Want to see Green Lantern make a mistake before having an emotional breakdown? Of course.
We’re looking at JLA #103, written by Chuck Austen and drawn by Ron Garney. This is a good example of the sheer amount of crime in the DC universe. Two apartment complexes across the street from each other at the same time have simultaneous domestic disturbances to break up. Poor John Stewart can’t fly/run at the speed of thought like our previous two superheroes, so he has to choose the order of his heroic acts. Since you have a fair grasp of the theme this week, you already know: he chooses poorly.
To be fair to Stewart, if any of the Justice League can handle death, it’s Green Lantern. This comic takes place in pre-Geoff Johns era, but Green Lantern comics remain (at least in the second half of the last decade) as the bloodiest, violent, and most deadly series in the DC Universe. Space is never not at war. Plus, remember that one time Stewart’s arrogance got a planet blown up and all its people killed? He hasn’t, that’s for sure.
Sector 2814, the section of the galaxy that Stewart patrols contains far more than just the planet Earth. You wouldn’t know from the comics, but can you blame the guy? Dude’s biased towards his own species. At least he doesn’t do what Sinestro did and have his planet make gold statues of him and force all citizens to grow tiny pencil-thin mustaches. My Green Lantern knowledge pre-Geoff Johns is a bit fuzzy. Something about Hal Jordan getting Reed Richards hair and Kyle Rayner crying a lot.
But Green Lantern brings up a good point — his responsibility and the sole reason he wears that ring is to protect every single gosh darn person that walks his planet. So he pulls a Spider-Man (though many years before Spider-Man makes the same proclamation): nobody dies. Not from a stabbing, a bank robbery, a fall down the stairs, a broken heart, etc. Green Lantern’ll create knife-proof armor, punch robbers with giant green fists, make all apartments install slides, passionately make out with the lonely, etc. It’s impossible, and with Superman being the only character so far who has overcome crippling emotional turmoil, the Man of Steel once again lends his broad shoulders and father-like advice to his buddy and confidant.
In a lesson I’m skipping, Green Lantern learns that maybe some civilian R&R could do him some good. Because with all the power capable from using that ring, deodorant and a shower isn’t any of them. Though depending on the writer, I’m sure it could be.
Superman only smells like one thing: America. And there’s a smell that brings pride swelling in your heart and an unbreakable confidence in your patriotic smile. Or delusion. Either way, Martian Manhunter on Monday! It’ll be sad!
We continue our depressing series with the Flash (real name Wally West), who despite being probably the most lighthearted member of the league (assuming Plastic Man isn’t around), takes emotional turmoil like a broken ankle — bunches of tears, whimpers of despair, and a dramatic collapse to his knees. While superheroes are supposed to be tough and unflappable and all sorts of heroically masculine traits, the importance of a superhero’s traumatic breakdown cannot be overstated. Especially in DC, where I’ve mentioned before that the big timers tend to lack that essential fatal flaw that makes them relatable (Batman excluded because he’s irreparably emotionally damaged). To have these moments where superheroes fail so brilliantly (or witness something similar) allows us to like them more — look, I’m aware I can’t kick bad guys into space, but it’d be nice to know that at least my fictional heroes also stub their toe on the coffee table once in a while. Today let’s enjoy JLA #102, written by Chuck Austen and drawn by Ron Garney.
I’m no physicist, but the Flash has shown more than once to be faster than the speed of light when he attempts it. I assume that speed would turn that woman into a civilian goo, but the Flash has the potential to be insanely powerful given the right writer. I sometimes find it odd to believe he even has a rogues gallery considering he can circle the planet in seconds, vibrate through walls/projectiles, and process information quicker than most computers. I mean, he fights Captain Boomerang every once in a while, who has the superpower to throw deadly boomerangs. At the man whose top speed breaks the space-time continuum.
Dead children’ll ruin your day. Our hero possesses a superpower with endless possibilities (for instance, dodging boomerangs), but he can’t travel back in time to save youngsters from smoke inhalation. Actually, I think he can time travel, though the DC universe did reboot because of the Flash’s time-tampering (literary-wise anyway).
Remember that South Park episode where the kids pretended to be superheroes? They would stand outside supermarkets and sell baked goods to raise money for all the Cthulhu destruction. Flash does something similar, though with less cooking — I think he’s probably been around enough enough heat for a few days. Ever want to see the Flash lecture civilians on proper maintenance of smoke detectors in a canon comic?
