Green Arrow Year One No. 1 (of four)
Published by DC Comics. Plot and script by Andy Diggle. Pencils and inks by Jock.
The Deal: The first issue of Green Arrow Year One, DC's re-telling of Green Arrow's first year as a costumed superhero. Now, some folks reading this may ask, "Who the hell is Green Arrow?" Well, he's this super dude who dresses like Robin Hood and shoots green trick arrows at bad guys. The character has been around for decades and recently starred in his own series (which got cancelled a few months ago). Green Arrow Year One is the first salvo in a slew of comics designed to tell stories from the first year in the lives of some DC icons and B-listers. This series, part one of a four-issue limited series, is by Andy Diggle and Jock -- two creators who gained fame at DC's adult imprint Vertigo.
The Good: Diggle and Jock have created an incredibly accessible and fresh retelling of Green Arrow's origin. Diggle's story is infused with a great sense of mystery and a large dose or characterization. His take on Oliver Queen is modern, but not totally divorced from the classic essence of the character. Jock's art is edgy and minimal; the best way to describe his work -- at least for the fanboys -- is to say it's the complete opposite of the highly rendered art of guys like Jim Lee (who currently draws All Star Batman and Robin). In addition, the color (by a dude named David Baron) adds a ton of mood and tone to the comic.
The Bad: This issue is not exactly packed with wall-to-wall action. But, really, what were you expecting? This being a tale of Green Arrow before he came the Green Arrow we know today, the story doesn't lend itself to a bunch of colorful super villains. And, of course, if you don't give a rat's ass about Green Arrow, you won't like this book.
The Verdict: I dig it. It's a tight, compelling, contemporary comic. Some folks may scream bloody murder about the ret-conning of Green Arrow's origin tale, but Diggle didn't change dogmatic elements.
The Order No. 1
Plot and script by Matt Fraction. Pencils by Barry Kitson. Inks by Mark Morales.
The Deal: If you've been following Marvel Comics then you know that a few months ago all the company's super folks had a big "Civil War." Once the dust settled, being a superhero in the Marvel Universe became illegal and legendary hero Iron Man was named director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Iron Man's first order of business after taking over S.H.I.E.L.D.? Create an initiative to put a superhero team in every state. Which brings us to this particular comic. The Order, which stars the super team The Order, follows the exploits of California's chosen superhero team. And this issue kicks off the team's adventures and introduces the comic's unique M.O.
The Good: I can honestly say, I've never read a comic book quite like The Order. It's a fairly novel, and odd, approach to super heroics. From advance press on the book, I thought it was going to focus on the celebrity side of crime fighting -- ala Milligan-era X-Force. The Order does touch on the concept of celebrity, but it touches on a lot of other themes, too. Fraction has truly crafted something new -- an amalgamation of several ideas that add up to something novel. The characters, mostly brand new, aren't based on cookie-cutter models you're used to seeing in comics. And the dialogue that comes out of their mouths is realistic and grounded. Kitson's art is amazing; it's the best work he's ever done. His storytelling is fast-paced, his characters are emotive and his line work is clean and precise.
The Bad: Fraction should not have screwed around with Pepper Potts. Let's leave it at that.
The Verdict: Buy this one. I think it's the beginning of something different -- in a good way.
Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com.