Green Arrow/Green Lantern, Vol. 2

The Green Arrow/Green Lantern story arch matures in Volume two.  The authors have continued to tackle real-world issues that reflect the turbulent social period of the 70’s.  From Speedy being a heroin addict to racism, Green Arrow and Green Lantern use their superhero status and skills to do the best they can to keep society together. The authors, however, are using the green duo to bring these gritty issues to the forefront of discussion, which is what literature is supposed to do, isn’t it?

GA GLLike a good wine, the Green Arrow comics have improved with age.  I also think that having Green Lantern as a counterpoint to Green Arrow was good call on behalf of the authors/publishers.  Green Arrow can sometimes be grumpy and cranky while Green Lantern can be naive and vapid.  In Volume 2 Green Lantern finally has removed his rose-colored glasses, but hasn’t lost his people-are-inherently-good outlook.  This bodes well for Green Lantern who has succumbed to an intensely cynical mood, partly due to Speedy’s drug habit and partly because he (GA) is broke.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews of the Green Arrow cannon, this is my first foray into the comic book world.  Being a literature teacher I’ve heard all of the arguments why comics are “bad” for kids to read.  And I have to say that the comics from the 40’s and 50’s are definitely flat and mind numbing.  But as the series has aged, I feel that there’s more grit/meat/content/purpose to the comics as the writers use their medium to speak to their audience.   These more mature comics I can support.  The purpose of literature is, after all, to get the reader to ponder the author’s view of a societal issue so that we are thinking about our own relationship to the observation.  If a comic book writer can accomplish this, than hats off to him/her.  I’d rather my kids/students would be reading something that will make them better thinkers and educated about life’s highs and lows.

Advertisements

Green Arrow Green Lantern Vol. 1

Finally.  Two of my favorite superheroes in one comic book!  Green Arrow Green Lantern, Vol 1 by Dennis O’Neil was a nice break from the Green Arrow-as-lead-hero graphic novels that I’ve been reading.  While each newer edition keeps improving on Green Arrow’s cannon, it is nice to have something new thrown into the mix.  In this edition, Green Lantern and Arrow join forces to find out what it means to be American and fight evil a long the way.  What’s not made clear is why they are finding out what America’s heart and soul is nor if they found it.  But there were some good moments a long the way.

GL GAWhat was nice is that Green Lantern stole the show from Green Arrow.  In the 80’s Green Arrow seems to have become cynical and cranky.  He seems to fight evil not because it’s evil but because he’s angry and wants to vent it onto the hapless crooks who cross his path.  Green Lantern on the other hand is naive as they come.  This combination created an interesting conflict in this volume.  Green Lantern is challenged to see that the world is not separated into clear-cut good and evil. Sometimes grey areas exist.  Green Arrow was pushed to get out of his mood and to actually like people and do something good for the well-being of others.

So who actually stole the show? Black Canary!  She springs up half-way through this volume and completely steals the show.  She doesn’t shy away from any confrontation and can judo chop like anyone’s business!  I’ll stand by her any day.  Maybe because I don’t know much about her character, but I enjoyed that it wasn’t just Green Arrow in this volume.  Having the other characters helped to round out the plot.  I’m looking forward to the next volume.  Hopefully it will continue to improve on what’s come before it.  This is definitely a must read for those that are attempting to read the Green Arrow cannon.

To read other reviews like this from other readers, check out cannonballread.com

The Green Arrow, Vol. 1

This was a tough read.  Partly because it was a collection of comics spanning several decades, authors, and traditions, and partly because it’s comic books written in a very elementary style.  It felt like reading Dick and Jane but substituting Green Arrow and Speedy.  After finishing the collection, I realized that this just proves the important distinction between comic books and graphic novels.  Comic books, at least these, are all about telling not showing and wrapping everything up in a nice candy coated four page spread.  After reading 500 pages of this it was like devouring an entire carton of marshmallows.  After a while all of the sweetness is overwhelming and you want to puke at the thought of eating another.

Showcase Green ArrowI normally would’ve dropped this book after the first few pages, but I’m determined to read as much of the Green Arrow cannon as my library system has in its catalog.  So I feel like to get to the good stuff I have to tread through the muck of the early works.  Plus there’s a certain bragging right to say that I made it through and that I hopefully will get later references to some of these early works.  Hopefully it’s going to pay out in the end. Otherwise all of this is an exercise in futility.

So far some of the highlights have been the crossover episodes with the Justice League, Green Lantern, and Batman.  The worst new character reference was the Arrowette episodes.  Apparently if you’re the female counterpart to the 1950’s Green Arrow, your cool arrows are bobby-pin arrows, powder puff arrows, and nail polish arrows.  Because that’s what every female super hero would carry with them to kick evil’s butt!

I would only recommend this for the die-hard Green Arrow fans.  If you aren’t or aren’t willing to torture yourself like I am, I’d start with any volume after this one.

To read more book reviews like this from other bloggers, visit cannonballread.com

The Best American Comics 2014

ComicsI keep seeing these Best American editions in my library and as someone who enjoys lists and finding out about unknown sources of literature, I’ve always wanted to pick one up and get to know some new authors.  The Best American Comics 2014 edited by Scott McCloud and Bill Kartalopoulos gave me the idea that I should get more familiar with the graphic novel/comic world.  I’ve read a few for Cannonball Read 6, but I wanted to expand my horizons.  Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.Understanding

Scott McCloud is well-known for his work, Understanding Comics, something I’ve taught in class.  So I started out thinking I wasn’t a total newbie.  And then I started reading the anthology.  All the authors except for one I had never heard of.  And I realized that I must be the audience that McCloud and the other editors in the series are trying to reach.

While I was only given parts of these amazing works, it only served to whet my appetite.  Being the good Cannonballer, I quickly created a list of the ones I liked and you will be treated to many of them during CBR 7.

HyperboleOne of my favorite comics is Hyperbole and a half by Allie Brosh.  I get a kick out of her work every time there’s a new post.  Even though her artwork appears quite elementary, her way of carrying out a theme and connecting with her audience is phenomenal.  I’m glad that they included a piece of her work.  She’s considered a Web comic due to the fact that she publishes on her website.  That’s not quite true anymore considering she published a collection of her work.Jane Eyre

Another standout was a comic about a young girl who is isolated by the other girls at school.  Her only escape is when she reads the book Jane Eyre.  The comic does a brilliant job of showing her escape by coloring the every-day events in blacks, whites, and grays, while the world of Jane Eyre is in color.  For those of you interested it’s called Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault.  It’s comics like this make me appreciate the genre and the unique ways in which words and visuals can combine to tell a powerful narrative.