Green Arrow #53 (2005)

Bill Loebs is a hero. Though he was born with only one arm, you would never know it from the two-fisted action and adventure of the comics he’s created. Whether it was his wonderful runs on Wonder Woman and the Flash at DC, or his more personal work on Epicurus the Sage and Journey, Loebs always excelled at presenting thoughtful and interesting comic books. That helped him to earn a consistent living working for Marvel and DC for many years. Unfortunately, Loebs’s work seemed to pass out of style sometime around the mid-’90s, as the next wave of comics writers started working for the Big Two, and Loebs has found it increasingly hard to find work.

Green Arrow #53 shows what a mistake it is for Marvel and DC to not provide him with writing jobs, as he presents an intelligent and witty story in this comic. Green Arrow has been asked by Dr. Chrissie Cavendish, the great-great granddaughter of the monster Solomon Grundy, to help find the monster and hopefully cure him of the horrible existence he’s trapped in. The pair find more than they bargained for, though, as Grundy turns out to be far more vicious than expected. Added to that, the great-great granddaughter has something else up her sleeve to complicate matters…

Loebs turns in a witty and fun script. There are many humorous moments, such as Arrow’s funny reaction when Chrissie hits on him, or the crush that Chrissie has on her ancestor. I don’t totally buy her master plan, and I have trouble seeing such a flighty character as a scientist, but the relationship between Chrissie and Arrow feels right, and the plot zips along.

The art by Battle and Purcell is less impressive. It looks a lot like the work Todd McFarlane did when he worked on the Hulk – in fact, a couple of scenes look like direct quotes from McFarlane. The team just isn’t up to the task of such a character-driven story. Their depictions of characters’ reactions don’t feel right and seem awkward. Then again, their action scenes seem a bit flat, too. I’m not familiar with these artists so perhaps they’re new and just working out their quirks, but they’re not successful in this comic. The Cliff Chiang cover, however, is really attractive and well-done. The more I look at it, the more imopressive it seems.

But the real star of this comic is Bill Messner-Loebs, back from his forced retirement and still doing interesting work. I hope he can find more work. He’s a one-of-a-kind talent and a class act.

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3 Responses to “Green Arrow #53 (2005)”

  1. kariyanine Says:

    I totally disagree. I thought it was a waste for DC to publish this book after leaving issue #52 at a cliff hanger. The issue seemed like one big action scene and while Ollie and the good Doctor had some quality lines together over all it just seemed like a mere filler issue. Maybe Messner-Loebs will have a chance to re-impress me with a complete arc but as for issue #53 I was utterly disappointed.

  2. Ariel Says:

    I kinda liked this issue, maybe I am easily entertained. I liked the fact that they were exploring Grundy\’s past, as I never really knew much about it. I would also like to know why he always says,"Solomon Grundy born on a Monday"is this just a silly rhyme thing he says? Or was he really born on a Monday? and if so, who cares?But I digress, maybe there wasn\’t too much action to this issue, but Green Arrow is my favorite minimalist archer-hero and I enjoyed this story.

  3. Jason Says:

    Chris, I see your point. I came to this comic with the perspective of not having read the previous issues, so that\’s what triggered by reactions. It may as well have been a one-shot as far as I was concerned. And Ariel, good point re Grundy\’s background. I didn\’t think of that.

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