Green Arrow #45
Writer: Julie & Shawna Benson
Artists: Javier Fernandez
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev
Variant Cover: Kaare Andrews
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Deron Bennett
SPOILERS FOR HEROES IN CRISIS #1 AHEAD, BE WARNED…
Previously in Green Arrow…
Oliver Queen, the Emerald Archer of Seattle, was facing the threat of new villain “The Citizen” when former protege and partner in crime, Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, stopped by in order to tell Ollie he was going into therapy at The Sanctuary to treat his drug addiction…
Previously in Heroes in Crisis…
An unknown killer attacked and murdered almost every single patient of the Sanctuary, including Roy Harper…
Summary with limited spoilers
The issue opens with Roy’s funeral, his adopted brother and fellow Spokane tribesmen Bird delivering his eulogy as he speaks to the many aspects of Roy’s life, as flashbacks highlight Roy’s time as a sidekick to Green Arrow, partner to Red Hood, and teammate of the Titans. While this is going on, Ollie’s narration shows he’s trying to process what happened. As Diana Prince then delivers more words of comfort to Roy’s mourners, and in tribute to him, Ollie spirals further into despair and guilt, blaming himself for not being there for Roy. As Diana’s speech concludes, Ollie confronts her and Clark, now making his way to the next stage of mourning, rage. He lashes out at Clark, punching him in the face. He blames Clark for the Sanctuary’s failure, the Justice League’s failure to protect their own, and Bruce Wayne’s absence from the funeral (Diana explains Bruce is still investigating what happened). Diana’s able to defuse Ollie’s anger, pointing out that it’s hardly the right time to be attacking his friends. Oliver then turns to Hal Jordan and begs him to use his Green Lantern ring to bring Roy back. But Hal has to remind him that the ring is incapable of this. Oliver’s rage rises back up again, decrying the whole League for Roy’s death, and eluding to the secret weapon Martian Manhunter entrusted him with to take down the League. This leads to J’onn J’onzz telepathically trying to calm Oliver down, After harsh, telepathic words thrown at the Martian, Oliver breaks down, sobbing as he wishes he could exchange everything he has, his company, Green Arrow, all of it, just to bring Roy back. But both J’onn & Ollie know that won’t work. The comic cuts back to the funeral, as Donna Troy, then delivers more words in tribute to Roy, and Oliver continues to stew over his failures towards looking after Roy. Ultimately, it’s only Dinah who’s able to get through to Oliver, and the comic closes with Oliver at last, delivering his final words to Roy.
Opinions on story and art
Wow. I admit, after last month’s issue, I had lost a lot of faith in this creative team’s ability to tell compelling stories with Green Arrow. But this issue? COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY. I hate Roy being dead. I hate it. It hurts that DC’s latest big event maxiseries had to open with killing off several characters I love, including Arsenal. But Shawna & Julie Benson, alongside Javier Fernandez & John Kalisz, deliver the absolute BEST tribute possible with this issue. All the while showing exactly how Oliver would react to the sad news. Throughout the story, we see Green Arrow bounce between the various stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, and just starting to reach acceptance at the story’s end. The art is absolutely BREATHTAKING, capturing both the bright days of Oliver’s early adventures with Roy and the emerald archer stewing in despair surrounded by shadows. The various montage pages showing Roy’s life really highlight how great a character Roy was. It makes the decision for DC to kill him off hurt all the more. And there are so many great dialogues touches from the Benson sisters, such as Ollie hinting at the weapon J’onn gave him to defeat the league, or even some slight shade thrown by Donna seemingly at Diana for Roy being the one person who was always there for her. As someone who loathes how Donna & Diana’s relationship has been handled since Rebirth started, that was very satisfying for me. And I did truly love seeing Diana deliver some words on Roy’s life. It’s a shame Wonder Woman and Arsenal didn’t interact very often before this happened.
Now the biggest criticism one could lobby at this issue is how it stops the current story-arc with Citizen dead in its tracks to tell this story, but showing Oliver dealing with Roy’s death is I feel essential and not doing so would’ve done a MASSIVE disservice to both Green Arrow and Arsenal. And seeing Donna’s reaction to Roy’s death was likewise appreciated. If you’re a long-time fan of the Titans, regardless of whether or not you’re currently following Green Arrow, you should definitely pick up this issue.