So I finally got the Showcase Presents: Green Arrow volume 1 and started reading it last night. It’s…well…it’s not the best silver age stuff I’ve read. And boy, this isn’t the Kirby art that people talk about when they talk about Kirby art.
For those not in the know, Green Arrow is the living embodiment of the phrase, “When all you have is a bow and arrow, every problem looks like something that can be solved with a bow and arrow.” Green Arrow is in actuality wealthy playboy Oliver Queen, who, with his teen sidekick Speedy (in actuality Queen’s ward, Roy Harper) drive around in a car equipped with a catapult, fighting crime. You might think that archery skills are pretty limited, but in addition to being a stellar marksman, Green Arrow has a plethora of trick arrows, each more absurd than the last.
In fact, I can’t figure out which is the most ridiculous yet. There’s boxing-glove arrow, which defies all known laws of aerodynamics and physics by not only flying through the air unerringly despite having a big frickin boxing glove at the end of it, but also by striking with enough force to KO its target. But how can you call the boxing glove arrow silly when (a) it’s pretty much Green Arrow’s signature weapon and (b) there’s also the mummy arrow, rain arrow, two-stage rocket arrow, and the ever-useful fake uranium arrow (I’m not making any of these up.) And I love that the way it’s written, GA and Speedy ALWAYS have aqua-lung arrows handy, just in case. They never pack arrows they think they’ll need, they always happen to have the required arrow, so I guess they’ve got them all at every moment.
I haven’t gotten far in, but last night I totally dug the story where this scientist had enough foresight to specify in his will that, should he die, Oliver Queen should get these five particular items, just in case his death wasn’t really his death and had been faked and he had been kidnapped instead and brought to a place that the five items could somehow point to and somehow Oliver Queen could figure this out and get the information to someone who could save him such as maybe Green Arrow. Fortunately, that’s EXACTLY what happened! Meanwhile, on Earth-1, where that scientist just plain got hit by a bus, Green Arrow is STILL trying to figure out where those five items are leading him.
I’m very excited because not only do I have Bob Haney’s magic awaiting me in the second half of the book, but also the appearance of one of my all-time favorite villains: CLOCK KING! (Always remember: he really digs clocks.)
Oh, oh! I have to mention one great disappointment. The opening story features all the international Green Arrows (see, Oliver Queen is just America’s Green Arrow, though of course, he’s the most well-respected) getting together. I was deeply saddened to see that the Green Arrow of England does NOT wear a monocle! Dammit, I have certain expectations when it comes to national stereotypes, and although I respect the fact that Japanese Green Arrow drives a rickshaw, French Green Arrow wears a beret, and African Green Arrow is white, it’s a well-known fact that all English people wear monocles.
All is forgiven, though, because of this bit of dialogue:
Red Dart: I wanted to help you catch Muggsy Miller…He’s out on bush parole, you know.
Speedy: Sure, we’ve caught the Muggsy Miller gang, but what did he mean by “bush parole”?
Green Arrow: That’s a way of saying Muggsy escaped from prison!
So… “Bush Parole”. A term meaning someone who should be in prison, but isn’t. I LIKE it!