Wow. So things just got dark for Green Arrow. In Hunter’s Moon by Mike Grell, Green Arrow is in Seattle in the late 1980’s. The crimes that he fights are a HUGE shift from the petty crimes he tackled in the collection from the 50’s and 60’s I’ve read previously. In this collection it spans, kidnapping, bioterrorism, and gay-bashing. But what I appreciate about the crimes and the way Green Arrow handles them is that the superhero becomes the vehicle for the reader to “fight back” against the crimes they see in their community.
Which is why I liked the grittiness. It makes the superhero seem more, what’s the word, real? When the crimes the superhero faces are similar to those that we readers see in our day and age, I feel like the character actually becomes a hero and not another historical figure fighting crimes in a by-gone era. While that’s not bad, it doesn’t allow me to feel connected to the character.
The only critique I have for this collection is that there wasn’t enough time to really process the crimes. When the streets are filled with gay bashers and Green Arrow tracks down the king pin of the gang leading out on the attacks and takes the guilt to justice in just ten pages, it seems to downplay the severity of the crime.
But then I wonder if this isn’t the writer’s compromise. The writer wants to tackle the issues of the day, but knows that they have a diverse audience and some may either feel overwhelmed with such a prolonged exposure to such heavy crimes or they feel it’s too preachy. So at the end of it all I give the writer kudos for evening bringing up these issues in a graphic novel. At least he/she is starting a dialogue.