Thursday, April 2, 2009

Green Arrow: Quiver


I am a bit late to the game with this one but I finally read Kevin Smith's take on one of my favorite DC Universe characters: Green Arrow in Green Arrow: Quiver, which collects Smith's first 10 issues of the title.

First off, let me say that the artwork is atrocious! Sorry to offend any Phil Hester fans out there, but...come on! This is like a collection of rushed stills from the Justice League Unlimited TV series (which I liked but it was TV series, not a volume to slowly read and place in my library!). So, I was truly buying this only to see how Kevin Smith would handle this character as a writer and, as the world of comic books is a visual world, that's saying something; it's still hard for me as a fan to enjoy a comic without first enjoying the art -- even good Jack Kirby art, for instance, can make a weak story more interesting.

But, sadly, Kevin Smith's story doesn't help to make the art here any more palatable.

First off, all of the characters speak with the same voice. People have said the same thing about Smith's film characters but the trait is much more noticeable here.

Second, the character never quite felt like Oliver Queen. Maybe the whole "coming-back-from-the-dead" plot is to blame there? I just never quite felt like this Green Arrow was the same one that I grew up with or loved in some recent titles.

And, as the story worked hard to fit this tale in the DC Universe continuity of the time, that's an important point; this tale doesn't take place outside of continuity like, say, Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman.

While there are references to the glory days of the Dennis O'Neil take on the character, they are simply references to past successes; much like the references in a Tarantino film, they simply remind you of older -- better -- works.

And the plot quickly descends -- literally! -- into a pit of morbidity that seems somehow forced for this character and this story. All the religious stuff is a distraction too. And simply having the character talk about being a liberal doesn't automatically make it the same crusading Green Arrow we've seen in the past.

As the plot wrapped itself up, I kept thinking that it was like some old, leftoever Dr. Strange story, lost since the 1970's, with the characters simply changed.

A major, major disappointment. I'm sure I will not be reading Smith's take on Daredevil now.