It’s Not that Nothing Happens…: “Green Arrow #14”

I don’t really understand what DC’s plans are for “Hawkman: Wanted”. It started last month in The Savage Hawkman #13, and continues here in Green Arrow #14, then it’s on to Deathstroke #14 and The Savage Hawkman #14. It’s a lot of jumping around from title to title without much reason. Deathstroke hasn’t even been seen in the first two issues of this arc, yet his series is part of the story? I’m disingenuous and still trying to figure out why Green Arrow’s been wedged into this flimsy tale.

When I reviewed The Savage Hawkman #13, I explained that “Hawkman: Wanted” actually showed some potential under Rob Liefeld’s iffy plotting. I enjoyed the debut of Hawkwoman, and it felt like this could actually be a chance at character building for Carter Hall. Instead, Green Arrow #14 cements this arc’s lack of necessity by ignoring any of the story developments from last issue and making Green Arrow a terribly uninteresting supporting player in his own book.

The main problem with Green Arrow #14 is that nothing is accomplished. I’m not talking about actual events – a fight breaks out and finishes, and a little more information is given regarding Hawkman’s status as a criminal. Ann Nocenti fails to accomplish anything this issue because all the major players from The Savage Hawkman #13 are nowhere to be found. It might sound a bit like nitpicking, but if DC wants me to buy issues of multiple series just to get one complete story, I expect said story to actually make sense as an ongoing narrative, and when you drop the central antagonists in the second chapter, it comes off as lazy and unfocused, more than that even–unstructured and poorly planned.

At the end of The Savage Hawkman #13, Carter Hall and his female companion, Emma, were on the run from the Warhawks, an elite group of Thanagarian soldiers tasked to bring Katar Hol back to Thanagar–just like Hawkwoman was. Where were these Warhawks before and why did they decide to wait until after their commander (Hawkwoman) was defeated to attempt an extraction? Green Arrow #14 picks up exactly where The Savage Hawkman #13 left off, only now Green Arrow is in on the game, for some reason. There’s no explanation as to why or how Hawkman came to meet Green Arrow–it would seem that Nocenti simply decided they would meet by chance, the least believable and most notoriously overused cliché in comicbook history. I expect a bit more form the New 52–it’s supposed to be a symbolic playground where creators can come up with fun new ways to have characters interact. Instead, Nocenti takes the easiest route with a ‘random encounter’ meeting. It’s boring.

The rest of the issue is rife with fighting, as Hawkman teams up with Green Arrow to find a way to stop the seemingly unstoppable Warhawks. I’m not a huge fan of Oliver Queen in the New 52, mostly because he relies so heavily on a support staff to make his rich-kid dreams of being a vigilante come true. In Green Arrow #14, this premise is taken so far past it’s natural place that I nearly wanted to put the issue down. Queen and his staff are trying to find a way to pierce the Warhawk armor and Jax, Ollie’s weapons expert, apparently has such a qualified knowledge of alien technology and physiology that he’s able to synthesize a chemical to dissolve the Nth metal armor worn by the Warhawks, but not the armor worn by Hawkman. Even by comicbook standards, this is a total shark jump.

It’s easy to see why DC is putting Jeff Lemire on Green Arrow starting with issue 17. Ann Nocenti (as well, JT Krul and Dan Jurgens before her) has failed at finding the right voice and tone for Oliver Queen in the New 52. It’s somewhat understandable, Green Arrow #14 being only one part of a longer narrative, but there’s still a chance to present quality material in a package meant for something bigger. At the end of the issue, there was no reason to include Ollie’s support team, there was really no consequence in the battle with the Warhawks, and the direction of the story is surface-level intentions at best. I’ve heard “Hawkman: Wanted” is supposed to somewhat add to the upcoming Justice League of America by making Hawkman and Green Arrow work together. In reality, the two characters barely interact outside barking their strategic plans to each other in the middle of battle. I’m confident JLA will be good, but I’m also confident that “Hawkman: Wanted” is a big waste of time.

RATING 4 / 10