Despite only being a few years old, Arrow has done wonders boosting the popularity of DC Comics archer Green Arrow. While the character was previously seen in live-action on Smallville, Arrow has created an extensive world (which now includes The Flash) that has appealed to both hardcore comic book fans and newcomers wondering what the big deal is. There may be some of you whose need for Emerald Archer adventures can’t be satisfied by a mere 23 episodes a season. Fortunately, there’s the perfect solution to this predicament: comic books. That’s right, when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to go back to the source material where the character originated from.
The midseason finale is airing tonight, meaning now is the best time to start looking at Green Arrow comics to read during the winter break. There are plenty of options, from ‘70s and ‘80s classic stories to the current offerings of the New 52 to extensions of Arrow itself. So whether you’re a long time comic reader or a newbie wanting to test the waters, here are the Green Arrow comics you should check out.
8. Arrow 2.5
For those looking to stay close to the Arrow universe, this is the best series to follow. As the title implies, Arrow 2.5 takes place in the months between Season 2 and 3. Featuring the familiar faces from the TV series, it’s also introducing many new faces, several of whom are debuting in this “season” before they show up in Season 3. The first arc has Oliver and Team Arrow going up against the Church of Blood, which is still around despite the death of Sebastian Blood last season. There is also a back-up story that starring everyone’s favorite government-sponsored supervillain team: the Suicide Squad! Two chapters come out digitally per month, and printed collections of the chapters are released the following month at your local comic books store.
7. Green Arrow #35-onwards
If you’re looking to jump into current Green Arrow comics, now is the perfect opportunity to do so. After writer Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino finished their Green Arrow run (more on them later) with the Green Arrow: Futures End one-shot in September, the series was taken over by writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski and artist Daniel Sampere. Although Kreisberg is an executive producer on Arrow, the comic is not a carbon copy of the TV show. Instead, it keeps the classic comic book elements while infusing some things from the TV show, such as introducing Felicity Smoak. This run is a great starting point for any reader who was first a fan of the TV show.
6. Green Arrow: Quiver
In the late 1990s, Oliver Queen was killed attempting to prevent a terrorist group from detonating a bomb. As is the norm with comic book deaths, his demise wasn’t permanent, and in 2000, Oliver was revived in the 10-issue story Quiver by filmmaker Kevin Smith, who has also written Batman and Daredevil. Brought back to life by his friend Hal Jordan (who was Parallax at the time), Oliver’s body and memories were from right before the Longbow Hunters arc. While he tries to rediscover his place in the world, Oliver must also fight for his soul, which wishes to remain in Heaven. The story also includes Connor Hawke, Oliver’s son who took up the Green Arrow mantle when his father was dead.
5. Green Arrow: The Kill Machine
Green Arrow’s New 52 series didn’t get off to the greatest start, but when writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino took over at issue #17, the book garnered enormous amounts of positive reception. The storyline saw Oliver learning the truth about his time on the island where he was stranded, and included characters like Shado, Komodo, Clock King, Count Vertigo and the comic book debut of John Diggle. The Kill Machine collects the first nine issues of Lemire and Sorrentino’s run, and is followed by The Outsiders War. The final volume of their run is set to be released next year, but if you can’t wait that long, you should be able to track down the single issues.
4. Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
In The Longbow Hunters, an older Green Arrow traded in his trick arrows for more standard equipment and relocated to Seattle, the home of his girlfriend Black Canary, to fight street crime. While tracking down a serial killer, he meets a young woman named Shado, and finds himself caught up in her revenge quest against the men responsible for her father’s death. This was collected as one of DC’s earliest graphic novels, and it brought a new level of maturity to the Emerald Archer. This gritty and visually shocking story also inspired many elements from the first season of Arrow, such as Oliver Queen’s hooded look, his willingness to kill and the inclusion of flashback characters Shado and Edward Fyers.
3. Green Arrow: Hunters Moon
The Longbow Hunters was such a success that DC gave Green Arrow his own ongoing series and kept Mike Grell as the writer. Among the many changes Grell made to the titular hero was largely separating him from the rest of the DC universe and not referring to him by his superhero identity within the book, believing it sounded “stupid.” The first six issues of Grell’s run are collected in Green Arrow: Hunters Moon, where Oliver’s exploits include hunting down a child killer and trying to find a missing biological weapon, as well as dealing with Seattle’s street crime. DC is slowly reprinting the Grell years, so if you enjoyed Hunters Moon, be sure to check out the second volume Here There Be Dragons.
2. Green Lantern/Green Arrow
For nearly three decades, Green Arrow served mostly as an arrow-themed copy of the immensely more popular Batman. He was a billionaire playboy, he had his own sidekick, he drove around in an Arrowcar and even hung out in the Arrowcave. The character was changed in 1969 by writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams. Not only was his visual appearance altered (he grew a Van Dyke beard), but after losing most of his fortune, Oliver Queen became an advocate for the underprivileged. Teaming up with Green Lantern from 1970-1972, the two of them represented drastically different social viewpoints, Hal Jordan being more conservative and Queen leaning to the left. During Green Lantern/Green Arrow, the heroes dealt with issues like racism, poverty, cults, pollution and drug use, something which few stories had done before this. The series not only an important landmark for both Green Arrow, but also comic book storytelling, as it showed that these books could tackle serious issues while keeping the superhero adventure format. Give it a read.
1. Green Arrow: Year One
Oliver Queen didn’t just wake up one morning and decided to fight crime with a bow and arrow while dressed like Robin Hood. Like every superhero, he had an origin story, and Green Arrow: Year One shows readers what led Oliver down this path. Stranded on a jungle island after a drunken boat party gone wrong, the billionaire playboy is forced to learn archery to survive the harsh environment. Originally thinking the island is deserted, Oliver discovers months later that a drug cartel is forcing the island's inhabitants to grow opium. Armed only with his bow, he attempts to free the islanders from captivity and defeat the cartel’s leader China White. The flashbacks in the first season of Arrow was based off this limited series, and main character John Diggle obtained his last name from the book's writer Andy Diggle.
Most of these stories can be found in collected editions or on Comixology.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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