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Legends of the Dark Knight #127

"The Arrow and the Bat," part 1
O'Neil (w), Cariello (p), Ryan (i)
Reviewed by JYD

As much as I like Denny O'Neil's work, this issue is one of the weaker ones I've read by him. This has nothing to do with the writing, the action, or the pacing--it's all about the story. What the hell is going on here? As a reader, I am suddenly thrust into a very confusing situation without any illumination into a backstory that sounds involved. Batman doesn't even show up until the very end (pg. 22), although Bruce Wayne makes a brief appeanace (pgs. 19-21). What is happening to Oliver Queen? Obviously this is early in his career--probably 2 months into his career as Green Arrow. But here we have him walking the streets of some unidentified city (all casual too--as if a guy dressed like Robin Hood is the most normal thing in the world at 3 AM) and fighting drug dealers. He's the target of a drive-by shooting, an idiot savant assassin, private investigator. Am I missing something here? Why are these people after Queen? Why did he flee to the wilderness? Who is after him? Who did he tick off?

Lo and behold, in the letter column it is revealed that the backstory that is so needed occurs in "Legends of the DC Universe" #7-9 written by O'Neil. Might have been nice for a little connective storytelling--some flashbacks or something for the poor sap like me who's just tossed into the 5 parter without any help at all. I have absolutely no desire to go out and buy those back issues (which the ass. editor LA Williams is trying to get us to do). In fact, all I want is an explanation!! Is that so hard to ask for? To enter a story w/ some idea what's going on?

"Black Panther" kind of reminds me of this, but at least I knew off the bat that Priest was doing this on purpose, that the "whole" story was going to be revealed over time and that Ross standing in his underwear pointing a gun at Buster the rat didn't require a background story ("Black Panther" #1). Comparred to the two other O'Neal LOTDK 5-parters ("Shaman" and "Venom"), "The Arrow and the Bat" has definately got me ticked off. All I know is that there better be some thorough transitional devices used in the next couple of parts of this story or...or... well, I probably won't do anything at all, but that sure would be nice.

Having bitched about that for 3 paragraphs let me address some other things. First of all is it possible for Cariello to draw someone who doesn't look pissed off? Everybody is scowling and Oliver Queen looks like he's suffering from a 24 hour PMS cycle. Now this may be part of the story from LOTDCU that I missed out on--he alludes to someone getting shot up, but who? Why does everyone have a perpetual frown? Why does everyone need an enema? Cariello is taking over "Azrael" in a few issues--I hope the entire cast of that book doesn't turn into "I hate the world" group this book belongs to. There are other things that irked me in this book. What's up with the moron assassin in the woods? He has a clear shot at Queen the entire night--why does he wait until 6 AM to shoot at him (and miss, of course)? Why does Queen give a junkie $50--when he even says the guy is going to go get doped up the first chance he gets? Why doesn't anyone care that a guy in green leotards is walking around a city? There's another thing I've never really "gotten" about Green Arrow--why the bow and arrow? Are you that confident with yourself? Are you going to do the William Tell thing everytime? What happens if you miss? It's just like a cop--you can't be perfect every day, right? And the tights--he's obviously confident in his sexuality--green is such of an obnoxious color...what gives here? Maybe I'm just not used to heroes that have...color! Gah! Bring me Batman any day of the week!

I think I'm done ranting now. Mostly the book would have been much better had O'Neil decided to fill us readers in on what's what and who's who. I'm not asking for "The Arrow and the Bat" Secret Files & Origins, but some filler would be nice. I have no idea why these characters are behaving this way, why Queen is on the run, what the "bass" he is reffering to is, and what his background/past is. Being mysterious is nice (Trickster told me this once), but being vague is really annoying. Now I see what he means.

The JYD's Grade: LOTDK #127--B-