DC Comics LEGACIES: A Field Guide #5: GREEN ARROW


DCU Legacies Field Guide #1: Superman and Batman

DCU Legacies Field Guide #2: Aquaman

DCU Legacies Field Guide #3: Flash Facts!

DCU Legacies Field Guide #4: Original Green Lanern

Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, remains a study in contradictions. Millionaire playboy , liberal activist, progressive mayor, violent vigilante, philanthropist, philanderer . . . he’s a little bit of all those things. Against the odds, Green Arrow built a legacy, only to see most of it come crashing to the ground. Here’s a look at Green Arrow, his family, and how wrong so much has gone.

Golden Age/Earth-2: Shipwrecked millionaire Oliver Queen learned to survive by becoming the world’s greatest archer; upon his return to civilization, he battled crime with trick arrows as Green Arrow (More Fun Comics #73, 1941). That was easy! As you know, the Golden Age versions of DC’s icons found themselves relegated to Earth-2 at the advent of the Silver Age. The Golden Age Green Arrow and his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) held memberships in the Seven Soldiers of Victory (aka The Law’s Legionnaires) and the All-Star Squadron. During the “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, the Earth-2 Green Arrow was killed fighting the Anti-Monitor’s shadow demons. When the history of the new Earth was shown later, Green Arrow and Speedy had been retconned out of the Soldiers and the Squadron, replaced by, depending on the retcon, by some combination of Alias the Spider, Crimson Avenger’s sidekick Wing, or Vigilante’s sidekick Stuff. Weirdly enough, yet another retcon line-up was introduced in DC Legacies #2, this one including TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite.

”Our” Ollie: The updated Green Arrow had essentially the same origin as his counterpart, though other tweaks and details have sunk in over time. Originally clean-shaven and wearing the green and red, Ollie popped the Vandyke and adopted his classic look in 1969. This Green Arrow was the first post-founding member of the Justice League of America (though JLA Year One, which probably isn’t even in continuity anymore, suggests that Queen secretly financed the young team from the beginning). Like his Golden Age counterpart, Ollie’s sidekick was . . .

Roy Harper/Speedy: Speedy was one of the few kid sidekicks to debut alongside his mentor. Roy Harper was the son of a forest ranger. After his dad died in a fire, Roy was raised by Native American Brave Bow; it was Brave Bow that taught Harper archery. After Brave Bow’s death (yes, death follows Roy Harper like it follows Jessica Fletcher), Roy was taken in by Oliver Queen and became Speedy. I’m not really sure why the non-speedster was named Speedy, but it’s certainly made the inevitable procession of drug jokes that emerged in the decades that followed much, much easier to crack.

Black Canary: Though she’ll get her own Legacies spotlight down the road, it’s important to mention Ollie’s primary love interest: Dinah Laurel Lance, the second Black Canary. Their on-again/off-again relationship began around the time that Ollie changed his look. This was also around the same time (April 1970) that the Green Lantern/Green Arrow co-feature by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams began. Those stories introduced a new level of social relevance to DC comics. Ollie began more of a liberal activist, occasionally disagreeing with his best friend, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and clashing with the more conservative Hawkman. It was during this time (Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85-85, 1971) that Roy Harper became a heroin addict. Roy placed part of the blame on his feelings that Queen abandoned him for other friends and responsibilities (this is a running theme with the character). Black Canary played a pivotal role in Roy’s recovery, helping him through withdrawal.

The Arrowettes: Even though Roy had his problems, Ollie never considered him an annoyance. The same couldn’t be said of Bonnie King, Miss Arrowette, who tried to be another sidekick to the hero (World’s Finest #113, 1960). A champion archer with a pushy mother, Bonnie was deemed too klutzy and too much of a secret-identity liability to be a permanent part of the group, but that didn’t stop Ollie from, well, hitting the target. Remarkably, Bonnie’s daughter Cissie is not the child of Ollie, but rather the daughter of late reporter Bernell Jones. Like her mother before her, Bonnie stage-mothers Cissie into archery and crime-fighting (Impulse #28, 1997). As the second Arrowette, Cissie later joins Young Justice. During her time with that team, a counselor of Cissie’s is killed. Cissie nearly takes fatal vengeance on the responsible parties, and the incident leaves her so deeply shaken that she abandons super-heroics. Cissie does eventually become Arrowette again to help her best friend Cassie, aka Wonder Girl.

Shado: Mike Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters remains one of the best stories about the character. The 1987 mini re-established Oliver Queen for a modern audience, switched him to the “hooded” costume, and led to DC green-lighting a GA ongoing that ran 11 years. In addition to establishing a grimmer tone and relocating Ollie to Seattle, the mini introduced Shado, a Japanese archer on a mission of revenge. Though Oliver resisted taking a dark turn (compromising long enough to kill a man that was torturing Black Canary), Shado unrepentantly murdered her (admittedly evil) targets. During a later adventure, Shado accidentally (her version) shot Ollie with an arrow. She helped him recover, but also had sex with him while he was under the influence of drugs (how much influence remains the subject of some debate). Though some readers repeatedly insist that their issue was Connor Hawke, it was not. Shado is NOT Connor Hawke’s mother. Shado’s son is named Robert, and yes, Ollie is his father.

