Green Arrow Gets the Shaft

Scanned cover to Green Arrow #73

I don’t think there’s any other mainstream superhero that gets shafted more than Green Arrow.  Lots of heroes haven’t changed all that drastically for decades, but poor Oliver Queen seems to have bad luck heaped on him.  Compare his career with Superman’s.  Kal-el comes to Earth as a baby, finds loving foster parents, meets his high school sweetheart Lana, then meets the girl of his dreams Lois, gets a sweet job at a newspaper, marries Lois…  gets killed, but comes back to life less than a year later as a blue lightning bolt, then he’s back to his old self once again.  Apart from the brief death, Supes’ life has been pretty awesome.  Not so with Green Arrow.  First, he gets his abilities in a Robinson Crusoe style misadventure, meets the girl of his dreams Black Canary, becomes a right-wing nightjob who actually kills villians, then is killed by a bomb strapped to his arm.  Years later he’s brought back to life, but is missing his soul.  After getting his soul back, he becomes a liberal again, runs for mayor of Star City, loses, then witnesses Star City being destroyed.  After seeking out and killing the man responsible for an entire city being totaled, the JLA disowns him and Black Canary leaves him, giving him little recourse but to live in the forest, where he’s shot in the head with an arrow (not dying somehow).  What a lousy life for Oliver Queen!  Oh, I forgot to mention that he was turned into a zombie and had to fight his loved ones, and then was frozen in a block of ice in the process.

Apart from the periods when he was killing villains, Green Arrow has been a pretty likeable character.  Here’s hoping that after the relaunch something good actually happens to him.  Maybe he should get a chance to be a big blue lightning bolt for a while.

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