Green Arrow loses his sense of humor

More Fun Comics 91Superheroes have conquered the silver screen, something that no one who saw the first Superman movie serials or Captain America starring Matt Salinger thought would ever happen. Joss Whedon and Chris Nolan are the masters of the universe, but where can superheroes go from there? Television of course!

I was very excited for Arrow because it would finally give Green Arrow a little recognition, and because if it turned out to be good, I wouldn’t have to wait two years for another fix. However, it seems like the producers of Arrow are paying too much attention to blockbuster superhero films.

Arrow is dark, literally. Most of the action takes place at night, and the moody lighting means it’s sometimes difficult to see which bad buy “The Hood” (this T.V. Green Arrow needs an image consultant) is pummeling.

It’s not to say that the fights aren’t bad or undramatic, they are just out of character. The comic book Green Arrow (at least the one I know) is a bit more jovial. He’s a peace-loving hippie who cracks jokes, annoys Green Lantern, and has a beard. What happened to that guy?

The new Oliver Queen is scarred (mentally and physically) from his time on a (mostly) deserted island, and is obsessed with a quest for vengeance and redemption.

The television show’s darker Green Arrow is probably the result of an identity crisis. Oliver Queen’s alter ego has always been a rip-off of two characters: Robin Hood and Batman. The Robin Hood parallel goes without saying, and Green Arrow is often described as “Batman with a bow and arrow” because, like Bruce Wayne, he’s a rich guy with no superpowers and a sense of justice.

Arrow’s Ollie tries really hard to be Bruce Wayne. He’s got a secret base in an old warehouse and, like Bruce, he feigns aloofness to distance himself from his alter ego. Ollie may have gone too far, though: Bruce maintained control of his company, giving him resources that could be used in his war on crime. Ollie abdicated in a public display of fake drunkenness.

It’s not surprising that the people writing Green Arrow want him to be more like Batman than Robin Hood; only one of them wears tights. The connection was also downplayed in Green Arrow: Year One, where the costume starts out as a mossy piece of sailcloth that a marooned Ollie wears as a babushka.

So the television Green Arrow is very different from the comic book one. Is he better? I think the change is a bit drastic. Batman works as a dark character because he has always been that way; Green Arrow hasn’t.

Will no one take a more lighthearted Oliver Queen seriously? I don’t know, but not every superhero can be a brooding creature of the night, especially a guy who dresses up in bright green and hunts bad guys with a bow.


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  1. #1 by wwayne on January 26, 2013 - 10:31 am

    In 1991 Todd McFarlane wrote and drew a Spider Man story arc, “Masques” (Spider Man # 6 – 7). Hobgoblin was the villain, and Ghost Rider appeared as Peter’s unconventional ally.
    It is crystal clear that Mc Farlane created that story arc having already in mind Spawn and his universe. Ghost Rider uses his chains and Hobgoblin moves his cowl exactly like Spawn does, the atmosphere and the setting are more or less the same, and the horror touch was another thing Masques has in common with Spawn.
    This is the main reason why that story arc is wonderful. Mc Farlane seized an ironic and light – hearted character and threw him in a nightmarish world, where Peter can’t just punch his enemy while making fun of him and then go back to Mary Jane: things are not that simple in McFarlane’s world, because the enemies he chooses and the damages they cause can’t be stopped just throwing a punch or two. Mc Farlane is a real genius.
    What does Masques have to do with Arrow? Simple: McFarlane gave Spider Man a dark touch without distorting the character, and this is what Arrow’s writers should have done.

  2. #2 by Baby Nightsoil on January 28, 2013 - 6:20 am

    I really miss the hippy-progressive element of Green Arrow. Not only is it missing from Arrow, it’s also missing from the New 52.

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