Winick and Williams’ Green Arrow leads off DC Comics’ Zero Month

As the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan I have seen it all when it comes to the Emerald Archer.  My preference has always been for the 1970s Oliver Queen by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, but I soon grew to love Mike Grell’s urban hunter version set in Seattle, and later became a believer in Phil Hester and Ande Parks’ run, especially when joined by Judd Winick’s new spin on Speedy.

I spent the entire night awake waiting in line at San Diego Comic-Con this summer to see the preview of the new CW Network series Arrow, about a younger Oliver Queen.  I think it is going to be a successful series that will rival the CW’s Smallville or Supernatural.  Admittedly I have not enjoyed the first year of Green Arrow in the New 52 for various reasons I’ve discussed here before.  So I was looking forward to seeing the Captain Atom team of Judd Winick and Freddie Williams II taking on Green Arrow in the one-shot Green Arrow #0 released this week.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s a quick and compact story, but has a lot of action and features a cool new look.  Green Arrow has a more refined look that I hope continues through the main series.  He’s sleeker, cockier, and younger.  It’s an origin story that veers a bit from past Green Arrow origin stories but the spirit of early stories is still there.

I have been wondering when someone was going to figure out it can only make good business sense to leverage the new TV series to help boost sales of the comic book series in light of the extra press Green Arrow will generate with his own TV series. Arrow will be the first live action Justice League of America supersuit-sporting hero series in years, since Birds of Prey.  Before that you have to go back to the classic Flash series from 1990 starring John Wesley Shipp.  Flash and Birds of Prey were awesome and this new series starring the young, athletic Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen has the potential to be just as good.

Green Arrow #0 gives us the Oliver Queen pretty much straight from the new TV series, and we get a glimpse at his back story that you will soon see fully realized on the small screen.  Winick, who wrote Green Arrow for several years, from 2003 to 2005, proves he knows his Oliver Queen, even modified for the new, New 52 audience.  Yes, there are updates, such as a giant cyborg-looking criminal, whose antics result in Oliver inadvertently blowing up an oil rig and ending up as a castaway.  But, again, this seems to be only a slight update for today’s audience.

Freddie Williams II surprises yet again with a new style, which instantly made me think of the classic look of both Bill Sienkiewicz’s jam-packed pages with sprawling action panels and Howard Chaykin’s expressive characters and fluid action sequences.  Oliver has a distinctive look and the introduction of Roy Harper gives the future hero called Arsenal his own slick, modern interpretation of the character.  From an artist who was at the forefront of the digital drawing revolution with his DC Comics Robin series, and then offered the coolest image of Captain Atom to date with his eye-popping, paint-washed glowing hero in the New 52, you never know what Williams is going to do next.  Rob Hunter’s inks really compliment his style and I look forward to his work on future Green Arrow issues with writer Ann Nocenti (who, strangely, was incorrectly listed as writer on this issue’s cover).

C.J. Bunce

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