Rebirth of Arsenal

Speedy never knew where he really belonged. Was he a super-hero or an intelligence agent? Avenger of the streets or junkie?

Justice League The Rise Of Arsenal #1

Arsenal has always been a troubled character. A cocky kid in the original incarnation of the Teen Titans, he had Green Arrow as a father figure so he was bound to have problems.

Problems are an understatement. After hitting rock bottom as a drug addict, his fashion of rebuilding his life involved having a daughter with a psychopathic international assassin who later proceeded to nuke an entire Middle-Eastern country.

His familial relations not withstanding (can you spell dysfunction?), Speedy never knew where he really belonged. Was he a super-hero or an intelligence agent? Avenger of the streets or junkie? He spent time working with Checkmate, the DEO and for Sarge Steel, but the spandex world kept drawing him back. He had a relationship with Donna Troy, knowing full well that she was only using him to fill an emotional void, and demonstrating that very fact to her even as he worshipped her with all of his heart.

One could say that was noble and an act of love, but Roy Harper had a habit of pushing away the people who mean the most to him, so we could ask if this was another symptom of his self-destructive streak. Mind you, with the code-name of Speedy, it’s a wonder any woman looked at him at all!

Lian, his daughter, was the making of him. Finally he was needed in a manner that he had never been needed before.

Now in the attack of Prometheus in the Justice League Cry For Justice miniseries, he has lost her. In comparison the loss of his arm pales in comparison.

Justice League The Rise Of Arsenal could very easily be a disaster, yet if the first issue is anything to go by, the writer J.T, Krul provides an understanding view of grief, anger and the spectre of addiction. The latter theme is not forced down our throat in some cheesy fashion, but shows just how much his brain wants to seek refuge in the drugs even as he consciously fights to stay above it. Yet he seems to be popping the pain killers a little too easily even as his heart balances his grief and his lust for revenge. I wonder how he will fear when he discovers his mentor has robbed of that chance.

I have said previously that magic could be a route to Arsenal’s relaunch, but I really want to see where Krul goes with this title, his handling of Roy shows a more mature approach than I would have planned.

Do not read this expecting to be cheered up. But if you are a Titans, Green Arrow or a Justice League fan, then this is one mini that is not to be missed. Five stars!

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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