Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: Dog Days

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dog Days

Blurg. While the rest of the country has been sweltering under oppressive heat and humidity, it wasn't too bad in New England. In fact, it was pretty darned gorgeous. Unfortunately that is at an end, and it is really revolting out today. What to do, what to do, to take my mind off the stickiness that is bearing down like a big gray blanket?

I think I'll discuss Green Arrow. I've been enjoying the heck out of the new series, that goes back and reexamines Oliver Queen's origin. Ollie may have been an ass, but my goodness, he was an ENTERTAINING ass.

In issue #4, he's been helped by one of the workers of the hidden opium plantation, on the remote island where he washed up, after his attempted murder by his supposed friend and employee. Ollie has unfortunately broken his arm rather badly, and is given opium to help with the pain. Also unfortunately, he becomes hooked rather quickly, and has to go through a painful detox completely on his own.

There has been a certain amount of discussion about this retcon. Originally I believe that it was marijuana, it has since been changed to opium, which actually makes a lot more sense nowadays. However, if Ollie had to deal with an addiction, then why was he so obnoxious to poor Speedy when he discovered that his ward had become a JUNKIE? Doesn't that make him the worst kind of hypocrite?

Well...yes, I suppose that it does. However, it must be also observed that Oliver Queen is a deeply flawed hero. Yes, he's brave, handsome and charming, and he goes out and risks his life to fight the bad guys armed with a bow and a lot of trick arrows. He's ALSO loud, pushy, an inveterate flirt, demanding, and has this rather bad habit of fathering a lot of illegitimate children and then running in the opposite direction. He is a cad, and furthermore keeps calling Hal a Nazi, which REALLY has to grate after a while. There's a reason that Hal went all Parallax on everybody, and Ollie has to stand up for his share of the blame.

There is also no doubt at all that he treated Roy very poorly. The kid was neglected, lonely and confused, and Ollie certainly didn't help. Ollie also has a tendancy to not notice what is under his own nose. Then he threw poor Speedy out, and the kid had to rely on Dinah and Hal for comfort and help...not Oliver.

However...and there is always a however...I can actually understand Ollie's reaction BETTER, if it turns out that he himself had a problem with addiction. Have you ever known anyone who has given up a bad habit? A former drinker, a former smoker, etc? A LOT of people go to the opposite extreme when confronted with evidence of their former vices. I am not a smoker, but I have known those who were, and believe me, they can be very intolerant when exposed to fumes from some hapless smoker.

Ollie knows from experience how insidious the drug was, and how hard it was to kick the habit, therefore I can understand his horror at seeing Roy using it. There would be anger that Roy would voluntarily take up this terrible habit, and perhaps a little bit of shame and guilt that he had fallen so quickly himself. Plus, as far as I can tell, Ollie isn't very good at taking responsibility for things. He ran as far and fast as he could when he Conner was born, and rather than try and help Speedy, he just ran again. Ollie likes to confront other people about injustices, but he isn't too good about confronting himself.

He is getting better though, and it is probably because of Dinah. That's one of the reasons that I am in favor of the wedding...other than I am just an old softie and LOOOOVE weddings. He needs someone to keep him on the straight and narrow. His perpetual adolescence seems to be finally ending...and it's about time.

5 Comments:

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ollie's reaction to Roy will be retroactively altered. Just about everything else has, after all.

At such point as any writers care to touch this, Ollie's behavior will morph into: "I know what it's like to be addicted. But I didn't go on the stuff voluntarily, and I got the monkey off my back just because. And I expect the same of you."

 
At 5:45 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

It is quite possible that they'll bring this up in the future, although I don't know how much they can actually retcon his reaction.

But I suppose that is part of the fun of comics. Writers occasionally have a tendancy to "write" themselves into a corner. How in the world are they going to come up with a convincing explanation for THIS!

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Shelly said...

Yes, that's been my concern re: Ollie and Roy because never has Ollie given Roy (at least not in anything I've read) a hint that he understands what Roy went through with withdrawal, how difficult and painful it is. Ollie's patched things up with Roy and has told him a lot of things but this hasn't been one of them.

Yes, it does make sense that Ollie would feel that if he could do it, Roy sure could, but the emotional thrust of him throwing out Roy when he discovers him about to shoot up is anger, as in how dare Roy be weak. How dare Roy do this to HIM after all he's done for Roy.

So yeah, while I can see Ollie thinking he's forcing Roy to get clean on his own the way he did, I'd like to see that in the stories now, because so far, the best we have is Ollie's superior attitude because his addiction wasn't his fault and Roy's was most definitely his own doing.

 
At 11:32 PM, Blogger FoldedSoup said...

The Diggle/Jock Mini is shaping up to be a fantastic retro year one read.

I've never been a GA fan, but they have me liking and caring about Ollie.

Plus, the art is fantastic.

 
At 6:07 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Glad I'm not the only one really digging Green Arrow: Year One.

Is it just me or does Jock's style look very similar to Sean Phillips style in Sleeper and/or Criminal though.

 

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