When DC announced back in the day that Kevin Smith's stint as writer of Green Arrow wasn't going to last forever, I was as concerned as most other Green Arrow fans that the next guy be up to snuff. Smith's run on the book was a freakin' thrill to read, so who could possibly compare?
I didn't know who Brad Meltzer was, but when they announced him I was a little encouraged that he was a successful novelist who liked sneaking geeky comic references into his books. That meant he had both the talent and the passion to do a good job on what, at the time, was my favorite superhero. As I read his Green Arrow story, "The Archer's Quest," I wasn't disappointed.
Meltzer's story was very different from Smith's in feel, but it communicated that same love of What Had Come Before that Smith's did. And it ended with a shocking revelation about Green Arrow that, while completely in-character for the hero, completely changed the way I looked at him as well. Later, reading interviews with Meltzer, I learned that that was the point.
His effectiveness in doing so is hotly debated amongst comics fans, but I admire Meltzer's desire to leave characters profoundly changed by the stories he tells about them. The biggest weakness of corporate-owned superhero comics is the pressure to maintain the status quo, and even if I don't always agree with a particular point in his execution, I love that Meltzer has the desire (and the political clout) to tell daring stories with these characters.
I also love his attitude about genres. I got to interview him once and asked him about it. "I think they're a trap," he said, "simply because a 'genre' implies rules. And there's no greater restriction to writing than to say a certain story has to have 'rules.' A thriller needs nothing more than danger to the protagonist and a good story. You don't need a love interest, or a private eye, or a stunning courtroom scene. It needs nothing but a good story. It can be a Western with dogs -- but if it's good, it's good."