February 17, 2005


GREEN ARROW: Quiver (writer: Kevin Smith; penciller: Phil Hester). Full disclosure: my exposure to GREEN ARROW has been slight, at best: mostly indirect, through Roy with the Titans/Outsiders and Dinah in BIRDS OF PREY. Ollie's something of a blank to me. So, nuances may have escaped me.

This is a resurrection story. Unlike most genre resurrection stories, this one plays fair. The price for Ollie's being brought back to life is substantial and unexpected, and paying it involves real sacrifice. That said, most comics don't have the heft required to tackle Heaven, and I don't think this one does, either. There were also some really weird lurches of tone--the jumps from the cotton-candy cosmic DC approach (for good and evil characters alike) to the very concretely disgusting Vertigo-refugee villain at the end were disorienting, to say the least. Basically, this book has storytelling ambitions that really aren't suited to a GREEN ARROW title, and while that makes for some fun leaps, in the end the result is disjointed and leaves a lot of loose ends.

Smith does a good job of making most of the characters seem appealing. Ollie's initial blandness is, in fact, explained away by the plot. Dinah's feminism would sell a little more easily if she had more than an inch of fabric covering her coochie, but let's set that aside. The supporting cast is all handled fairly well. I know a lot of people are fans of Hester's work on this title, and I can see the appeal in his blocky, bold style, but at the same time, it bothers me that I could not distinguish between Dinah, a powerful woman in her thirties, and Mia, a half-starved teenage prostitute, without looking at the dialogue. All blondes look the same?

Basically, Quiver's a pleasant way to kill an hour. I think the writer aspired to more than that, but his pretensions don't sink the book, as they easily could have. I wouldn't actually spend any money on it, but if you're a Smith or Ollie fan, you'll probably find it worth your while.

Posted by Sarah T. at February 17, 2005 12:17 AM

I'm also not a Hester fan for exactly that reason. Everyone looks the same and he makes Conner look white. (And I don't like Vess, either, because EVERYONE LOOKS THE SAME ARRGH with the same big eyes drawn the same way. And I'm not entirely thrilled with Dave McKean when he does normal comic-book art, even though I love everything else he does ever, because his women ALL LOOK THE SAME and have the same 80s shag haircuts, even. It's a bizarrely widespread problem and one of the reasons I love Y: The Last Man--it's a world comprised almost entirely of women, but everyone is individual and identifiable and omg <3.)

I read the entire Green Arrow series recently and Quiver is a huge tone shift backwards to the original incarnation of Green Arrow, before he was turned into a pinko in the seventies. So that's pretty much twenty years of canon wiped out... but that's par for the course for DC, and that version of Green Arrow had pretty much had his arc. So I'm not upset by the change. I like the current run's version of Ollie.

The older version, though, was leaps and bounds more adult and--this is probably key--a less typical DC hero. He killed people. He accepted that moral weight. He left off the mask--and yes, Ollie doesn't hide his identity, but the mask is still a symbol. I'm a superhero. I'm not like you. This is my badge.

Grell made something out of the ordinary, and that's now gone. So... mixed feelings, but what's done is done.

Posted by: Basingstoke at February 17, 2005 04:11 AM
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