13 January 2010

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Star City, Part XIII: Green Arrow / Black Canary: The Wedding Album

Comic hardcover, 175 pages
Published 2008 (contents: 2007-08)

Borrowed from the library
Read December 2009
Green Arrow / Black Canary: The Wedding Album

Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Amanda Conner, Cliff Chiang, André Coelho
Colorists: Paul Mounts, Trish Mulvihill, David Baron
Letterers: Ken Lopez, Pat Brosseau

After three volumes with other authors (Connor Hawke: Dragon's Blood, For Better or For Worse, and Road to the Altar), I was dreading the return of Judd Winick to writing duties for Green Arrow; I'd gotten mightily sick of him after six volumes of the old series. But quite to my surprise, this books opens exceptionally. The actual wedding of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance swings between touching, humorous, and shocking with ease, and the story that springs out of that is very good, too, seeing Black Canary, the new Green Arrow, and Speedy hunting for the once-again-"dead" old Green Arrow. There's some good banter, the story moves quickly, the twists are clever, and I liked the sprawling nature of it, a sharp difference from the very street-level old Green Arrow series. It really felt like both Oliver and Dinah's book, not Oliver's book with Dinah tacked on. Best of all, Connor Hawke actually got something to do. Which is why I should have known better...

Winick's favorite tactic on Green Arrow was to beat Connor up to prove the situation was serious, meaning that this expert martial artist-- who had served as Green Arrow by himself for years while Ollie was dead-- always looked a bit useless and never got any good character moments. This really got on my nerves by the end of the series, but Winick goes one further by putting him into a coma and wiping his mind! Argh! Why is this even good writing? How many times do I need to watch scenes of Ollie angsting over his relationship with his son? The only good thing I can say about this development, which ruined an almost-brilliant book for me, is that it finally pays off the revelation at the end of The Archer's Quest, a good five years prior.

On the upside, the wedding story itself is drawn by Amanda Conner, whose work on Wednesday Comics's Supergirl feature was fabulous, and she does a pretty good job here, too (though it's sometimes hard to tell her out-of-costume superheroes apart). The majority of the book is drawn by Cliff Chiang, who has a very clean, "kinetic" style that works well, especially with the bright colors of David Baron. Green Arrow and Black Canary look the best they've looked in years (I mean, look at that slick cover)... it's a shame they just can't have a story to match it.

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