Jock’s artwork is fantastic. The panels and spreads flow cinematically across the pages. Movement comes alive, tension is as tight as a bowstring, and the sweeping majesty of nature fills the senses so much I could almost smell the grass and the gunpowder. The fact that Diggle and Jock have worked together before shows. They’re a well-oiled machine attuned to turned out powerful stories.
The plot of Green Arrow: Year One is absurdly simple, but it shows off so much of what has become canon for the character. Oliver’s disenchantment of his own prosperity, the dislike of the image of so many of the rich and celebrity, the false platitudes so many hucksters and politicians spout, and his search for real meanings takes shape in these pages.
His inherent survivalist’s nature shines through in the wilderness and the human adversity he faces. Diggle also touches on Ollie’s abhorrence of drugs (which became a major plot point in the 1970s when it was revealed that Roy Harper, Green Arrow’s original sidekick Speedy who has now gone on to become Red Arrow, had a drug problem). Understanding that Ollie got addicted to opium while healing on the island actually shores up Ollie’s overreaction and disappointment in Roy at that time. There’s even a comment made after a drastic injury regarding the potential of Ollie losing his arm that plays off the way Ollie was killed – for a time.
There’s a lot to love about this graphic novel if you’re a Green Arrow fan. I had a blast reading it, then re-reading it. And it’s a great introduction to the character if you’ve never read anything about him. Despite the fact that his series seems to constantly respawn, there’s a resiliency to Oliver Queen that just won’t go away forever. He’s become an icon in the DC Comics universe, as Diggle and Jock reveal here in these pages.