Green Arrow, Quiver
by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester
(DC Comics, 2003)

Green Arrow died in an airplane explosion a few years back, heroically sacrificing himself to save others.

Superman was there at the time, but couldn't save the green-garbed bowman; Oliver Queen's native stubbornness partly to blame, although Superman's option would have been severely crippling. After Ollie's death, his newfound son took up the slack -- and the name, Green Arrow.

Of course, many readers (myself among them) wanted the real deal back, despite a growing frustration with comicdom's inability to leave a dead character dead. (Marvel's Uncle Ben is probably the only major deceased character who hasn't been resurrected in some form or another.) And writer Kevin Smith was the man for the job.

In Quiver, the first story arc of the new series, Green Arrow appears on the streets of Star City, his old stomping grounds, fighting street-level crime with makeshift weapons and very little memory. After finding a benefactor to fund his return to the hero scene, Ollie seems to regain a functional set of memories -- but they're years out of date. He doesn't remember at least 10 years of his life, up to and including his death. How he returned to the mortal coil is a complete blank.

Friends in the superhero community are happy to have him back -- or, particularly in the Batman's case, suspicious of his return. But, for readers, it's up to Smith to provide a compelling, credible (in comic-book terms, of course) excuse for GA's resurrection.

Without revealing too much here, suffice it to say the story revolves largely around a powerful friend's feeling of guilt and, oddly, Superman's lack of personal hygiene. The story of Ollie's return resurrects an unusual pair of minor characters from DC's more light-hearted fare in the mid-1960s, adding new depth and a much grimmer backstory to the plot. It also brings Ollie back into contact with many important relationships in his prior life, and introduces a new character, Mia, to the cast.

While my favorite run for Green Arrow remains the Mike Grell years, beginning with The Longbow Hunters in 1987, Smith's reinvention of the character was successful in many ways. Phil Hester's art is not what I'd have chosen for the series -- his characters tend towards the awkward and unattractive -- it moves the story along and gets us where we need to be. And, at the end of the day, we have Oliver Queen back where he belongs, ready for a new set of adventures.

by Tom Knapp
4 March 2006

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