Review: GREEN ARROW 80TH ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Artists: Javier Rodriguez, Nicola Scott, Chris Mooneyham, Mike Grell, Christopher Mitten, Jorge Corona, Max Fiumara, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Laura Braga, Otto Schmidt, Andrea Sorrentino, Jorge Fornes
Colours: Javier Rodriguez, Annette Kwok, Mike Spicer, Lovern Kindzierski, Ivan Plascencia, Matheus Lopes, Max Fiumara, Ariana Maher, Trish Mulvihill, Adriano Lucas, Otto Schmidt, Jordie Bellaire, David Stewart
Letters: Andworld Design, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, Travis Lanham, Aditya Bidikar, Steve Wands, Clem Robins, Becca Carey, Nate Piekos of Blambot, Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1: Celebrating the Emerald Archer’s 80th anniversary! For the last eight decades Green Arrow has been one of the premier (and loudest) characters in the DCU, always at the forefront of where the superhero genre is headed. This over-sized anniversary issue follows in those footsteps, as an all-star lineup of Green Arrow creators, alongside some of the gifted creators of the modern era who have been inspired by Oliver Queen, unite to pay tribute to the Battling Bowman. See what the past, present and future have in store for Oliver Queen, Black Canary, Connor Hawke, Arsenal, Red Arrow, Speedy, and more in this epic special!
DC is celebrating eight decades of the Emerald Archer with the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1. DC has brought together several current and past creative talents to bring tales of Green Arrow and his supporting cast from each era of the character’s history.
While previous the previous 80th anniversary specials were all well done, this one does an even better job than the rest at evoking the feel of each era of the character’s history. The writers capture the dialogue and sensibilities of the time their story represents. The art either perfectly replicates the style of the time or at least evokes the feeling of that era. And in some cases, the original creators have returned for an encore performance, like Mike Grell.
And it’s not just Ollie that’s represented here. All his partners, sidekicks, and other friends are as well: Roy Harper, Black Canary, Connor Hawke, Mia Dearden, Emiko, Shado and even Roy’s daughter Lian. I particularly appreciated the story where Roy’s backstory is being told to Lian in the form of a bedtime story. I really think that DC should figure out a way to resurrect Lian.
Connor Hawke, also gets a story of his own, which is only fitting, since he starred as the title character in Green Arrow in the 90s. I particularly like that Connor’s story referenced the time Connor faced the Key using his father’s trick arrows during the Grant Morrison-era JLA. I was pleased to see Connor pop up in the pages of Robin and now here as well. Hopefully, Connor will continue to be a presence in the DCU rather than disappearing back into comic book limbo.
One interesting diversion tells the origin story of Ollie’s boxing glove arrow. It seems only fitting that this odd projectile should have a connection to Wildcat. And the story also features a hilarious exchange where Batman sarcastically grumbles, “How’s the Arrow Car? And the Arrow Cave?”. It’s something of a running joke that Oliver has copied the Dark Knight in many respects.
Another highlight is the Golden Age era story. This story is pitch perfect. It almost feels as if DC had unearthed an unpublished script from the 1940s just in time for this special. The art is more sophisticated than the art of that age, but does still evoke the feel of that era.
And as an added treat, this celebration finally reveals the recipe for Ollie’s famous “Five Alarm Chili”. The reactions of the Justice League members are priceless – especially Martian Manhunter’s anguished “Fire! It tastes like fire! Moons of Mars…”. I’ll have to give the recipe a try some time. But I’ll need to alter it to reduce the Scoville rating by several magnitudes.
The last story isn’t really a Green Arrow story, but rather is a tribute to writer Denny O’Neil, written by his son Larry. We see the life of Denny O’Neil almost entirely in pictures. In fact there is little text at all except for sound effects and the story credits. At first, this seems an odd way to pay tribute to a writer. But then it dawned on me. The lack of words drives home the point that the writer who brought so many comic stories to life is gone, leaving the pages mute. It’s a touching tribute. And it fully deserves it’s place of honour in this special, despite not really being a Green Arrow story.
I also have to say that each and every decade variant cover is a work of art. The art is spot on for each era. And I love how each cover’s logo and trade dress is appropriate to the decade it represents, as well as the title character’s costume and appearance.
However, the topic of decade covers brings up a sore point. I’ve been over this with you before DC. Why must you make so many variant covers on a $10 book. You’re practically robbing those of us who are completionists. If you have to have so many covers, do it with books with a lower cover price. Or better yet, include the decade covers as a gallery inside the book instead.
Otherwise, this special is damn near perfect except for a minor quibble here or there. For example, the JLA satellite of the 70s and 80s was never called the Watchtower. That name was first used for the League’s moon-based headquarters in Grant Morrison’s JLA.
Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 is a pure delight for any Green Arrow fan. This really has me wishing that there was a current Green Arrow title, but I’m sure that another will come around eventually. This special really lives up to the term “special”.