Becoming Arsenal: Just before the time of the “Longbow Hunters” mini, Speedy had been working for the CIA. Alongside his former teammates in the Teen Titans (of which Roy had been a founding member), he fought drug trafficking. It was revealed in New Teen Titans (vol. 2, Baxter series) #21 in 1986 that Roy had unknowingly fathered a child with the villain Chesire. Chesire left their daughter, Lian, to be raised by Roy. Roy kept working for the government, and eventually joined Checkmate. Some time later, Roy returned to the Titans as Arsenal (New Titans #99, 1993), wearing a new costume with a new focus on varied weaponry.

Connor Hawke: The Green Arrow family grew a bit more in 1994. In Green Arrow #0, we met Connor Hawke, a young man that turned out to be the son of Oliver Queen. Oliver found Connor at an ashram that he had previously used as a retreat after being forced to kill a man. This time, Oliver wound up there after being forced to kill (or so he thought) the Parallax-controlled Hal Jordan that was behind the events of “Zero Hour”. Connor helped Oliver though this tough time, and the two, along with pistol-packing Eddie Fyers, a former government agent and friend of Ollie’s, hit the road. Connor had already created a costume to be Ollie’s sidekick, but quickly stepped up to become the new Green Arrow when Ollie died saving Metropolis from the machinations of eco-terrorists the Eden Corps.

Connor served as Green Arrow for some time. He continued to adventure with Fyers at his side, and later joined the Justice League. Black Canary began spending more time with the Birds of Prey, a partnership that she initially formed with Oracle in 1996; Canary would also join the reformed JSA. Arsenal became the leader of the Titans out “Zero Hour”, and would continue to join subsequent incarnations of that group. Much like his “old man”, Arsenal became more of a womanizer.

Green Arrow Returns: It would later turn out that Hal Jordan had resurrected Oliver Queen prior to saving the solar system from the Sun Eater in “Final Night”. However, Ollie had fractured memories and was actually lacking his soul. Ollie’s unique condition made him the target of Stanley Dover, who wanted to take Ollie’s body for his own. Fortunately, Dover was defeated, and Ollie’s soul returned to him. It was during this time that Ollie met Mia.

Mia Dearden, the new Speedy: A victim of abuse and manipulated by others, Mia was a teenage prostitute. Rescued by Green Arrow, Mia was “sent” to Oliver Queen for aid. Much like Tim Drake did with Batman, Mia figured out that Ollie and Arrow were the same person. Queen took her in, and it wasn’t long before she adopted the mantle of Speedy. Mia must contend with the fact that she is HIV-positive, but those around her, including her teammates in the Teen Titans (of which she was a member for short time) have been supportive.

Green Arrow/Black Canary: The on-again/off-again relationship of Green Arrow and Black Canary finally stepped to the next level with Ollie got Dinah to say yes to a proposal. The two were married in a ceremony marked by a mass super-villain attack and general chaos. On their honeymoon, Ollie attempted to kill Dinah, but she took his life with an arrow to the neck. Of course, this wasn’t Ollie, but rather a shape-shifting doppelganger. Canary, Connor and Mia set out in search Ollie. Though they recovered him, Connor was grievously wounded by a sniper’s shot from the sky.

Connor’s Injuries: Connor nearly died from the assault, which turned out to have been arranged by Shado and carried out by the League of Assassins. Later, Connor went missing from the hospital; it turns out that he was being held by Dr. Sivana. Though apparently now mindless and imbued with a healing factor, Connor convalesced enough to be able to battle alongside the heroes of Earth and Oa in “Blackest Night”.

Arsenal Gets F@#%ed Up (and does drugs again, too): For a time, Arsenal took on the name Red Arrow and joined the latest version of the JLA. Things took a turn for the much worse during the events of “Cry for Justice”. Villains Prometheus and the Electorcutioner carried out plans that killed a huge number of people in Star City. The execution of this plan occurred just after Prometheus had fought Red Arrow and cut off his arm. With Roy and other members of the JLA incapacitated, Prometheus’s plans in Star City led to the death of Lian.

With his daughter dead, Arsenal goes off the deep end. Finding his way back to drugs, Roy goes totally crazy by joining Deathstroke’s villain team. The circumstances also spelled doom for the love between Ollie and Dinah after Ollie executed Prometheus, much to Dinah’s horror. It’s probably better that Dinah had sent Sin, her adoptive daughter, into seclusion.

Where Are They Now?: These days, Black Canary hangs with the Birds of Prey. Arsenal belongs to Deathstroke’s Titans. Mia still adventures, though she’s had guilt about being Lian’s sitter on the day that she died. Connor has tried to help out in Star City, which, after the arrival of the White Lantern, grew a forest in the pattern of destruction left by Prometheus’s plans. And Oliver continues to deal with his new wooded area.

The Green Arrow legacy is actually one that’s fraught with tragedy and too few triumphs. Even though Ollie plays the loner now, it’s a sure bet that the future will see him fighting for his family and franchise mates.

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