Commence the breakdown. If these next few pages aren’t a boomerang that shatters your soul into hundreds of tiny tear-soaked pieces, you’re wrong. So wrong.
Y’see, I want to make light of the situation because I imagine we’re a bit uncomfortable right now. I want to make Captain Boomerang references until my fingers go numb from typing (his real name is Digger, by the way). But luckily, we’re at part two of this arc, so at least Superman can give him that invulnerable, muscular shoulder to lean on. The Man of Steel’s become emotionally healthier since a good twenty pages ago. Off topic, but I really miss Wally West in the New 52.
Green Lantern on Friday. Spoiler alert: it’ll be heartbreaking.
A few days ago, I came across an arc in JLA #101 - 106, written by Chuck Austen and drawn by Ron Garney, that brought forth some really awful days for our heroes. They fail, they cry, they talk about feelings, etc. I love it, because not only do we get genuine human moments from these superhumans, but when our protagonists win every single time (as comics demand), a tiny loss or close call can tear out their heart and punch it into bloody heart goo. So we’re going to see parts of these six issues each profiling a different hero. Use your mask to mop up the tears and your cape to blow your nose, because these next two weeks’ll be a doozy.
I’ve always been grateful that our most powerful superhero is also our most polite. Batman would have just thrown knockout gas from his Batmobile window before cartwheeling into the burning building. More importantly, Superman’s plan totally beats out the firefighters: send in the man who’s both super fast and invulnerable.
Surprise, new superhero! The best part of a fictional universe allows for new characters to be created instantly with zero skepticism required from the readers. A truck driver gets sneezed on by a radioactive alien? Now he can shoot lava out of his shoulders! The local anchorwoman eats a chemically-enhanced meatball at the state fair? Now she can turn trees into airplanes! It’s that easy, because the rules tend to be horribly lax in a comic book universe. And I’m cool with that, but only because I now have the first two members of my new superhero team.
Y’see, even with Superman’s practically infinite combinations of superpowers, he still makes mistakes. Or judgement errors. Or rash decisions in a fiery inferno of a former apartment complex. The man may be Kryptonian by blood and ability, but he is, at times, really only human. He bleeds when he falls down. He crashes and he breaks down. Your words in his head, knives in his heart. You build him up and then he falls apart. Because he’s only human. Actually, sorry, that’s a Christina Perri song.
Because Superman has the powers of a god, his failings are going to ruin him far worse than anyone else. Maybe not the people he fails to save, but you know what I mean. Look, Superman knows how powerful he is. It’s not a surprise to the Man of Steel that he can circle the earth in seconds while carrying a sack of blue whales and elephants. His inability to save everyone at all times certainly disappoints all the civilians who trust him to protect them from harm, but he’s not a god — Superman wears his underwear on the outside, for goodness sake. And that means not being able to save everyone at all times. Should we be upset as readers? Hell yes, but I kind of believe we love him more when he fails. He becomes a little more relatable, y’know?
The scene cuts to the arc’s overlying plot (which I’ve ignored). On Wednesday, we’ll see the Flash fail. Then Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and finally Batman. Well, sort of Batman. That man’s a beast.
It’ll be anti-climatic, but you’ll have a sense of closure that’ll enable you to finally sleep soundly at night once again. Well mainly me, because I’ve been procrastinating and writing these at midnight. Anyway, as Nightwing’s guilt slowly destroys him, he begins to take bigger risks, jump deeper into danger, and put himself in situations where radiation poisoning’ll boil his insides. Especially the third one in Nightwing #116-117, written by Devin Grayson and drawn by Wellington Alves, Marcos Marz, & Brad Walker.
In Infinite Crisis #4, Blüdhaven blows up. That’s the city Nightwing spent 116 issues attempting to protect and reform.
Millions of people and a piece of Nightwing’s heart die in that radioactive blast. With Nightwing trying to kill-himself-by-danger to ease that guilty conscience, a glowing wasteland of a city seems like the perfect place. Look, I know I haven’t been as terribly kind to Nightwing these past few weeks. But I do adore Nightwing. It’s the idea of one acrobat valiantly struggling to save one city from eating itself alive from crime and corruption. We know it’s impossible. Hell, Batman and his entire team of gymnasts in capes can’t possibly rid all evil from Gotham City (though I believe Batman likes it that way).
