Friday, March 11, 2011

Green Arrow in The Brave and the Bold (Part 5): Volume 3

Back in August, when I reviewed issue #35 of the latest volume of The Brave and the Bold, I had no idea that it was the final issue.  Apparently, neither did anyone else.  There has been, as far as I know, no formal announcement of the book's cancellation from DC, but #36 is, as I write this, six months late. Therefore, this is, for the time being, the final installment of my series on Green Arrow's appearances in B&B.  
Harking back to the early days of the original B&B's team-up format, the latest volume had no fixed co-star, instead featuring different pairings of heroes in almost every issue.  Often, especially during Mark Waid's tenure as writer, there would be continued stories with different sets of heroes starring in each chapter.  Green Arrow is featured in three issues out of the extant thirty-five, with a brief appearance in one more, which about matches the ratio of his appearances in the original series. In the thirty-five issues between #100 and #134 of volume one, for example, the Emerald Archer also makes four appearances.
He first shows up in volume three with #14, teamed with Deadman in a story  by Mark Waid and Scott Kolins entitled "The Ghost Killers of Nanda Parbat."  The two meet when Green Arrow encounters a pair of the titular "Ghost Killers", who Deadman has pursued to Star City.  They are former residents of Nanda Parbat; the mystical Shangri-La hidden in Himalayas that is home to Rama Kushna, the god-like being who gave Deadman his powers and mission; who have been transformed by a demon priest called Siva Anuttara into entities similar to Deadman, except that they kill any living being they possess, after Anuttara imprisoned Rama Kushna in a magical amulet and took over Nanda Parbat. The Ghost Killers have been sent out into the world to spread Anuttara's evil and have set up a base in Star City.  When the Ghost Killers attack Green Arrow, Deadman hops into his body to keep them from taking it.  Still in Ollie's body, Deadman hops a plane for Nanda Parbat to confront Anuttara directly.  At the border of Nanda Parbat, Green Arrow and Deadman are able to jointly control Ollie's body and attempt to destroy Anuttara's amulet with an arrow to free Rama Kushna.  Anuttara easily swats the arrow aside, however.  Fleeing from the Ghost Killers, Ollie and Deadman enter Rama Kushna proper, where Deadman is forced to exit Ollie's body and becomes a living being.  Seemingly enraged by Deadman's delivering them right into their enemies hands, Ollie shoots Deadman, apparently killing him, and flings the body off a cliff and away from Nanda Parbat.  Thus ends The Brave and the Bold #14. Green Arrow had gambled that, once outside of the magical influence of Nanda Parbat, Deadman would simply turn into a ghost again and go off to seek help.  This is precisely what happens in the next issue in which Deadman recruits Nightwing and Hawkman to come back with him to Nanda Parbat, free Rama Kushna, defeat Anuttara and rescue Green Arrow. 
I'm not a big fan of Mark Waid, but this is one of his more enjoyable stories.  Green Arrow's a little out of his element amidst all the ghosts and demons and magical goings on, but he holds his own and his quick thinking manages to ultimately save the day. 
Green Arrow next appears in issues #21 and #22, sharing cover billing with his old pal Green Lantern.  However, despite being featured on the covers, he plays a relatively small role in the story, not even showing up until more than halfway through #21. These two issues comprise the second half of the four part story "Without Sin," written by David Hine and illustrated by Doug Braithwaite and Bill Reinhold.  The first two parts feature GL and the Phantom Stranger and the Stranger continues to play a major role in the stories conclusion, getting more on panel time than ostensible co-star Green Arrow.  My summary of these issues will focus primarily on GA's part of the story.
As "Without Sin" part three begins, GL and the Stranger are on the planet Kahlo battling an entity called the Purge who has possessed that world's Green Lantern.  Purge's schtick is to travel from world to world eliminating each planet's evil by killing the entire population, which he does by possessing the planet's most powerful being, such as, say, a Green Lantern.  After the Stranger banishes Purge from Orlan, the Kahloan GL, he and Hal remain on Kahlo to take care of a few loose ends. However, the Stranger senses that Cora, an autistic girl on Earth who appears to hold the key to defeating Purge, is in danger.  She is in a hospital for children with birth defects caused by trials of an experimental drug called Genesin. A team of killers has been sent to destroy the hospital to eliminate any evidence of the failed experiment.  The Stranger sends a psychic projection to Green Arrow, dispatching him to the hospital to try to save the children.  When he arrives, the killers are already there and manage to get off a lucky shot that grazes GA's head and leaves him lying on the floor helpless as they plant a bomb in the basement. 
In the conclusion, Green Arrow manages to recover in time to stop the bomb from exploding just as Hal and the Stranger arrive at the hospital for the final confrontation with the Purge. While that's going on, Green Arrow pursues and captures the squad of would be killers.  I like the fact that Hine keeps Green Arrow separate for the most part from the magical and science fiction elements of the story, even though that does limit his role.
I've now covered every appearance of Green Arrow in all comic book series carrying the title The Brave and the Bold.  At least those set in the mainstream DC Universe. Perhaps in the future, I'll get around to reading and reviewing the comics based on the  Cartoon Network series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Green Arrow has been a frequent guest star on the show and I'm sure he plays a major role in the comic as well.  Furthermore, I'm fairly certain that some day, in the not too distant future, DC will revive  the title yet again and Green Arrow is sure to be a part of it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment