Review by C.J. Bunce
DC Comics has released a hardcover compilation of both the Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special one-shot plus the first five issues of the “Dead Again/Child Support” storyline from Green Arrow/Black Canary Issues #1-5. Judd Winick wrote the story with Amanda Conner illustrating the Wedding Special and Cliff Chiang pencilling GA/BC Issues #1-4 and Andre Coelho pencilling Issue #5.
On paper, the first chapter, the Wedding Special, is what you would expect. Put together the two superheroes who have had an off-again/on-again relationship for pretty much decades, and after years of talking about it we get the first big superhero wedding since Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Of course, they couldn’t just put the two characters together and give us a storyline of what it would be like to have a superhero couple, like “the early years of The Incredibles,” or something close to that. Instead, they cram together some backstory, bachelor party, etc. and a wedding into a few short pages. Only Batman is smart enough to return a negative on the RSVP. As expected, the marriage is doomed from the start. Someone gets wind of all the superheroes being in the same place at the same time for the wedding, nukes are launched, and it becomes another Justice League fight scene.
Worst yet, once the dust settles and Oliver and Dinah get home, we learn that a big element was missing from the wedding, as Ollie is an imposter and tries to murder Dinah on her wedding night, and she must kill him to defend herself.
Among all of this is plenty silliness and cartoony characterizations that amount to a light-hearted romp up just to the last scene. It is difficult to expect anything else from a one-shot about a superhero wedding, so you either go with it or stop reading. Flashing back to other incarnations of Green Arrow and Black Canary, such as those documented in the For Better For Worse compilation (to be reviewed here later), it becomes clear that this really is more of a superhero wedding–focusing on the costumed personas–more than a wedding of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance. And in chapter one you are left to hope for seeing that wedding someday. Back in the prior volume of the Green Arrow series, as well as the volume before that, we did get a fair bit of family life, and the stories seemed pretty good at the time, with son Conner (Green Arrow 2) as well as Mia (the new Speedy) rounding out the family. The past run at the trials of a superhero family was the closest thing we have seen to the clever The Incredibles film by Pixar.
I am not a fan of Amanda Conner’s renderings of Black Canary. She draws her looking ditsy, and combining the fact that Ollie and Dinah spend the first chapter swearing at each other in asterisks, etc., Green Arrow and Black Canary are caricatures of a reality show bridezilla-fest. In start contrast is Chiang’s excellent covers, which seems to nicely peg a great looking superhero team. The colorist work is also well done–the entire book is finished in vibrant colors.
The rest of the Wedding Album consists next of Winick’s “Dead Again” storyline and there we begin to see some family taking shape. The highlight is Cliff Chiang, the artist currently getting high praise for the New 52 Wonder Woman series. Going back now and viewing his earlier work is great fun, as he definitely has his own, recognizable style. And in the first chapter of the “Dead Again” story, we learn that the man who married Dinah, and who was killed by Dinah, was a shapeshifter called Everyman, and Ollie is held prisoner by a doppleganger for Athena, and the Amazons. No doubt that Chiang’s work on Green Arrow/Black Canary and this Amazon storyline propelled him into the artist role for the current Wonder Woman series.
But you can’t knock Winick’s writing for the rest of the Wedding Album. The story is great, beginning with Dinah and Mia arriving at the island of the Amazons to figure out why they took Ollie and Connor springing Ollie from their jail, including having to loan Ollie his underwear since Ollie was, of course, imprisoned naked by the Amazons. The Amazons want Dinah (not Diana aka Wonder Woman) to lead and train the new Amazon warriors. But in their escape Connor is shot and near death. In the aftermath, the family comes together and in the last chapter “Child Support,” Oliver and Dinah actually get married. The last chapter was illustrated ably by Andre Coelho. Only once in the last few chapters does the story falter a bit, when we learn the reason Everyman finally made himself known to Dinah on their wedding night.
For the most part, the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Album is worth checking out, if not for a good Judd Winick story, then to see more of Cliff Chiang’s nice artwork.