Green Arrow Turns Down the Justice League

In the latest issue of Green Arrow, Oliver turned down being offered a membership with the Justice League. After teaming up with all of the JL members, they realize that Green Arrow has proved himself as a hero. They no longer want him to have to handle things on his own, but more importantly they want him to have a say on the team. Oliver turns them down, as he doesn’t believe he is the best team player.

Some may argue that Oliver has often had partners throughout his career to work with such as Black Canary, Roy Harper, Mia Dearden, Connor Hawke, and Emiko Queen, so it doesn’t seem to make much sense that he would turn down the JL. However, while Ollie has had many partners, he often comes into conflict with these partners. Batman comes into conflict with his partners, but not in the same way Green Arrow does. Roy ended up on drugs, Connor Hawke was abandoned as a child, and Oliver even cheated on Dinah at one point. Ollie is often his worst enemy, as he finds himself sabotaging his relationships. It is very much in character that he continues to do so here by turning down the Justice League.

At the same time, Oliver often learns and grows from his mistakes. He previously became the father that Connor needed when he was injured, took a vow of chastity to prove his love to Dinah, as well as recently amended his relationship with Roy. This decision by Ollie to not become a member of the Justice League shows that he is self-aware of his flaws. He explains that he doesn’t work well with teams, but he wants to be a rogue agent for them. While Superman and Wonder Woman seem disappointed that Oliver has turned them down, Barry and Hal explain that this feels right. It will allow Oliver to help the Justice League, while letting him do it on his own terms.

The best part about this issue is the implications of what this means for the future of Green Arrow, as well as the Justice League. Not only can we get stories with Green Arrow handling missions for the Justice League, but the Justice League has tried to get a new member. Since the New 52, the Justice League has felt rather small. This can be a good thing at times; however, it is also limiting. The writers are forced to use the same seven or eight characters on the team. Why not allow the writer of JL to have more freedom with the use of members? Now that the JL have offered one membership, maybe they can begin to offer more and grow.

I am giving this issue a 9 out of 10. Not only does this final issue of this story arc set up a more interesting future for Green Arrow, but it also has bigger implications for the DC universe and the Justice League.

Weekly Releases September 20, 2017

DC Comics Main Line:                              Picks of the Week

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Batman: The Red Death #1 – Josh Williamson

  • Aquaman #28
  • Batman: The Red Death #1 (Metal Tie-in)
  • Batman #31
  • Batwoman #7
  • Bug! The Adventures of Forager #4
  • Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12
  • Green Arrow #31
  • Green Lanterns #31
  • Harley Quinn #28
  • Justice League #29
  • Nightwing #29
  • Super Sons #8
  • Superman #31
  • Trinity #13
  • Wild Storm #7
  • Wonder Woman/ Conan #1

Trade Releases:

  • Batman The Dark Knight: The Master Race HC – Miller & Azzarello
  • Catwoman by Jim Balent Book 1 TP – Jo Duffy Doug Moench
  • DC Meets Hanna-Barbera TP – Various
  • Harley Quinn A Celebration of 25 Years HC – Various
  • Legion by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Vol 1 TP – Abnett & Lanning
  • Mister Miracle by Jack Kirby TP – Jack Kirby
  • Nightwing (Rebirth) Vol 3 – Tim Seeley

Standouts:

Can’t miss comics of the week include Batman: The Red Death #1, Batman #31, Aquaman #28 , and  Bug! The Adventures of Forager #4 .

Visit your local comic book store and don’t miss out on the discussion!

 

Meet the Writers

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to be perfectly candid about that possibly misleading title. I’m not a comic book writer. Instead, I write about comics. Still technically a writer though, so here we are. Deal with it.

I don’t have a cool origin story when it comes to my comic history. I didn’t grow up reading them, nor do I know anyone personally in the industry. To be frank, I’ve only been reading comics for slightly over a year. My first comic was the DC Universe Rebirth #1 one-shot, and I didn’t even buy it myself. In fact, it was a gift from a friend who was desperately trying to get me into a pop-culture genre he knew I’d be passionate about. And he was right. I haven’t stopped reading since.

