Thursday, August 30, 2007

Why I Don't Respect Green Arrow

I absolutely HATE Green Arrow, as a character.

Hate him.

Why? Is it the constant political posturing foisted upon the character?

Is it the constant womanizing?

Is it because when his adopted son, Roy Harper, developed a drug problem, Ollie cast him out and walked out on him when he needed him most?

Is it the fact that the he fathers children, left and right, and then abandons them?

Is the fact that he lives a lie everyday, letting the world, his son, Connor Hawke and his soon-to-be (?) bride, Black Canary, believe he had no idea Connor was alive until he presented himself in his early twenties?

It's all of the above... and then some.

What actually cemented my hate for this character was the seventy-fifth issue of Green Arrow.

The one in which he lost his manhood.

It was, perhaps, the worst day he'd ever had. Deathstroke had systematically taken down his entire family.

Connor was down, Mia (Speedy) was out, Black Canary was inches away from having her throat slashed.

What part made me want to vomit?

Was it the part where he dropped to his knees, begging Deathstroke to spare his family?

Nope. I actually admired that.

Was it the part where he cried while doing so, not knowing whether or not his family would make it out alive?

Nope.

I can get behind that.

So, where did I lose respect?

The final scene where after The Justice League saves the day.

Where Oliver Queen tells his ex, Black Canary, the reason he wanted to become a better man was so he could get her back.

Then, he proposes to her.

No. Just....

No.

Black Canary proved day-in and day-out that she's better off without him. He never made the choice to actively become better off without her. He never asked himself whether or not she was better off without him.

We've all taken our own personal walks through hell, confronted personal demons and the like. We've all taken personal rolls of the dice and taken bets on ourselves. It should be done out of a fundamental belief in self.

In this undertaking, one should become a better person for self, first and foremost.

Not from a place of rejection.

Kids, do NOT try this at home.

That way lies failure.

Oliver Queen's reasons for his continued existence are egocentric, existing only to further his inate ability to set himself and those close to him up for further failure and disappointment.

In trying to make himself better for someone else, Oliver Queen succeeds only in further showcasing his selfishness.

Oliver Queen is an a-hole.

Hawkman does not approve of your actions.

16 comments:

Mike said...

Great evaluation....and serious insight at the end there. Much respect.

Gyuss Baaltar said...

Yeah, and because boxing glove arrows are dumb!

BIG MIKE said...

You cut me deep, Devon... you cut me deep...

Flint Paper said...

That last panel is my new wallpaper.

Captain Qwert Jr said...

It is precisely because Queen is an hypocritical, womanizing Asshole-poser, that I like him. Hell, I dread that his marriage will force writers to make him something other than a self-centered rat.

Arynne said...

Reading that really hurts. Do you know why?

I'm a different person than I was seven years ago. Those who know me say a better person. More lovable (or at least likeable), certainly.

I am what I am now because I realized that I want to earn and keep their love and respect. If they weren't in my life, I doubt I'd even try.

Does that make me a no-account person?

Baal said...

And they just keep making Ollie worse. There was the exiling Sin thing without letting his lover and Sin's adopted mother in on the plan and there's the retcon in Year One that Ollie was now a junkie himself. That makes his mistreatment of his ward that much worse.

Wander said...

I can't disagree with your assessment of Oliver Queen. He's a first-rate jerk. That selfishness, immaturity, obnoxiousness, and lecherousness have all become ingrained as defining character traits. He'll forever be in arrested development, and whatever growth he does manage will be undone by later writers who prefer the "jerky" Ollie.

Still, I agree with Capt. Qwert: if GA & BC's marriage becomes the status quo, that could be a good thing. As long as they're written as equals (which I hold out hope for), we may finally get an Olive Queen worthy of respect.

SallyP said...

All of what you say is true of course. And let's not forget that calling Hal a "Nazi" everytime they got gas during their "on the Road" tour is what probably turned him into Parallax.

And yet...I like Ollie. Yes, he's a first-class jerk, he's self-righteous and arrogant and a hypocrite. You know what? So is Batman.

He's also a guy without any "powers" who isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with people who can move planets. That's got to count for something.

And apparently, he makes a mean bowl of chili.

Mace Morrison said...

I think you raised some very good points about the character in general, but on this particular event... have you ever considered the idea that Judd Winick mught be the a-hole?

Devon Sanders said...

Matt:

The rant was sort of more a rail against bad characterization and writer's visiting their own nonsense upon comic book characters.

Short answer: yes.

Anonymous said...

"There was the exiling Sin thing without letting his lover and Sin's adopted mother in on the plan"

No, Ollie called that one exactly right. If it had been possible to ask Dinah beforehand: "Suppose I can save Sin's life but in order to make it look convincing, you're going to have to think she's dead for a while and your grief has to be genuine ... would you be on board with that?" You know as well as I do that Dinah would have been ecstatic at the prospect. Ollie understood that Dinah would have given her life for Sin without hesitation, and grief followed by a happy ending is a far better arrangement for all parties. And if being a manipulative bastard meant that he'd permanently ruined any shot with Dinah, so be it -- Ollie was willing to go there too.

I call that making the best of a situation with no perfect solutions, and putting other peoples' happiness before your own.

The Mutt said...

I thought it was perfectly in character. It's all about Ollie. Always.

From the Silver Age on, Ollie has always been a "speak first, think later" kind of guy. A self-centered loudmouth who blasts others for faults he can't see in himself; who thinks he is God's gift to women; who thinks that if you ignore problems they will go away; and thinks that he can be forgiven anything because he's so damned charming.