Still, as Nightwing, with his batons and grappling hook, fights his unending battle against forces always stronger than him, he’s the closest we have to a “normal” guy parading as a superhero. Batman can’t qualify for that role. People believe the Dark Knight could win against Superman. Comics have been written about his victory (or at least tie). Superman — the superhero who could split the moon in two with a single karate chop. The superhero who can circumnavigate the world in the time it takes Batman to throw his first punch. But Nightwing? No one thinks he would win. We all agree Superman would squish the former Robin into a pellet small enough to feed to an actual Robin. It’s because he’s seen as a normal guy (at least to me), despite that Nightwing has the same skill, talent, speed, training, and intelligence as Batman. Readers love normals, which is probably one reason Hawkeye is selling so well. My 1 AM Nightwing theory aside, I don’t think I’m talking entirely out my butt.
But back to Blüdhaven and a few pages I selected.
Delirious hospital bed confession time coming up. A nuclear blast and building wall combo attack can be more effective than any truth serum. And Nightwing’s final line before he passes out? Beautifully written — Nightwing’s gushing about hope, especially his lack thereof that cost Blockbuster his life.
Discussion over. Batman only deals in tough love. The Dark Knight’s advice summed up? I’ll get over your moral failing, but not if you use it as an excuse to drown in self-loathing. Grow up, learn from the experience, move on, punch bad guys. Something like that. So Nightwing takes his advice, as any son would when your father dressed as a giant bat screams in your face. The first step for recovery? He should start with repairing some mistakes that can be fixed.
They break up next issue, but at least the Boy Wonder takes the first step in becoming the Man Wonder.
False advertising. Batman doesn’t love anything but the sound his batarangs make when they connect with a criminal’s skull. And Alfred. And the Robins. Okay, so he probably loves lots of stuff, but his affection for his closest civilian ally constantly teeters that emotional line. Their friendship and partnership (both words discussed today) can be best summed up with the issue-long conversation in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Rick Burchett.
As No Man’s Land reaches its midway-ish point, Batman finally shows his face once again. Turns out that when Bruce Wayne spends his time in Washington D.C. desperately lobbying for funds to get his city back from the post-apocalyptic wasteland it currently resembles, his alter ego won’t be patrolling the dimly lit streets of destroyed Gotham City. And really, as effective as one man can be in containing an entire collapsed city, his symbolism speaks far more volume than his grappling hooks. So when he arrives to apologize to Commissioner Jim Gordon about his absence, the two have an actual conversation. Like with feelings and stuff.
Okay, not yet. Neither of the men can really do small talk, but it is refreshing to hear Batman awkwardly discuss gardening. Most of the time he’s growling about murder victims and police inadequacy. But with Gordon no longer tolerating this facade, the real drama finally begins:
Gordon’ll make his point clearer in a few pages. Look, we as readers know Batman has friends. Superman, for one. But his anti-social personality leaves the Dark Knight a little abrasive with his relationships. And frankly, Gordon demands more from their friendship than occasionally accepting hand deliveries of gagged and unconscious supervillains.
When Bane broke Wayne’s back a few years back, Wayne let his insane buddy Azrael take the mantle for a while. He didn’t tell Gordon. When No Man’s Land was announced, Wayne ran off to gather political pull and money. He didn’t tell Gordon. Rinse and repeat the entire run of Batman comics.
The two are stuck with each other, and they know that. Gordon’ll never leave the Gotham police force (despite temporary setbacks) and Batman’ll never stop fighting Gotham crime (despite temporary setbacks), because comic book status quo demands that the two remain together. Forever and ever. Gordon understands that, and he figures after 60 years of adventures (10 years of time passed in the DC universe) that he deserves to at least to be treated as an actual friend. Not an easy task. I mean, even Robin doesn’t get told what Batman’s up to half the time. You’re witnessing Batman’s “hey buddy, it looks like you put on a few pounds” conversation but for his personality. Also, that last panel perfectly sums up decades of built up rage.
