Writer: Andy Diggle
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Ollie finds his calling, and his model, identifying with Robin Hood as he helps free some slaves from drug dealers.
Comments: We’re right in the middle of the action as this issue begins. The slaves have staged a revolt, and Oliver is on their side. He’s been betrayed by Hackett, a violent would-be leader who isn’t quite as secure with the dealers as he would like. There’s a sinking boat in the harbor, dealers in white leather stalking prey and thugs shooting at pregnant women and vengeful victims, all bound up in a very sordid story that somehow serves to provide some illumination for the profligate Oliver Queen.
This issue we get little explication and lots of action. The pregnant woman leads the slave revolt, but she believes in compassion. It’s her heroism that seems to inspire Oliver, who uses nothing but his various arrows against the desperate thugs and their machine guns. His amazing athletic gifts and eyesight serve him well, as he ignores a broken arm in order to give justice a chance against such mercenaries.
Things are a bit too pat, though. After all the death, the pregnant woman gives the easiest insta-birth ever, right on cue. The crosses, battles, double-crosses and betrayals flow like a movie, but we’ve all seen that movie before. It is nice to see Ollie learn something from his captivity, and from the friends he made under duress, but it’s not quite the horror of Bruce Wayne witnessing his parents’ murders and then having a bat-filled vision. It’s much more mundane, with the only fantastic element being how liberal Ollie is despite his upbringing of privilege. I suppose this story explains that, and updates the old origin to a grimmer and more pessimistic present, but I wish it was a little less cookie cutter and predictable. This is the climax of a b-movie thriller, not bad but not in danger of attracting Oscar attention.
Jock’s work is heavy on the dry brush inks, which gives an immediacy and lack of polish that fits the story. He has a bit of a Gaydos quality, though his work has even less room for the soft and pretty. His cover is easily his best contribution, though, with Ollie affecting a convincingly gangsta Robin in the ‘hood pose.
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