While most of my reading has been from the current runs of comic publishers, I’ve been slowly reading further into the past histories of comics, as far back as the Silver-Age. That being said, you may be thinking, “this guy can’t possibly know the previous lore, breadth and histories of the titles he’s reading.” And you’d be correct. While I may not know the history as well as other readers, I try to figure it all out. All of my reading sessions are accompanied by a Wikipedia page of some sort and inevitably end up with me falling down a lore rabbit-hole and forgetting what I was looking up in the first place. What I’m trying to say is, there’s a damn good chance I’m going to say something stupid or uninformed in one of my articles. And when I do, let me know! I read and write about comics for enjoyment, and to learn more about a medium that I’m passionate about. I’m not, and will not pretend to be an expert. So please, help me out when I falter, so that one day, I too, can be a self-proclaimed expert and tell kids on the internet why they’re wrong.

That seemed like a great place to wrap up my bio, right? It was, but I’m not done yet. No bathroom breaks on the information super-highway. You should have gone before we left the house. Moving forward…

I read mainly DC, but also frequently pull from Dark Horse, Image, AfterShock, OniPress, and other indy publishers. “No Marvel?”, you may ask. On a rare occasion I’ll pull a title or two (Like R.L. Stine’s Man-Thing) but I’ve been disinterested since they personally slighted me with the Invincible Iron Man title. But that’s a story for another time. Let’s just say I enjoy reading a lot of different comics, from a lot of different people, about a lot of different things. I also have the privilege of visiting a new comic shop every 1-2 weeks due to the nature of my job.

What kind of content can you expect from me? I have absolutely no idea yet, I just write when the bug strikes. But feel free to tell me what kinds of things you’d like to see me write about, and I’ll lazily skim your suggestions. Or tell me what kinds of things you DON’T want me to write about, and I’ll lazily skim those too.

Thank’s for sticking with me for this long,

-ST

 

Truth, Justice & The American Way

Superman has always been hailed as a symbol of hope in the comic universe, he represents the best of us, what we, as a society, should strive to become. This is absolutely relevant in today’s world. With all of the problems humanity is facing we could use a beacon of hope like Superman, unfortunately not everyone would agree.

With the recent release of Action Comics #987 a particular scene has caused some controversy. Mr. Oz [mysterious figure, whose identity was finally revealed to readers Wednesday in issue #987 after two years of secrets] has activated his agents in an effort to show Superman humanity isn’t worth saving. One of the agents happened to be a middle-aged, blue-collar American worker who’s job had been outsourced to foreigners. As an agent of Oz, the American blames the foreigners for losing everything he has worked for. Superman, being Superman, saves the foreigners and confronts the “disgruntled Joe”.

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I know what you’re thinking, what is the problem? And the answer is ABSOLUTELY nothing! However, with the political climate that we live in today everyone has an agenda. Fox News published an article [Article link found below] condemning this scene stating “The Man of Steel has now become a propaganda tool for the defenders of illegal aliens.” This statement and article is so off base I had to voice my concern.

First, it was never once said that these people are “Illegal aliens”, even if it may be implied. Second, Superman is a defender of “Man-kind”, he doesn’t ask for your green card before saving your life and finally, the author of this article clearly didn’t read the issue and missed the entire point of the Mr. Oz sleeper agents, instead DC Comics is “Hell-bent on indoctrinating our kids.”

There is so much more in this article that is completely asinine but I digress. Instead of the political blinders that everything is seen through in today’s world, maybe we should all strive to be more like the “Big Blue Boy Scout”

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/13/superman-defends-illegals-against-angry-american.html

Green Arrow Issue #30 Review

Over the past year, the writer of Green Arrow, Benjamin Percy, has created an underground criminal organization, called the Ninth Circle. Recently, they destroyed Seattle, framed Oliver Queen for murder, and created Star City, taking away Green Arrow’s home. However, they have bigger ambitions than just Seattle. The Ninth Circle has begun to dip their claws into crime across the nation. The most recent Green Arrow story arc has followed Oliver Queen across the United States in an attempt to keep the Ninth Circle from spreading.

The best part about this story arc is Ollie teaming up with different members of the Justice League to stop this operation. So far, Green Arrow has teamed up with Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. The most recent issue brought two best friends back together. Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Green Arrow Oliver Queen. These two have been teaming up to travel together since the 1970’s, as a buddy cop sort of pair with contrasting political views.

Bringing a team and a friendship back together can be a difficult thing when writing comics. Characters in comics grow and change, and yet they stay the same. Percy handles the interactions between these two characters masterfully. As these characters come back together, they naturally crack jokes at each other’s expense. Definitely something these cocky best friends would do. This gives the reader an instant feel of familiarity. We understand the relationship, as soon as they are reintroduced. These best friends come back together, and it seems as if nothing has changed.

