Review by C.J. Bunce
Oliver Queen was dead, to begin with.
The average superhero fan today probably wouldn’t know Oliver Queen today but for three events: (1) the modernization of the character by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams in the 1970s, (2) his update to urban longbow hunter by writer/artist Mike Grell in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and (3) the literal resurrection of Oliver Queen in the early 2000s by the partnership of writer Kevin Smith, penciller Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks. No TV series would have arrived without the survival of the character thanks to these stories–reprinted and available in a deluxe hardcover for the O’Neil/Adams stories here, and in paperback reprinted only recently for Mike Grell’s stories here, here, and here. In light of Green Arrow/Arrow’s popularity today being greater than ever before in his 73 year history, it’s only fitting that DC Comics is releasing the third great chapter in the character’s history with Absolute Green Arrow this month.
Absolute Green Arrow, available here from Amazon.com, reprints Issues #1-15 of Green Arrow, Volume 3, in a matte black with gloss hardcover with slipcase in a sharp, over-sized, 9.6 inch X 15 inch format. It includes all of Matt Wagner’s stylish painted covers, previously released introduction by Smith and afterword by Hester, and original artwork in an appendix by Hester. If you ever wonder how much work the inker must conquer, just take a look at Hester’s pencil work and you’ll have a great appreciation for Parks’ inks.
Hester and Parks did shading and shadows like nobody else. Original art seen in full color as published in Absolute Green Arrow.
The first ten chapters form the “Quiver” story arc, and the last five the “Sounds of Violence” arc. This is the entire run of Kevin Smith’s stories for Green Arrow. Phil Hester took over writing and artistic duties for the next several issues with even better stories than found in these early chapters. But these Smith stories present a Green Arrow in a way a bit like Frank Miller played with Batman’s mythology in The Dark Knight Returns. Smith’s Green Arrow is not as innovative as the seminal Miller work, but it’s plenty fun, and each new chapter feels like Smith saw this opportunity to play with DC Universe characters like a kid in a toy store. You’ll encounter the Justice League, memorable encounters with Aquaman and Hawkman, and even a quirky adventure featuring Stanley and his Monster. Former sidekicks Roy Harper and Connor Hawke are here, too, but most importantly Oliver Queen rebuilds his relationship with long-time love interest Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. Difficult to come back from after being presumed dead.
When it rains, it pours.
It’s was a heckuva weekend for movie fans. First a new trailer dropped for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (we revealed it at borg.com here). Then three more: A second Fantastic Four trailer, the first full-length Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, and today, yet another Jurassic World trailer.
But see if you agree: Not one of these three new previews really compares to the excitement of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, or the time-bending fun of Arnold returning in Terminator: Genisys (shown here).
Zack Snyder, who we’d had hopes for after his unusual but interesting interpretation of the Watchmen graphic novel for the big screen, is just auguring in the DC Comics cinematic universe after the dismal Men of Steel and now this preview for an equally grim Batman and Superman. Thankfully the best superheroes can be found not on the big screen but every single week with DC Entertainment’s superb TV productions: Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham.
Try on for size this first full-length trailer for Batman v Superman and see if you wouldn’t rather watch Brandon Routh as The Atom fighting some bad guys in Central City with Grant Gustin’s The Flash:
If you can’t fit your characters into continuity, why not figure out another way to give fans what they want?
That’s what the CW did with a new promo for the final episodes of the season for Arrow and The Flash. The trinity of DC Comics’ A-list aside, what does the rest of the Justice League do to blow off steam? They practice their skills in their own secret athletic club–the “Superhero Fight Club.” There’s just one rule: There are no rules for the Superhero Fight Club.
So from Team Arrow, check out Arrow, Black Canary, Arsenal/Red Arrow, The Dark Archer, Ra’s Al Ghul, and The Atom, and from Team Flash, The Flash, Firestorm, Reverse Flash, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave:
The three-day Planet Comicon comic book and pop culture convention wrapped yesterday in Kansas City. The highlight of the day for thousands of attendees was the one-day visit to the show by Stephen Amell, star of the CW Network’s Arrow TV series. If you’ve been reading borg.com for very long, you’ll know I’ve been tracking the show as the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan, including spending the night with 7,000 other fans in San Diego for the show premiere with Amell and his co-stars back in 2012.
After hanging with his cousin (and CW star of The Flash) Robbie Amell last night at the Elite Comics after party at the Alamo Drafthouse, we got to meet Stephen today. As you’d expect, fans were happy to meet him, and he kept a cheery disposition throughout a whirlwind day of signing autographs and being featured on a panel at the convention.
Because he was only at the show for one day, that meant plenty of lines to get to see him–lines that barely even looked like lines.
But as typical with attendees at comic book conventions, everyone handled it all with great attitudes.
