Sunday, January 16, 2011

Green Arrow & Black Canary by Andrew Kreisberg (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

The Green Arrow and Black Canary series continues with three volumes after Judd Winick's run (see: G.A. & B.C. by Judd W.) with Andrew Kreisberg writing all three, with some additional writing by J.T. Krul in the last volume. Most of the artwork in these three volumes was done by Mike Norton, with Bill Sienkiewicz (a legend in comics by the way) adding his touch as well. All of the monthly covers (and covers to the graphic novel collections) are done by the great Ladronn (from Richard Starking's Elephantmen series).

Enemies List. After the events of A League of Their Own, which leaves Connor Hawke mutated and changed, he leaves to go "find" his new self & Mia (a.k.a. Speedy) leaves for London to pursue a relationship with Dodger. That leaves Oliver & Dinah alone for the first time since they were married, which is good and bad. At the same time, a new villain is rising up in Star City...Cupid.

As Green Arrow struggles to find the fine line between being a hero and taking justice into his own hands, Black Canary finds herself feeling distanced from her husband and crimefighting partner. Meanwhile, enemies of Green Arrow start arriving at the morgue in alarming numbers, and when Brick ends up dead, even Black Canary isn't sure whether or not the Green Arrow is to blame. In a showdown with Merlyn, Green Arrow discovers the culprit behind the murders....Cupid.

Cupid was saved by Green Arrow some months before, when the Emerald Archer saw what appeared to be a husband about to beat his wife. He intervened from a distance, knocking the irate husband unconscious with a trick arrow. From that instant, the woman fell in love with Green Arrow, and would do anything to be with him. That includes murdering his enemies and even his wife if that's what it takes to be with her love. She attempts to make their love eternal by chaining G.A. to subway tracks, so they can die together but Black Canary intervenes and saves her man.

The volume ends while Green Arrow & Black Canary are at a marriage counselor, and the city goes silent....literally.

Big Game. As Green Arrow & Black Canary try and figure out who is behind the silence that has fallen upon Star City, they separate to cover a greater area and help the panicked citizenry. Green Arrow runs into his stalker; the crazy Cupid, who is also trying to help in her own way. Black Canary finds an expert on sound at Star City University, then tracks down the villain behind this attack....Discord. After defeating this deaf supervillain, she learns that SHE created Discord! Her sonic scream burst his ear drums some time earlier when she was in an altercation with another villain.

Green Arrow; meanwhile, has his hands full with Cupid. Cupid; trying to impress her love interest, almost goes too far in vengeance against an abusive boyfriend after he kills his girlfriend. The Star City Police burst in just in time to stop Cupid from killing the man and arrest her. Lt. Hilton questions Green Arrow's sense of justice, wondering if he would have stopped Cupid if they hadn't arrived.

One of the villains murdered by Cupid in Enemies List was Big Game. What no one knew is that he had a son. His son; the "new" Big Game, has come to Star City to avenge the death of his father and nothing is going to stop him...including Green Arrow. As Big Game tracks down his target, Green Arrow & Black Canary must do the unthinkable.....break Cupid out of prison to save her life.

As Green Arrow unsuccessfully attempts to hold off Big Game, Black Canary & Cupid escape the prison while being pursued by Star City's finest. After getting away from them, they are attacked by Big Game and a Cupid & Black Canary must work together to save each other. In the melee, Cupid escapes and Black Canary is saved by Speedy....who has returned from London.

After the Big Game/Cupid fiasco, Oliver & Dinah's marriage is on the rocks, and Oliver leaves to think things through....only to find himself waking up naked in an alleyway. He can't remember how he got there or why he is there. He starts heading home after getting some cloths from generous homeless guys. He breaks up a crime along the way, but is fired upon by someone using bow and arrows. He makes it home only to realize he's been followed by this other archer, who turns out to be.....himself!! Dinah & Mia figure out who is the real Oliver Queen....but how has Everyman has returned from the grave, and who is behind it?

Five Stages. In the last volume of the Green Arrow & Black Canary series, collecting the last issues of the series (it would be re-launched as just Green Arrow a short time later), the two pursue Everyman (now known as Dark Arrow) to the source of his return, Cupid. In a final showdown between the two couples, Cupid's past is revealed as the secret military organization; Cobalt, comes out of hiding to reclaim their own. Colonel Carrie Cutter was an operative of Cobalt, an assassin who went rogue after a botched mission led to the bombing of a hospital.

Cobalt has returned to bring in their operative, whether alive or dead makes no difference. Green Arrow, Black Canary, & Speedy learn of the drug testing done on Cupid during her time with Cobalt, and seek to save her from Cobalt and herself. Meanwhile, Dark Arrow is injured and Cupid finishes the job by murdering him. She then hatches a plan to help everyone feel "love" the way she does by hijacking a truck to dump tons of her "love potion" into Star City's water supply.

G.A. & B.C.; with some inadvertent help from Cobalt, stop Cupid's plans and save her. Green Arrow's timely shot saves his wife's life and "wakes" Carrie Cutter out of her Cupid personality.

The volume ends with a Blackest Night tie-in, as the "risen" Green Arrow tries to kill Black Canary, Speedy, & his son Connor. After Nekron reveals that heroes such as Superman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow (who have "returned" from the dead) are only alive because of him, he takes them back to join his Black Lantern Corps. As Green Arrow fights from within to stop his "risen" self....Canary, Speedy, & Connor try and find a way to save their loved one without killing him, then try and kill him only to learn they can't! They are able to freeze him with Liquid Nitrogen, but not before their greatest fears and insecurities have been exposed by Black Arrow. See: Blackest Night to see how the mega-event of 2010 ended.

Overall, I liked this series and Andrew Kreisberg's writing. He brought in a new villain (Cupid) with an interesting story and tied it all together introducing two more villains (Discord & the "new" Big Game), and possibly a third in Lt. Hilton (who now has a knife in his brain that can't be removed after being stabbed by Cupid). Green Arrow is a hard character to write, since he has no superpowers and not as much gadgets or rogues as Batman. He just has a Bow & Arrows, and a liberal mindset. The new direction that they have given the character after Blackest Night is exciting, and I hope J.T. Krul's writing keeps the Emerald Archer going for years to come!

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