If we had to sum up Green Arrow in a single phrase it would have to be "multi-faceted." The character is a man comprised of many different personas. He is the greatest archer in the DC Universe, a billionaire playboy with a taste for the irresponsible and embarrassing, and he is also a man who found redemption in the unlucky cards dealt to him by life. A man who grew from being selfish to selfless, and perhaps that's why he is so popular to comic fans. That, or maybe because bow and arrows are totally cool right now (since everyone from Lara Croft to Hunger Games has them). But just who is Oliver Queen now, what has he been up to lately and where is he going?
Oliver Queen (or Ollie, if you please), may be seen as this charismatic, easygoing billionaire playboy type character but his origin story has historically been a little bit on the dark side. In some adaptations of Ollie's origin, the character lost both his parents, washes up on an island and has had to struggle to survive. In other versions, as in GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE, Oliver is betrayed by his close friend and thrown off a ship onto the island. The result is the same. The marooning of Oliver Queen on a deserted island leads to the cultivation of his skill with a bow and arrow and his sense of survival. Queen learns to appreciate the things he has when he has them, but most importantly, he learns a lot about redemption. His time on the island prepares the character for crime-fighting in Star City, to be a member of the Justice League, and his role as a mentor to characters like Speedy and Connor Hawk and Roy Harper (pre New 52).== TEASER ==
However, a lot of things have changed for Ollie in the last year. His age has been reverted (he's a lot younger), and with the changes made to his age, came also a lot of changes made to his experiences as a character. For example, he was never married to Black Canary, rather than his parents dying it is his best friend Tommy Merlyn who is killed (to Green Arrow's knowledge) in the zero issue of GREEN ARROW. The character we have in the current Green Arrow series is very different from the character that we knew pre 'New 52' and Flashpoint. However, that isn't all that has changed for GREEN ARROW in the last year. The character has also (unfortunately) seen a tremendous amount of changes made to the creative team on his series.
When the 'New 52' premiered over a year ago, writer J.T. Krul launched the series continuing on from his previous run on the character. Krul wrote issues #0 to #3, but was quickly swapped out and replaced by writer Keith Giffen starting with issue #4. Giffen remained on the series until the series' seventh issue when writer Ann Nocenti took the helm. Former CATWOMAN writer Judd Winick was to take over for Nocenti starting with the series' #0 issue, but those plans changed and Nocenti continues to be on the title. Clearly, one of the biggest problems with the last year of GREEN ARROW is the constant change in creative teams. The character's ongoing title was given not one, but four different writers who were swapped out and replaced; and with those new writers came new visions for the character. How can the vision for the character be cohesive if things are constantly changing? The lack of consistency is one of the reasons why the series has not been as good as it can be.
Hopefully, however, all that is about to change; and we can likely thank the latest CW television show ARROW for that. The launch of ARROW on the CW network is an adaptation of Green Arrow's character that we see in the comics. The TV series that is produced by Marc Guggenheim tells the story of Oliver Queen as a former billionaire playboy who, after witnessing the death of his father, is stranded on an island and finds redemption. He dedicates his life to eradicating the corporate scum of Star City. The show features a far darker, more contemplative Oliver Queen who is still paying for the sins of both himself and his father. A figure who has gone from charismatic to brooding, and a man who has no problem taking the law into his own hands. The show has been a huge success for the CW and also for Warner Brothers. The success of the show is likely the reason why DC is pushing for a brand new GREEN ARROW comic book series. That might be way DC recently announced that starting in February, GREEN ARROW will experience a sort of a relaunch with both artist Andrea Sorrentino and writer Jeff Lemire at the helm.
In a recent interview, comic writer Jeff Lemire who will be taking over the GREEN ARROW series starting in February, 2013 cited that he took inspiration from Andy Diggle and Jock's GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE, a 6-issue series published in 2007 that told the origin story of the character, painting him as a reckless playboy who is betrayed by his friend (Hackett), marooned on an island and goes on to eventually become Green Arrow, protector of Star City. However, Lemire also cites that his Green Arrow will be completely different, and that although we've had a year of Green Arrow stories, the character will be experiencing a reboot come February.
It [GREEN ARROW] really is totally a clean slate, so I can alter and change and rebuild his mythology however I want to, at the same time, trying to stay true to the core of that character that everyone always loves…His character is a really clean slate for me to kind of do something new with him. And I want to take full advantage of that and build him into something people like as much as the old Oliver Queen, but he's his own man and they like him for who he is rather than how he interacts with other heroes.
It will be interesting to see how Lemire shapes and molds the Green Arrow mythos and how many remnants of the character we will see from the pre-'New 52' version of Oliver Queen as well as how much will be taken from the television show. Will Lemire's story feature a more dark and brooding Oliver Queen? What do you think? How would you like to see the character change?