The biggest news so far released by Warner Bros. about the next DC Comics universe TV experiment was that former Superman Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) and former Supergirl Helen Slater (Supergirl) would have guest roles on the series Supergirl, a Smallville-esque series likely to arrive in 2016. Laura Benanti (Royal Pains, Life on Mars (U.S.) was revealed to play Kara’s Kryptonian mother, Alura Zor-El, leading Supergirl from afar as Jor-El did for Kal-El in the various Superman incarnations. And Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl, the series lead, will be played by Melissa Benoist (Whiplash, Glee).
Other roles cast include Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss, media mogul Cat Grant. Kara’s love interest will be Jimmy Olsen, played by Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness, Dollhouse), Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy) has been cast as Kara’s foster sister Alex, and David Harewood (Robin Hood, Doctor Who, Homeland) will play Department of Extra-Normal Operations chief Hank Henshaw.
We now have our first views of the new Supergirl supersuit Benoist will don as the latest superheroine in the DC Universe. The designer is Academy Award winning costumer Colleen Atwell, who also created the CW designs for Arrow and The Flash. The suit is similar to many past comic book versions:
The slate of the women’s side of the DC pantheon is finally making some headway. We’ve had a look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman from Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Katie Cassidy’s Black Canary from Arrow:
The Funko booth at Toy Fair 2015 is packed full of new action figures today. Their ReAction and Legacy lines have taken off to the point that it’s hard to keep track of it all. Coverage of Star Trek has been the biggest news, in addition to the four figures we previewed here at borg.com Friday, Funko revealed figures and cards for the Kirk, Scotty, the Gorn, and the Orion animal woman. Also on display are Breaking Bad, an Al Pacino line including Taxi Driver and Scarface, Tomorrow Land, The Karate Kid, The Fifth Element, and some incredible Legacy figures for Firefly.
Our first Quint sighting. We’re going to need a bigger shelf.
For those that don’t appreciate the retro-style likenesses in the ReAction line, we think you’ll be impressed with Funko’s Legacy line, which is similar to the higher end Star Wars Black series. We think you’ll also love the Terminator 2 line, including two sculpts of Sarah Connor, the metallic T-1000, and new Arnold figures.
Funko really nailed it with their choice of figures for their line for The Fifth Element.
But we think the most eagerly awaited reveal, and most talked about figures since the Funko announcement in December, is for the Jaws line. Perched atop the display at today’s show, there’s a Brody, Hooper, and Quint, and a nicely rendered shark.
Now that’s a shark.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale. Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer. In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.
But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time. In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen. Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:
“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character. We’re going to prove that to you.”
The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.
So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie. But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.
It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap. Where can we go from here? Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow. Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled. Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.
Still an entire month to wait until Arrow returns to the CW Network, and we’re got another great trailer released this weekend. The best part of this latest trailer? We hear the days of flashbacks to the island are going away, to be swapped out with Oliver Queen’s secret past honing his skills in Asia, and we see some of that here.
And the trick of showing Oliver finally hooking up with Felicity Smoak last season may have set fans up for a real relationship this season. Black Canary will return and sister Laurel Lance looks to be finally getting her life back. And what’s more fun than seeing former Superman Brandon Routh taking on a new recurring role in the DC Universe as Ray Palmer?
Check out this new trailer for Season Three of one of our favorite series, and maybe the best superhero series ever, Arrow:
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
What’s better than when all the new TV series line up just right? This coming Fall the networks have at least one great genre series every day of the week returning, including several new supernatural crime dramas: the CW’s Flash, ABC’s Forever, BBC America’s Intruders, Fox’s Gotham, and NBC’s Constantine. Well, the networks have at least one genre show per day except Thursdays, so it’s not exactly “just right.” But we could use a day off from TV anyway. And isn’t that what DVRs are for? Strangely enough, nearly all of these series have a supernatural crime element of some sort, with plenty of superheroes and time travel, too. Interesting.
Below we have the best of the Fall line-up with trailers for all but NBC’s Grimm.
Haven, Season 5 and its 26 brand new episodes begin Sunday, September 11, 2014, on the Syfy Channel. Here is a preview of the new season:
Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, begins Monday, September 22, 2014, on Fox, following the new Gotham series. Here’s a trailer for the new season of Sleepy Hollow:
Nerd HQ wrapped this weekend’s panels for charity with some good Q&A sessions. If you haven’t seen earlier Nerd HQ panels, we at borg.com have been covering them since 2011 here when we saw Scott Bakula in San Diego at the inaugural event. Check out this link for past panels. We even got immortalized at the beginning of Zachary Levi’s introduction of Bakula as Levi was momentarily startled by a certain Tenctonese alien in the crowd in this video (“Ma’am, do you realize you have no hair on your head?”):
We’re still finding photos on the Web Comic-Con visitors snapping photos of us in that Alien Nation cosplay.
This weekend posted the first days of the panels from this year’s Nerd HQ here and here. Nerd HQ wrapped with more panels Sunday. Making his first appearance at Nerd HQ was the man playing one of our favorite characters, Arrow’s Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell:
The Winchester brothers returned again for this Supernatural panel with Mark Sheppard: