Pick of the Week

February 13, 2008 – Green Arrow and Black Canary #5

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.5
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.5%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Clearly, I’m not to be trusted. This title came out, and I said, “You know what… no. There are too many comics, and I have to draw the line somewhere.” It appears that my choice of line drawing was an incredibly poor choice, especially for one who reviews comics at a place such as iFanboy, with a snazzy new website, and people to impress. Because what is not impressive is hearing Conor and Ron, and many others, for three straight months, talk about the near religious experience of reading Chiang and Winick’s Green Arrow and Black Canary. However, it turns out that I found the issues sitting on the shelf just behind the fourth issue, and decided to pick them up.

They had me at “Clark.”

But right from the outset, this issue had me expecting a disappointment. For one thing, the cover suggests that Ollie is going to break up the young, and only recently repaired marriage, which is something that really bugs me, because it’s a really easy device to throw a relationship into turmoil because of hardship, when the whole point of the relationship is so that you have a support system when the shit does hit the fan. It turns out that, at least so far, the cover was a bit misleading, and that isn’t what happened at all. Though for just a moment, I found myself cursing my partner Richards, and his being right about covers and what happens inside a comic being in alignment.

Up next, we find that phenom Cliff Chiang has taken issue #5 off. Fill-in artist Andre Coelho did a fair enough job at filling his shoes. Some might even say an admirable job. I see no indication that Chiang is off the book, so I will put up with this inconvenience. While Coelho certainly maintained the tone set by Chiang, the book lacked that “something special” we’ve grown used to. On the other hand, he ably handled all the pacing and storytelling, especially in some of the more dramatic moments from Winick’s script,

Speaking of Winick’s script, how is it that Judd Winick has, for me and likely others, made Oliver Queen into the most interesting character in the DC Universe? I’m serious. I’m thinking about what’s going on in the DC Universe, and despite the fact that I’m a Johnny-Come-Lately to the party, I care more about Oliver Queen than anyone else in the DC Universe. This is coming from a guy who stopped reading Winick’s most recent Green Arrow run 5 or 6 issues in. Yet, five issues into this series, which I was in no way interested in, I’m utterly engaged.

This issue consisted large of flashbacks to various times in Ollie’s life, concerning mostly those of his son. On the surface, it seems fairly standard, but really, it was quite a feat to sum up so much story so quickly, as well as establish a new paradigm for Ollie’s relationship to his recently vegetablized son. When you factor in the fact that he referenced Andy Diggle’s recent update of Ollie’s origin, as well skimming over some seminal moments in the DC Universe, it was a remarkably efficient and effective job. I don’t even really know that much about Ollie’s past, but it was an excellent primer on where things are at. It’s notable that Winick didn’t balk at making pre-Green Arrow Ollie an immense jackass, in having him suggest that Connor’s mother abort the unexpected pregnancy; a suggestion that tends to stick out when read in a mainstream comic like this. But would that character do that same thing in real life? Yes. I absolutely believe he would. It’s that kind of honest writing that really resonates with me, and I appreciate that about Winick’s work.

I think the thing that really makes this book a standout in the DC Universe is that Winick has ably achieved that sense of community and fraternity among the superheroes in this world. These guys: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, etc. are here for Ollie and Dinah, no questions asked. I realize this is all just a soap opera fantasy, but the idea of having such strong, powerful and committed friends is incredibly compelling. It makes you love these characters all the more. They’re a big family, helping each other unconditionally. While the fourth issue showcased this, I like how it continues in the background of the current issue, and in the looks in the past. I don’t think Winick should write a main Batman title, but I will always be happy for him to use Batman as a supporting character. He might be better at that than anyone right now.

Finally, as you knew that the tension and danger must be escalated, the ending happens, and once again, we’re delivered a last page with some punch to it. This last page is accompanied with a driving desire to find out what happens next, which is what the best serialized comic book issues have always done. With so much being said for the collected trade format, Winick is consistently writing great single issues of comics which work together as a whole. This is not easy, and I’m beginning to see it as a dying art; one that I appreciate all the more.

Josh Flanagan
Get me my damn bow.

Did you read Green Arrow and Black Canary #5? Add a comment and tell everyone what you thought!


  1. Great choice. Glad to see you’re joining Ron and Conor on this title. Now only if they could get you on Booster Gold, which #0 would have been my choice for the week, with GA/BC #5 a close second. 

