THIS WEEK: The Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event rolls on this week with a Green Arrow and Black Canary one-shot sporting the incredibly SEO unfriendly title, Dark Crisis – Worlds Without a Justice League: Green Arrow #1. Plus, Batman Vs. Robin #2 is setting up a big story for 2023, and more.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

Green Arrow and Black CanaryDark Crisis – Worlds Without a Justice League: Green Arrow #1

Writer: Stephanie Phillips, with a back-up by Dennis Culver
Artist: Clayton Henry, with a back-up by Nik Virella
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo, with a back-up by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letterer: Troy Peteri

I remember talking to Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths writer Joshua Williamson ahead of the Death of the Justice League comic (Justice League #75) that essentially kicked off this big event. DC Comics had set up a pretty lengthy roundtable chat, during which someone asked about the death of Oliver Queen specifically, and Williamson acknowledged that yes, what happens to Green Arrow in that book is a bit different from what happens to the other heroes. And what happens to Green Arrow is that he essentially follows Black Canary onto a mission he wasn’t really tapped for, pulls some gutsy heroics to save the day, and then is absolutely smashed by Doomsday. Whereas the rest of the Justice League in this issue is wiped away from reality by the Great Darkness, it looks like Oliver Queen is instead killed by Doomsday.

Green Arrow and Black Canary

And as you can see above, his last words are, “I’ll…always follow you…Pretty Bird.” It’s that last line that in no small part shapes this week’s one-shot, which is named for Green Arrow but features two stories that are about Green Arrow and Black Canary as a duo.

The main story is written by Stephanie Phillips with artwork by Clayton Henry, colors by Marcelo Maiolo, and letters by Troy Peteri. It’s relatively similar to some of the other one shots we’ve seen in this series. In it, we start off with Green Arrow inhabiting a sort of idealized world, one that plays to his bedrock admiration for Robin Hood. And as with the other stories in this series, the facade of the reality eventually starts to crack, as our main hero realizes something is amiss. What’s a bit different, though, is that beneath those cracks what Green Arrow finds is Black Canary.

As he’s navigating a Sherwood Forest facsimile, searching for his foe, Sheriff Malcom Merlyn, he comes across a golden canary, whose song shatters the illusion and brings from a wooded medieval setting to a modern city, where he comes face to face with — Black Canary. The point of this story is essentially that the duo’s love for each other can unite them in the face of supervillains, distorted realities, and red sky crises. It’s as sweet as a superhero comic can get, really, and it’s very much true to the characters.

The artwork in this book is also fantastic. Henry’s style as always is crisp, and the sequential storytelling choices in this one are strong. I especially enjoyed the top panel on the last page of this one, wherein the two lead characters kiss as the world burns down. Maiolo uses colors throughout to delineate the changing nature of the reality around them, from the bright entrapments of not-quite Sherwood Forest to the much grimier cityscape to the neon-lit nightclub where they catch up. Peteri’s lettering is also strong, and Phillip’s scripting is pitch-perfect, with a homey narration that leads perfectly right up to the ending’s big reveal, that what we’re seeing is a much-older and more wistful Queen sort of looking back from a remove on the Green Arrow and Black Canary relationship.

Green Arrow and Black Canary

But where this book really ties into the event is in the back-up story, which is also quite strong. This one opens by flashing back to the moment from Justice League #75 that I screenshotted above. From there it takes us through a futuristic story, in which Oliver is fighting crime from with a set of Green Arrow armor, as if traditional Green Arrow was combined with Iron Man or something on one Earth, while Black Canary is a futuristic cop on another Earth.

We learn that Black Canary is “having the same nightmares again, where I lose everything I hold dear and I’m powerless against some…Doomsday.” Essentially, even imprisoned by Pariah on an Earth of her own, she’s having dark visions of Oliver being killed before her eyes. What this story is then about is Oliver building a rocket to blast from the world on which he’s been imprisoned to the world where Dinah is having these nightmares. Pariah, the puppet master here, watches on as this creates problems for his world-prison concept.


The reason the moment from Justice League #75 is significant here, is that Pariah eventually reveals he has a battered and dead Green Arrow essentially in stasis, different than we’ve seen any of the other heroes. “Perhaps I should let go of this one’s life?” Pariah muses. “And allow the destruction wrought by Doomsday to finally run its course?”

This all creates a tension for this comic that maybe doesn’t exist in quite the same way for the other one-shots in this series, and it’s one that works really well. It not only makes this one-shot better for it, but it adds a layer of suspense to the entire Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event. We’ve all known from basically the start that the Justice League proper will be returning. It’s common sense, since confirmed by tongue-and-cheek creator interviews, cover art, and early solicitations for other books. With that in mind, though, the question remains about the fate of Green Arrow.

This is, after all, a big superhero event, and the vast majority of those things are marked by the death of at least one major character, usually offset by the ascension of new or legacy characters. I could see DC Comics sunsetting Oliver (again) for a time coming out of this one. Both Black Canary and Connor Hawke (Oliver’s son) have been active in other titles of late, creating would-be groundwork for them to emerge from this at the center of the Green Arrow family in these comics. Whatever comes of all this, this is a strong one-shot, and the prominence/fate of Green Arrow remains one of my favorite aspects of what’s shaping up to be a strong DC Comics event.

Verdict: Buy

This Ends Now! (The Round-Up)

  • If you are a very astute reader of this weekly round-up, you may notice the title of this bottom section is a bit different. This is because one of my favorite things in superhero comics is one the good guy says in the third act, “This ends now!” And friends? I found three instances of that in this week’s DC Comics, which I think may very well be a record.
  • Batman Vs. Robin #2 is straight-up excellent comics from Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar, Jordie Bellaire, and Steve Wands. It pushes forward story points that first showed up in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, and also seem poised to greatly impact next year’s Lazarus Planet event. This series is a must-read, both on its individual merits and for its potential to be at the central of DC’s shared superhero universe moving forward.
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 may be a movie tie-in, but it’s still a pretty excellent comic. It’s written by Kenny Porter, with art Juan Ferreyraand letters by Steve Wands. Ferreyra’s artwork in particular is absolutely stunning, well-worth the price of admission.

Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!