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Abandoned Love: The Scorched Earth of the New 52 Green Arrow

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This week, we take a look at how Jeff Lemire’s dramatic first issue of the New 52 Green Arrow, as he uses a bit of a scorched earth approach to abandon the previous set-up for the series.

The set-up for the New 52 Green Arrow was established pretty easily in the first few pages of Green Arrow #1, by JT Krul, Dan Jurgens and George Perez.

You had Queen Industries’ CEO, Emerson, who is clashing with young Oliver Queen, who is in charge of a subsidiary of Queen Industries, the technology company known as Q-Core….

And Oliver Queen, of course, is Green Arrow…


Later, we pursue the conflict between Ollie and Emerson….

as well as spend some more time with two characters we met earlier in the issue, Green Arrow’s two assistants, Naomi, his version of Oracle…

and Jax, who makes him his weapons…

So that’s the set-up of the title. Oliver Queen owns Queen Industries, but his father put Emerson in charge until Oliver was ready to handle the company. In the meantime, Emerson gives Oliver Q-Core and Ollie uses the technology from Q-Core to help him fight crime as Green Arrow, joined by his two assistants. When Ann Nocenti took over, the book shifted focus a bit and Ollie’s riches and his vast arsenal were slowly but surely de-emphasized in Nocenti’s final issues.

However, with the most recent issue, Jeff Lemire took over as writer (with Andrea Sorrentino as artist) and he quickly dropped all of the original set-up.

First, Queen Industries is sold and as Ollie confronts Emerson about it…

So now Emerson and Queen Industries are out of the picture, as is Oliver Queen’s safe secret identity as famous millionaire (billionaire?) Oliver Queen.

But Ollie still has Q-Core and Naomi and Jax, right?


Bam. In just a few pages, Lemire wiped out the entire status quo of the title and pretty much the whole supporting cast.

The end of the issue has Lemire set up a story involving a couple of mysterious figures (including the archer who killed Emerson) and the island that Ollie was stranded on years ago where he first became the Green Arrow, but whatever Lemire has planned for the future is another story, we’re just here to show how he abandoned the previous stories. And he certainly did so with some gusto!

If YOU have a suggestion for an abruptly dropped storyline, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


I just want to say that Abandoned Love is one of the most beautiful songs Bob Dylan ever wrote.

I’m not impressed so far. In the first place, billionaire reduced to nothing has been done dozens of times in comics, and several times with Green Arrow. Frankly, I expected better of Lemire than retreads. And, like Batman, GA needs a certain amount of working capital to function as a hero, so busting him down to homeless vagabond is counter-productive. I actually liked the supporting cast, particularly Naomi and Jax, so losing them isn’t an improvement for me. I understand wanting to erase the abysmal Nocenti run, but this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I’m debating giving it another issue, but I’m leaning strongly toward “Drop.”

I also didn’t like the elimination of Naomi and Jax. Of course they might have survived somehow, but that’s unlikely. I found the transition issue to be trite. Like Bryan L says, It’s Been Done.

hated that not only did once again ollie lose two people besides roy and black canary close to him and will put up with him as green arrow no questions ask. in Naomi and Jax. but once again qwinds up like tony stark one time and loses his company and family legay in queen industries being gone. plus will be surprised if the mystery archer is some new character and not the new 52 version of merlin

I didn’t have a problem with wiping out the supporting cast, I am not a fan of the “mysterious figures, one who comes to attack and one who comes to defend, and oh yeah, they know everything about you” plot.

Its a nice start. Especially breaking free of the crap that we had in the first 16 issues. Its basically a reboot of the reboot. Green Arrow DESPERATELY needed it. Now DC needs to do this with the Teen Titans

Hmm, well, Krul’s Green Arrow was pretty godawful, both before and after the reboot, so the idea of just doing away with the original premise of the series is laudable. Whether it ever becomes something I’m interested in reading again is another question, because I have no investment in the New 52 world or its versions of characters that were once my mythology, and less and less curiosity about it as it goes on. I guess if my local library picks up the trades I might check them out.

Charles J. Baserap

February 21, 2013 at 8:43 am

Anything done to erase what I count as one the five worst runs on any book I’ve ever read in 25+ years of collecting and nearly 9500 comics–ie Ann Nocenti’s Green Arrow–can only be a good thing.

Buttler, if you want your local library to pick them up, just ask! I’m a librarian and if a patron asks me to buy something, I add it to my order list pretty much immediately. Find the person who orders GNs in your system and become their best friend and you can have anything you want!

Yeah, libraries are always open to suggestions for new purchases. Libraries rule!

I’m behind on this run, but I was watching Arrow last night and the *one* thing I would change is getting rid of the wealth the character has. Bruce Wayne never bothered me and, yeah, the “bankrupt billionaire” thing has been played out, but Oliver is at his best when he is a “man of the people,” and the obscene wealth of the earlier issues of this (and that part of the television series) alienates the character for me.

