Green Arrow, vol. 1: Quiver

The number of times I laughed out loud at this title (and they were too numerous to count) should not in any way detract from the seriousness of its issues or the craft of its creators. If anything, readers should be grateful for a tale that’s smart, dramatic, full of excellent DC and Green Arrow canonical references, and, with all that, makes you guffaw at least once. Kevin Smith whips out some truly wonderful one-liners and perfectly timed conversations, my personal favorite an exchange between the Flash and Batman that proves the Dark Knight is anything but humorless. At this point, no one should be surprised that Kevin Smith is a funny guy.

The great part of this title is, however, the more unexpected depth and heart that Smith filled this tale with (though anyone who saw and loved Dogma as I did should know better.) As with that complex film, Smith tackles what it means to have faith, to have a soul, and how much a man needs all of his past, from shameful moments to pain as well as love and joy, to be human. All of these issues are contemplated fully, emotionally, though they are contrasted and lightened up by the sparks of humor.

The artwork is top-notch — my favorite kind of superhero work where they all look like heroes, yes, but not too far from actual anatomy. The expressions are also particularly fine — the interactions between Aquaman and Green Arrow are priceless in both word and image.

I was originally warned that this title was way too full of canon references for me to try: I have never read Green Arrow comics and only know what little I know about that hero from references in Birds of Prey. As a newbie, though, I can say, despite occasional moments of character vertigo, I was well able to follow and thoroughly enjoy the story. I could tell that if I knew the character and his world, the story would undoubtedly have been richer, but it was a fine feast for me as is.

Green Arrow, vol. 1: Quiver
ISBN: 9781563899652
by Kevin Smith
Art by Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Guy Major, and Sean Konot
DC Comics 2002