Being marooned on a remote island transformed billionaire playboy Oliver Queen into something else. He discovered more than natural talents for survival, tracking and archery—he found purpose, becoming the hero the natives of the island needed to free themselves from the drug-dealers using them as slave labor to farm their crop. When he returned to his native Seattle, Oliver was a changed man. Generous to a fault with his wealth as one of the city’s greatest philanthropists by day, Oliver tackled the criminals the police and other superheroes wouldn’t touch by night as Green Arrow!

Oliver fancies himself the ultimate social justice warrior. Yet how can you be a man of the people when you’re looking down on them from an ivory tower? That is the question that is posed to Oliver after a chance encounter and whirlwind romance with Dinah Lance a.k.a. Black Canary—the rock star superheroine with killer pipes and martial arts moves that put his to shame.

Soon Oliver Queen will find his world rocked in a way that has nothing to do with his new lover. Sinister forces with ties to his past have already begun to work against him and by the time they are done his fortune will be claimed by another and the world at large will think Oliver Queen disgraced and dead. Yet Green Arrow will live on…

Green Arrow: The Life And Death of Oliver Queen is easily the best Green Arrow story set in the mainstream DC Universe in the past decade. Writer Benjamin Percy has brought the character of Oliver Queen back to basics, restoring not only his romance with Dinah Lance but also his roots as a modern-day Robin Hood.

In this case, the Robin Hood label is a literal one as Percy has taken the bold step of transforming Green Arrow into a literal outlaw, destroying the life of privilege Oliver Queen had and leaving him with no resources and few allies. There is also a greater emphasis on politics than in the New 52 Green Arrow series, with Green Arrow and Black Canary teaming to tackle human traffickers while discussing the plight of the homeless in America today—an issue that hits Dinah personally, given her background as a homeless teen in this universe.

The series has a unique visual aesthetic, owing to artists Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra both being one-man art teams. Both artists handle the pencils, inks and colors of their respective chapters. This gives the finished art a stronger sense of unity than is found in most Western comics and both Ferreyra and Schmidt prove skillful in depicting both the high-octane action-sequences and quitter moments of conversation and romance that Percy’s scripts require.

DC Comics rates this series as T+ for readers 15 and up. I consider that to be a fair appraisal for most audiences, since there’s nothing in this book that would be shocking to fans of the Arrow TV series. There’s no nudity, but it’s fairly clear that Oliver and Dinah have a physical relationship. There’s no cursing beyond what would be found on a network television show in prime-time. Apart from some fiendish imagery (well, they ARE fighting a criminal syndicate called The Ninth Circle) and violent scenes of people being shot with arrows, there’s little objectionable content in this volume.

Green Arrow, vol. 1: The Death & Life Of Oliver Queen 1
by Benjamin Percy
Art by Otto Schmidt Juan
ISBN: 9781401267810
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: T+ (15 and up)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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