Green Arrow – The Longbow Hunters
Green Arrow – The Longbow Hunters is a three-issue series written and drawn by Mike Grell. This story is as important to the Green Arrow as jelly to peanut butter. In the way that Frank Miller changed and refocused Batman and Daredevil, Mike Grell did it to Green Lantern.
Enough is enough and it’s time for a change
Can a superhero still be a superhero in his forties? That’s the question that Green Lantern faced on his forty-third birthday.
The story picks up as Oliver Queen is leaving his home in Star City to start a new life in Seattle. He did this so that he may be with his girlfriend, Dinah Lance, or Black Canary. This change of scenery provided him an outlet to reflect on his duties as a hero. It is during this time that he discontinues the use of trick arrows in favor of more traditional arrows.
Unable to escape the call of heroism, while living in Seattle he begins to track down a known serial killer called the Seattle Slasher. While this was happening, Black Canary was attempting to get into and learn about a drug shipping operation that may have had ties to Kyle Magnor.
Another one bites the dust
Hot on the trail of the Seattle Slashing, Oliver finds his way into an underground section of the city. It is here that he learns the serial killer is a soldier of the Vietnam war. Just as Oliver is about to apprehend the Slasher, he is caught by surprise by him and it looks as though he is allowed escape. Luckily, another archer was there to stop the Slasher. The archer quickly shoots the Slasher as well as a passerby motorist.
It is revealed that this mysterious archer is the character, Shado. It turns out that Shado is the daughter of a Yakuza agent that was held captive during World War 2. While held captive, the Yakuza agent was forced to give up the location of a large mound of gold to some American Soldiers. As chance would have it, one of the soldiers was the aforementioned Kyle Magnor. Sadly, Shado’s father, now facing extreme dishonor, kills himself. It is explained that now as an adult, Shado seeks to bring honor to her deceased father.
Once Oliver returns home, he learns that the drug dealer that Dinah had been investigating had mysteriously turned up dead. In an act of desperation and fearing for the safety of his girlfriend, Oliver quickly makes his way to the docks. Once there, he sees that she had been tied up, tortured and was facing the possibility of dying.
Without thinking, Oliver kills the person responsible, and the others in the vicinity. As luck would have it, the torturer was also one of Shado’s targets. Kyle Magnor quickly learns of the events at the docks and orders better protection for every subsequent drug dealing. His CIA contact, Osborne assigns known weapons master, Eddie Fryers to take down Shado.
Doesn’t get better
Shortly thereafter, Shado is able to take down another of the men who brought dishonor to her family. This time, instead of quietly leaving the scene, she sends a message to Oliver to meet her on a nearby mountain. The purpose of the message was to inform him that she planned on killing Kyle Magnor.
As Oliver arrives, he notices that Eddie Fryers has perched himself on a spot not too far away and is taking aim with a sniper rifle to kill Shado. Strangely, Oliver takes it upon himself to subdue Fryers. This scuffle affords Magnor the opportunity required to escape.
From here Oliver tracks Magnor back to his office to frame him for the murder of the drug supplier. However, before he can, Shado shoots and kills Magnor through the window of the building.
Green Arrow – The Longbow Hunters is one of, if not the best Green Lantern story ever written. It is the turning point for the character and will continue to define him for years to come. From this point forward and like many characters rejuvenated in the 1980’s, the Green Arrow becomes a much more edgy and darker character. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Green Arrow – The Longbow Hunters and read it. You won’t be disappointed.
Title Image © DC Comics