EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!
Uncollected Classics week continues with a look at a mini-series that ties in with a recent Year of Cool Comic comic. Suggested by reader Tim B., today we take a look at the Arsenal mini-series by Devin Grayson, Rick Mays and bunch of inkers.
Besides Rick Mays’ dynamic manga-esque artwork, the Arsenal mini-series is most known for its offbeat brand of humor and the firm establishment of the Arsenal personality that would last for about a decade – the wise-cracking (to cover up his piles of insecurities) single dad with the super cute daughter.
Look how the book opens up…
Grayson really nails the “screw-up with a heart of gold” angle on Roy Harper, and at this point in time (1998), we were also dealing with “screw-up with a heart of gold who never got a chance to say goodbye to his mentor/father figure,” as Oliver Queen was dead at this point in time.
Anyhow, the villain of this series is Vandal Savage, who was coming off of an extended run in Justice League Task Force where Mark Waid and Christopher Priest established that Savage, while immortal, still had problems with his organs, so he keeps track of all of his descendants (of which there are many) to provide him with organs.
He is a nasty fellow – just look here…
After Roy is attacked by Savage’s goons (apparently Roy is tied to Savage’s bloodline), there is a great bit where Roy takes his daughter, Lian, to the hospital.
While there, though, he learns Lian is dying and Savage is the key to saving her.
After Roy fights back (here’s a cool sequence)…
he eventually finds himself making an almost literal deal with the devil, bringing him into conflict with the authorities.
Luckily, he has a plan…sort of…
Do note that Roy also changes his costume here – Grayson and Mays give him a slightly tweaked uniform embracing his Navajo roots, as well as his Green Arrow roots (later writers go back to the Red Arrow look). Grayson spends a decent amount of time in the middle issues re-examining Roy’s past and his connections with various people in his life (there’s a really good examination of Dinah’s role in Roy recovering from heroin addiction).
Anyhow, this series was a blast – a lot of action-packed fun, tons of good humor and strong character work. I still can’t believe that Grayson writing Roy and Lian in Titans did not work out as well as this mini-series. She seemed to “get” him soooo darn well. Ah well, que sera, sera! I’m sure some future writer can try to recapture the coolness of the Roy/Lian relationship at a later date! What’s that you say?………Oh……..never mind, then.
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