NtF Review Arrow #1
Caliburn24 here with the comic book that serves as a companion to the Arrow program. It is released before the finale of the show, kudos to Marc Guggenheim for doing so, and also DC which is more responsive than Marvel which had a few comic books on Avengers before they fizzled out. Hopefully, they will do a better job on the Shield tv series. Guggenheim is the executive producer for the CW show. While Arrow is a hit, he is also responsible for the other green DC hero, Green Lantern for the 2011 movie (though he was one of a committee of four writers on that project). The show appears to be a re-boot of the character played by Justin Hartley on Smallville. An earlier, Arrow: Special Edition #1, was released as a giveaway with the show’s writers and Geoff Johns scripting the issue, entitled “Test Drive.” The art is by Omar Francia. This issue has Oliver as a millionaire playboy, six years before the show’s time, driving in a sportscar and stopped for speeding. The officer, Hilton, is about to arrest Oliver, but his family connections lets him go free. It flashes to the current day, where a businessman, Mr. Patel, flying in a helicopter when an arrow flies in. This is followed by a full page splash of Green Arrow leaping toward the helicopter. Detective Hilton sees that Patel has gotten away, but then sees the man pinned by arrows with a note that reads, “Drive Safe.” The last page is a splash of Green Arrow posed on a rooftop with his bow.
The stories of Arrow #1 were released in digital form, but it is nice to see them as comic books. The first issue has a photo cover of Stephen Amell as Arrow. The story of the comic is also credited to Andrew Kreisberg, the other executive producer on Arrow. The comic book is divided into three parts with the first, “Time’s Arrow” by Guggenheim and surprisingly penciled by Mike Grell, who of course is well known for his limited series, Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. Part two, “Prey”, is scripted by Ben Sokolowski who co-wrote the episode “Damaged” that had Deathstroke as the villain. The third part, “Fear”, has scripting duties by Beth Schwartz, one of the writers for the show, she co-wrote “Vendetta” which stars the Huntress. Note that the Huntress has been on television before, played by Ashley Scott in the Birds of Prey show that ran for one season. The first part flashes back to Oliver Queen, played on the show by Stephen Amell, as he thinks back to the island and this goes through the pilot episode. Oliver talks to his sister, Thea, played by Willa Holland, whom he calls Speedy. A nod to changing his sidekick to Roy Harper to a female Arrow? Grell’s artwork perfectly captures the gritty realism of the show, which most likely mirrors his work on Longbow Hunters, and also the likeness of the actors especially the bearded Oliver on the island.
The second story basically sums up the main story that runs in the show with the hooded vigilante (not taking up the name Green Arrow yet), taking down corrupt politicians running Starling City (a slight alteration of the comic book Star City). The artwork, by Sergio Sandoval, has sharp lines similar to Jock’s pencils. A businessman, Scott Morgan, is confronted by the vigilante and is given six hours to turn over information. He travels to his power plant, kills an employee with the disc, and tries to run. Morgan’s bodyguard, who worked for the Israeli military, fights Arrow, but is defeated. Morgan blows up the power plant and later he meets Oliver’s mother, Moira, she is played by Susanna Thompson, who is in league with Mr. Merlyn, played by John Barrowman. Merlyn kills Morgan and asks Moira about the mysterious archer. His son, Tommy, played by Colin Donnell, is from Oliver’s playboy days. It is interesting to see if the show is going to make him Green Arrow’s supervillain rival, similar to Lex Luthor in Smallville or does John Barrowman get that part? Merlyn is older and Barrowman is seen on the show fencing so that may hint that he may be a killer.
The last part gives an unseen part that gives the origin of China White, she is the villainess that runs through the show played by Kelly Hu. China White first appeared in the limited series, Green Arrow: Year One, by Andy Diggle and Jock. Of course, Oliver’s former bodyguard, now his undercover operative is named Diggle. Her background is not shown in that comic and she is arrested at the end of the limited series. The artwork, by Jorge Jimenez, brings comic book linework with a hint of a manga influence. It opens with her confrontation with Green Arrow. She is being by the leader of the Chinese Triad who thinks back to when she was a girl. Chien Na Wei is running around the house when her father slaps her. The leader comes in and guns down her family which turns a strand of her hair white. He leaves her alive because he senses her “potential.” The next day, she is mocked by the girls in school until she slams a pencil into the hand of her tormentor. Na Wei runs off and sees the leader. The next scene has her dying her hair with hydrogen peroxide. There are two more issues that will explore more of the world of Arrow. The show does a great job of flashing back to the island so we don’t get the full picture of how he became Green Arrow while moving the story along with his quest to redeem his father.