Warning: Spoilers for Heroes in Crisis #1 (which ties into this issue) ahead.
Green Arrow #45 marks the first tie-in with Tom King and Clay Mann’s Heroes in Crisis series and it comes at a good time. That issue ended in (what else?) crisis so this issue serves up a healthy dose of response to a major loss in the hero community.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In this Heroes in Crisis tie-in, Oliver Queen is forced to take a hard look at himself and evaluate his methods after he fails one too many times trying to do the right thing. It’s a dark, depressing stroll down memory lane for the Emerald Archer, as Oliver must come to grips with how he’s hurt the people around him. This issue guest-stars members of the Justice League and the Titans, but are they there to console Ollie…or condemn him?
Why does this matter?
Green Arrow and other heroes are grieving and Julie Benson and Shawna Benson aim to reveal how Ollie is taking things. Spoiler, not great.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This entire issue takes place at the funeral of Roy Harper. He was murdered at Sanctuary and now Ollie, his friends, and other heroes are laying him to rest. The Benson writing team does a masterful job with Ollie’s internal struggle to reconcile the loss and his past life working with Roy aka Arsenal aka Red Arrow aka Speedy. This is a rather big death in the sidekick community (though he wasn’t a sidekick as of late). This is the character that made the news when Ollie discovered he was using heroin in Green Lantern #85. That dovetails into some of the messaging going on in this issue revolving around addiction and the life of an addict.
If you’ve ever lost someone or even just been at a funeral you’ll relate to the emotions Ollie goes through in the issue. Anger, frustration, self-doubt…there are many and it’s a whirlwind for the character. The issue stands alone not requiring you read Heroes in Crisis and serves as a good beginning to what will assuredly be a new path for the character. There are honest moments where Ollie must face the fact he may not have been the best support for Roy and in the guilt we’re seeing a hero come to grips with wanting to be better.
The art by Javier Fernandez captures all that pain, self-doubt, and wild emotion wonderfully. A key scene of anger for Ollie takes place with him punching Superman. It’s a violent act and it’s well rendered in how Clark doesn’t respond beyond being sorry. This issue is filled with great montages of Green Arrow and Roy’s life fighting crime (with some big iconic ones too) all of which help fill in new readers or remind us of the long history these characters had.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This whole Sanctuary thing kind of came out of nowhere. Aside from some tidbits in other issues and of course Heroes in Crisis itself, the weight of what that is lost here. It’s referred to and basically stands in as a rehab for Roy, but the bigger question of who killed Roy is lost here. The character was taken from Ollie in a murder, yet it is played as if he died from his addiction. His addictions are why he was there, certainly, but there’s a disconnect that makes the reason for his death strangely distant from the issue.
Is it good?
Yes, death in comics is never a definitive thing, but with the way this comic is written and drawn I suspect we may not see this character again. I haven’t been reading this series, but after this chapter, I will most definitely be checking in with issue #46 to see where Ollie goes from here.