Friday, February 28, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #550

Every Friday, I review a comic or backup feature showcasing Black Canary and her longtime love interest, Green Arrow.  Last week, I looked at the first of a two-part story that began in Detective Comics #549 and concludes here in #550.

The seven-page backup story, "Night Olympics Part 2" is written by Alan Moore with art by Klaus Janson.  Once again, I present it uncut for my readers, because Alan Moore and Klaus Janson!

In this part, as with with the last, Moore uses allusions to Olympic games and competitions and, in particular, the pageantry associated with them in his depiction of super heroic exploits.  The average adventure of a costumed crime fighter is a game, according to Moore's script here.  And the game gets deadly when one participant--the criminal--breaks the rules.

Pete Lomax, the archer who doesn't wear a costume or use a name like Arrowman, targets the heroes specifically and hurts Dinah before Ollie can act.  Pete doesn't announce himself like one of Batman or the Flash's rogues until after he's drawn blood.  But when confronted with the actual reality of just how good a hero like Green Arrow is, Pete has no escape except to faint.

I really enjoyed this story.  I like how even though Black Canary gets taken down pretty easily, she still wants to pull the arrow out and help Ollie fight.  I like how Ollie doesn't give in to fear and rage; he never loses control or suggests that he'll kill Pete Lomax.  He uses his "powers" to terrify Pete with his real talent.  I also got a kick out of the return of Joey, the hard luck crook who freaks out at the sight of superheroes just as he's about to be released from the hospital.

"Night Olympics" is a great short story.  To my knowledge, this two-parter has never been collected, which is surprising given the popularity and profitability of Alan Moore's name.  If you can't find a copy in the store, this issue of 'Tec is available on ComiXology for $1.99 U.S.  It also includes a Batman story by Doug Moench and Pat Broderick about Batman trying to help a victim of child abuse who has grown into an abusive criminal lowlife with nowhere to go but down.

Come back next Friday for more of Green Arrow and Black Canary!

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