Title: All My Sins Remembered
Written By: Mike W. Barr
Art by: Trevor Von Eeden & Dick Giordano
Edited by: Len Wein
Letters by: John Costanza
Colourist: Tom Ziuko
In May 1983 Green Arrow finally received his own solo series, though it was only a four issue mini series running from May through to August on a monthly single issue release schedule, but nevertheless, this was the start of something good as the Emerald Archer finally had his own series in which he could take the spotlight and show everyone just how awesome he is.
This issue sees Oliver Queen being summoned to the reading of a last will and testament of an old friend, now dearly departed, and with a flashback story in the middle of it all, we get to see how they became so close, as well as being given a look at Oliver’s origin story involving the now infamous island that he became stranded on, which these days has become widely known thanks to the 2012 television series Arrow. For those of you who don’t know this story, this issue gives us a quick version in which Oliver is enjoying a ride out at sea on a yacht, which gets apprehended by pirates who then throw Oliver overboard in hopes to kill him, but Oli washes up on a deserted island, on which he must learn new skills and use them in order to survive. One of those skills, is making and using a bow in order to fish and hunt. A weapon he becomes very familiar with and soon becomes a master at using.
The art style is this book tends to shift between a realistic style and a cartoon comic book style, as there are panels that go into detail with line work to highlight aspects of the drawing, whilst other panels stick to a simple, less detailed drawing, which really makes the art stand out in each individual panel, and that’s just the ink work.
The colouring is still very vibrant as it was in the early years, but this series brings in a heavier use of shadows which helps set a darker tone to fit the story. There’s panels where the colours are a lot darker such as Green Arrows costume, and some panels have silhouettes or a blue palette to represent a separate time frame of the plot.
The overall plot is a sad tale, which channels a lot of sympathy from the reader for Oliver, as we learn more about his past, especially regarding his relationships with people, and whilst there is a little bit of action in this book, it focuses more on the heartfelt plot that really shows how far comics had come over the years, at that time. There were a lot less of the silly puns, but there is one moment in particular that made Oliver come off as a real jerk, though we must remember that this character is only a victim of his writers, and at the moment I’m talking about, Oliver is frustrated with a woman who seemed very forward and somewhat rude as she presses him for an answer, to which he says, once she has left and he is alone, “Blasted liberated women–We never shoulda let ‘em out of the kitchen…”. Now this could have been intended as a joke but nothing about the scene would lead the reader to think this is one of Oli’s little quips, so this comes off as a factor from the time it was written, as the Women’s Liberation Movement was still happening well into the late 80’s after this book was written, so this could merely be the writers adding in ‘current events’ as they often do, but for me personally, they gave this very conflicting statement to the wrong hero, as I could never imagine Oliver really feeling that way, and if he did, Black Canary would surely knock it out of him.
Overall this is an interesting look into the life of Oliver Queen with an explosive ending which I won’t spoil here, as it leads into the next issue in this miniseries. These books are a great pickup and whilst they are somewhat difficult to obtain physically unless you know where to look or get lucky online, they are available digitally and I’d recommend anyone who wants to read some more Green Arrow stories, to read this series as either a starting point or a place to learn more about his history and character evolution.