collecting issues #1 to #10 (Vol. III) of the DC series
Writer: Kevin Smith
Artists: Phil Hester (p), Andre Parks (i)
Publisher: DC (Hardcover ISBN: 1-56389-802-0)
Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, shows up in Star City dressed in tattered rags and with no memory of the past few years; including the fact that he should be dead. Meanwhile, a child murderer stalks Star City's streets.
Combined with Kevin Smith's run on "Daredevil", Quiver was part of the one-two punch that helped establish Smith as one of the hottest writers in the biz - and for good reason.
As a character, the Green Arrow has never been very renowned or popular. The book was cancelled in 1998 and nobody knew what would become of the Emerald Archer. Would he fade into oblivion? Would he ever return to his home of Star City and once more knock out goons with his trademark boxing-glove arrows? It was up in the air. Enter Kevin Smith, hot off his success in revitalizing Daredevil. Smith wanted to prove to his fans (and to himself) that his success was due to his skills as a writer and not just a case of having only the 'Indie Cred'. He took a book that had become all but forgotten and shot it to the top of the charts. Quiver collects the first ten issues of his run, while his The Sounds of Violence TPB collects issues 11-15.
As the story opens we meet a confused Oliver Queen who apparently has a gap in his memory. He cannot remember the past few years...along with the fact that he should be dead. He is taken in by a kindly old guy with deep pockets. The old man claims that he wants to help Green Arrow because by doing so he can find some meaning in life; and thus with a newfound ally, the Green Arrow returns. Ollie begins taking down some baddies in Star City and starts upon the trail of a mysterious child killer when things become complicated. Starting first with Aquaman and then proceeding with the rest of the JLA, everyone is surprised at seeing Ollie alive - he died years ago! Just as quickly as the shock of his return comes, it gets be replaced with a mystery: how, and why, did Ollie come back from the grave? Even more mysteriously, why can't he remember the latter part of his life?
Fear not, I won't spoil anything for you. Let's just say that after his confrontation with the JLA, Green Arrow meets many characters culminating in a reunion with an old friend and... well, you'll see You could make a decent sized checklist based on the number of cameos in this book. From DC's traditional heroes to certain characters made popular by one swamp loving Mr. Moore to a pale dude trapped in a sphere, you'll see lots of diverse friends. Don't worry though, none of the cameos are there for their own sake; there is a plot-driven purpose to all of these characters showing up. Be warned, a good knowledge of DCU history is necessary to fully grasp the scope of the book. It does cover a lot of ground, from Crisis stuff to the history of the Green Lantern. Note that while this knowledge is not absolutely necessary to enjoy the story, it sure helps.
This is a Kevin Smith book and that means that you can expect lots, and I do mean LOTS, of dialogue. Most of it is quite good, and as expected, stamped with Smith's well known wit and banter. There's some really funny stuff here In terms of story, the central theme focuses on identity and the consequences of what happens when you try to fix old mistakes.
Phil Hester's pencils are good and fit the piece well. The art is streamlined and quite pretty. It has a lighter feel to it that compliments the book nicely. There are a good number of splash pages (used for dramatic effect) which look very poster-like. A good job all around in the art department.
So, if it's all so great why not five bullets, you ask. Well, as good as Smith's dialogue is, he hasn't yet managed to perfect his storytelling. Like his DD Guardian Devil story, he resorts to the traditional 'parlor room' explanation scene where the main villain explains their entire plan. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just that there are more skillful ways of structuring your stories so as to avoid these 'explain it for the audience all at once' sequences. Also, I expect a clear and focused theme and message from a five star book. This doesn't mean it has to beat me over the head with morals, but it does have to BE about something. For all of its cool cameos and witty retorts, at the end of the day Quiver really isn't about anything. When all is said and done, nobody has really learned anything about themselves or their world. Certain plot threads are made clear, but that is no substitute for a clear theme and character arc.
All in all while the book isn't perfect it is a fun read and a piece of modern comic book history.
Kevin Smith fan or no, you should give this book a look - it's a fun story. If you don't know who the Green Arrow is, this is a great point to jump on. If you are acquainted with Oliver Queen, this is as good as he's ever been.
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