“Arrow” #1 is the sort of pre-post-reboot-non-origin that does nothing for the property it hopes to lure an audience in for. The characters are obfuscated, the true motivations are wholly lacking and the overall narrative content is rice paper thin. This introductory issue attempts to put a lot in place without actually touching upon anything with meaning. The basic facts are somewhat present and the rest is a wash.
Oliver Queen was on a boat with his father that sank near an island. Oliver lived, the father did not. Oliver eventually came back to civilization five years later. We don’t know what he did with his time. He is now going to be the vigilante hero Arrow. If that recap reads dry, then don’t pick this issue up expecting much more because it’s basically all you get. There is little to no characterization in these pages, even though everything is masked through the fog of trying to make scenes personal. The fact that scenes are too short and everything jumps around robs this issue of any emotional gravity. There is also zero plot progression with the issue instead establishing a status quo for cardboard characters we should know from memory of the DCU rather than who they are now in the adaptation of a series.
Mike Grell delivers competent art but it’s all mostly unmemorable. It is difficult to say if this is because the script gives him little to work with — which is true — or if he simply didn’t reach on any of these pages. I would be inclined to go with the former but the last page is worrying as we see Oliver walk away by leading with the foot and arm of the same side of his body. It is an awkward image on which to close the issue. It also doesn’t help that the colors from David Lopez and Santi Casas are so muted and mundane.
“Arrow” the comic should be capitalising on the fact that it stems from a television show and as such will have a more than usual amount of eyes focused towards it. However, as seems to be the blight of comics, this tie-in issue is boring and wooden and doesn’t offer much of anything to entice a reader. I found it dull, and a little difficult to care about, due to the empty nature of the narrative. I can only imagine what a person unfamiliar with Green Arrow, or comics in general, made of it as the issue bumbles through miniscule set pieces for characters and ideas. It’s hard to complain about anything with such a low price point, but this is a waste of a golden opportunity to help draw new readers into comics.