While I normally like what Lemire has been doing in the New 52, I don’t know, wiping out the entire supporting cast and system of a character just doesn’t seem right with me, regardless of how ill loved it might have been. While perhaps it’s serving the story just fine, doing it like this just seems disrespectful to the previous writers, who probably didn’t just pull these characters out of the blue. Also there is the usual thing about killing them all was unnecessary, when they could have been retired in another fashion. (see Nightwing #17)

But considering how unloved all of this was:
R.I.P. Jax, Naomi, Q-Core and Emmerson…because your chances of return are effectively 0%.

I haven’t bought any of the New52 books at full price, but I got ahold of several series for cheap and Green Arrow 1-7 was one of them. For this entire New52 thing being labeled as an easily accessible jumping on point for lapsed and NEW readers, I found it laughable that at no point in those first seven issues (by three different creative teams no less) do they address Ollie’s motivation for dressing up in green tights and shooting arrows at people. Never. Not once. Not even a hint.

That, my friends, is Comic Book 101 FAIL.

Did anyone else expect Emerson to turn out to be Doctor Polaris?

So Oliver Queen loses everything except the Green Arrow name. Again.

He’s going to go through another life changing event that makes him reassess what he has and what he doesn’t have and he’ll come out a better man.

For about five minutes. At which point he takes everything for granted and acts like the ass he is always going to be once more, and they’ll he’ll lose it all again. And the people close to him are going to suffer simply by the virtue of being associated with him.

This isn’t a dig at Lemire. This is a dig at Green Arrow in general.

Wow. Looking at those first issue excerpts makes me interested in them much more than I was when they came out, but knowing that what appear to be cool supporting characters get killed for no good reason makes me… well, wholly uninterested in bothering with the series at all. Good job, DC!

It was a smart move to get rod of the good awful series that came before Lemier came on. If you read the interviews you’d know one of the characters survives. The whole thing was crap, it needed a reboot. Sure three is a similar premise, there always is intro stories. Might s well stop reading comics if that’s your hang up with it. The nw outside was the best i’ve seen with green arrow in a very long time. I wouldn’t be so quick to Camden after one issue, that had to rebuild GA sure to horrid direction and writing.

It was a smart move to get rod of the good awful series that came before Lemier came on. If you read the interviews you’d know one of the characters survives. The whole thing was crap, it needed a reboot. Sure three is a similar premise, there always is intro stories. Might s well stop reading comics if that’s your hang up with it. The nw outside was the best i’ve seen with green arrow in a very long time. I wouldn’t be so quick to Camden after one issue, that had to rebuild GA from horrid direction and writing.

I will never, ever understand this new Internet Comics Community mindset that no character should ever die.

I’d much rather characters be killed off (and not return) in comics than everybody just get to live on. Not all characters are meant to live forever.

It had to be done. Ollie lost everything that made him interesting over the reboot, and this was one of the few new 52 books to have dropped in sales after flashpoint. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I’m sure no one actually gave a damn about the current title enough to be truly upset with this approach

I will never, ever understand this new Internet Comics Community mindset that no character should ever die.

I certainly get upset when characters I like get killed off for some stupid reason (Ted Kord, Ryan Choi), but it’s particularly funny to me when there’s an outcry about the deaths of characters who were literally created specifically to die, like Osiris in 52 or the Jokester in Countdown. I mean, if they managed to become someone’s favorite character in the short time they existed, that’s cool, but that was their designated character arc, and it was a mighty short one.

I wasn’t a fan of this issue’s cliched plot or unnatural dialogue, but I did find it interesting that in Fraction’s Hawkeye, Clint suddenly came into quite a bit of money while in Lemire’s Green Arrow, Ollie suddenly lost his fortune. The DC/Marvel archer heroes basically just swapped their classic statuses quo.

Here’s my problem with this.

The DCU is in desperate need of reestablishing itself as a massive shared universe with lots of history. Modern decompression makes this difficult, as even some of the First Wave DCU books are still on their second or even their first story arcs.

This, of course, is a basic failure of serial storytelling. So many of these writers wanted to /start off/ with the most impressive “epic” story possible, rather than laying down the foundation for a series that can last in the long haul. With the emphasis on this-will-change-everything-you-ever-knew stories, the implication is that we’re not supposed to care about Buddy Baker’s life or Batman’s crimefighting exploits in their own rights. So we’re left with the feeling that we’re just counting down until the Rot finally gets beaten or Snyder finally runs out of Big Damn Stories to tell, and then we might as well pack up.

