‘Green Arrow Year One’: The Comic Prequel You Need To Read Before You See The Potential Series

Warning: Some spoilers included in this article

Earlier this month, the information surfaced, and eventually confirmed, that Green Arrow has the potential to become its own television series on The CW. Of course, as a fan of Smallville, everyone is hoping for the version of the character that many already know and love from DC’s decade-long Superman series. But, details have surfaced that definitely sounds like it’s a version of the hero that some fans are unaware with, and drastically different than that of the Smallville version. And for some reason, that scares them.

Where Green Arrow surfaces in the pilot, as the details describe, is that Oliver Queen is returning to “Starling City” (Yes, I think it’s an incredibly lame name too next to Star City) after five years  trapped on an island. There will be plenty of Queen family still in tow, with Ollie’s mother Moira still alive and well, apparently so is Oliver’s father (as the details hint for a Robert Queen), along with Oliver’s little sister Thea Queen, who Oliver calls “Speedy”.

Granted, this drastically differs from the television version of Oliver Queen we all know and love in the form of Justin Hartley. But, interestingly enough, it doesn’t deviate too far from one comic that actually works incredibly well as a prologue for the new show: Green Arrow: Year One.

One of my biggest questions is simple: Why a Green Arrow television show? In Smallville’s capacity, we’ve seen Oliver Queen sling arrows, get girls, and be Superman’s very reliable sidekick, but other than that, what about him screams “he needs a television series”?

“He’s betrayed, left for dead, and after a childhood love of Robin Hood, begins to hunt in the form of a makeshift bow.”

This is where Green Arrow: Year One comes in.

It seems to fit almost perfectly into the details of the pilot, and even more interesting is how it barely touches upon Ollie’s personal life. The series is very much a clean slate, where all you really have to know is the name Oliver Queen, and just his basic background structure. Neither his parents nor any family members for that matter are mentioned, which allows the series to properly fill in the audience in that regard. All the character details supplied so far definitely are given the chance to be spaced out so much that Year One can easily been seen as a prologue rooted simply around our main character.

From here, the tale of just what happened to Oliver on that island is told. He’s betrayed, left for dead, and after a childhood love of Robin Hood, begins to hunt in the form of a makeshift bow. It’s here where he truly begins to become the superhero that will be gaining his own series (hopefully) soon, and sparks up plenty of interesting intrigue as well.

It’s an origins tale of a superhero, which can be incredibly boring in this day and age, but it’s also something very vivid. It’s bloody, it’s violent, and with the vast amount of characters after Oliver discovers a shocking secret on the island, it’s definitely something of television quality. The best way I could possibly describe it is the equivalent of how 24: Redemption played as a prologue to the seventh season of the series. We were able to see just what kind of cruel fate led our hero to adapt his ways.

It’s important to keep in mind here, however, that Year One is not a direct translation into Arrow. The time schemes of the series and that of the comic book is drastically different. But, with what seems like an eternity spent on the island, the timing could easily fit to more than just one year. But, it comes so damn close to being closely tied to the project; it’s easily one of those tales that feels as if it was meant to be in your knowledge before you watch the first episode of the television show.

” It’s bloody, it’s violent, and with the vast amount of characters after Oliver discovers a shocking secret on the island, it’s definitely something of television quality.”

As for the character of Green Arrow, while he’s not exactly the most transcendental person, the accident definitely puts Ollie into a life or death situation that makes his drunken playboy ways irrelevant. You see him morph from this long haired punk betting thousands of dollars on a bow, to this hero that launches arrows through shoulder blades, rescues an entire island full of people, and builds a great foundation of pride and skills to morph him into someone other than the wisecracking sidekick he was in Smallville at times.

Finally, the ending of the book not only clearly resolves the entire comic series, but ends with a one page visual teaser that seems like it could directly go into the pilot episode. There’s no dialogue, as what’s left in those final pages stays on the island, and definitely hints that there’s more to the story than the time jump portrayed between that final crease. This is where the series can come in, and build its own world surrounding Oliver with a story that already exists within the confines of the comic book world.

I set out to see just why Green Arrow deserved his own comic book series, and Green Arrow: Year One is a prime example of that. With the details so similar to that of the background revealed for the new show, audiences could easily go into the show with a prequel to the series already in their head. It’s riveting, cheap, action packed, and tells the origin of a hero without being so complicated that it includes clashing anecdotes.

I highly recommend picking it up as soon as you can (Amazon has the entire paperback for only $14.99).

What other comics do you recommend before the series possibly hits TV? Do you agree that Green Arrow: Year One fits the plot details perfectly? Let us know in the comments below!

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