You can’t get any more trusting than the secret identity reveal. Though he did tell Joker his real identity in the New 52 and that turned out horrifically. Can we at least just be proud of Batman taking a positive step in one of his relationships? That man has some serious emotional damage. Instead of spending years in intensive therapy, Batman spent his youth learning how to break ninja arms. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Gordon’s response believably expresses his latent frustration while still maintaining that precious status quo. Rucka has been a confirmed genius for years now.
Gordon totally knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. Like Perry White knows Clark Kent is Superman. When our heroes surround themselves with brilliant investigative minds, the truth can’t slink away for long. But luckily the supporting cast also embraces the wonderful compassion that comes with ignoring that your local billionaire/star reporter also lives in a giant Justice League space station. Loved ones get hurt when secrets spill and all that jazz. Oh well.
Anyway, friendship repaired! Next step: saving a depraved and ruined city filled with millions of people from collapsing in on itself in terrifying violence, immorality, and anarchy.
While I normally like to cover stories that may not get the publicity the famous ones do, the famous ones receive that fame for a reason. Usually because they’re expertly written, wildly exciting, or heartbreakingly sad. We hit the last category today. The gigantic Batman event No Man’s Land comes to a close in Detective Comics #741, written by Greg Rucka & Devin Grayson and drawn by Damion Scott & Dale Eaglesham.
Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, despite always chain smoking and looking as if he just got off a three-day shift, has had his fair share of paramours. Not as many as Bruce Wayne, but Gordon also isn’t a gorgeous billionaire who dresses as a giant bat to punch muggers off rooftops. Actually, I didn’t much research Gordon’s love interests. But the main two (and really the only two necessary to know) will always be his two wives: Barbara Gordon and Sarah Essen Gordon. In Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One arc, Gordon and Sarah begin an affair. Even Batman’s red-headed buddy has his morality crushing vices. Anyway, cut to many years later, with both Gordon and Sarah divorced, they start dating and get married in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2, written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Michael Netzer:
It had been a rough night for both of them. We cut eight years later to the end of No Man’s Land in early 2000. One final scheme from the Joker. As usual, it’s twisted and’ll end with readers’ tears soaking the pages of their comics. Make sure your keyboards are waterproof.
Y’see, the Joker lies. A lot. The heroes split up to cover the city — but every baby just turns out to be dolls that explode on contact. Cue lots of destruction and close calls. Joker totally hoarded the babies himself. Unfortunately, when they figure out exactly where he’s hiding, only one person happened to already be on the scene.
Beautiful art showing the horror on Gordon’s face mixed with a nauseating angle. We forget that as gimmicky and silly Batman’s supervillains can be, they’re also almost all unrepentant and dangerous killers. Killer Croc eats people, for goodness sake. And the Joker? Nothing funny about his body count. [Ed. Note: Sorry, that type of joke won't happen again.]
Look, the majority of you have read this before and everyone else can probably guess what’s about to happen. I’m not great at subtlety. But I didn’t pick this issue for the upcoming trauma — it’s the reaction from Gordon and Batman that grabbed me. To see Gordon at his weakest and Batman dropping all facade of scary criminal puncher puts both characters in a human light the DC universe sometimes lacks. But let’s continue — and this next scene pains me (and I’m sure you) every time I have to reread it.
When Flashpoint occurred a few years ago to reset the DC universe, Gordon’s marriage to Sarah no longer happened. Any record of her has been erased in the annals of “official” DC history. I don’t mind, they’re fictional characters after all, but it doesn’t erase the emotional impact of Gordon’s immediate mourning and rage. Especially the rage.
I’m fascinated by Batman’s declaration — we know he wouldn’t let Gordon kill the Joker. After all, the commissioner’s partnership with Batman relies on Gordon forever being that one incorruptible cop. We really don’t give Gordon as much credit as a supporting character as we should. He serves as Batman’s father figure just as much as Alfred does. We end today with both a bang and a whimper. Wipe those tears away.
I bring this story to your attention mainly because the next big Superior Spider-Man arc’ll deal with his war against Green Goblin which has been building up since the series began. Our dear cop and former Spider-Man roommate Vin Gonzales counts among Green Goblin’s ranks and I figure if he’s going to show up again (no guarantee, but good chance), we should all take a look at why.
In Amazing Spider-Man #587, written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by John Romita Jr., our hero policeman gets arrested. For a crime he actually committed.
