If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up. All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.
Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types. He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp. He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.
And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero. Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes. Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer. The best reason to check out Season Zero? The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series. With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.
At long last DC Comics has released a trade edition of the 1980s Green Arrow monthly comic book series. The series that sprang out of Mike Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters is some of the best storytelling work by Grell on the relationship between Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance. We previously reviewed the first trade edition re-released by DC, Green Arrow: Hunter’s Moon, last December here at borg.com. When borg.com readers have requested recommendations for the best of Green Arrow, I’ve pointed them to back issues of this series along with the classic O’Neill/Adams “Hard-Travelling Heroes” books as a starting point.
Unlike the events of Volume 1, which piled on heavy issues ranging from sexual assault, to child abuse, to gay-bashing, prostitution, armed robbery, and biogenic weapons, Volume 2 is a more intimate look at Green Arrow and Black Canary behind the scenes, very similar to the approach taken by writer Matt Fraction in the successful modern Hawkeye series from Marvel Comics.
Green Arrow Volume 2: Here There Be Dragons, which reprints Green Arrow, Issues #7-12 from 1988, finds Dinah continuing to try to forge ahead on her own and move beyond her violent attack in The Longbow Hunters. She and Oliver have issues to work out, Dinah with determining what she wants from life and Oliver being haunted by his past. Together they make the perfect team, like any couple living in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying their town, Oliver perfecting his chili recipe, both commenting on the fact that PNW residents don’t use umbrellas despite the seemingly constant rain. Dinah is focused on her business at the floral shop, Oliver uses his resources to ward off criminals in Seattle one thug at a time.
This period of the Green Arrow series hit its stride without your typical superheroism, and although Oliver dons his costume a few times, finely crafted storytelling without the over-the-top action is why Green Arrow’s stories are unique among the medium. Oliver heads to Alaska to pursue a lead and inadvertently tracks a drug smuggling and car theft ring. Dinah, much like Laurel Lance in the current Arrow TV series, is feeling the pull to help others in the city outside the law.
Gotham is now two episodes past its pilot, with the premiere for Season Three of Arrow this week along with the pilot for The Flash. There’s one more DCU series–Constantine–coming later this month. We’ve seen the first entries of the DC Comics universe on TV for the Fall 2014 season, so how did the first of the season openers fare?
We had low expectations for Gotham. A series in Gotham with all the Bat-villains and Jim Gordon, but no Batman? Whose idea was that? Yet, tight writing and a story that proceeds at a fast pace coupled with a superb supporting cast of characters and actors behind the roles really make this a series we’re looking forward to each week. That “boy scout” lead role for cop Jim Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, must be a thankless job, and far less fun to play than all those villains, including the best reason to watch Gotham in Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue. We reviewed the pilot earlier here at borg.com and we’re still happy with the direction of the series.
If the season opener is any indication of the course of Season Three of CW’s Arrow, then consistency is the theme for this series. We know these characters well now, and the actors all solidly fit in the shoes of our heroes, from Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen to David Ramsey as John Diggle, to Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Paul Blackthorne as Captain Lance, Arrow is a proven commodity.
Mix up Diggle’s role in Oliver’s team? Taunt us with a relationship between Oliver and Felicity? Kill off a major series hero? The writers are sure going to keep us on our toes this year.
The highlight of all the DCU series so far is the introduction of Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer–the man who would be The Atom. It’s not lost on anyone watching that we are seeing the former big screen Superman face off with the Green Arrow right before our eyes. As we saw with the NBC series Chuck, Routh is one of the best actors to pop in for guest starring roles. Let’s just not take too much time before we see him transform into The Atom. Please?
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:
This week Stephen Amell, star of CW’s Arrow, again expressed his interest in being part of the movie version of the DC Universe, and that he could stand up against Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and fans would be good with it. We agree, and in fact, we think Season Two has so far exceeded our expectations, and Amell’s performance as Oliver Queen far surpassed what Cavill did with Superman this summer in Man of Steel, that the producers would be wise to consider including Green Arrow in the Batman vs. Superman movie. Much of Amell’s success in his role comes from his visible belief in his character, his physical skill and acting ability, all which comes through on the small screen. The rest of the series’ success is the good writing, and fans of the TV series who can’t get enough each Wednesday have had another option this year via a weekly comic book digital tie-in series that was reprinted in twelve monthly issues.
