Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Green Arrow: 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 Review


Written By: Lots of Writers
Art by: Lots of Artists
Cover Price: $9.99
Release Date: June 29, 2021

It's time to celebrate Green Arrow, and a 100 page 80th Anniversary issue is an excellent way to do it.  While I wish there were a couple more big names (or writers not writing their first Green Arrow story) here, there is still some things to like in this big issue, so let's get into it...

The first story is by Mariko Tamaki called "The Disappearing Bandit," and it's an alright Golden Age style story.  The villain and the story only set up the punchline to an arrow joke by the end, but we get to see the Arrow Signal and many trick arrows.  The art by Javier Rodriguez fits the Golden Age feel, and the whole package is pretty harmless overall.  
Score: 7.0/10

The following story is "Punching Evil" by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott, and again, it's a team-up/training issue with Oliver learning some moves from Wildcat.  Taylor builds the story around Dinah's concern for Ollie, which is nice, and Ted Grant fits it well.  The whole thing ends with an origin story of one of Oliver's arrows, and while it's become a cliche over the years, it made me smile.  Plus, it looks fantastic!  
Score: 8.0/10

We continue with "Who Watches the Watchtower by Stephanie Phillips and Chris Mooneyham, and it's the Zeppo episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Oliver filling in for Xander.  The Justice League is off to fight a galactic threat and leave a complaining Oliver behind.  Bratty Oliver threw me off at first, but it's a good setup to the story that even gives readers a slight Die Hard feel.  Phillips does well with the other League members, especially Hawkman, who is about to conk Oliver with his mace the entire time.  I know I sound like a broken record, but the art was good and the story, while short, made me smile.
Score: 8.0/10

No offense to the others, but we finally get to a story I was looking forward to because Mike Grell wrote and illustrated it!  I wish there were more space for this one, but the art and feel are pure Grell, and anyone who has read his Green Arrow might even get some in-jokes as Oliver and Shado shoot arrows at bad guys and social commentary at each other.  I thought the art outplayed the story here, but that didn't bother much at all.  
Score: 7.0/10

Ram V is up next with "The Arrow and the Song".  It's a long-winded story that tried to be the greatest hits while primarily missing the target.  The art by Christopher Mitten is wonky, and Mr. V's reliance on fancy narration makes even this tiny story a chore to get through.    We get the Island and Dinah, but in the end, it's just a filler story I didn't enjoy.  
Score: 5.0/10

Next up is a Connor Hawk story by Brandon Thomas.  I love Connor, and I'm sure that Brandon too, but it feels like he spends the whole story trying to convince us of his Connor knowledge.  This isn't a quiz show, and after name-dropping the Key, trick arrows, Oliver's death, and the fact nobody sees him as Green Arrow, there isn't much time left for a story.  Unfortunately, the art by Jorge Corona does him no favors either.  
Score: 5.5/10

Next up is "Green-Man and Autumn-Son" by Devin Grayson, with art by Max Fiumara.  Roy Harper tells his daughter Lian the story of his life.  It's done in the Navajo way to honor his upbringing and doesn't cut any corners.  We get the good, bad, and the heroin from Roy as Lian draws what she hears, and Oliver (babysitting!) wonders why Roy would let his daughter in on everything.  Lian steals the show with insight beyond her years but is followed closely by Fiumara whose art style is a tribute to Neal Adams, which is fantastic!  I liked this one a lot because of the unique way and perspective that Grayson told the story.  
Score: 9.0/10

Phil Hester is up next with a story called "Star City Star" full of guest stars like Onamonapia and County Vertigo which is cool because this Anniversary issue was sadly lacking in the classic villain department.  However, it's an illusion of a little girl Oliver talks down by being the nice guy he is.  The art by Andre Parks is good, but this story is a bit convoluted for the page count and payoff and was middle of the road to me.  
Score: 6.0/10

Next up is "Happy Anniversary" by Vita Ayala, and it's another nice little story that feels a little empty by the end.  There is no payoff, and if you are going to have Deathstroke in a story, you have to do a little more with him.  Plus, I expected that the story would end with a twist that someone like Batman or even Black Canary herself had set the whole thing up, and when it just ended, it was a disappointment.  The art by Laura Braganza was good, though.  
Score: 6.5/10

Ben Percy is up next with "The Sympathy of the Woods," and Otto Schmidt is back with him!  It's a shame Juan Ferrerya wasn't on it as well, but it was a nice step back to the Rebirth times of Green Arrow.  I loved seeing Emiko, Diggle, and Henry and even got a kick out of seeing Merlyn again.  However, there wasn't much here except for a bit of political talk that isn't my thing.  I wasn't angry about it at all, just a bit bored.  
Score: 7.0/10

Finally, we get a Jeff Lemire/Andrea Sorrentino story called "The Last Green Arrow Story."  I loved their New 52 run, and this was the story I was most looking forward to reading.  I wasn't entirely disappointed, but I did expect a bit more.  Sorrentino's art is still a favorite of mine, but the story of death and rebirth on the Island was a bit too ambiguous for me.  The inner monologue of Old Man Ollie was good enough for me to want more, but sadly, the story was over very quickly.  
Score: 7.5/10

Note: There is a recipe for Oliver's famous chili at the end of the issue, which I thought was a great addition.  I'm going to try making it this weekend, and if I remember, I will give it a score here after trying it!

Bits and Pieces:

This was a good but safe collection of Green Arrow stories that might not wow you but is worth checking out.  I wish there were a little more focus on Ollie's villains, but we did get to see the extended Arrow family, which was cool.  Overall, it is a good, not great anthology issue that gives Green Arrow fans an Anniversary to celebrate.


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