Review: Arrow – Volume 1 / Author: Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim / Artist: Mike Grell, Phil Hunter / Publisher: DC / Release Date: October 1st
Arrow is a comic book based on the TV series of the same name; however, that telly show is based on comic book called Green Arrow. So in a way, it’s a third generation copy of a character, who isn’t terribly original to begin with, being a modernisation of Robin Hood.
The premise of the Arrow comic book is the same as the TV drama; it follows the exploits of millionaire playboy Oliver Queen, who has recently returned from a five-year jaunt as a missing person, claiming to have been stranded on an island following a tragic boating accident. The experience has turned a thrill-seeking rich jerk into a hyper-competent vigilante who specialises in tracking down bad guys with a bow and arrow. Several of the arrows have gimmicks, allowing our hero to stun villains, hack wi-fi and pull off other stunts depending on the demands of the plot. The story is told through extensive flashback sequences, and here the book deviates from the show: we also get flashbacks of the lives of the supporting cast. We learn more about Queen’s friends and enemies in this way, which is rather nice.
The artwork is not anything remarkable, which is a pity. The opportunity to give the fictional Starling City an iconic and interesting look has been passed up here, indeed the book as a whole goes out of its way to add only the most of cosmetic details to Oliver Queen’s world. Apart from the flashbacks, no depth is provided here; there’s no real plot progression and certainly nothing of significance is added.
Arrow Volume 1 does feel like a bonus feature for the show; you don’t need to have watched the series to understand the plot but it’s much better if you’re a fan. This is also one of the flaws of the work; the storytelling is very modular, and though this works on screen, it’s irksome in this format because the book doesn’t feel like it’s telling one story, nor does it feel like an anthology of Arrow-themed adventures; it just feels like a day in the life of Oliver Queen and friends. The character development is very nice, but without a central plot to develop into, it all becomes moot.
If you’re not into comic books but like the TV series, then this has been written for you. Die hard Green Arrow fans will also want this to complete their collection, but everyone else might want to look elsewhere for their fix of bow-wielding comic book action.