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Green Arrow Year One

July 24, 2008

I never really liked the Green Arrow. Somehow I always thought he was kind of lame – a guy in green tights with a bow – it was all too Robin Hood for me. But then I read Green Arrow Year One written by Andy Diggle and art by Jock and I was amazed how good a read it actually was. For those of you who have never heard of the Green Arrow this graphic novel is the perfect introduction to his character. It tells the story of billionaire playboy (sounds familiar doesn’t it?) Oliver Queen, who after behaving like a drunken idiot at a fundraiser, where he acquires a very nice bow, decides he needs to disappear for a while to save his face. When he leaves on a cruise with his personal bodyguard and friend Hackett he is betrayed by him, because Queen is interfering with his illegal business and as a result our hero is left for dead in the middle of the ocean. He washes up on shore of an island and lives for several weeks hunting with a self-made bow and honing his survival skills, when he finally finds out that the island actually houses a giant opium field. Hackett and his business associate Chien Na-Wei (China White, Queen calls her) have enslaved the local population and have them work the fields. When Queen confronts his old friend, he only barely escapes with his life and a broken arm. One of the local female workers finds him and administers first aid. To ease his pain, she gives him some opium, which he quickly becomes addicted to. When he has finally healed he is left with a nasty addiction, which he has to overcome first in order to finally defeat the evildoers.

Green Arrow Year One does everything right. It establishes the origins of a superhero (later being an important member of the Justice League of America), has an astonishing amount of action and suspense, and even gives the character some inner depth, by making him grow and overcome a drug addiction. The art by Jock is amazing, and fits the island theme very well, and it shows that Diggle and Jock have become a team that works like a well-oiled machine. The gritty storytelling is perfect for this hero and the author gives Queen just the perfect amount of coolness and lovability. They reinvent a hero that has been around for many years and manage to draw in new fans to the franchise (like me for example). All in all an amazingly fun read that I can only recommend to every DC fan.

Story                  9

Art                      9

Reread Value     8

Overall rating    9/10

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