The point is, a year and a half in and the New 52 still hasn’t developed any actual /storytelling engines/. Even the most complex and mercurial serial narratives need some sort of solid ground on which they can keep moving–that’s why every season of the Wire had a wiretap, why Storm and Wolverine always remained in Claremont’s X-Men, why Walter White is always going to wind up in some sort of lab cooking up meth.

So if I were to start a New 52 book with superhero X, what I would do is establish who superhero X is, what his day-to-day life is, what his mission is, and then GIVE EXAMPLES. I would want superhero X to have /actually accomplished/ three or four things by the end of my first year of the book. That way, when superhero X cameos in team book Y, readers will understand that this is superhero X and he’s here according to mission Z, and that the events of his appearance fit fairly seamlessly in that character’s life, instead of being, like, “Why’s Animal Man here? This story has nothing to do with the Rot at all!” And when I decide to do a Big Damn Story that will Change Character X Forever, people won’t be asking “Change from what?” Demolishing a brick house is more impressive than blowing down a house of straw.

Krul and Nocenti, whatever you think of their runs, made this easy for Lemire. They established a character with a status quo and a supporting cast. Lemire should be moving forward within that framework and telling /better stories/ with it. And instead he’s just huffed and puffed and cleared the ground for his Big Damn Story.

I have no idea if this rant made any sense.

That does make a lot of sense, Elpie. Unfortunately, as far as I can see it’s a good argument for abandoning the New 52 experiment entirely and moving on to the Heroes Return chapter to get back to a massive shared universe with a lot of history, because I don’t see the current crew really having the vision or ability for that kind of worldbuilding.

I started reading Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye…now that is how Green Arrow should’ve been written from issue 1. I’m glad Lemire is on board; I don’t doubt that he can bring the same magic to this book.

They can either adopt a status quo similar to the TV series or one closer to his 70’s incarnation or even something totally new.

Either way it would be hard for it to be worse than what came before

Heck, let’s just give him the Arrowcar, Arrowplane, Arrowcave and Arrow-Mite (or at least Xeen Arrow and the International Delegation of Masked Archers) and be done with it.

Come to think of it, do we know yet if the New 52 Green Arrow has even MET Roy Harper or Black Canary?

Ah, I just went ahead and looked up the answer to my own question. I guess they have addressed the Roy thing in that godawful Red Hood series.

As awful as the set-up for GA was in the new 52, at least people tried to make a go of it afterwards. Jeff Lemire took the easy way out by destroying all of it with little fan fare and then bringing out “the ISLAND” and invoking the now hit tv series in readers minds. I would of been MORE impressed if he took what was there, and BUILT on it, than just wipe everything away then rebuild a hodge-podge of seen before things and liberally taking what the tv show has built. This was one of the last DC titles i bought, and unless Lemire does something fast, i am done with this title. At least Ann tried to create, not tear down and rebuild.

Elpie, your post made complete sense, and succinctly encapsulated why Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern is the most awful thing put to paper.

I guess that’s hyperbole but Hal is my favorite character and I’m sick of reading empty, meaningless “epics” strung together with no character growth whatsoever.

Actually Lemier was already working on his Green Arrow run before the television series even came out. The island is an important aspect to what really defined the character and put him int the Green Arrow people cared about. The New 52 version abandoned that, they chose to readdress that. He was basically a giant unlikable tool, with a bland back story. They never really got into why he was doing this. When you have that problem you have to blow things up. Can’t really retcon #16 issues of crap. I had heard the #0 issue wasn’t bad, but it was done by someone that had nothing to do with the series, and it sorta explained why he does what he does.

I totally disagree with you about Johns Joe, but Johns seems to be like Bendis. People either love him or hate him.

Foundations can be established in any comics in all honesty. Even with out the “rich history” of dc in place. Batman and Green lantern for whatever reason basically kept the continuity they had pre-Flashpoint. Didn’t have to change a whole lot with those stories. They obviously still sell well. If you have read Swamp Thing or Animal, both Lemier and Synder established a strong foundation for the characters in their respective books. Lemier is still building upon it in Animal Man going forward. Synder is leaving, the next writer may expand more upon it. JLD has a foundation and a reason they exist. It actually is a solid book since Lemier took over and Fawkes joined on. The real problem is when you have to many creative shifts and teams coming on and off of books. The ones that don’t have that tend to hold better, since the story isn’t jumping themes/motives, etc. Whether you like Johns or not he has done that with Aquaman also in his own series. it still is a solid selling book, and you haven’t seen any crazy creative changes.

That does make a lot of sense, Elpie. Unfortunately, as far as I can see it’s a good argument for abandoning the New 52 experiment entirely and moving on to the Heroes Return chapter to get back to a massive shared universe with a lot of history, because I don’t see the current crew really having the vision or ability for that kind of worldbuilding.

