The following contains spoilers for Green Arrow #41 written by Mairghread Scott, drawn by Tyler Clark, and inks from Sean Parsons.
Nearly a decade ago, Green Arrow was poised to star in his own solo film called Escape from Super Max. The movie, the script for which has become a genuine Internet legend, would’ve seen the Emerald Archer sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit, only the jail would’ve been a high security prison filled with an assortment of supervillains and rogue heroes.
Though this story never came to fruition as a film, it’s managed to live on through other mediums. Not only does this seem to be the basis for Ollie’s story in the upcoming seventh season of Arrow, DC's Green Arrow comic has also decided to take a stab at the concept for a story arc titled “Better Than.”
Since he’s a part time member of the Justice League, the team has asked Ollie to help with the transport of Superman’s enemy Parasite to his court date and subsequent prison sentence. Though Oliver isn’t a fan of prisons or the criminal justice system, given his recent troubled history with them both, he isn’t in a position to say no since he’s the only one in the League that Parasite couldn’t drain powers from. (Other than Batman, but he's planning a wedding.)) More than that, he’s slightly sympathetic to Parasite, who has no one defend him at his trial, and who openly expresses fear once he’s transported to his maximum security prison.
Unfortunately, that's when things choose to go wrong. After being spit on by fellow inmate Mammoth, Parasite does what he’s known for and winds up with Mammoth’s strength. As is the case with pretty much every story set in a prison, Parasite’s rampage winds up releasing all of the inmates, who then proceed to raise hell and descend into anarchy.
It’s here where the issue gets into what the Super Max movie could’ve possibly been, as Ollie goes through a gauntlet of villains. He really does have the worst luck during this time; not only does a brief bout with his old enemy Count Vertigo lead to one of his ribs being broken, he nearly gets devoured by King Shark, who just decides to start skulking around in the vents to find someone to eat. Still, Oliver does get to take down some criminals, including noted villains Dr. Phosphorus and Red Volcano. But they’re all small fries compared to Parasite, who managed to feed on not just Mammoth, but also Kryptonite Man and Neutron during all the chaos.
“Better Than” refers to Ollie’s thoughts that, even as he’s kicking the teeth in of these various villains, they’re still human deep down and deserve a fate better than being Parasite’s dinner. Even with his recent promotion to being perhaps the most dangerous hero in the DC Universe, he hasn’t lost his bleeding heart, and that may just be what he needs to reach through to Parasite in next month’s issue.
Assuming that Parasite doesn’t devour him in a dark prison sewer, of course.