If you read my review of last issue (which can be read here: http://readrant.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/review-green-arrow-and-black-canary-14) then you know I have been looking forward to this issue and the new writer for quite some time.
Well, the new writer is here. So, how’d he do? Well, to paraphrase The Who, “Meet the new writer. Same as the old writer.”
It’s not that this issue is bad, per se. It’s just that new writer Andrew Kreisberg hits a lot of wrong notes that have been overplayed by previous writers already.
I my last review, I spent a fair amount of time looking back at Judd Winnick’s run. Since GA/BC 14 dealt primarily with creating a new status quo for Connor Hawke, I concentrated a lot of my attention on how Connor has been handled.
This issue deals primarily with Oliver Queen. Let’s face it, despite the shared headliner status, Green Arrow is the star of this book. Black Canary is just along for the ride. It’s sad, but true. I am reluctant to launch into another rant so soon after my last GA/BC review. But the name of this blog is read/RANT, so rant I shall.
When Ollie Queen came back from the dead, I was concerned about two of my favorite characters. One was Connor Hawke. You can read all about how that went in my last review. The other was Black Canary.
Historically, Black Canary has never lived up to her full potential whenever Green Arrow was around. However, after years of being portrayed as little more than a damsel in distress or a sex object in fishnets, Black Canary had finally gained some respect courtesy of Chuck Dixon in Birds of Prey.
Against all odds, Dixon (and later Gail Simone) rehabbed Black Canary into one of the most respected super heroines in the DCU. They were so successful, that Black Canary eventually became the chairperson of the JLA!
But still, Oliver Queen was sniffing around. And he was still the same dirty, rotten scoundrel he was before he died. I, for one, cheered when Dinah caught Ollie cheating and kicked him to the curb. I like both characters just fine on their own. But when you put them together, Black Canary invariably becomes less than she is on her own.
Unfortunately, the powers-that-be eventually forced Black Canary and Green Arrow back together. And generally speaking, Winnick lived down to my expectations when it came to his handling of Black Canary. In spite of being more powerful and arguably more skilled than Green Arrow, she almost invariably came across as less effective.
Perhaps worse still, Winnick had two ways of presenting Black Canary. On the one hand, she was a maternal wet blanket. She was the one who rolled her eyes when Ollie went off half-cocked. But she didn’t get to do much more than respond to the escapades of the lead character.
The only other thing Black Canary was allowed to do was to exist as a sex object. Any time we saw Green Arrow and Black Canary in between adventures, it was always the same scene. Black Canary in some state of undress being flirtatious with Green Arrow in the bedroom.
Hey, I know this is what married coules do (well, newlyweds anyway). But it was painful to see the Black Canary of Birds of Prey reduced to a second-fiddle, damsel in distress and/or sex object issue after issue.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what Kreisberg serves up here. Somehow a no-rate mook got the drop on Black Canary and Green Arrow has to come to her rescue. After which, he is rewarded with super hero sex. Mr. Kreisberg, I sure hope you got this out of your system. Because it was old before you got here.
What else did we get? Well, Connor and Mia fly off from the nest. I actually respected this move. I’d rather have them around. But if the new writer doesn’t want to use them, it’s better that he write them offstage in a believable fashion rather than revamping or killing them (see every other book DC publishes.)
And, inexplicably, the bulk of this issue is actually a retelling of Green Arrow’s origin and the events the last 14 issues. I’m sure this was intended to be a jumping on point. But there wasn’t anything in that recap that new readers needed to know. It would have been better to ditch the recap and tell a compelling story in your first new issue.
As a first issue for a new writer, Green Arrow/Black Canary got off to a rocky start. Everything about the writing in this issue was just lazy. I sure hope things get better next issue. After the first 14 issues, I didn’t think we had anywhere to go but up.