fun Comics in 1941. He was obviouly influenced by Robin Hood with the get-up and skills. Mort Wesienger (his creator) even pulled stuff from a movie serial called The Green Archer. The Batman part comes with everything else. He was a rich playboy, had a kid sidekick, and had a lot of crap that was based on his name. Let’s see, there’s the Arrow-Cave, the Arrow-Car, and the Arrowplane. If he also had some Arrow-Shark Repellant and we could call it a day.

He got retooled in 1969 to be more of his own character. He lost the money, grew a cool goatee, and became one of those annoying liberals you try to get away from. By the way, I also run away from the annoying conservatives because I’m just that guy. Anyway, this new attitude and look stuck with him for the longest time until the New 52 where… I don’t know what going on there. All I know is that his book (like most books these days) tends to have rotating teams.

After the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Green Arrow was reshaped into a grittier version of himself by Mike Grell. Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters started that shift. In the mini, Oliver and Dinah (Black Canary) relocated to Seattle, WA and serious stuff happened. His new series after that mini-series kept Oliver in that direction. I picked up the trade Green Arrow Vol. 1: Hunters Moon some time ago. Today’s issues are from that trade. Green Arrow #1 and #2 were written by Mike Grell. Pencils are handled by Ed Hannigan and inks are brought to us by Dick Giordano.

Green Arrow #1 and #2
Writer: Mike Grell
Pencils: Ed Hannigan
Inks: Dick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin
Colors: Julia Lacquement
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Mike Gold

“Hunters Moon Part One”
The story starts out as Green Arrow fights some thugs in a park. He takes them out with ease. Meanwhile, Lt. Jim Cameron is lamenting with his wife about the coming re-trial of a child killer. He’s worried since he’ll have to find the only survivor, Annie Green, and have her relive her messed up experience with the man. At Oliver’s and Dinah’s house, he prepares a bath and asks Dinah to join him. Dinah wants to join but her torture during "The Longbow Hunters" left her shaken. She realizes she needs help, so she and Oliver start to look for a therapist.

They find one therapist and she does what she can with Dinah. Stuff hits the fan when the therapist finds a disturbing package in the mail and runs out of the office. Ollie chases after her and it’s revealed that she is Annie Green. She was kidnapped and tortured by the child killer, Al Muncy, when she was about 10 years old. She later tells Dinah that she even can’t stand the touch of a man because of that. After she tells them what happened, Ollie suits up and heads over to Muncy’s estate. The guy is pretty nonchalant about his crimes. GA pretty much threatens him to not mess with Annie and leaves.

Outside Muncy’s estate, Green Arrow runs into the cops and Lt. Cameron. He tells them of the package Annie got and they say that Muncy has been in his house all day. Green Arrow realizes something’s up since the letter was delivered by hand. After his talk with Lt. Cameron, Green Arrow leaves and heads over to Annie’s house for a stake out. Later on, Oliver notices a masked man trying to climb into Annie’s room. He shoots the guy point blank but that doesn’t stop the perp from fleeing the scene. Part one ends with Oliver wondering how this masked man was able to deflect and bend one his arrows.

“Hunter’s Moon Part 2”
This part picks up with Ollie wondering how the masked man ended up deflecting and bending his arrow. After he checks on Dinah and Annie, he heads back to Muncy’s house for answers. He says he didn’t do it and the cops kept all of the exits in check. Ollie and Lt. Cameron do find a foot print outside the estate but looked liked it belonged to someone bigger. Cameron also chastises Arrow on how he tried to take out the masked man. Cameron tells Arrow if he kills anyone, he’s coming after him too.

Later, the two check up with Annie and Dinah. Cameron knows that Muncy was the masked man but he can’t prove it. Arrow and the cops end up going back to Muncy’s place to search the house for any hidden exits. They find that Muncy is missing and they notice some chainmail missing from armor. Arrow realizes it was used to deflect that arrow and the added weight was what caused that footprint outside. Since the place used to be an illegal distillery, Arrow is able to find a trap door that leads underground. In the distillery, he finds more evidence and decides to flood the place by opening a valve.

Outside, Cameron finds out his daughter has been kidnapped. With Annie’s help, Cameron finds out about Muncy’s old hideout. He, Dinah, and Annie head there and find Muncy with Cameron’s daughter. Muncy’s about to shoot Cameron when Green Arrow disables Muncy with an arrow. Annie grabs Muncy’s gun and tries to shoot the guy but she runs out of bullets. Muncy escapes in his car with Green Arrow hanging on the back. Muncy tries to escape back into his distillery and uses a lift to go down. What he doesn’t know is that the place has flooded and he drowns in a pool of beer. The story ends with Dinah and Ollie visiting Annie and telling her that she needs to start building bridges in trusting others.

…………………………………………………………

I thought these were some good issues. The whole trade in general is pretty good. The stories go for a dark, grim, feel and there aren’t any dastardly evil supervillains here. The bad guys are realistic and really messed up. Muncy (or Muncie, his name changes for some reason) was definitely that. I know it would be harsh to say but I hope he didn’t escape his beer pool. If anything, it kind of feels like the TV show, Arrow, in the early seasons. Ollie and Dinah were pretty cool and I did like their little subplot that involved what happened back in "The Longbow Hunters." Ollie doesn’t play around here this time around and looks like he could off somebody. I also liked Lt. Cameron and how he and Ollie played off of one another.

The artwork is gorgeous. That’s really the best word for it. The pencils, inks and colors work together to create some really nice to look at. Ollie’s new costume (he started to wear it in "The Longbow Hunters") is pretty cool and it's probably my favorite of the ones he’s had. It all has to do with that hood, I guess. Everything from the introspective scenes to the action scenes looked good. After I read this, I had to look up the artist, Ed Hannigan, and see what else he’s done. The only negative I could really give the arc is that it feels rushed toward the end. Other than that, It’s good.

This was a good read even though it touched on a messed up subject. I’d recommend that you check out the trade but I wouldn’t give it to anyone younger. The series was aimed for an older audience (it said so on the issues’ covers). What’s funny and weird is that a lot of what happens in the trade could pass for what’s in mainstream comics these days. We’ve come a long way in 28 years. I’m not saying that’s good or bad but I did want to mention it. Well, I’m out but I’m not done with the Emerald Archer yet. I’ll come back to him soon. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.


NEXT TIME: MIDNIGHTER!

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