20 April 2010

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Star City, Part XVIII: The Green Arrow

Perfect-bound comic, 71 pages
Published 2001 (contents: 1958-59)

Borrowed from the library
Read March 2010
The Green Arrow

Writers: Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, Dave Wood, Ed Herron, Robert Bernstein
Artists: Jack Kirby, Roz Kirby

This volume collects all the Green Arrow stories drawn by Jack Kirby before he went to Marvel and co-invented the Fantastic Four. It's just eleven six-page stories, not exactly a lot of a reading-- or very complicated reading. At that length, there's scarcely even room for plot complications. The writing of only one of the stories is officially credited to Kirby, but Kirby disciple Mark Evanier's introduction reveals that he usually rewrote the stories as he drew them. The most Kirby-esque one is the two-part "The Mystery of the Giant Arrows"/"Prisoners of Dimension Zero!", where Green Arrow (and sidekick Speedy) are plunged into another reality where everyone is a giant... including a very familiar crime-fighter called Xeen Arrow. Nothing here stands out very much, aside from GA's ridiculous original origin story, "The Green Arrow's First Case". Who keeps a diary on a cave wall?

Green Arrow has gotten flack ever since Quiver for the boxing glove arrow, but what reading this story revealed is that it is one of the least bizarre arrows in GA's arsenal. In these mere eleven stories, he deploys the heli-spotter arrow, the ricochet arrow, the mummy arrow, the boomerang arrow, the rain arrow, the cable arrow, the cocoon arrow, the jet arrow, the firecracker arrow, the balloon arrow, the parachute arrow, the rope arrow, the short-circuit arrow, the acetylene arrow, the aqua-lung arrow, the two-way radio arrow, the fountain-pen arrow, the dry-ice arrow, the flare arrow, the two-stage rocket arrow, the siren arrow, the tear-gas arrow, the smokescreen arrow, the machine-gun arrow, the fan arrow, the net arrow, the ink arrow, and the greatest of all, the fake-uranium arrow. And that's not even counting arrows from other sources, such as the charmingly stereotypical Green Arrows of other countries, or the people of 3000 A.D., who send GA hi-tech arrows. But you do have to admire the single-minded worldview of these stories: there's not any problem that can't be solved through the deployment of the appropriate arrow.

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