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Friday, November 4, 2011

THE OTHER DC COMICS BILLLIONAIRE PLAYBOY - GREEN ARROW, THE NEW 52

Review of the Current Green Arrow [G-A] Series Issue #1 from DC Comics New 52


The New 52 DC Comics G-A series is written by J.T. Kurl [author & writer, from Aspen MLTs Fathom Series], and drawn by artist Dan Jurgens. George Perez did the inks on issue #1.

Oliver "Ollie" Queen aka the Green Arrow is a character that was originally created back in 1941. Designed as an archer, he is void of superpowers such as flight or energy pulses. And perhaps the most memorable interpretation of G-A was in the Justice League & Justice League Unlimited WB cartoon series, in which he was portrayed as the conscience of the group of DC superheroes who resided in the orbiting watchtower. 


Now he's been slightly reinvented fro the New 52 relaunch. G-A is no longer a wisecracking cocky and rather humorous crime fighter. He appears to be more suave and rugged; which is a good thing. And the tag-line for this comic is quite interesting:
--Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice... by breaking every law. Now, armed with cutting edge weaponry and illegally gained intel, Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later--

In Green Arrow #1, the story opens up in Seattle, within the multistory tower belonging to Queen Industries [owned by the main protagonist, who is absent from a business meeting]. While Ollie is in Paris, the senior executives & directors are busy discussing business advancements and market trends, since Queens Industries is a global leader in energy, transportation, infrastructure development etc. They even make their version of Apple technology: the Q-phone and the Q-pad. I found that part rather interesting, since it actually gave more substance to their corporate resume and directly illustrated a modern source of immense wealth for the global firm. Yet there is a separate division of Queens Industries called Q-Core, which appears to be a rather covert branch [since it produces the technology for G-As gadgets].

Yet the absent hero appears to be linked into the ongoing board meeting, per his global com-network. While in Paris, he is hunting 3 criminals: Dynamix [bald male, brute strength], Doppleganger [female] and Supercharge, [male, electricity] as they are set to head into a yacht that has an on-board nightclub. The blond-haired & green-eyed hero takes on the 3 goons and defeats them out at sea, using his combat skills and cool tech gadgets. Then he returns to Q-Core headquarters in Seattle, where he meets with his two support operatives, Jax [tech genius, weapons creator] & Naomi [pro-hacker].


The story is a bit of an introduction/teaser, presenting the major players and a plethora of possible story arcs. When he returns from Paris to Q-Core HQ, Ollie speaks to Jax and claims that he'll never sit by idly and let innocent people die again; and that appears to be his reason for becoming a masked vigilante, so that he can make a difference with his own version of hard justice. It almost sounds like Ollie lost a lover in the past, or even a family member, per the tone and facial expression shown at that point in the book [and this is good, since it leaves room for a back-story, which will tell us exactly why inner demons are torturing him and who he let die in the past].


Yet the 3 villain's he tackled while visiting Paris in this story-arc appear to be the small fish - villains who are taping themselves and their escapades, before uploading it to Youtube to receive fame. I'm not sure what the hell a villain would do with that sort of publicity, beyond drawing attention to yourself so that guys like Ollie will be able to find you quicker and easier. But there could be more to this videotaping ploy. Just last month in October, in the real world, it was reported on Yahoo! News that a certain man has made about $100,000 so far this year from a YouTube video that got syndicated, featuring his baby son trying not to fall asleep in the back of his sedan. YouTube and Goggle have affiliate programs which offer users with popular videos an option to monetize your vid-clip; thus when people click on your video and they click on the Ads showcased on the page after that, then you, the owner of the video, can earn money. Thus someone who has a video with 20 million hits has the potential to make about $20,000... just some rough math, but I'm sure you see the point.

Perhaps that "online jackpot" result is what the 3 villains in Paris were hoping for, in this comic book storyline. But on the other hand, they are not big time DC Universe villains like Penguin or Mr. Freeze. The 3 goons are "small-time losers", according to Ollie. Honestly, Mr. Freeze would not be concerned with posting a video that turns into a YouTube sensation; he'd be more interested in robbing a guarded diamond depository, where he can forcefully acquire a large shiny rock tied to an ancient dynasty that's worth 50 million dollars.

Yet 2 of the imprisoned villains defeated by G-A [Dynamix and Supercharge], get rescued from the French police meta-cell at the end of issue #1. And they are redeemed from prison by a gang of 8 super-villains, led by a guy named Rush. And Rush claims that he wants to kill G-A and have that act televised. Again, beyond trying to profit over a huge YouTube media buzz or gain attention for major press appearances, I don't really see the need to capture the death of G-A on film, live.

So will the villains actually kill G-A? And does G-A have it in him to actually kill, even if its just in self-defense? These are interesting rhetorical questions, since this issue #1 appears to hint at "hard justice" being part of the lead hero's mentality. There is no mention of Black Canary, the female superhero that Ollie appears to have married in previous storylines [see the cover image on the left, with Cheesecake art by Amanda Connor]. And if the Black Canary shows up, will she be a hero or a villain? This is certainly an opportunity to divert from the tender romantic trend that was created in the 2007 special, which featured the hot romance between G-A and Black Canary.



Nevertheless, this is certainly a new take on classic comic storytelling, which has notoriously been known to follow very straightforward and predictable pathways. Thus, well done to J.T. Kurl and artist Dan Jurgens [yes, I can appreciate art even when it differs from my style]. I admire the way that modern trends are being inserted into the G-A storyline, making it feel updated and current. I give this comic book 4 out of 5 Stars. In my opinion, it should have been longer, but since 24 total pages is the standard comic book length, it just couldn't be helped.
 

BTW, Issue #3 of Green Arrow came out this week. If I have some free time, I may review that comic book as well.

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Article written by the DSNG Artist, author of the 6 Ebooks in the DSNG Chronicles, a Sci Fi Series.

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