Notice all that shenanigans involving the “tracer killings” and conspiracy and other complicated words? Y’see, when the police would investigate murder scenes in their fair city, the bodies would consistently contain a spider-tracer (the GPS device Spider-Man uses to track bad guys) on them. Well, turns out some of the officers who had a bit of loathing in their heart for the dear web-slinger planted them on the dead dudes they came across. Some officers like Vin Gonzales. He explains himself in Amazing Spider-Man Extra #3, written by Guggenheim and drawn by Fabrizio Fiorentino & Patrick Olliffe.
Remember yesterday’s article? To throw suspicion off, Spider-Man lies that he uses Gonzales as a decoy secret identity. Because of that, Gonzales gets kidnapped and beaten by Ana Kravinoff. Well, not because of that, but that’s what Gonzales believes and Spider-Man let him believe.
Gonzales goes to jail for six months. You know how some inmates find religion in prison? In Amazing Spider-Man #647, written by Fred Van Lente & Zeb Wells and drawn by Max Fiumara & Michael Del Mundo, our supporting character returns to the pages of the comic he premiered in. If you remember my previous article, that’s also the same issue Parker and Carlie Cooper become an official couple. The same Carlie Cooper that Gonzales used to totally crush on.
Unfortunately, he can only make apologies and not confessions of love. Cooper’s into Parker now. And by the way, Parker also slept with Gonzales’ sister Michelle a few dozen issues back. No wonder Gonzales hates Spider-Man. During Harry Osborn’s farewell/Halloween party — he’s taking his newborn son and going underground to escape his father — Gonzales has a goodbye as well.
Look, the Green Goblin name still carries with it a certain amount of dread and fear. But to Harry Osborn? That man has been through way too much crap with his father to be scared anymore. We’re talking drug addictions, revenge plots, supervillainy, chemical overdoses, faking death, kidnappings, etc. His father even steals Osborn’s girlfriend Lily Hollister (the mother of that baby attached to his chest). So while his father can parade around in his wild schizophrenia to accomplish whatever delusional goal he’ll eventually bungle, Osborn will not let Norman dictate anymore aspect of his life. Time to send a message, and Harry knows the only way supervillains listen.
Vin hasn’t shown up in comics since. But at least now if his face pops up in the next few months, you’ll know why. And my goodness, can Harry Osborn be horrifically terrifying.
To make up for the delay of today’s article, I promise it’ll be super long. I’ll combine two articles into one and resume normal schedule on Wednesday. Thanks! I love you guys and girls.
Instead a lengthy introduction (which I’ll still do), let’s pick up as the two best friends Spider-Man and Daredevil hang out/club criminals:
Today, I hope you enjoy Amazing Spider-Man #565-567, written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by Phil Jimenez. We’re sitting in the perfect late-2000s Spider-Man. His marriage has been freshly dissolved by devil fistbumps, and he still struggles to maintain a successful (and financially stable) personal life now without a supermodel waiting at home to ease his major emotional baggage. I know dear Peter Parker makes jokes in costume, but y’know — tears of a clown and whatnot. Though a little less than a hundred issues after this (and they pump out a new issue every other hour, so it’s like two years of real time), he finally gets that fancy job and beautiful girlfriend he so badly deserves. I mean, until he dies a few dozen issues later.
Anyway, Spider-Man currently faces another problem all too familiar and wildly annoying: a Kravinoff.
Comic book rule: if a supervillain’s offspring shows his or her face in comics, there’s a 100% chance he or she is either horrifically emotionally or mentally damaged. Most likely both. Seriously, think of supervillain children: Harry Osborn, Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver, Sin, Cassandra Cain, Jericho/Ravager, Talia al Ghul, etc. And now meet Ana Kravinoff, the lovely daughter of Kraven the Hunter. And like hunting lions in the African savannahs, first you have to weaken it by forcing the lion into unemployment. Then ruining its lion roommate’s life. Finally drag the lion deep into those African sewers for a fun game of run-or-be-speared. Probably. I’m not really much of a hunter.
Speaking of Spider-Man’s roommate, you should learn about Vin Gonzales — a NYPD cop, all around good dude, and with a horrible hand dealt by the oozing aura of Parker’s awful luck.
I think you may have a vague idea of where this is going. The dark lighting and article title pretty much give away Kraven Jr.’s mistake.
