For some, superheroes dying and coming back to life is a thing so common they start believing comic companies are slowly running out of ideas and starting to cannibalize each other. In a sense, it’s true: Deaths and rebirths have become common occurrence because they almost always guarantee sales. On the other hand, I’m an arts student. I have seen about a gazillion of paintings, many sharing the same subject (naked women, Jesus Christ, fruits, musicians, animals and sometimes a combination of some or all of these). This makes me realize that, sometimes, what’s important is not the story you tell, but how you tell it. With that in mind, Green Arrow: Quiver is one of the best stories about a superhero coming back to life.
The premise is fairly simple: after a decade of absence, Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) returns to Star City to clean it. There si something odd about Queen’s behaviour, about his costume, about the way he speaks. He doesn’t seem to remember that he died, that he moved to Seattle, that he wore a hood, or any of the details of the 1980s series. It’s as if he came back to life right on the heels of his career as a hard traveling hero in the politically changing and counter-culture expanding America of the 1970s. Which raises the question: where is Queen’s traveling companion? What happened to Hal Jordan (Green Lantern)?
All of these questions and more find answers as the emerald archer meets his old allies of the Justice League and goes to Heaven and Hell, all incredibly scripted by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) who finds a way to make the story both heartfelt and funny. Phil Hester has a lively drawing style reminiscent of Bruce Timm’s designs in the Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited cartoon series which introduced a lot of kids who grew up in the 90’s were introduced to Green Arrow.
This book might not be a good start for anyone who is not already familiar with the Green Arrow. The resurrected Oliver Queen is straight out of the Dennis O’Neil and Neil Adams’ series from the 1970s. The O’Neill/Adams’ series was politically charged (If not earnest) which explains a lot about the behaviour and attitudes of this man out of time. Combined with how rooted in DC Comics continuity the story is makes for a read that could turn off people who may only know the character from Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe. If a reader doesn’t mind, or care, about the continuity, this is a great book and you should not let it drop out of your radar.
This book is definitely worth your while. There’s a B plot that is not often used and feels rushed in the end. Please note that this was published as Green Arrow 1 to 10 in 2001 and 2002, meaning that this is not really then end of the story.