However, things have changed, and this should be addressed. Hal points out that Ollie has never needed anyone’s help in the past, but Ollie explains how that needed to change to stop the Ninth Circle. All in one page Percy has addressed how these characters remain familiar, and yet they have grown. On top of all this, Percy gives a little Easter egg when Hal goes on to point out that Oliver is on another “soul searching quest across the country.” This specifically references Green Lantern and Green Arrow’s original team up in the 1970’s. Ultimately, these best friends are finally back together on another journey to stop the bad guys.

The story continues as Green Lantern creates a suit out of green light for Oliver, so he can breathe and survive in outer space to hunt down a satellite that the Ninth Circle has stolen from Queen Industries. I think my favorite thing about this issue is how Percy and the artist, Otto Schmidt, depict the idea that space is vast and foreign to Oliver. It makes this issue feel especially human, considering this is a Green Arrow title. When I am reading Green Lantern, I don’t often find the author and artist touching on the idea of uneasiness or fear due to traveling through space. This makes sense for a Green Lantern title. It is from a Lantern’s perspective, and they deal with space almost every issue. Green Arrow, on the other hand, is just a man fighting crime on the streets of his city. Coming to space should feel huge. This is not something he does every day.

The author shows this by explaining how difficult it will be to track a satellite orbiting the Earth. Hal Jordan explains that thousands of satellites orbit the Earth, they will have to find it among large amounts of debris, and the satellites and debris are all moving over 17,000 miles per hour. The artist takes part in this by drawing Hal and Ollie leaving Earth, when they get into the debris to begin their search, and finally the next panel zooms out to show Earth from a distance with tons of satellites and debris in orbit. Green Arrow realizes this is going to be a lot more than he bargained for.

After all this great stuff, I do need to talk about some bad before I get to the end of the story and my final score for the issue. This issue feels pretty much perfect for what any fan of these two characters would want from a team up. However, Black Canary and Emiko Queen (now Red Arrow) feel out of place in this issue. Dinah and Emi have been going undercover to learn more about the Ninth Circle, in order to protect Star City and help Ollie, while he is away. The last issue built up to discovering that Wendy, the person that Ollie was framed for murdering, is actually alive and being held captive by the Ninth Circle.

Unfortunately, this issue has a short two pages to show Dinah and Emi finding Wendy being held captive by the Auctioneer, a member of the Ninth Circle. These two pages seemingly come out of nowhere, as we randomly cut from the beautiful image of the Earth by Schmidt to Emi and Dinah in the sewers looking for Wendy. They immediately find her in chains with the Auctioneer, and it cuts back to Ollie and Hal. I feel this bit of the issue should have been cut entirely or expanded on. These two pages basically give us no new information. We knew Dinah and Emi would find Wendy. Couldn’t this happen in the next issue, or even cut directly to finding her to have an interesting battle with the villain? If they cut this, we could be enjoying more banter between Hal and Ollie. If they expanded on it, we would at least have a Black Canary and Red Arrow story that holds interest when standing up against Ollie and Hal. Did anyone else notice this review goes on a side tangent much like Green Arrow Issue #30?

Back to the main plot, Hal and Ollie find the satellite for the Ninth Circle on the dark side of the moon. They are busted by one of the members of the Ninth Circle, as they try to break into the villain’s evil space lair. Green Lantern is knocked into space, causing the space suit construct that Ollie is wearing to shatter off of him. Percy ends the issue with a classic comic book cliff hanger, which is always interesting to wonder how the hero will survive.

Overall, I thought this issue was fantastic, and I give it an 8.5 out of 10. The banter between Ollie and Hal was a lot of fun, the art was beautiful, and the unique character perspective brought intrigue and highlighted differences between our heroes. The issue has a recap at the beginning for new readers to get caught up on what is happening. While Dinah and Emi’s plot in this issue seemed rather pointless, I expected their story to continue here, and their dialogue together was still fun and enjoyable. This is not only a great read for Green Arrow and Green Lantern fans, but also a great introduction to their friendship.

Grayson – Futures End

Yes, I know this is an old issue. I don’t care, this is my first official content post and I wanted it to be about something I truly admired in comics. Tom King has quickly become one of my favorite writers in all of Comics. His writing clicks for me on many levels in ways other authors haven’t touched and with this issue I realized I was reading something special by someone who truly respects comics as a medium.