Cool eye makeup, right? It doesn’t do much for camouflage, but I figure that matters little when she can just cut out the heart of anyone who gets too close. For reference, Vin has no idea Parker’s Spider-Man. And he’s also wearing Parker’s only outfit. Our hero can’t fight crime in street clothes — Luke Cage already claimed that costume. Though remember in Ultimate Spider-Man when Venom battled Parker in a hoodie in the rain on his school’s football field? That was a great arc.
I know there’s a grammatical error in that last panel. It bothers me too. More importantly, the Daredevil costume looks strange with eyes — and it took me years of reading comics before I even realized Daredevil’s outfit doesn’t include eyeholes. But even as Spider-Daredevil rushes to save his roommate, poor baby Kraven keeps making mistakes. Y’see, New York City includes hundreds of superheroes and supervillains who scurry over every block of the city. Including underground. Like this nasty fellow:
I agree that “interloper” and “defiler” are big words for a giant rat man. Vermin shows up every once in a while when superheroes traverse sewers. Mole people too. Occasionally the Lizard. Luckily, he also provides enough time for Spider-Daredevil to receive information necessary to save poor Vin’s life. And unlike Batman, Spider-Daredevil uses kindness — a far more effective weapon than concussing thugs on rooftop ledges.
MGH gives its user superpowers for a brief amount of time. The same stuff that lil’ Kraven injected Vin with and the same stuff that definitely flows in Ana Kravinoff’s evil veins. Also, with Vermin an established part of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, we shouldn’t allow our antagonist as the only one who gets to rumble with the huge talking rat.
To up the embarrassment for Vermin, did you know Ana Kravinoff’s only about twelve years old? I’m serious. The very last page of this arc (which I skip) lists her birth date as 1996, making her twelve when this story came out. I know she looks like an adult, but kids hit puberty more quickly when they spend their childhoods killing elephants with their bare hands. We shouldn’t sweat the details — Parker has been in his late twenties for like four decades by now.
Baby Kraven’s game has simple rules. Spider-Man runs around the sewers until she impales him. It’s a hunt! Though despite Vin being just a normal cop (usually cannon fodder to showcase supervillains), he still gets his moment. His very brief moment.
Remember, Spider-Daredevil just kicked a preteen in the face. While Parker’s a fantastic fighter, he relies mostly on his speed and spider sense and not really any formal training, which is all Kraven Jr. has. That and a full dose of MGH, I guess.
The full extent of Ana Kravinoff’s superpowers sort of rely on the writer’s wishes. Essentially, MGH serves as comic book technology, which like comic book magic, has potentially no limits to what it can do. Honestly, I’m making the assumption she shot herself up based solely on her matching Spider-Man’s superhuman agility. She could just be simply the world’s most sober and impressive seventh grader. Either way, the fight rages on. Our dynamic duo’ll need some assistance from man’s best sewer friend.
Happy ending for all! Except lil’ Kraven mauled by a human rat, but she totally survives to stalk another day. Still, the next scene (and one necessary to prevent a cop’s natural inclination to question oddities), sets up Vin’s destiny and his eventual fall from grace. But more on that Wednesday.
To be fair, that was a pretty terrible explanation by Spider-Man, but at least the curious stench has faded from Vin Gonzales’ mind. The anger and frustration, though? Oh, that never goes away.
Everything leads up to this! If the stakes don’t reach catastrophic, you’re not reading a superhero story. And Green Arrow, our promiscuous Robin Hood with gorgeous facial hair and latent anger issues, is all that stands in the way from a demonic takeover of Star City. Well, Green Arrow and a few of his buddies.
Like Gotham City, Green Arrow’s hometown also has its fair share of mobsters and crooked cops. Luckily, they also don’t want these demons slicing them in half every time they jimmy a car door. So with the cop/mafia army gathered and led by the town’s lovable vigilante, the pieces are set for a final confrontation with the law-abiding hellspawns. First on the to-do list: weapons.
Step two: training. But I’m going to skip all that. Still, with time being the essence and Oliver Queen and son being the only skilled archers in the group, wouldn’t an extra hand be a nice boost? Like say, the HIV-positive teenager living in Queen’s house who has spent her every waking hour smashing bullseyes?
