Green Arrow: The “Super Hero” Aquaman Points and Laughs At

Green Arrow
Yeah, no one’s buying you’re a bad ass.

Now like Power Girl, I can’t explain my feelings towards Green Arrow.  I never read his stories as a kid, I didn’t watch anything that had him as a character in it, and so on.  And yet for some reason I hate him with a most fiery passion.

It’s not that he’s just a Batman rip-off with a strange affection for trick arrows and complete lack of compelling origin story.  Although that doesn’t help matters.

Seriously.  Millionaire Oliver Queen fights crime as Green Arrow…  just because.  No parents murdered before him, no letting a criminal go who the commits a murder, no last son of a dead world.  He just decides to dress up like Robin Hood and off he goes!

The prat.

Ignoring the lack of decent back story, that he runs around aping Batman’s shtick really doesn’t bother me.  In fact, it’s almost charming how he tries so hard to be the Dark Knight and fails so miserably at it.  Take his Arrowmobile, for instance.  Please. (Badumching!)

Then there’s his foes.  Who are… Hmmm.   Who does he fight again?

Green Lantern (vol. 2) #76 (April 1970). Cover...
If GA did this to me, he’d have his bow shoved where the sun don’t shine.  Just saying.

Now in fairness, I can name maybe two Wonder Woman foes and no Power Girl foes (though in PG’s case she’s more of a team player and less a solo act.)  But come on!  Aquaman does better in the Super Villain stakes than Green Arrow.  He has an honest to God nemesis in Black Manta.  What does Green Arrow have?

Arrows.  That’s what.

We don’t even want to get into how he raises his ward, Roy Harper.

I mean, let’s take a gander at Bruce Wayne/Batman.  He routinely takes his Robins into battle against the worst the world has to offer.  Which isn’t even bringing the Joker into the picture; you don’t even want to pass him on the street much less fight him.

Yet with only one exception he raises more or less well-adjusted, straight arrow young adults.

Green Arrow, he leaves town for a few weeks, comes back and find Speedy addicted to heroin.

Which is the better parent, I ask you?

Here’s a hint:  He fights psychotic clowns and has better dress sense.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85 (October 1971), ...
This is the comic’s shocking ending.  On the cover.   Um, spoilers?

But, like I said, that’s almost endearing.  What isn’t endearing is the way he handles his activism.  Even Preacher Preachy McPreach Preach couldn’t be more preachy than this guy.  He saves a dog then spends the next few hours bemoaning the social inequality that got the dog in trouble in the first place.

Look, I don’t mind messages in my entertainment, but for the love of all that is bright and beautiful, no sermons.  Please.  Stick with the boxing gloves.

But none of this explains why I don’t like Green Arrow.  There is no real reason for it.


There is the goatee.

That horrible goatee.

I mean, honestly?  Who curls their goatees?

It’s re-damn-diculous, is what it is.

How can anyone even look at him and take him seriously?

The real reason Superman never married Lois Lane back in the day? She’d french Green Arrow. True fact.

Aquaman’s been the joke of the Super Hero community for decades.  Decades.  Here we have a guy with an honest to God set of superpowers which aren’t very useful on land but hella cool in the ocean where he spends most of his time.  He has an evil Super Villain nemesis with an okay visual presence.  Sure he’s not Namor, but he’s a damn sight better than Bowman could ever hope to be.  And he’s still a frickin’ punchline.

Yet here’s a joke waiting to be made and no one takes up the gauntlet.


Frickin’ goatee.

Frickin’ Batman rip off.

Frickin’ Green Arrow.


5 Replies to “Green Arrow: The “Super Hero” Aquaman Points and Laughs At”

  1. Dude quit whining. The whole point of Green Arrow was to be that he doesn’t take himself seriously. They make fun of his Batman rip-offs in his own comics. And the goatee? Deal with it. He never had it originally and neither does the current on e. G.A has fought plenty of big villains. There’s loads of characters in the DC universe, and not everyone knows their villains, so why does it matter if you don’t know Green Arrow’s? Lemire and Sorrentino’s run with Arrow in the new 52 has received high praise and has been called ‘dark’ and ‘compelling’. So your thought that “no one thinks you’re a badass” is wrong. Sorry about that. And if you were right, then why would the show ‘Arrow’ be highly successful, considering that Oliver Queen has been written as quite a badass. Again, almost a Batman ripoff. But who cares? Onlyyouy you, a sad Aquaman fanboy. I like Aquaman, he probably doesn’t deserve the hate he gets. But is he better than Green Arrow? No.

    1. A nerve might have been struck here. Maybe two.

      Let me cover a few points.

      One: Not whining; mocking. Or, if you prefer, making fun. If the comics can do it, why can’t I?

      Two: the whole point of Green Arrow was to get kids to buy comics. In doing so, they ripped off a popular one, as you know Batman. Batman himself is modeled after several pulp heroes and is thus himself a rip off. In both Batman’s case and Green Arrow’s case, time and their writers have made each into their own characters. Green Arrow hasn’t had the same level of luck Batman has.

      Three: When this essay was written, the new 52 had just started. Holding up a superior work from it really isn’t fair. Besides, the new 52 has a new Green Arrow. “My” Green Arrow, the one from the Seventies and Eighties, was a jack ass deserving of being mocked. The reasons I have put forth in the essay above, though more detail could be provided.

      Four: I’m not an Aquaman fan boy. An Aquaman fan boy could name more than one villain; even now, years later, I can’t. Aquaman was used here as an example of a character who gets tons of jokes made out him despite having a rather impressive power set. Meanwhile Green Arrow for some reason gets a pass, even though there’s plenty of reasons to mock him.

      Five: Arrow the TV show is successful because the Oliver Queen in that doesn’t have the stupid goatee. Clearly.

      Naw, I’m just joshing you. It’s because they gave him a clear motive, a good supporting cast, and decent writing. Also, every single element I poke fun of above (including the goatee) isn’t there. They might make reference to these things, but they don’t use them. Which suggests that I was right to mock them.

      Though I will point out that Arrow is now stealing Batman villains, which suggests the quality of Green Arrow’s own rouge gallery to be lacking. A hero is only as good as the people he fights.

      All that said, I thank you for taking the time to comment.

    1. Yes, I know Aquaman is a Namor rip off The thing is, as a rip off, he’s a better character. His personality is different from Namor’s for one thing, as is his history. Plus, you don’t get the feeling all the writers did was substitute Arrow for Bat (Arrowcar, Arrowcave, and so on.) Thus, to return to your earlier comment, he started out as a better character than Green Arrow, and as far as I’m concerned remains the more interesting of the two.

      Not that I’m racing out to buy Aquaman comics, mind you.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to comment.

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