This is the volume for everyone who was mildly confused by Quiver or wondered about Roy’s background in Outsiders, or wanted to know what happened to Black Canary’s sonic cry in Birds of Prey. This is the pivotal back story you’ve been missing.
Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) have just moved to Seattle to open a florist shop (Sherwood Florist). They’re trying to come to terms with getting older, with increasing urban violence, and with trying to rebuild a life together. In a lot of ways this volume by Mike Grell marks the shift in superhero comics from the costumed villain to the harsher villains of reality – poverty, gangs, rape, murder, drugs. Grell brings that new theme home when Dinah is kidnapped in the course of an investigation of a drug ring. Oliver has been keeping his distance from her investigations, as per her request, and when she’s kidnapped he has no idea where she is. The time it takes him to find her and his inability to protect her, and the abuse she suffers at the hands of the sexual sadist who kidnapped her have lasting reverberations. It changes how they see each other, their roles in the landscape of urban violence and their self images. Mike Grell’s artwork is beautifully realized. His attention to detail makes this book feel very rooted in a time and place which works well with the themes of the story line.