Oh hell no, as long as this current crew is here, we NEED the new 52. The current crew was screwing up the post-Crisis universe to a near-irreparable state. By creating the new 52, now we have a universe no one really cares about they can screw up to their heart’s content. That way, when there is finally a competent new regime in charge, THEN we can do a Heroes Return and have it set before Identity Crisis or something, and pretend it was all just a bad dream. The last thing I want is the current crew getting another shot at Post-Crisis DC.

T.: I stand corrected. You make an excellent point.

I’m chuffed to make into a comic regardless of how brief it was!

PS This may make me as Philistine but that art in the Nocenti pages hurts my eyes.

Johns run is basically “Someone has a secret! It’s a dire threat to the universe! … Phew! I can’t believe it was the guardians secret! … Oh no another secret? This is another threat to the universe! Oh man, it was you again? Fool me once, right Guardians? I’m beginning to wonder if you guys have our best interests in mind… Oh no zombies! No time to take a shower Hal! No time to develop a supporting cast or develop anything in your character beyond “hothead”. You didn’t learn anything from the whole rebirth thing huh? Wait is that another secret? It’s probably the guardians. They’re kind of jerks. Shhh it’s a secret.”

Anyway I picked up Lemire’s first issue. I wanted to like the series but the Krul stuff was boring and I just couldn’t get in Nocenti’s run (I’m a big fan of hers too). Also the goggles were dumb. This looks promising but the art is stiff

Lol, I love how everyone thinks Lemire created this new status quo. If you believe this was any less than mandated by editorial, you’re probably mistaken. DC editors decide these things, direction and such.

I’m really glad he throughout all the nonsense from the first 16 issues. It was a generic and a complete production line comic. No heart, no soul. That goes double for GA himself. After reading the first three issues, I had no sense of who he was in this new continuity. Only the one issue of JL he showed up in gave me any idea of who he was as a character.

I loved Lemire’s first issue. The coloring was a bit odd, but didn’t distract that much. The whole island story definitely has me interested. Very “Lost.”

Just how shitty is the New 52 where they have to completely overhaul and reboot entire series less than a year and a half after the universe began?

Maybe they should have actually come up with some kind of editorial direction before they started this garbage.

This issue did nothing to make me want to read more. I picked it up solely because of the new creative team, and yet we get one of these “everything you know is WRONG” stories. Blegh. I’ve only read the zero issue of GA, which was…not great, and overall, I’m not seeing any reason to continue.

It’s like DC doesn’t want my money any more. Morrison’s wrapping up Action and soon to be wrapping up Batman Inc. I got bored with Earth 2, Sword of Sorcery, and Worlds’ Finest. I can’t even think of what other DCs I’m buying — Batman Death of the Family was depressing and lame, and I haven’t seen enough of Threshold to judge if I wanna keep getting it. But overall, DC just doesn’t want my money.

In a perfect world, superhero comics would work like improv (as, I believe Gail Simone suggested). The incoming creative team would always say ‘yes’ to whatever the outgoing team had established and move forward. That is how these characters have acquired whatever depth they posses (e.g. Tony Stark’s drinking).

However, we do not live in a perfect world.

JT Krul and Dan Jurgens really squandered the opportunity of re-booting Green Arrow. Millionaire playboy-superhero with a supporting cast of a weapon expert, an intelligence specialist and semi-antagonistic father figure is pretty well worn territory. Oliver Queen is further hampered by the fact that his stablemate is Batman, who really defined the type. You had better be really, really creative when revisiting that territory.

This is the stupidest thing ever. Why is it so hard for DC comics to just give a reader a set up they can understand?

I had no issue understanding the story whatsoever. Was pretty easy jumping on point. I’m honestly glad they dumped the previous run’s BS Dean. That was one of the worst Ollie/Green Arrows I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Glad they are breaking him down and bringing back the importance of the experience on the Island. That is what really defined the character and what he is all about. I personally look forward to the comic going forward and getting a likable Ollie again.

That new artist could sure learn a lot about comic art from previous GA artists Dan Jurgens and George Perez. That new stuff is horrible

I really try not to be “that guy” who gave up on DC after the original Crisis. But every time there’s some news about a New 52 book it just reinforces my decision to not collect any of their books anymore.

Joining the lack of enthusiasm for the New52’s GA reboot. I know they have this Silver Age fixation at DC right now, but seriously who thinks “You know when Ollie was best? When he was a millionaire playboy who fights crime, just like Batman!” As jyork says, it couldn’t get much more generic.
Which is not say Lemire will be any better, but it’ll be hard to do worse.
I really enjoyed Johns’ run on GL until Blackest Night (oh god, another Big Event). And then afterwards it turned out we had more big events, and more big revelations and the bigger it got the boring-er it got, so.
I’d largely stopped buying DC or Marvel before the reboot (more financial issues than quality) but I doubt I’d be buying them anyway. Maybe if I thought this was the final reboot, but I don’t believe that for a minute.

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