Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse

Distributed By: DC Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Most people who know me know that I am a huge Birds of Prey fan.  The comic book features two of my favorite comic book heroines – Barbara Gordon (AKA: Batgirl, Oracle) and Dinah Lance (AKA: Black Canary).  I have been a Black Canary fan for years – ever since the old DC annual comics teaming up the Justice Society of America with the Justice League of America.  Comic book fans my age and older will remember that Black Canary began with the Justice Society on Earth 2 before switching over to the Justice League on Earth 1.  The romance between her character and that of Oliver Green, also known as Green Arrow, has spanned decades and I loved reading about their exploits.  Thus, when I saw Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse on the book shelf at the local Barnes & Noble, I just had to buy it.

            Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse is a trade paperback collection of numerous comic book adventures featuring the two star-crossed lovers spanning from the year 1969, shortly after Black Canary joins the Justice League, to 2003, shortly after Green Arrow’s return to the living.  As we read each of the thirteen comic books featured in this compilation, we learn about just how the love affair between Green Arrow and Black Canary began, how it grew, how things soured and seemingly died.  Then, at the very end, we get a glimpse into their love’s renewal.  Almost 200 pages of Green Arrow’s adventures with Black Canary – and this is but a sampling of the hundreds of adventures they shared.

            The writers vary from comic to comic and readers will definitely notice the difference in writing styles as they read works from Chuck Dixon, Mike Grell, Denny O’Neil, Elliot S! Maggin, Alan Moore, Kevin Smith and Brad Meltzer.  One will notice the campiness of the tales written in the 1970s and the maturity of the tales in the 1980s and 1990s.  The artwork varies from comic to comic.  Having read the older comic books as a child, I am drawn toward the older artwork as something I grew up with.  However, no one can deny that Mike Grell’s artwork, as seen in The Hunters (an excerpt of The Longbow Hunters series), is the best out of the bunch.

            I will say that some of the younger comic book reading generation may be confused at the origins of Black Canary.  Her origin story has changed over the years and many may not know that she originated on Earth 2 and decided to move to Earth 1 after the death of her husband.  Most members of the new comic book reading generation will only know the Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance) whose mother was Black Canary (Dinah Drake Lance) on Earth 2. Ah, how confusing the 1980’s became when the powers that be decided to change the backstory of Black Canary.  Those who may not have followed her tale throughout the decades may find themselves scratching their heads. 

            And yet, I found that Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse was an excellent resource for all those who desired to learn more about the on-again-off-again love affair that has taken place over the years between the two superheroes.  Each comic book selected in this trade paperback showed a significant event in their lives and how it affected their love for one another.  Although I love the older stories, I have a soft spot in my heart for The Hunters, a comic in which we see the rare serious side of Green Arrow.  This comic book series had a significant effect on the lives of Black Canary and Green Arrow and basically defined the future of their relationship. 

            Two hundred pages, 13 comic books, 7 writers, 9 pencillers, 9 inkers and an introduction by Denny O’Neil – Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse is a steal at the $14.99 U.S. price!  What are you waiting for comic book fans?!  Open those wallets, brush aside the moths and spend that money on a well-thought out compilation of tales featuring two of the most beloved DC heroes who ever existed!


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