Thursday, December 27, 2007
Justice League Europe is sort of an odd duck. It lasted quite a long time (68 issues, I believe) but very few people actually remember the team or any of its exploits. With a mixed bag of big-name heavy-hitters (Flash, Wonder Woman) long time, but little known Leaguers (Ralph Dibny), newer characters (Captain Atom, Rocket Red) and esablished but under-used heroes (Animal Man, Metaporpho, Power Girl) the team made for an interesting, if decidely unusual read.
The first issue revolves mostly around estabishing the team's base, including an hilarious incident where the League teleporters disintegrate Animal Man's luggage, including his one and only uniform! This type of humor runs throughout this issue, and the title in general. That's not entirely surprising, when you consider the comedians that fill out the team's roster (The Dibneys, Animal Man and Wally West, all on the same team!)
One of the major establishing points is Captain Atom's unease at being in command. One would think that an Air Force officer would be used to it, but I guess we've got to cut the guy some slack. I mean, he WAS just catapulted 20 years into his future, after all. Plus he's placed in charge of people who are used to following orders from Superman or Martian Manhunter, not exactly an easy act to follow.
I particularly liked the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold buddy-buddy relationship that Rocket Red and Animal Man share thourghout this first story. They work well together, swapping literary puns and grousing about their respective governments (including the obligatory "In USSR, blank blanks YOU!). Dmitri and Buddy seem like the kind of folks you'd love to go have a beer with sometime, and I appreciate that.
Of course, what would a superhero boook be without a drama and some mystery, and we get those in spades over the course of a few pages. First, a mysterious gentleman runs to the JLE for help, only to end up murdered in the lobby. To add to the problem, a crazed mob assaults the brand new embassy. With the French cops giving Captain Atom serious attitude and a picket line forming outside the embassy, the issues concludes with its final twist: The murder victim was a former Nazi. And quite understandably, the French are not thrilled with the idea that the League is harboring a Nazi.
And of course, on that note, the issue ends. I don't have the second issue, so I don't know how the story plays out. Maybe if I come across it in a discount bin I'll pick it up and let you guys know. :)
Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
As if on cue, Black Canary and Speedy arrive on a yacht and are greeted on the dock by Hippolyta and another group of Amazons. After beating the ever loving crap out of a particularly mouthy Amazon (who insults Mia for being "unclean"), Dinah pretends to consider the offer the Amazons made her in the previous issue.
Of course, this is all a diversion. While Mia and Dinah distract the main body of Amazons, Connor sneaks into the area where Ollie is being held and takes out his guards in a flurry of poisoned (but non-lethal) blowdarts. After lending GA his underwear (an event which Ollie firmly states they will never speak of again) Ollie and Connor make a run for the coast. Of course, Ollie was expecting to run to the waiting Justice League and is not happy with Connor when he finds out that he came alone.
The discussion is cut short, however, when the Amazons again catch Ollie in the act of running off. The issue ends with an ultimatum from Hippolyta (Dinah must chose to stay with them before the day is finished) and Connor and Ollie surrounded by angry warrior women.
Overall, I liked this issue more than I liked the previous one. Dinah comes off as much stronger and more collected in this issue, plus Mia actually gets more than one line. Dinah pummeling the Amazon over her insults was also gratifying. People tend to forget that BA is one of the DCU's most accomplished martial artists, and just because you live in a mythical land full of lady warriors doesn't mean you're better in a fight than a superhero. Ollie was also in particularly good form with multiple funny one liners. And of course, the scene where we find out that Connor lent Ollie his underwear is hilarious.
Score: 3.5/5 Boxing Glove Arrows
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Meanwhile, enjoy some delicious Hostess Fruit Pies! (I tried to find a Thanksgiving related GA image...no dice)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
As everyone knows by now, Dinah and Ollie's wedding night did not turn out very well at all. The end of the JLA Wedding Special had Ollie trying to stab Dinah to death and getting himself perforated for his troubles. This issue follows directly after.
While the cover implies that we should be surprised by the team on the cover, I don't see how anyone could be (especially since the cover image was avaiable online several months before this ish was released.) Obviously, with Ollie dead, the titular Green Arrow is his son, Connor Hawke.
Most of the issue consists of GA's supporting cast dealing with his death. Dinah is pursuing Star City's criminals with reckless abandon and extreme force. Connor and Mia are doing their best to keep things together while also dealing with Dinah's increasingly erratic behavior and her disturbing instance that Ollie is not dead.
Various other characters and heroes in the DC universe try to help Dinah deal with her grief and find closure, including the Amazon community on Paradise Island. All of them encourage Dinah to move on, until a certain Caped Crusader shows up and deems the entire situation nonsensical. Bats concludes that none of Ollie's enemies would have arranged his death and then failed to take credit, and that he knew nothing important enough to warrant an anonymous death (Bats checked...somehow).
After a rather gruesome autopsy, we find out that the body we'd taken for Ollie (which has so far passed test available to the League) turns out to be none other than evil shapeshifter Everyman, late of Luthor's Infinity Inc. and recently seen in company with the Amazons. Dinah realizes, in retrospect, that Athena and the Amazon's offer to come away with them was a bit fishy, leading to the final scene, which has our friend Ollie in a cage covered in cuts and bruises, and surrounded by Amazon warriors. With a truly classic Oliver Queen one-liner, the issue ends.
