Group Editor: Reza Lokman.
Writer(s): So many!
Illustrator(s): So many!
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: March 30th 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Also in DC’s 80th Anniversary Celebration collection:
Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman.
Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman.
The Joker: 80 Years of the Clown Prince of Crime.
The Flash: 80 Years of the Fastest Man Alive.
Green Lantern: 80 Years of the Emerald Knight.
It is only in 1941 that the Green Arrow made his debut appearance in More Fun Comics issue #73, embracing a Robin Hood wardrobe to go off fighting crime. While it took many years, think a quarter of a century, before his character really took off, he was initially conceived as a bow-and-arrow iteration of Batman with similar background and personality. Over the following years, a left-wing and sometimes apolitical facet was incorporated into the heroes’ journey, giving him something a bit more unique and less akin to what can be seen from Bruce Wayne. While the Green Arrow is still often overshadowed by other heroes, the 2012 television series starring Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow gave the character a larger and growing fanbase up until its well-deserved end in 2020.
What is Green Arrow: 80 Years of the Emerald Archer about? This stunning 80th-anniversary collection presents iconic stories released within the past eight decades featuring the Green Arrow, whether it would be Oliver Queen or his successor Connor Hawke. These stories focus on exposing a myriad of the heroes’ top allies and enemies, their greatest (and very tricky) weaponry, and their creative crime-fighting skills. On top of various issues highlighting the Emerald Archer’s adventures, it also contains commentary from numerous Green Arrow writers, artists, editors, and showrunners (Mike Gold, Mike Grell, Ann Nocenti, Greg Berlanti, and Marc Guggenheim) who expose their own understanding and experience with this superhero.
“Maybe I’ve finally figured out what I want to do with my life… and maybe there’s more I can do to help the little guy than turn up drunk at the occasional charity fundraiser.”
— Oliver Queen
The aforementioned resemblance to Batman, also reiterated and mocked in the commentary by the Arrow TV series co-creator Marc Guggenheim, is one of the reasons that often led me to emotionally distance myself from this character. Although his character’s identity did become more distinguishable in later years, especially since the New 52 era of DC Comics, there is rarely enough interesting material to get me to grow attached to his character and his stories. Nonetheless, his unique skill set makes for some entertaining action sequences and his circle of allies is a point of interest in itself (from his significant other the Black Canary to his best bud the Green Lantern). This collection does, unfortunately, show that even in his 80 years of crime-fighting, his stories aren’t necessarily the most memorable, especially when you go digging for Grant Morrison’s Elseworlds stories to include in there.
Although this collection is not meant to be the Holy Bible of the Green Arrow, it does allow readers, newcomers and long-time fans, to appreciate the visual evolution of the character throughout the years. Not only does his costume go through significant changes, meticulously and gradually embracing a much more combat efficient design, simultaneously aligning the concept art to that seen in the TV series, but it also shows, just like with most of the other superheroes, the transformation from the Golden to the Modern Age of comic books. Colouring also goes through a noticeable change, from flashy colours to grimmer tones, thus capturing the nature of the themes and moods that are explored in later story arcs. Exploring this evolution through this collection is probably one of the main reasons that justify its relevance.
Green Arrow: 80 Years of the Emerald Archer is a stunning and decent celebratory volume exploring another DC Comics superhero across eight decades of crime-fighting.