Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spotlight:: Green Arrow vol.2 #6

Issue: Green Arrow vol. 2 #6

Title: Gauntlet, part 2

Credits: Mike Grell (scripts) Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano (art)

Cover Date: July, 1988

Synopsis: Continuing from our last issue, Ollie prepares to give Colin a snack down in retaliation for he and his gang's attack. Colin convinces Ollie to back down, but only in exchange for ratting out the folks in charge of the new gang.

Meanwhile, the gang leader, Reggie, surprises his lieutenant, Kebo with a surprise inspection of their operations. Apparently their drug, prostitution, and protection rackets are going smoothly. As Reggie repairs to his room for some private time with his lady, he's confronted by an angry Green Arrow.

Ollie accuses him of arranging the recent rash of anti-gay hate crimes, but Reggie insists that while he's not an example of moral turpitude, he had nothing to do with those particular crimes.

Just then, Kebo and the rest of the gang bust in on them, but Ollie has an arrow pointed right at Reggie, so they quickly disarm. Ollie casually mentions to Kebo (and the gang) that he read up on a prisoner by the name of Keith Bowman, who was gang raped in prison. Kebo admits that he is Keith Bowman, but Reggie reminds Ollie that he has no standing with the gang, as he has not been initiated.

Ollie agrees to run "The Gauntlet," during which he will have to make ti through two lines of men armed with various clubs and knives. He manages to get through with only a few hits, a testament to years of super-heroics, not doubt. Since he has successfully run the gauntlet, Ollie is allowed to make his case.

He accuses Kebo of having the gay men murdered because of his experiences in prison. Kebo admits what he has done, claiming that since the "fags" abused him and gave him AIDS, in effect, killing him, that he's justified in taking a few of them out as well. He and Ollie get in a scuffle, Ollie wins, but Reggie ends of shooting Kebo. The kinds of crimes he's been arranging garner too much notice for a gang trying to fly under the cops' radar, so Kebo became a liability.

Later, Ollie tracks down Colin, who is still hanging out with the gang. He has nowhere to go, he says, and if he did try to leave, the gang would kill him. Distraught, Ollie leaves, but surreptitiously donates a large sum of money (presumably his reward from the bioweapons incident a few issues ago) to an urban youth center. The last panel depicts a man named Greg Osborne celebrating his discovery of the Green Arrow's whereabouts.

Thoughts: Well, this issue continues the hate crime storyline from last issue. Some commenters have felt that these kinds of stories are not appropriate for the comic medium, but I think that it fits perfectly with the "mature readers" line the DC was putting out. Now, whether the carefree urban crusader Green Arrow was the best choice to tell the story.... I don't know. Green Arrow was practically the only DC superhero with a social conscience at this point, so they didn't have too many people to choose from without creating a new character. All in all I like the slightly darker take. But then again, sitting here 20 years later, I know that the light hearted Ollie would make a comeback later on. At the time, I bet lots of GA fan felt their character had been derailed.