By Judd Winick, Cliff Chiang, Amanda Conner & André Coehlo (DC Comics)
Green Arrow is Oliver Queen, a cross between Batman and Robin Hood and one of DC’s Golden All-Stars. He’s been a fixture of the company’s landscape – often for no discernable reason – more or less continually since his debut in More Fun Comics # 73 in 1941. During those heady days origins weren’t as important as image and storytelling so creators Mort Weisinger and George Papp never bothered, leaving later workmen France Herron, Jack Kirby and his wife Roz to fill in the blanks with ‘The Green Arrow’s First Case’ at the start of the Silver Age superhero revival (Adventure Comics #256, January 1959).
As a fixture of the DC Universe since the early 1940s GA was one of the few costumed heroes to survive the end of the Golden Age, consistently adventuring in the back of other heroes’ comic books, joining the Justice League during the Silver Age return of costumed crusaders and eventually evolving into a spokes-hero of the anti-establishment during the 1960’s period of “Relevant” comics, courtesy of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams.
Under Mike Grell’s 1980/1990s stewardship he became a gritty and popular A-Lister; an urban hunter who dealt harshly with corporate thugs, government spooks and serial killers rather than costumed goof-balls.
And then he was killed and his son took over the role.
And then the original was brought back…
Black Canary was one of the first of the relatively few female furies in the DC universe, following Wonder Woman, Liberty Belle and Red Tornado (who actually masqueraded as a man) and predating Merry the Gimmick Girl. She was created by Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, debuting in Flash Comics #86, August 1947. She disappeared with most of the other super-doers at the end of the Golden Age, only to be revived with the Justice Society of America in 1963.
Originally an Earth-2 crimefighter transplanted to our world, she has been ruthlessly retconned over and again, and (currently) Dinah Laurel Lance is the daughter of an earlier, war-time heroine. However you feel about the character two consistent facts have remained since her reintroduction and assimilation in Justice League of America #73-75 (see Showcase Presents Justice League of America volume 4): she has vied with Wonder Woman herself for the title of premiere heroine and she has been in a stormy romantic relationship with Green Arrow.
The affair which began during of the Summer of Love finally reached a dramatic culmination a few years ago when the couple at last named the day, and this fearsomely dramatic and cripplingly funny tome gathers those unforgettable moments in a celebratory chronicle that will warm the hearts and chill the souls of sentimental thrill seekers everywhere.
Reprinting Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special and issues #1-5 of the monthly Green Arrow and Black Canary comicbook, the saga begins with a hilariously immature retelling of the path to wedlock from scripter Judd Winick and Amanda Conner: spats, tender moments, hen-nights, stag-parties and a tremendous battle as a huge guard of dishonour comprising most of the villains in the DCU attack the assembled heroes when they’re “off-guard”.
Naturally the bad-guys are defeated, the ceremony concludes and the newlyweds head off to enjoy their wedding night.
And then in circumstances I’m not going to spoil for you Green Arrow dies again…
Obviously it doesn’t end there. For the start of their new series and the story-arc ‘Dead Again’, by Winick and Cliff Chiang, Ollie Queen is only seen in flashbacks as the Black Widow Canary goes on a brutal crime-crushing rampage. ‘Here Comes the Bride’ finds her slowly going off the rails and only Ollie’s son Conner Hawke seems able to get through to her where friends like Green Lantern, Superman, Oracle and even Ollie’s old sidekicks Speedy and Red Arrow tell her to move on.
As usual it takes the ultra-rational Batman to divine what really happened on the wedding night…
In ‘The Naked and the Not-Quite-So-Dead’ Dinah and Mia Dearden – the new Speedy -infiltrate the island home of the miscreants who have abducted and imprisoned Green Arrow (notice how vague I’m being; all for your benefit?) where Ollie is already proving to be more trouble than he can possibly be worth. Conner is also on hand and whilst attempting to spring his wayward dad also falls captive to overwhelming forces…
‘Hit and Run, Run, Run!’ ramps up the tension as the heroes all escape but not before one of their number is gravely wounded by a new mystery assailant, and in ‘Dead Again: Please Play Where Daddy Can See You’ it’s Ollie’s turn to fall apart as his wounded young protégé fights for life.
The book concludes in the heart-warming ‘Child Support’ with another series of poignant flashbacks describing Green Arrow’s history and his extended family of sidekicks before Dinah leads Ollie back from the brink of utter despair…
Green Arrow and Black Canary are characters that epitomise the modern adventure hero’s best qualities, even if in many ways they are also the most traditional of “Old School” champions. This is a cracking example of Fights ‘n’ Tights done right and is well worth an investment of your money and time.
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