SPOILERS AHEAD

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Tom King broke onto the comic scene along side Tim Seeley, Co-writer of Grayson. The “Futures End” issue was one of King’s first go rounds on a solo written issue, and it does not disappoint! This issue for many, is when King started to gain traction in the comic landscape an it tells an amazing story in it’s 22-page, one-shot format. King grabs the attention of the reader right off the bat with a unique story telling structure by writing each page in backwards chronology, however what left the lasting impression for me while reading it was the  theme of responsibility used.

The story opens with Helena Bertinelli (Confidant & Partner) telling Dick “This is the end” as she lets go of the rope that Dick hangs from, inching closer to death. As the story continues and takes the reader back in time, the reason becomes clear as to why Dick has met his fate. He has been charged for the murder of  KGBeast (Leader of Russia), after learning of the civilian population taken out for opposing KGBeasts regime during the war with “Earth 2”. Dick is a character, similar to Bruce Wayne, that carries the weight of the world upon his shoulders, we see this as he explains to Helena, “I was responsible.” “My hands will not be clean!” As mentioned before, responsibility plays a major role throughout the entirety of this issue.

The story continues in backwards fashion, and the reader delves deeper into Helena and Dick’s relationship. We see why the impact of Dick’s betrayal is so meaningful as the quote “My hands will not be clean!” Is used once more. This time however, Helena utters this phrase in a solemn tone just after saving Dick’s life from an armed gunman.   

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King does a masterful job expressing emotion with these two characters, drawing the reader in to their relationship and making you truly feel the dread of that opening page cliff-hanger. Why would Helena follow the KGBeast’s rule after what her and Dick experienced? Something that lingers with the reader after every page of development.

With the story progressing, each page jumping to younger points of Dick’s life we are brought towards the end of the story in a symmetrical loop as the reader catches a glance at Dick’s beginning. After just being brought into Bruce Wayne’s world due to the untimely demise of his parents, Batman explains to Dick about the acidic compound that was used on the rope to murder his parents. Dick angrily asks if Batman will kill the man responsible (Tony Zucco) for their murder, Bruce then tells “No” and divulges to Dick his darkest secret, why he bears the burden of responsibility and dawns the cape and cowl. The reader learns just how much of Bruce is inside Dick as he responds to Bruce’s confidence with our reoccurring quote “His hands were never clean”, bringing everything that has happened previously in the story full circle.

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Finally we reach the final page of the issue, providing closure to the cliff-hanger with which we began. Tony Zucco letting go of the rope that Dick’s parents were using to preform their circus act, similar in fashion to Helena on the opening page.

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King crafts this issue together so that we see the result of choices made by Dick before they happen, it’s an incredible story telling device and one that works perfectly for comics. We feel the impact of betrayal, the lessons learned, and the relationships between Helena and Dick built by past experiences. Which is what makes “…This ain’t finished.” Such a strong closing panel. Spoken as the acidic compound burns away at the rope, perfectly tying together what seems to be Dick’s final moments with what would ultimately result in his rebirth.

It’s hard to have an emotional story in such a short length but a one issue, 22 page story is something Tom King excels at, which is why I’m giving this issue a 9 out of 10. Please do yourself a favor and pick up Tom King’s work including his current Mister Miracle story with artist, Mitch Gerads as issues #2 releases Wednesday, September 13th!

My Life with Comics and How to Start

I have loved superheroes since I was a child. They are larger than life, they define being awesome, and they inspire hope. I was first introduced to superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man by watching cartoons. My interest in them has slowly increased over time. I’ve watched movies like The Dark Knight and The Avengers. I’ve played video games like Batman: Arkham City and Injustice. These characters continue to branch out through all mediums. Recently, I listened to an EP created for DC Comics’ character Black Canary. My point is, if you find your interest in these characters growing, you will eventually want to start reading comic books. The medium in which these characters were created.

 

However, beginning with comic books can seem daunting. Where do you start? Why are different books for the same character labeled volume 1? How does it all tie-in together? I know the feeling, as I only started reading comics three years ago while I was in college. I started by reading a Batman title and a Nightwing title. I started with a volume 1, and I have been going ever since. Getting into reading comics may seem overwhelming with how much material the companies have published over the last 75 years, but you just need to start like I did. Pick a character that you like and start where ever you can by looking for recommended books. You will enjoy the stories as you go, as well as begin to understand the characters and how they connect with each other.

 

Over the past three years, I have found I love characters that I did not even know existed. I have found depth to characters that may seem simple or one-dimensional from the outside. Most importantly, I have found passion in a hobby that reminds me of my childhood.