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Green Arrow and Black Canary: Five Stages by…

Green Arrow and Black Canary: Five Stages

by Andrew Kreisberg, J. T. Krul (Author), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator), Mike Norton (Illustrator), Bill Sienkiewicz (Illustrator)

Other authors: Vicente Cifuentes (Illustrator), Renato Guedes (Illustrator), Ruy José (Illustrator), José Wilson Magalhães (Illustrator)

Series: Green Arrow and Black Canary (7)

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From May 2009 to April 2010, I worked my way through every Green Arrow trade paperback and collection ever published, the first time I had ever done so with a comic book character, but something I would go on to do with Gotham Central, Y: The Last Man, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, and Jessica Jones, and am still doing with the Sandman.  In August 2010, I popped back in for another Green Arrow story that had been published since that April, but since then five more have been published, and not only that, but those five represent the last gasp of the character as I know him, as he was completely rebooted by DC last year.  So here it comes: The End of Green Arrow...

I never warmed to Andrew Kreisberg's Green Arrow and Black Canary-- he penned two previous volumes, Enemies List and Big Game. Part of what alienated me was that he sidelined Black Canary in what was theoretically 50% her own title; part was that his new villain Cupid was just pathetic.  So I went into Five Stages expecting to be disappointed, and to my surprise, found that Kreisberg's last volume is his best. Not that that takes much.  Cupid gets a backstory, and we find out that she's not a random housewife with a Green Arrow fixation, but a trained military operative who snapped on a mission. Though dressing men up as Green Arrow and raping them is still perhaps more than I want to read about, this went a long way to making her work more for me. Especially nice was a set of flashback stories about Cupid's days with  COBALT, drawn by Renato Guedes, who has a nice clean style-- I liked it a lot more than Mike Norton's scratchy work on the main title.

It's also nice to see Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Mia working together as a proper team, though this must be the third time in the course of this series that Green Arrow and Black Canary have renewed their commitment to one another despite Ollie's dickishness. (They seem to do it once per writer.) There's some pleasing banter (I like it when Green Arrow put on his "Robin Hood" cap), and they seem to actually all like another. Still no Connor Hawke, though.

It's not all good. There's a lot of generic superhero quipping, which gets on my nerves. "I hope you fellas don't think me unpatriotic," says Black Canary as she kicks some COBALT goons, "but for all I know... you're not my army." Um, what? Who says that?

The worst part of this book is when Lieutenant Hilton, the Star City Police Department cop who has liased with Green Arrow throughout this storyline, gets a knife in the back of his head.  At first I was bummed, because he was a likable character, and Green Arrow and Black Canary could really use a recurring cast. But he's not dead! Somehow he's still alive... but if the knife's taken out, he'll die?

what is this i don't even

But it gets worse from there-- the doctors send Hilton home from the hospital with the entire knife still in his head, not even cutting off the hilt and putting a bandage over the whole thing. Then he kills his family and some cops and renames himself... The Hilt.  Ugh, really?  Who does that? Why do something so implausibly stupid to a decent character?  Especially since this was Kreisberg's last issue on the title-- unsurprisingly, the Hilt never made another appearance. Thank God.

I can't in good conscience recommend that someone read any of Kreisberg's run on Green Arrow and Black Canary, but if you read the first two, at least continue on to this last volume, since it's the least bad one.

The proper story of Five Stages ends with Hal Jordan summoning Ollie and Dinah up to the Justice League headquarters to lead into the events of Cry for Justice, but there's one last chapter, which actually takes place after (most of) Cry for Justice, during Blackest Night.  Written by J. T. Krul, it sees Oliver as a Black Lantern.  Maybe all this would be interesting if I'd read Blackest Night, but I haven't.  At least Connor is in it.

Green Arrow and Black Canary: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Jul 13, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Kreisbergprimary authorall editionscalculated
Krul, J. T.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Neves, DiogenesIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Norton, MikeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Sienkiewicz, BillIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cifuentes, VicenteIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guedes, RenatoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
José, RuyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Magalhães, José WilsonIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Spurned by Green Arrow, a woman named Cupid creates her own "Black Arrow" partner and the two commit crimes as Green Arrow and Black Canary and try to kill the superhero couple. Then, Black Canary, Mia and Connor find themselves fighting Green Arrow when Blackest Night sets in and Ollie is brought back from the dead.… (more)

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