  2. I really hate to be the voice of dissent, but I really don’t get the way everyone raves about this title. I mean it’s good. It’s just not excellent. And I’m actually a big Winick fan> It’s a solid book, it just doesn’t knock my socks off.

  3. Knocked out of the park.  Again.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, Josh.  I’ve read and loved these characters for 30+ years now, and issues like this just make me love them even more.  Winick does a great job of making these characters feel so "real"

  5. Booster Gold #0 is my pick for the week. Really fun comic book. I am incredibly impressed with the way Johns and Katz handle the series.

    That being said, Green Arrow/Black Canary was good. Though I felt this was the weakest issue in the run so far. The absence of Chiang probably goes a long way to that sentiment.

  6. Why?  Why is this book so damned good?


    On another week of being broke, this is one of the two books I picked up.  Couldn’t pass it up.  But man oh man, did I miss me some Cliff Chiang.  Was fine with seeing Amanda Conner credited on the cover, but…no Amanda Conner…hrrm.  Ah well. Great issue nonetheless. 

  7. Huzzah!

  8. Darn straight.  I love this series, I loved this issue (but miss Chiang on art).

    Fanboy nitpick: I thought Connor’s mom was half black, half Asian?  So that Connor growing up had Asiatic features, except for his hair and eyes?  But here his mom just seemed to be black, and Connor didn’t really appear Asian.

     Anyway, dumb nitpick aside, this is perhaps DC’s best book right now– it’s at least in the discussion with JSA, Green Lantern, and Action Comics.

  9. Actually, never mind my nitpick– looking back through the issue, I guess I see a bit of Asian ancestory with both Connor and his mom. 

  10. excellent pick Josh, this is the best thing i’ve read so far. Everytime i saw the lifeless look on Connor Hawke’s face my heart broke a little more. Damn that’s sad

  11. "Get me my damn bow."  – i LOVE it!

  12. yeah, the cover and first pages of this book had me thinking it was going to be a slight dip in quality from the other issues. but the flashback stuff was pretty nice, and of course it served the story perfectly – it really made the events at the end of the book all the more powerful. after this one, i just had to sit back and say, "damn…they did it again!"

    great pick. 

  13. Walking Dead – just how sick was that – felt like I was watching an al-Qaeda video

  14. If you want to talk about Walking Dead, you can go here, where a conversation is already talking place.


    There’s also a discussion possible on any of the books on the "Comics" page.   

  15. This issue did indeed rock.  I loved all the little interludes of Connor’s past life, and the wedding ceremony was perfect for where the story was.  I also really enjoyed that last page, and Ollie’s look when he called for his bow was perfect.  I’m ready to see him kick some ass next issue.

    Even though GA/BC was strong this week, the Nova Annual is my pick, which you can read about in my reader review.  Man, these new features are so cool.

  16. I have to start reading this book. I’m tired of hearing everyone say how great it is all the while remaining blissfully ignorant.

  17. Solid pick and solid read.  I think a few books came close but I definitely back this choice.  That said, there were a bunch of books that I was excited for and turned out lack luster…New Avengers anyone?

  18. Decent pick. Not a huge surprise, but nothing wrong with that. at least you didn’t pick New Avengers

  19. Green Arrow should be written only by Mike Grell, just my two cents.  I loved every single issue Grell wrote…sigh!

  20. I second Keith M on this. I like this book but nearly as much as everyone else seems too.

  21. Form what you worte is pretty good but i may wait tell the trades.

  22. Josh brings up so many great points about this issue and the job Winnick’s done with the character.  I couldn’t agree more.  When I read "Superman for All Seasons", I actually cared about Superman.  His monthly titles (though Action Comics is darn entertaining) bring nothing in terms of making a connection to Superman. 

     I hadn’t read a single Green Arrow story before I picked up this book, and I already care more about him than I do nearly any other superhero (or protagonist) in any book that I’m reading on a month-to-month basis.  Bravo.

  23. @ BigE – Do yourself a favor and pick up the trade of Judd Winick’s run on GREEN ARROW.  It’s awesome and will cause even a greater appreciation of this book.

  24. I totally fail; I think the first new episode of this podcast I ever listened to was the review of  GA/BC#1, and I still haven’t picked it up — Maybe the trade.

    I wonder if I can use period now. . .(test, yay, if it works, otherwise no harm done)

  25. This book has quickly become my favorite DC title.  I find myself now reading this first because I can’t wait to see what happens next.  This is one of the books that reminds me of why I love comics.

