DC Comics announced that it will be issuing a softcover trade paperback edition of the first six issues of the New 52 storyline, titled Green Arrow: The Midas Touch. Since the new CW television series that is currently filming the pilot episode appears that the new Green Arrow may more closely follow the current storyline of Ollie balancing street fighting derring-do with running a major corporation, this is a good time to get caught up on what Oliver Queen has been up to for the past six months. And this storyline includes its own bit of cyborg villany.
In Chapter 1, “Living a Life of Privilege,” we find Oliver Queen juggling his duties as CEO of Q-Core, apparently a subsidiary of Queen Industries, with his Green Arrow mantle as he busts an odd bunch of thieves in Paris. He does this by taking a conference call via wireless earbud and also using Q-Core technical resources via techno-savvy assistant Naomi and ex-M.I.T. techno-gadget maker Jax. Queen is attempting to use the Q-Core division to allow him to continue his crime-fighting life, and Naomi and Jax act as Oracle was utilized by the Birds of Prey. This chapter echoes Green Arrow’s origins as Batman knockoff and mirrors Bruce Wayne’s past antics a lot–his attempts at using Wayne Enterprises to build him wonderful toys to use in his crime-fighting while dodging his corporate responsibilities at Wayne’s corporate offices. The action is more “Superfriends” than other incarnations of Green Arrow–his one man march to take out a band of thieves ona boat with no back-up, for example, is more reckless and unreal than we’ve seen past versions of the character.
In Chapter 2, “Going Viral,” a group of wanna-be twenty-something villains tap into social media and the latest retail technologies to try to “get noticed.” Oliver and Jax’s relationship seems to match James Bond and Q, as Jax supplies more gadgetry for Queen’s missions. The wanna-be criminals are in Seattle and have set a trap for Ollie–planning to get Green Arrow streaming live over the Internet in a death match.
This is where the story picks up in Chapter 3, “Green Arrow’s Last Stand,” the leader of the gang, named Rush, takes on Green Arrow mano a mano. And of course this ends up not as Green Arrow’s last stand but another thwarted attempt at taking Green Arrow out of the picture. Oliver smartly realizes the kind of headstrong fighting that he made it through in Chapter 1 may have finally caught up with him, and credit goes to writer JT Krul for not letting the early path for Oliver get too far off-track. CEO of parent company Queen Industries “Emerson” busts Oliver’s chops for not paying attention to the business despite Queen giving a public “Jerry Maguire” speech. Emerson either has some secret vendetta, or really just doesn’t like Queen’s apparent lack of devotion to the company that Oliver’s father founded. One oddity is that the end of Chapter 2 foretold a visit from Black Canary in Chapter 3 that never comes to fruition.
In Chapter 4, “The Things We Do for Love and Hate,” we meet female assassin Blood Rose, who is an agent for some boss named Midas. The bulk of the issue is a face-off between Oliver and the new villain, Blood Rose succeeding with her guns and quick moves and Ollie with his trick arrows. This is mirrored in Chapter 5, “The Midas Touch,” when a walking “toxic dump” that is devoted to Blood Rose takes the fight directly to Oliver Queen. Again, the issue is primarily a fight to the death, and only this time there is a winner and a loser. Blood Rose shows up, but again, Ollie and his wireless crime-fighting back-up team of Naomi and Jax, and we readers, have been left with no answers and little clues to go on. It is worth mentioning that JT Krul left writing duties on the Green Arrow series with Issue #3 (Chapter 3 of the new TPB) and Keith Giffen took over for the rest of the issues/chapters.
Which brings us to the final chapter of this first Green Arrow storyline in the new DCU. Titled “Lovers & Other Dangers,” we learn what is behind the titles about love in Chapters 4 and 6. It begins with Blood Rose shooting Oliver is the head–a surface wound only, but enough to knock him out. The rest of the story takes us into a strange mix of beauty and the beast with a dose of borg elements.
As a complete story in 144 pages, Green Arrow: The Midas Touch is not a stand-out story. It seems to suffer from a lack of focus that only comes together in the last three parts, and even then, leaves us uncertain as to Green Arrow’s new place in the DCU. The only thing keeping it together as one complete work is Dan Jurgens’ art, and this would not be considered his best work. With so many great titles making their mark in the New 52, the decison makers at DC Comics will have to carve out a niche for this character soon to avoid losing readers. With compilations for other titles not yet announced, there are certainly other titles more worthy of a trade paperback edition. Green Arrow: The Midas Touch will likely be a purchase only for the Green Arrow completist.
The trade edition will be published in May and is available for pre-order at online online retailers.