Monday, March 14, 2011

'Tec Support: "Night Olympics" by Alan Moore and Klaus Jansen

For the most part, my series of posts on Detective Comics will deal with the Batman stories, but in this special Green Arrow Month edition of 'Tec Support, I'll be taking a look at one of the back up stories starring the Emerald Archer. 
Green Arrow ended his days as a third string back up feature in the pages of Detective Comics in the mid-1980's before finally graduating to his own monthly series following The Longbow Hunters.  For the most part, the series was written by Joey Cavalieri, but in #'s 549 and 550, Alan Moore stepped in to contribute the two-part "Night Olympics," illustrated by Klaus Jansen. The title derives from Moore's comparison of night life in Star City to a sporting event.  

The plot of the story is fairly straightforward, you might even say simple.  It  involves a mohawked, bow wielding punk named Pete Lomax who's decided to make a name for himself by taking out a super-hero.  Thus, the first part of the story ends as gets Black Canary in his sights and fires.  In part two, an enraged Green Arrow pursues and captures Lomax.  
The only really interesting part of the story is the dialogue between Green Arrow and Black Canary toward the end of the part one. They are discussing the impact that the presence of super-heroes and costumed vigilantes like themselves has had on the criminal class.  "We're gradually weeding out all the just-plain-average goons, gradually improving the strain..." Ollie says, "...until only the flat-out-dangerous psychos are left running around."  This was a fairly new idea for 1985.  Such analysis of super-hero conventions was pretty much unknown in the Bronze Age and foreshadows the full blown deconstruction of the genre that Moore would undertake in Watchmen.
Even so, "Night Olympics" is not one of Moore's better works.  The prose in the captions is a particularly dark shade of purple and the sports metaphor becomes strained almost to the breaking point pretty quickly.   Still, Moore's name alone is enough to make this one of the few Bronze Age Green Arrow stories to be reprinted.  It appears in Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore, DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore (basically the same book, except it includes "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" and The Killing Joke) and Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or For Worse.   

1 comment:

  1. Definitely not Moore at the top of his game. I read Across the Universe and didn't even remember this story at all until reading your review here. That's how memorable it was. Father's Day, his two-parter that appeared in Vigilante has worlds better than this easily forgotten little piece of filler.