Sunday, September 23, 2007

REVIEW: Green Arrow Black Canary- For Better or For Worse TP

I have been a fan of Black Canary and Green Arrow since the mid 1970’s. Their relationship and individual heroics captured me immediately and have held me hostage in both good times and bad. I have cried with Dinah when Ollie cheated, and hung my head in shame with the Emerald Archer as he lost everything, including his dignity. These are characters I have grown up with, and have continued to follow in our collective middle ages. When I first heard word of their impending nuptials, my initial reaction was “please, no.” In my mind, Ollie and Dinah had moved on, and needed to stay apart. Obviously, that was not to be. As I have followed the road to matrimony, my heart has continued to feel heavy, thinking this is a misstep, or just a plot device used to drive up poor sales and take the readers into Final Crisis. I still have not changed my opinion on that, but foolishly have purchased the wedding books in hope that the whole thing would not happen in the end. Damn.

In celebration of the wedding festivities, DC has released a trade paperback called “Green Arrow-Black Canary: For Better or For Worse”. Being the fan I am, I picked it up to have a fond trip down memory lane. For the most part, it was an interesting read, and I especially enjoyed the intermissions that filled readers in on what they missed, so that a person didn’t have to know the exposition of said characters to follow along. What I missed is precisely what is not included.

There were no stories from the period when both Dinah and Ollie had back up features in World’s Finest. I had sincerely hoped that there would be. Much to my dismay, there wasn’t much from the Mike Grell penned era of Green Arrow. The first issue of the Long Bow Hunters was included, as was issue #75 of the series. There was nothing in between, which surprised me. Ollie and Dinah went through a great deal of soul searching, and I felt that some of Ollie’s strongest material happened in that period.

None of Dinah’s adventures with Oracle were featured in here, which also surprised me. The individual growth of the character is integral to the joining of the partners later. I was hoping for even a few pages where Dinah and Barbara discussed some of her past choices. Unfortunately there was nothing.

The other missing piece of history I would have loved to see included were bits from Ray Palmer’s bachelor party in Justice League of America. Forgive my memory, it happened between issues #151 and 157 but I can’t remember specifically. Ollie forbids the ladies of the League entry into Ray’s party, and the dialogue between Ollie and Dinah during this period was telling. This period stands out in my mind as a growth period of the character’s relationship.

That being said, there were some very good issues featured here. I am glad that Justice League of America #75 was the first one, as it showcased the beginning of the relationship. I own said issue, and have read it many times. There were also a few issues of the Green Lantern-Green Arrow period that had an impact on me.

The flow of the book is generally good, with lots of exposition in between. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of full stories in here. Several are bits and pieces as it seemed to be the only way to keep a cohesive flow. The book is designed more for the reader that is new to comics rather then the “old school” fan like me. If you don’t know a great deal about the road to matrimony this book is a nice companion. Otherwise, I would recommend getting out the back issues you enjoyed and making your own.


Eaglewing said...

I don't know a whole lot about Ollie and Dinah's history beyond some of the basics, but your rundown on it all was an enjoyable read. The cynic in me though would have to think this wedding stuff is a sales drive or a setup for a dramatic plot to tear them apart in the future. But who knows, maybe they'll be the next Lois and Clark...

Heidi Meeley said...

Eaglewing, the trade paperback is pretty decent as far as telling the tale of Ollie and Dinah's relationship. I guess I just wanted it to go deeper or dig a bit for some moments that meant a lot to me personally.

At this point, I am skeptical about their union and that makes me sad. I have enjoyed the relationship and watched the growth, but have been content to see each solo. This seems rushed to me, so I am figuring it is dramatic license at this point. You are right in that they may be the next Clark and Lois, and I could buy into that with some good storytelling. We shall have to wait and see!

Take care!