Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Occasional Reviews: Green Arrow & Black Canary

Green Arrow & Black Canary #3 & #4
Writer: Judd Winick

Artist: Cliff Chiang

Rating (writing): B-
Rating (art): A

On my pull list? Debating it

Pro: Cliff Chiang's art is gorgeous. Utterly gorgeous. There will never be another Alex Toth, but if anybody today is close to picking up the legacy, it's Chiang.

Con: Fairly light soap-opera writing on Judd Winick's part.

Pro: But at least the story moves and keeps my interest, which certainly can't be said for every book on the stands. I realize the rating I gave the writing might seem rather high for some, but it's the comics with stories that don't move -- which frustrate and bore me with its ponderousness and molasses-speed storytelling -- which are the worst books.

Con: This series has the unenviable task of picking up from both the "Wedding" storyline and Amazons Attack -- and actually (attempting to) connect those two tales together.

Pro: Cliff Chiang's art is really great. I mean, it's that good that even if you didn't like Winick's writing it still would be worth picking up. (I call such comics that you only pick up for the art "portfolio books")

Con: It's the little touches: So that Everyman guy who was Ollie's impostor and BC's husband-to-be tried to kill her on their honeymoon bed because he had erectile dysfunction disorder?
Bottom line: Winick is much better with/seems to be suited for soap-opera, emotional-type writing than strong plot-driven writing. He is not the best person to be entrusted with figuring out how to resolve tricky continuity points, because he just might throw erectile dysfunction disorder in there out of desperation.

That said, the art in this book in stunningly beautiful. It really is some of the best art being produced now for mainstream superhero comics. I really wish somebody would put Chiang on JLA.

So the choice is up to you.


PS: Totally forgot to mention Connor's "brain death." I have been so burned by the recent spate of apparently kiling off/bringing back superheroes lately that I just don't care. This note has been played out so often, it has no more emotional resonance to me.

Bet you $5 he gets "brought back" as either a possessed super-ninja or with the ghost of some other dead superhero, though.


  1. I absolutely loved Chiang's art on 'Human Target' and 'Beware the Creeper'. Both of those series were really under-rated.

    But I could not pick up this comic after the Wedding Special and the BC mini-series. It was as if DC wanted to take 2 huge components of Gail Simone's BoP run (Dinah's motherly love of Sin, her becoming one of DC's best martial artists) and ignore/erase them.

    So I voted with my feet.

  2. I agree with you 100% on the art. It's just so gorgeous.

    I'm as annoyed by the story as you are, but I can't stop looking at the pretty!

  3. I liked it: I think for a lot of the reasons you listed as Pros. I don't think Winnick is great, but you know, he SURPRISES me with how okay he is. I think he might mature into another Geoff Johns.

  4. Also: Everyman & Poison Ivy should get together.

  5. I think he might mature into another Geoff Johns.

    while I am enjoying it, I HIGHLY disagree.

    Geoff Johns is the f-ing KING of superhero comics, no one but Bendis can get near him.

  6. Winick will more than likely mature into what everyone basically thinks of Mortimer Weisinger, a crappy, horrific writer and as equally as nasty a person.

    I was thinking about horror movies and I think the same problem affects both horror movies and comics. The vast majority of both are so incredibly bad that sometimes something that's not quite as bad as everything else gets confused to be something that's good. I think the same standard applies to Judd Winick; his work is so unbelievably bad that when the rare book isn't as bad as the rest, it looks good in comparison.

  7. ...I will confess that the melodrama in #4 was some really good melodrama. Spot on with the soap opera appellation.

    But... yeah. The Everyman thing?

    Dinah kills someone who she thinks is Ollie in self defence, learns that it was to cover up his erectile dysfunction, and her response is to feel miffed that he was incapable of getting an erection from her?

    There's OOC, and there's completely unrecognizable. Sheesh.

    (Oh, and I thought Bats was slapping people for yelling out Clark's name these days.)

    (Oh, and Hal's great and all, but couldn't they have whistled up an actual medical doctor with a Ring? Like, um, Soranik Natu? Sure, she owed Ollie no favours, but she's only one sector over.)

    (Oh, and I've really got to stop thinking about all this.)

  8. I really liked the "clark...Clark....CLARK!" bit. & you know, I don't hate on Johns. He's a solid C+ to B- writer most of the time. In a serial world like this, being "pretty good" most of the time is a real treat. I DON'T get all the Winick hate, even though I hated him as well before giving him a chance.

    Come on, how can ANYONE hate "First Thunder?"

  9. I AM sad to see Sin go; what a sloppy soft retcon.

  10. I'm so happy I cancelled all of my DC pulls when Connor got shot. I've just run out of energy for this trash.

  11. mordicai: "Everyman & Poison Ivy should get together."

    um... but didn't Everyman get an arrow through the neck...? Even in retcon heaven, I don't see how anyone could survive that.

    Also, in relation to Connor coming "back" from his brain dead activity - wasn't it stated somewhere (from Hal, I think..?) in issue 4 that the shot that got Connor was doused in some "mystical" nastiness? Sorry for sounding jaded here, but that just screams okay-in-ten-issues-time to me.

  12. Gotta echo the love for the art. And Trish Mulvihill is doing the best colors of her career on this book! INCREDIBLE!

  13. I have been enjoying the series, but that's mainly because of the Black Canary-Green Arrow family. So, I really don't care for the Connor coma business. It's stupid. I also didn't care for carting Sin off.

    Also, I keep calling the book Black Canary-Green Arrow, and I wish it were called that because it feels like BC currently is a lot more relevent and interesting than GA. She leads the JLA, for godsake. Plus, she's been a member of the JSA and Birds of Prey, and she is so very cool.

    Cliff Chiang's artwork, though, is what really makes me read this series. Good god, that man can draw. A few years back, I proposed to my girlfriend, and he gave me a big, beautiful picture of GA proposing to BC, pencils and ink. It's amazing. I offered to pay for it, but he refused payment and asked instead that we name our firstborn Black Canary.

    Secretly, I am choosing to believe that the sketch led to his working on the series, but I know that that is silly.