My feelings on this particular issue are mixed. I wouldn't have minded a regular series starring Dinah and Connor, but on the other hand, I'm immensely relieved that Ollie has escaped (or gotten better from) death once again. I'm having trouble seeing where this series will go once Dinah and the gang free Ollie from Amazon custody. Certainly it seems unlikely that they'll settle down together and live happily ever after, so there will have to be some further conflict. Perhaps they'll separate on the grounds that their relationship, coupled with their careers, would be far too hazardous for both of them. After all, look where its gotten them at this point!
I'm also torn on the character portrayals. While I found Connor's characterization spot on (sensitive, trying to keep conflict to a minimum while easing Dinah's pain) I think Dinah's was way off. I know she just lost her husband (by her own hand) but I think Dinah is one of those people who would take a loss like that in stride, especially since this isn't the first time Ollie has gone and died on her. Couple that with the fact that she was acting a bit loony tunes through most of the issue, and I think the writers missed the mark a bit. Perhaps she'll redeem herself in future issues (#2 is out, and will be reviewed once I've read it).
Overall, I liked it, and I have high hopes that this will become an even more interesting book once half of its title cast gets more than one panel!
Score: 3/5 Boxing Glove Arrows (I need to get a graphic for that!)
PS: Something I've been wondering. Did Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance get married, or did Green Arrow and Black Canary? There's an important distinction there, since the latter two don't legally exist...
Friday, November 16, 2007
So, to start the feature off, let's talk about GA's most famous (and probably most mocked) trick arrow: The Boxing Glove Arrow!
On the face of it, this is probably one of the most ludicrous ideas ever concocted. How would you even fire it? Boxing gloves are really heavy (they use them to hit people, after all)! In fact, this very arrow is probably one of the reasons the powers-the-be at DC briefly claimed that Ollie was a metahhuman. After all, if you can fire an arrow with 99% of its weight on the front end and NOT have it fall on your foot, then there's gotta be SOMETHING going on! Of course, that's not even considering the storage issue. That quiver only has so much room, and the head of that arrow is HUGE (JLU neatly sidestepped this issue by having the boxing glove deploy AFTER the arrow was drawn.)
So why use such a preposterous weapon? I suppose the easy answer is that comic books, at least at the time the boxing glove arrow was big, were generally considered a kids game. So, you have a guy who fires extremely sharp projectiles at people for a living, and there's going to be blood. Since the Comics Code Authority frowned on impalement, that's not going to work out really well (this is why Wolverine fought so many robots!). Enter the boxing glove arrow! Now, instead of shooting people full of holes and killing them, you just sock them in the jaw like the other clean cut superheroes (but, you know, from far away).
Now, why would Green Arrow, the character, equip himself this way? Well, for mostly the same reasons. Ollie is a superhero, he doesn't kill people, and well, arrows do. So, on those occasions when you're not fighting the latest superpowered menace to the Justice League (who probably just beat up Martian Manhunter to prove how bad ass he is!) you gotta have a way to take people down without filling them full of holes; deadly holes. Boxing glove arrow to the face and he's down.
Of course, that's not to say that our featured trick arrow is useless against superpowered foes. After all, when Ollie's son Conner joined the Justice League (JLA #8) to replace his deceased dad (he got better) he used that arrow to distract The Key at a critical moment, single handedly saving the day (although even Conner commented on how utterly ridiculous the boxing glove arrow was.)
So come on, have a little fun and suspend a little disbelief! You know that if you could punch people in the face with a bow and arrow, you'd bloody well do it!
PS: This is by far the longest Trick Arrow feature, so don't fret!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Also, the site may switch around a bit over the next few days as I tweak the design and add links to other awesome comics blogs.
Of course, both of those characters tend to be writer short cut fodder as well. How many times has the newest JLA villian beat the crap out of MM to prove how bad ass he is? How many times has the newest mystical threat cold cocked Doc Strange, forcing other heroes to pick up the slack?
Sorry, I digress. My point is, that most of my fav characters are supremely powerful indivduals. Ollie (along with Moon Knight) stands out as an exception. I mean, come on, this is the 21st century and the dude uses a bow and arrow? Seriously? But that's part of his charm. Ollie COULD pick up a gun or any more modern weapon, but that's not his style. He's good at archery damnit and he's going to make it work! You have to respect someone who lacks the sheer power of Supes or MM and the supreme intellect of Batman or Mr. Terrific (Ollie's no slouch in the INT department, though) going out there and mixing it up with villians who can level cities with their minds. That takes moxie.
Then there's the politics angle. I know, I know, touchy subject. But in an era when most comic characters lived in a world of pure black and white, Green Arrow took politcal stands. He looked out for the little guys, and he is, as an ep of Justice League Unlimited so aptly put, an old leftie. I share a good many of those beliefs (if you want a counterpoint, visit my friend luke ) and I think its admirable for a tights-wearing superhero to stop and think about the issues that effect their non-alien, non-irratiated and non-super-gadget wielding fellow human beings.
Of course, we can't forget old GA's supporting cast. Sure, Speedy was kinda lame (he got better!) but come on, who doesn't love them some Black Canary! That chick is all woman and all bad-ass, all in one package.
Green Arrow is awesome, and now you know why!
PS: This post will have to do for today. I plan to do an overview of the first two issues of "Green Arrow and Black Canary" next, as they're the most current GA goodness out there. Unfortunately, I'm currently at work, and while I have #2 with me, #1 resides in a long box at home.
I'll be covering current GA appearances, classic stories, and my personal favorite, TOYS!
more GA love, coming soon!