Green Arrow fights a dragonPosted: 11/20/2013
Superman would just punch it into space. City saved, make out with Lois. But poor Green Arrow, with no superpowers, has to take out the mythical creature the old fashioned way — lots of running and praying. Today, Connor Hawke, the Buddhist Green Arrow and Oliver Queen’s son, gets to prove his worth in the heart of China against an unstoppable and unbeatable monster in Connor Hawke: Dragon’s Blood #4-5, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Derec Donovan. Though just because Hawke can’t throw the dragon into the sun, how bad can it be? He’s in the Justice League, for goodness sake.
Well, still super scary then. The dragon possesses all those normal dragon qualities. It doesn’t talk like the Hobbit one, but I think Marvel claimed that turf a long time ago. Marvel dragons can be surprisingly wordy.
Speaking just from an artistic standpoint, this miniseries (which is fantastic and you should read all of it) gets notice for restoring Hawke’s Asian features. We keep forgetting he’s a quarter African and a quarter Korean to go along with Queen’s lily white genes. If you noticed in the past story I featured, while Hawke still does lots of cool stuff, he looks just as white as Queen, and that’s not fair to readers who grew up with Hawke as a multiracial role model. Though full disclosure, I’m quite pale myself so my opinion doesn’t really hold much ground in this matter.
Actually, as I edit this piece, I’m not done with my soapbox. Look, I don’t talk about myself much (because I don’t wear a cape and punch bad guys), but I’m an inner city school teacher. And my students love superheroes as all preteens do, but their favorites — Batman, Spider-Man, Thor — are as white as they come. Kids originally read comic books for the fantasy, the escapism of wearing a costume and capturing criminals. Why do so many superheroes have teenage sidekicks? Why did Captain Marvel outsell Superman in the 1950s? And with kids’ attention today competing with iPads, TV, and pop culture — a large chunk of their morals are developing outside of their parents’ influence. Seeing superheroes who look like them acting for the good of the people, protecting not just their family and friends but complete strangers as well, has a much larger effect than you can imagine. Thank god for Miles Morales. Thank god for Luke Cage. Heck, bring on more Vibe. The girls even enjoy Wonder Woman, who like modern literary protagonists (Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, etc.), will always remain a far superior role model than the current celebrities sticking stuff up their butts and molesting dwarfs.
Oh yeah, and Hawke was battling a dragon.
Did you know rats can do that? They can also run up walls. Sleep tight tonight. Strategically, Hawke retreating from his arena into a position where he won’t get incinerated sounds like a good move — but bringing the fight to the civilians creates far more challenges than just sticking the dragon in the heart with a single holy dragon-killing arrow.
The best part of having ancient evils meet modern technology is seeing a subway car slam into a dragon. It’s a joy that leaves my adolescent self to crawl out of my agape mouth and cartwheel around my living room. Ready for the exciting showdown? With his opening created, Hawke finally gets to show off his dragon-slaying skills.
Okay, that’s bad news. If you read the legend earlier in the miniseries which I have totally skipped, the dragon’s hide can’t be penetrated. The old timey archers defeated only after a single scale broke off during a previous sword attack. Luckily, we once again get the beauty of ancient evils and modern technology combining. No swords necessary this time.
We forget the importance of a supporting cast. I know having Robin swing in and kick the bad guy right as he’s about to shoot Batman usually results in less suspense and more deus ex machina, but it also creates more storytelling options than Batman mustering up the final bursts of his strength to overpower the Two Face with a knee in the face for the eighth or ninth time. Though I would never get sick of seeing that.
The city’s saved. Once again the people stay safe, along with a heavy dose of overtime for the clean up crew. Because while Hawke’ll rescue the citizens from certain death, he’s far too busy to pick up a shovel and help dig. That and one more issue of this miniseries left to go. On Friday, get ready for a thrilling surprise, because I don’t know what I’m covering yet.