That’s right. While Batman makes his Robins play detective games to prove their worth, Green Arrow prefers to beats the crap out of his sidekicks. No one sucker punches that well-groomed face.
Right now, Green Arrow doesn’t have a sidekick. His first Speedy, Roy Harper, went the Jason Todd route — guns, name changes (Red Arrow, Arsenal), and other basic anti-hero characteristics. We sometimes forget that Connor Hawke still retains his Green Arrow title from before his father came back to life, making him Queen’s equal, not sidekick.
In one of the coolest moments of this arc, the Green Arrows welcome one more into their ranks. Meet Mia Dearden: high school senior, former prostitute, brand new Speedy. Just in time for the final battle as Star City fights the demons for the fate of their beloved town.
Y’see, demon hordes can be easily distracted. Especially when a thousand mafiosos and policemen whack them with baseball bats. Remember when Batman conversed with Jason Blood last article? Cut off the head and the serpent stops squirming.
You know that when you summon forces of hell that sometimes those wishes can backfire? Before we reach our story’s climax, understand that blood drips freely from Green Arrow’s hand. He has killed before. I mean not anymore, but the Green Arrows do tend to have a baptism by blood when it comes to their little superhero club. Before Green Arrow’s forced to impale the sad magician, we should hear his depressing reasons. Queen’s a better person now, I promise.
Thus, we sit between a rock and a hard place. No wonder superheroes are psychological wrecks.
Meet Mia Dearden: high school senior, former prostitute, brand new Speedy, murderer. She ends up okay, including a fancy Teen Titans membership, a badass superhero costume, and the unrelenting trust of her wonderful mentor. Though since the New 52 reboot, she hangs in limbo with Wally West and Stephanie Brown.
On Wednesday, Connor fights a dragon! I’m milking this Green Arrow thing forever.
To quickly transition between whimsy pranks to city-destroying demons pretty much describes how comics operate. The superhero stakes rise exponentially every five pages or so. And we shouldn’t be surprised or upset — our hero Green Arrow saves the world through archery and doesn’t own clothes with sleeves. As we get to the second act of our story today (and there’ll be a third act on Monday as I figure you guys have more stuff to do today than skim through thirty plus images), Star City must rely on one man to save them from the law-abiding killing machines.
You break the law, you get machete’d. Steal some food? Machete’d. Punch a child? Machete’d. Think of punching a child? Not machete’d — they aren’t psychic. I know you get concerned during events like these. Where’s all of Green Arrow’s friends? Aren’t they flying their invisible planes to the city where a giant blue bubble just popped up?
See? They tried. Suspend your disbelief once again. Unfortunately, without all those cool fighter jets and bazookas that normally incinerate demons, Star City citizens’ll have to rely on the medieval way of exorcisms.
The Arrow Balloon truly sends a terrifying message to would-be evildoers. I know the Arrow Car isn’t working under demon martial law, and I agree that the Arrow Balloon remains far more effective against the flightless demons than the Arrow Hang Glider or something. But this may be the first time that superheroes have ever arrow barraged a squadron of hell monsters from their personal hot air balloon. Considering how many times the SHIELD billion dollar helicarrier explodes, it may save tons of money to invest in some balloons of their own.
Now, to figure out who summoned these demons, they only have one lead. An unfortunate one. But to see how truly similar Green Arrow and Batman are, the Riddler interrogation should tell you everything you need.
See? That’s how Batman would react too. Superheroes really hate games.
I love this, not just because Green Arrow’s wittier than Batman — his snark borders on a petty vindictive type of wit. But I think that’s why he wears his goofy costume — it’s a psychological underestimation? I mean, Queen wears the same hat as Peter Pan. And Riddler totally deserves a few of his bones moved around. He should know how superheroes act when innocent lives are helplessly lost. Good guys make poor losers.
Y’see, when some multimillionaires have their family murdered, they go train with ninjas for a decade before coming back and grappling around the city as a bat. Others call forth ancient rituals to summon hordes of monsters to kill anyone who tries to shoplift Doritos. Different strokes for different folks. At least now that the two Green Arrows know who’s behind this whole fiasco, it’s a simple matter to arrive at the man’s mansion and take out the conduit. Piece of cake.
War on Monday as the Star City army battles the demon force! Spoiler alert: a lot of machete’ing.