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Showcase Presents The Green Arrow, Vol. 1 is an ambitious 500+-page compilation of the Emerald Archer's early exploits. Beginning in 1958, Green Arrow appeared in both Adventure Comics and World's Finest, in six-page stories that sold Oliver Queen as a half-baked Batman, answering the Arrow Signal in his Arrow-Car with his ward, Roy Harper (Speedy). The main challenges were figuring out which combination of trick arrows would do the job (one adventure required the Two-Stage Rocket Arrow, the Balloon Arrow, the Firecracker Arrow and the Dry-Ice Arrow, and don't forget about that ever-handy Fake-Uranium Arrow!), or what crazy contraption a villain could think of to foil the archers. Creators include Dave Wood, Ed Herron, France Herron, Robert Bernstein, Lee Elias, and a pre-Marvel Jack Kirby (aided by wife Roz), whose influence put a significant sci-fi twist on the title. But for the most part, the stories are pretty routine, broken by the occasional twist of "The Unmasked Archers" or "The Green Arrow's First Case," which bring out a little more of the characters, or even the appearances of Miss Arrowette, who fights crime with her Powder Puff Arrow and Mascara Arrow. More interesting are the longer adventures, including Superboy's early meeting of Oliver Queen in Smallville, GA's induction into the Justice League, and his appearances in The Brave and the Bold when that comic was becoming a team-up vehicle. In B&B 50, he teams up with the Martian Manhunter, and in #71 with Batman. Fourteen issues and a year and a half later, but what seems like light years stylistically, Green Arrow teams up with Batman again in "The Senator's Been Shot," a Bob Haney-Neal Adams tale that has both heroes questioning the value of their heroic identities. DC's Showcase line, like Marvel's Essentials line, offers great value, and for this vintage of comics, the black-and-white format is just fine. --David Horiuchi [via]