Last year I was searching for something new to watch and decided to search the internets for recommendations. I started hearing buzz about Arrow and decided to give it a try. I loved the pilot episode and decided to stick with it as the show searched a firmer footing. I have my favourite characters like Felicity Smoak who keep me interested even when the main plot flounders with the clichéd romantic plot.
Arrow Vol. 1 offers a collections of scenes from the editing room floor in a graphic novel form, which explains its episodic nature. There’s the quick recap almost beat for beat from the pilot, but after that show creators show glimpses of things that were only alluded in the show like Helena’s trip abroad and how China White got that white hair of hers.
I’ve never read the classic comics about Green Arrow or any other comic superhero. I might have glanced at an occasional graphic novel, but I was always more interested in the written word only—I’m trying to learn better now.
This is why Arrow Vol. 1 works for me. I’m reading it just to learn more about the world the show writers have created and its characters. Reading this I got to see what had happened to Diggle before he was discharged and on what kind of tightrope Moira was balancing on. I especially appreciated the absence of detailed island scenes. Those flashbacks are my least favourite part of the show.
Mostly I liked the graphics. The characters resembled—even if only distantly—the actors of the show and even the fight scenes had the familiar choreographic feel to them. The panels were clear and detailed if somewhat grainy on my ARC copy. One thing I didn’t like was the neverending quest for Diggle’s skin tone. David Ramsey who plays Oliver’s bodyguard John Diggle on the show is black, but I couldn’t have known that from looking at most of the panels. At first he was depicted like a barely tanned white person—in Afghanistan—then he was noticeably black on the plane and Russian scenes, but soon went back to lighter shade of brown. The changes in colour couldn’t even be explained by differences in ambient lighting and colouring. It was simply sloppy work.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.