  26. I picked this up with the intention of being completely disappointed because as I said before Mike Grell has always been "my" Green Arrow writer, but I was pleasently surprised.  Thanks for making this the pick of the week cause I would never have picked this up otherwise.

  27. i didn’t buy this issuse cause I’m cutting back however your review is making me second guess about what to buy. Why must you do this to me? why?


  28. @ohcaroline – Caroline, Caroline, Caroline!  If this sounds at all interetsting to you, you MUST get that trade.

    @mistersizzle – I believe we live in a world where Mike Grell’s excellent run on GREEN ARROW can coexist with Judd WInick’s excellent run on GREEN ARROW and GREEN ARROW & BLACK CANARY.  We are the world; we are the children.

  29. I just wrote a review for the book using the site’s handy new review system, but then read yours and realized that you had written everything I had except better.  Thankfully I did not post it and receive the scorn of the iFanbase.


    Which means I agree with everything you said Josh.  Before I started reading this, around issue three (with back issues), I couldn’t care less about any of the characters and really only liked Green Arrow as a spice thrown in as a spice in other titles (the same way i don’t read a Punisher book but love to see Punisher show up in a book I am reading).  Now this is probably my favorite non-Bendis book around.

    Great pick. 

  30. loved it loved it loved it Thricely i say i loved it. This comic surprises me every time with how good it is. i should just start expecting it to be great. Green Arrow is vastly becoming my favourite character in the DCU.

    Ads The Brit In a Hat


  31. I feel like this is the only place where people are really loving the GA/BC.  I’ve been around to some other places, and they write about this book like it’s the bubonic plague.  Oh well, it only strengthens the love that I have for this place.  Great minds think alike, right?

  32. @jazzlawyer – C’mon man!  Don’t let me stop you from contributing.  I am loving reading the reviews, and I would particularly love to see how others would talk about this book, since I just did.  You might think mine was written better, but I find that we are very often the worst judges of our own work.

    I’m saying that if you want to write a review on the site, do it!

    (sorry, I’m just loving reading the other reviews here.) 

  33. Yay, I got a profile pic!


    Oh, a bit OT right? Uh, I liked New Avengers a lot, reminded me of TV shows I liked. Yep I’m liking Bendis a lot.


    Liked the the profilr thingy thou…!!! 

  34. Oh, and also enjoyed Millar’s FF4… I got a feeling I’m gonna like it!

  35. Based on number 5 I went and bought the rest of the series and was blown away.  I completely retract my statement about Mike Grell being the only GA author I enjoy.  The art is sometimes not exactly my favorite, but overall the series is certainly one of the better things going right now. 

  36. @TeleCarlos  If you go into the "Comics" page, there’s a conversation thread for each of those books now.  Plus a bunch of other reviews on them as well.


    @mistersizzle It’s awesome when people expand their tastes.  Glad you liked it.

  37. Good pick, Josh. At first I was a bit anxious to see someone else that Chiang on the book, but Coelho really did a decent job. A good one even. I liked his Ollie.

  38. this is truly a great book. Judd Winick is writing the hell out of it. this and immortal iron fist are the only two superhero comics i’m buying after a recent pull list revamp and i’m happy i stuck with it.

  39. oh yeah. i’m getting nova, but if it doesn’t start going somewere its gone.

  40. @conor  Done and done.  And I mean done.  Good lookin’ out.

  41. Wow, this was DEFINATELY one of my top picks for the week, and I swear I’ll get around to using that new ‘Write a Review’ section of the site very soon, but DAMN! there were ALOT of AMAZING books this week. The Green Arrow and Black Canary #5 was wow, drove so many emotions, really great, then The Nova Annual, I can’t express how much that story had my adrenaline running then for it to end the way it did, issue 11 can’t come fast enough, then issue 3 of Northlanders….. the first 2 issues were pretty good, but I’m highly impressed with the level of story telling this book is doing, I had alot of fun reading that book, the nude scenes were very well handled I thought, and the emotion of the characters was well portrayed…. IMO.



    Great, but Very hard pick, congrats 😉 

  42. . . .and Amazon doesn’t look to have a trade listed for this title any time soon.  Just a hardback in August.

    I’m going to have to break down and buy the issues, aren’t I?  (You guys are a bad influence that way.)

  43. Love this book!  Love it!

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