Thursday, August 30, 2007

No respect for Green Arrow

I've been trying to warm up to Green Arrow because Black Canary has. If I can't like him, then it's possibly going to affect my opinion of her for marrying him, and I'd like to keep liking her.

So, when I read this, I was prepared to dismiss it and keep on trying to like Green Arrow anyway. After all, Devon lists several perfectly good reasons to not like GA, but adds "the constant political posturing foisted upon the character" to the list. That sounds like Devon's stretching for another reason not to like him. There's no doubt that GA's been a jerk in his most important relationships, but to claim that writers have "foisted" political posturing on him isn't fair.

First of all, GA's agenda is far more social than political, but more importantly is that his passion for those issues have been a part of his character for way longer than his relationship buttholery. Why does Devon think that that part's been "foisted" on him while accepting that the womanizing, child-abandonment, and lying are all natural parts of his character? My first thought was that passion about social injustice is actually a positive thing and so it makes Devon's point better if that's not really part of who GA is, but just something that writers stick on to further their own agendas. And that kind of logical trickery makes me want to toss Devon's whole argument aside.

But I can't, because by the end of the essay, I agree with him about why Black Canary shouldn't have agreed to marry Green Arrow.

"...Oliver Queen tells his ex, Black Canary, the reason he wanted to become a better man so he could get her back and then, proposes to her...Black Canary proved day-in and day-out she was better off without him. He never made the choice to actively become better off without her. He never asked himself whether or not she was better off without him.

"We've all taken our own personal walks through hell, confronted personal demons and the like. We've all taken personal rolls of the dice and taken bets on ourselves. It should be done out of a fundamental belief in self. In this undertaking, one should become a better person for self, first and foremost. Not from a place of rejection. Kids, do NOT try this at home. That way lies failure."

I think I disagree that this is further evidence that Green Arrow's an a-hole, but it certainly does make him an unhealthy choice for a husband. I applaud Barbara Gordon for basically saying as much in the most recent Birds of Prey (#109). I also totally get that Black Canary -- who, in spite of Green Arrow's many faults, is still in love with him -- wouldn't be so receptive to that advice. But I love that Barbara said what needed to be said. Black Canary can't hear it now, but she'll likely remember it later when it's too late to take the advice.

There's been a lot of talk about how Green Arrow -- the Oliver Queen version anyway -- isn't on the cover of the first couple of issues of the new Green Arrow/Black Canary series. And how the solicits for the book hint vaguely at "what's happened to Green Arrow." It makes me kinda sad that I'm actually hoping something awful happens to him and that Black Canary's heart is broken quickly and soon, rather than lingeringly and after a nasty relationship that goes on for a while. They were once a nice couple, but that was when she was the type of character who could just quietly support him. She's grown and improved though since then and nowadays, I can't imagine that happening. As Devon says, she's better off without him.

Edited to add: She's better off without Green Arrow as he's currently written. As I explained here, I used to really like Green Arrow and even defended him against other critics, but the way he's been portrayed recently by Judd Winick and others makes him indefensible. I hope that changes.


BradyDale said...

If you want to love Green Arrow then I think you should read THE SOUNDS OF VIOLENCE by Kevin Smith. If you don't have a little sniffle on the last page from what Ollie says, you have no heart.

Michael May said...

I did. And I loved both Smith's run and Brad Meltzer's story right after. Green Arrow used to be a big hero of mine, and it's through him that I became a Black Canary fan.

I should've included a link in this post, but I talked about my history with the two characters here. The short version though is that Judd Winick ruined Green Arrow for me. Hopefully not irredeemably, but I just don't like Ollie as Winick writes him.


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