Green Arrow: Quiver
Collects: Green Arrow #1-10
Writer: Kevin Smith
Artists: Phil Hester and Andy Parks
By Doran Murphy
Comic book characters never die. Well, scratch that, they constantly die. It's staying dead that's always tricky for these characters. Whether science enables one to reanimate themselves; or by divine actions; or by the actions of an incredible, superpowered being, comic book characters almost always find a way to cheat the Reaper of his raison d'etre. Green Arrow, also known as Oliver Queen, is no exception to this common ploy. However clichéd though it may be, resurrection of a good character is not always a bad thing. In fact, in this case, it proves to be rather good. A character like Green Arrow, with a wealth of stories involving superheroes such as the JLA and incredible supervillains, was sorely missed and gladly welcomed back.
Kevin Smith's Quiver is an exceptionally well done book. It mixes many emotions to form a very powerful tale. Confusion, anger, loss, betrayal, and happiness are all very prevalent and oftentimes many of them occur simultaneously. In fact, to the uninitiated, confusion could well be the most prominent emotion. Not just that of Oliver Queen's, but the first three quarters of the book could be very confusing for the readers. At first, the story seems little more than a story of Green Arrow battling street crime in Star City. Then you're informed that Green Arrow has been dead for ten years, when he was atomized in an explosion, and his death was witnessed by Superman. You're left guessing how he could possibly be alive, and that's the best part of the book.
Smith mentions in the foreward that he wanted a story based on character development and dialogue. In this, he succeeds easily. The dialogue is something you can picture people actually saying. Glib little jabs and smart pokes at each other's wardrobes, disguises, and verbiage shows a strong bond between the characters. It conveys a strong front of teamwork to the reader that I've not seen before in JLA — perhaps not in any team comic.
As I said originally, the story starts with Arrow preventing street crime and goes straight up to halting the tides of Hell in a basement. It's truly a story of epic proportions, and it's not just huge on a worldwide scale — it's a battle for Oliver Queen's very being, his right to exist, his very soul. With appearances from most of the old school (and some of the new) JLA, as well as friends long thought dead, Quiver is full of surprises and good characters. With some trademark Kevin Smith humor (that at times, is thoroughly enjoyable) and rigid adherence to DC tradition, Quiver is a story for comic book purists that a non-Green Arrow fan could pick up and read and make sense of in the end.
The artwork in Quiver is nothing short of incredible. Basically, I turned the pages, awestruck at what I had just seen, only to be more surprised at what awaited me on the next page. I don't really know very much about comic book artwork, but the work by Phil Hester (pencils), Andy Parks (ink), Guy Major (colorist), and the original covers by Matt Wagner are really nothing short of incredible.
Overall, whether or not you're a fan of the Justice League of America (JLA for the younger crowd) or Green Arrow, Quiver is definitely worth a look. A combination of fluid (and plentiful) dialogue, a smart story, and brilliant artwork make this a must-see graphic novel.