"Seeing Red (Part Two: The Buddy System)"
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Scott McDaniel (p), Andy Owens (i), Guy Major (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
I do not NOT like Judd Winick, his writing anyway. Don’t know him personally so cannot comment on him as a person, only as a writer. I like his work and every title or so, as with this one, I even love it. However, the plot and pacing in titles like this make his current writing on the recent, Post-OYL issues of The Outsiders (the one that has been his baby from the offset), all the more…, well…, disappointing. However, seeing as this is a review of Green Arrow I’ll refrain from transitioning into the current antics of Nightwing and his band of merry ‘wingers. Still, this isn’t the last time I'lll mention Dick Grayson’s alter ego here.
While not revealed in the previous issues, Batman appearance in Star City all but confirmed that under that red helmet/mask, once again, is Jason Todd as the Red Hood. Last seen in this garb in Batman Annual #25, Todd seems to have given up his recent Nightwing copycat act and returned to copying the Joker’s Pre-Crazy persona. I am sure I am not the only one who would not only like to forget those few issues of Nightwing but actually have it mindwiped out. Out of our minds, that is. Where’s Zatanna and her "fixing" when you need it?
The first third of the issue has Todd and Brick duking it out with each trying to show that he has the bigger balls. Ending at a stalemate, the two form an alliance and put up a disappearing act until the last page. As with any other Scott McDaniel drawn action scene, this fight between these two C-listers is full of life, even if the use of guns didn’t quite do it for me, but then, that is Jason Todd for you.
With the villains taking a break to set up their traps, the focus shifts to the heroes and in true vigilante-fashion their first panel shot is atop a multi-story skyscraper. Only going by Star City’s current condition, it is tottering remains of one. Even though the two old farts, Batman and Green Arrow, do the most of the talking, it is Speedy who comes across as the true star here (for me at least). Not only does Winick set her up as her own character and not just another sidekick or even a junior female version of Ollie or even Conner, he gives her something different, something "over" her peers (i.e. other teenage heroes). Having her own "contacts" isn’t what is special here. After all, other street level teen-heroes like Robin and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) have had their connections. What is special is Green Arrow’s relying on her contacts, something which surprised, and dare I say impressed, even the Big Bad Bat.
With the information that Speedy finagles, the trio track down and Bat-interrogate (meaning, hanging upside midair and then letting fall seemingly to death) two gunrunners the Archer-duo were after earlier (previous issue #69). All but wetting themselves, the two are more than happy to spill the proverbial beans. Splitting up with each of them heading for one each of the three addresses that they get from the gunrunners, the three heroes arrive just in time to have both Green Arrow and Batman ambushed at their respective destinations. As for their attackers, pulling a "castling" stunt, the two villains make a return with Brick to confront Batman, Red Hood and Green Arrow. As for Speedy, she is "free"… for now.
Conclusion: Even with the odd "extra" panel, (Batman’s "brooding" for one), this issue of Green Arrow plays out like other ten Post-IC issues before it. With snappy writing complemented by the always-impressive Scott McDaniel, Judd Winick has not only made me return to this series month after month, he has actually made me give a damn about a male archer other than Conner Hawke.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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