Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding Album

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Here we see Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding Album, a perfect example of how not to structure issues and story arcs that flow into one another.

“The Wedding Album”…more like “The Schizophrenic Storylines”.  I really enjoyed each story presented in this trade on its own; the problem is, they never should have been grouped together like this.  This comic doesn’t know if it wants to be funny and lighthearted or super serious and introspective.  The result is something that isn’t satisfying at either end of the spectrum, and left me utterly confused as to how I was supposed to feel.

The comic opens on a brief summary of Ollie and Dinah’s relationship, before moving to the present day, showing the couple sharing an intimate evening at home. They’re flirting and kissing before Dinah stops them, claiming they should wait until their wedding night to make it more special.  There’s a few pages of quippy back and forth banter as Ollie tries to convince Dinah otherwise, before ultimately giving up.

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These may not be “life or death” situations, but they’re light-hearted and entertaining, and no doubt reflective of any number of real-life conversations had by brides and grooms who have decided to wait until their wedding night.  The scenes are fluffy, but there’s nothing wrong with a little fluff in between all of the deadly battles.

Even when a battle erupts at the wedding (because how could it not?) the story remains light.

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I don’t know what I love more: Batman commenting that he’s not there for the wedding, he’s there for the fight, or Dinah steadfastly ignoring the fighting around her as she focuses on retrieving her wedding ring. It’s near non-stop jokes and banter, and as I’m a personal fan of that style of writing, I had absolutely no problem with it here.

The comic’s tone shifts quite a bit after the wedding though, when Ollie attacks Dinah on their wedding night. Ready to stab her, Dinah grabs an arrow and drives it through her husband’s neck, killing him.

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Obviously this is meant to be a big shocker, but did anyone actually believe this was really Ollie?  Being fairly certain that this was an imposter made it easier to stomach, and when Dinah maintained that Ollie was still alive, I fully believed her. The comic doesn’t make us wait too long to confirm this suspicion, informing us that he’s been kidnapped by the Amazons (with Granny Goodness still disguised as Athena), all in an effort to get Dinah to travel to Paradise Island and help train new warriors.

The banter returns as soon as we realize Ollie is alive, and his rescue is a rollicking good time of dodging arrows, jumping off cliffs, and wearing your son’s underwear.  Dinah and Ollie are reunited on a boat as they zip away from the island, seemingly overjoyed at finding one another again.

Unfortunately, the happiness is short-lived as Connor, who was instrumental in helping rescue his father, is shot on the boat by an unseen and unidentified foe.

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Okay, I wasn’t too concerned here. They wanted to add yet another layer of drama to the story, and while it was getting a bit tedious,  I was still invested enough to care.  I figured Connor would get treatment and be alright, while Ollie and Dinah hunted down whoever was responsible.

Nope. Instead, we learn that the bullet was laced with a toxin that couldn’t be treated; Connor is officially brain-dead.  Ollie stands by Connor’s bedside, lamenting what a terrible father he was and how he should have been there for his son during his formative years.  It’s a really dark, depressing point in the story, and doesn’t fit into the more light-hearted tone of the rest of the comic.  Seemingly remembering at the last minute that this is supposed to be a story arc all about Dinah and Ollie’s wedding, the writers decide to end on a happy note, with the couple having a small, intimate ceremony in front of a few close friends.

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We’re supposed to say, “Awww” and be happy that the couple finally got their happy ending, except there’s sort of this big, dark cloud hanging over our heads in the form of Connor.  Why did those events need to happen in this storyline??  If it was something that they wanted to write into the comic, they couldn’t have at least waited a few issues, and made that the next story arc? Throwing that into the middle of the whole “wedding” storyline felt unnecessary and out of place. It was as though they didn’t want too many “fluff” issues, and thought by adding an  indescribably sad and painful twist that it would somehow validate the whole storyline. Honestly, It felt like the writers were too scared to churn out a comic that was strictly entertainment. Why is that?? What’s so wrong with allowing a comic to be light and happy for just a few issues? Or, if you don’t want to go that route, why would you begin the storyline with such nonstop comedy and banter?? I just don’t understand the thought process there.

Over all, I like the stories, I just think they should have been separated out.  The happiness of the couple’s wedding is seriously dampened by what happens to Connor, and the story can never really bounce back from that, no matter how much they tried to scrounge together a happy ending for the pair.  I’m happy Ollie and Dinah are officially married, I just wish it could have been under happier circumstances.

-Jess

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Green Arrow/Black Canary: Road to the Altar

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I’m a bit out of the loop on this one, since I honestly wasn’t even aware that Ollie and Dinah were officially back together.  Oh well, I caught up pretty quickly after Ollie proposed on page 2 of the trade.

It seems I’ve missed a couple major plot points though. Ollie is no longer mayor of Star City, and Dinah is now taking care of a young girl named Sin, who was being trained to become the next Lady Shiva.  Once again, I was able to catch on pretty quickly.

This trade comes with two stories: the first being whether or not Dinah will accept Ollie’s proposal; the second being how Dinah will cope with young Sin, and how she’ll keep her safe.

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It turns out, these two stories are intertwined.  The League of Shadows wants Sin, and the group attacks her school and steals her away.  Dinah and Ollie go after her, and Ollie makes a sacrifice that he knows will cost him Dinah: he arranges to have it look like Sin has been killed, so that the League of Shadows will stop their pursuit. Unfortunately, doing so involves letting Dinah think she’s dead too, at least at first.  Sin writes a letter for Dinah a few days alter explaining that she is safe, and that this was the only way to keep her safe.

At this point there’s a little speech about how Ollie is always so selfish, but that he finally made a choice in which he wasn’t thinking about himself, all leading up to the somewhat predictable outcome:

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For me, the trade ends here.  There’s a Black Canary Wedding Special that was included as well, but that was nothing more than a cliched story about Dinah turning into a sterotypical stressed out bride while Ollie coolly sat back making rational suggestions that were steadfastly ignored.

…Yeah, I really wasn’t a fan of that “special”.  There’s a two-page spread about Dinah and a few female superheroes lingerie shopping (complete with pictures, because of course) yet not a SINGLE reference to any deeper feelings or emotions the bride or groom might be feeling about, oh you know, finally tying the knot after all these years. It was a shallow story, and just not my cup of tea.

The rest of the comic was a pretty cut and dry trade.  There was never really any doubt that Dinah would say “yes”, especially given how much time she took to decide. You don’t write that kind of build-up to end in a “no”.  While I’ve always liked the Canary/Arrow pairing, for some reason I wasn’t as invested in the outcome of this story. Maybe it was because so many of the events were new to me that I felt a bit removed from the overall story, but I just wasn’t as drawn into their story as I could have been.  All in all a nice little story, even though the wedding itself wasn’t included in the trade. At least Ollie and Dinah will finally (hopefully) get their happily ever after..assuming they make it that far.

-Jess