He's the Alec Baldwin of the JLA.

I think his is one of the most realistic portrayals of men in comics. Well, the kind of man who'd wear a costume and fight crime, anyway.

Scipio said...

Wow.

Just when I was acquiring some grudging respect for the man.

I think there's some sort of Law of Conservation of Disrespect for Green Arrow on the Internet at work here.

Yes, he's a first-class jerk, he's self-righteous and arrogant and a hypocrite. You know what? So is Batman.

Sally, I don't think you understand Batman at all.

"Starman" Matt Morrison said...

*sighs* Where do I begin?

Is it the constant political posturing foisted upon the character?

Surely that's more a problem with the writer than the character? While some of the stories have been heavy-handed (Judd Winick, I'm looking at you!) I've rather enjoyed some of the more political Green Arrow stories. The Mike Grell story about the IRA and their relationship with America comes to mind as an example of a tale that made a point without being preachy.

Is it the constant womanizing?

Define constant. ;)

Seriously, most of Ollie's characterization as a womanizer can be traced back to the last ten years and Chuck Dixon - after Ollie died - writing up several stories where Ollie told Connor, in flashback, about how much he slept around - this outright saying what was sometimes suggested about Ollie as a millionaire playboy before he became a hero being the Bruce Wayne before Bruce Wayne.

Before that, it was generally accepted that after Ollie and Dinah became an item - well, he was still a flirt but seriously cheating on Dinah was the last thing he'd ever do. (Again, Winick, I'm looking at you.)

Is it because when his adopted son, Roy Harper, developed a drug problem, Ollie cast him out and walked out on him when he needed him most?

That was a bad thing, yes. But I've known such things to happen in real life for a lot less. At least Ollie himself has acknowledged his mistake (I know he's called it his biggest mistake in at least one story) and made his peace with Roy. That doesn't make it any less wrong but it does bring up one of the things I admire about Ollie - when he screws up and he knows it, he tries to fix it.

Is it the fact that the he fathers children, left and right, and then abandons them?

Left and right? Ollie has only fathered two children and one of them was the result of him being raped. And his "abandoning" Connor is still a matter of debate.

I know there are rumors about Cissie "Arrowette" Jones but we all know rumors don't count.

Is the fact that he lives a lie everyday, letting the world, his son, Connor Hawke and his soon-to-be (?) bride, Black Canary, believe he had no idea Connor was alive until he presented himself in his early twenties?

Yes. Because it is Ollie's fault that some writer failed to do his research properly and wrote a story that had great character moments but no basis in reality. (Brad Meltzer, I'm looking at you this time!)

The moment in the final chapter of The Archer's Quest in which it is revealed that Ollie abandoned Connor and his mother, is the capstone on a pyramid of bad continuity. The entire story is built off the idea that Ollie has to go on a road trip with Roy to recover items that might reveal his secret identity to the world - in spite of the fact that Ollie...

* hadn't had a secret identity for several years before his death

* actually stood trial for High Treason as Green Arrow and had his identity outed to the world.

* had an obituary on the front page of the Daily Planet naming Green Arrow and Oliver Queen as one and the same - a fact that was used as a plot point in Kevin Smith's Quiver

And this is ignoring the fact that if you go back and read Where Angels Fear to Tread - the story in which Ollie originally found out that Connor was his son... well, Ollie missed his calling as an actor if you believe he is faking his anger and shock, especially to a then basically Ominpotent and Omniescent Hal Jordan...

Black Canary proved day-in and day-out that she's better off without him. He never made the choice to actively become better off without her. He never asked himself whether or not she was better off without him.


Actually, in Kevin Smith's Green Arrow... he did.

In Issue #11, or the first chapter of The Sounds of Violence in the TP, there is a great character scene where Ollie agonizes over picking up the phone to talk to Dinah. He still loves her. He still wants to be with her. And he knows from what he's seen and heard from Connor that a lot has changed and that she is getting along just fine without him.

The man can turn himself into a living target on a nightly basis without blinking and he walked out of Heaven itself Hell on Earth without blinking but he's scared to death of being rejected.

Typical Ollie. :)

I agree with you that Ollie trying to become better PURELY for the sake of winning Dinah back makes little sense... but very little Judd Winick has written with the character has.

And you know - much as I took Tony Bedard to task over Birds of Prey #109 and the "Shado Is Not Connor Hawke's Mom!" disaster, I still want to hug the man in a heterosexual buddy-buddy kind of way simply because he was the first to acknowledge in-continuity that as much of a flirt as Ollie was...

1. He was actually raped by Shado.

2. His "affair" with Dinah's assistant at her flower shop was limited to one kiss, which she initiated as he was trying to talk her out of being interested in him.

3. He never actively cheated on Dinah until the Judd Winick run of Green Arrow.

(Sidenote: Up until the issue where Ollie and Dinah broke up, there had never been any sign in any book ever that Ollie and Dinah had been doing anything more serious than casual dating. And a good number of fans, myself and the two gents who used to run The Green Arrow Compendium, called shennanigans on the whole book at that point.)

My point? Go read some Mike Grell or Kevin Smith if you want to read the real Oliver Queen.

Brian Mac said...

Unfortunately, it seems like Ollie is one of those characters who gets "revinvented" by successive writers who want to "get back to the core of the character," with the result that nobody knows what the core of the character is anymore. As a result, different readers see different things, depending on which stories they read. It's a curse of being a B-list character. I think Dick Grayson has similar problems, just to pick one example.

However, I must congratulate you, Devon, on picking the absolute best panel to perfectly sum up the entire article. Well done!