Consisting of 37 chapters that read like short stories, Arrow the comic book was created by writers from the TV series including Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg as well as guest writers, and drawn by classic Green Arrow artist Mike Grell and a host of other DC Comics artists including Sergio Sandoval and Eric Nguyen, and photo covers and new art covers by Mike Grell, Phil Hester, and others. The book expanded the series by giving fans insight into each week’s TV episode. One week you could find backstory on Helena Bertinelli, the next a flashback of John Diggle’s experience as a soldier, and some weeks featured Oliver’s encounters back on the island. With so many opportunities to touch on Oliver Queen and the series supporting characters, the title turned into an anthology series with plenty of potential.
Oliver Queen is dying, out in the desert, left for dead and we don’t know why. Jeff Lemire takes us back three weeks to Seattle to understand what led to this moment. From Lemire’s first issue writing for Green Arrow to today, he has given us an entirely new Green Arrow, and although he chose to keep the trick arrows, not a lot of characteristics would make the new angry young man familiar to long-time fans. Over the last ten issues, 2013 has seen what the New 52 sees as Oliver Queen.
In the five-issue story arc titled “The Kill Machine,” a mysterious hunter, also an archer, called Komodo has destroyed Queen’s life, causing his business and friends to be taken away. Komodo brings along his psychopath of a daughter, too—think Hit Girl and Big Daddy or Boba and Jango and you’ll get the idea. Komodo even has the image projected to him of an even badder bad guy a la the Emperor called Golgotha. Queen has been set up—Oliver Queen is a wanted man for the murder of the leader of the old Queen Industries. Lemire then pulls us back into the history of Queen’s father, his friend, and that island where Queen was stranded for years. Like the ghost of Obi-Wan, a spirit guide of sorts called Magus is trying to steer Oliver on the path away from destruction, to the truth. And going along with the Star Wars metaphors, Oliver confronts Komodo to learn the truth about his father.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Sexual assault, child abuse, gay-bashing, drugs, prostitution, armed robbery, biogenic weapons, and street gangs–what dealt with all of these subjects in its opening chapters? A comic book series? DC Comics is finally compiling Mike Grell’s definitive Green Arrow comic book series that began in February 1988 and ran for more than a decade to November 1998. Gritty and real, it’s the Oliver Queen fans cheered for as he cleaned up the streets of not Star City or Starling City, but the dark alleys of Seattle, Washington.
Except for Morton Weisinger and George Papp who created Green Arrow in 1941, and Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams who re-imagined the character nearly thirty years later, Mike Grell did more than anyone to define the urban archer for the ages. Grell actually took over after O’Neill and Adams created their landmark Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 1970s. But he made Green Arrow his own with 1987’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, a three-issue mini-series that finally awakened DC Comics to the potential of Green Arrow and his long-time girlfriend Black Canary. In 1988 Grell made Oliver Queen throw away his trick arrows and use penetrating broadheads that actually killed the bad guys. And in none of the storylines was Queen ever referred to as Green Arrow, a component maintained in CW’s Arrow series.
Following its release of hardcover profiles of great comic book artists Alex ross, Sean Phillips, and Howard Chaykin, Dynamite Comics announced this week the upcoming release of The Art of Jock, celebrating the work the British illustrator of works including Hellblazer: Pandemonium, Savage Wolverine, Green Arrow: Year One, and memorable Batman covers. The Art of Jock will include hundreds of illustrations from his years as an artist for comic books, film, and marketing work.
“It will include drawings and paintings from all of my comics projects from over the last ten years, including many sketches and unseen material, plus concept art and extensive promotional images from the various movies and posters I’ve worked on,” Jock announced in press materials announcing the book release. “The quality of the books I’ve seen from Dynamite has been second-to-none, so I’m thrilled to have a home there for this retrospective.”
If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…
…and once you’re back… WOW! What a season opener! We couldn’t ask for more action and drama. CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.
At first… confusion! John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years? Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin. We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business. And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.