Green Arrow #45
This issue contains the funeral for Roy Harper following the horrific events of Heroes in Crisis #1. All of Roy's closest friends over the years pay tribute to their fallen brother in a beautiful and touching issue. "Draw and Release" will surely go down as one of the greatest comics funerals of all time as the survivors discuss what Roy meant to them and Oliver confronts his guilt over what his and Roy's relationship had become over the years.
This issue is dominantly a stand-alone issue and while there are a few references to the current events in the Benson Sister’s run on Green Arrow and the fallout of No Justice, there is no reason why any fan of Roy Harper could not simply pick up this issue and marvel at its beautiful sendoff of a beloved character.
What makes this issue so heartfelt is the ways that Oliver moves through the stages of grief. Despite being a fictional character, the reaction feels less fabricated than some narrative moves to elicit an emotional response. It is more calculated here and filtered through a very genuine feeling lens. The relationship between Roy and Oliver has not always been a Rockwell painting, but rather reflects an articulation of the struggles between a “father” and a “son” in a situation where neither is willing to fully assume or relinquish either role.
That goodbye left unsaid. The coffee you never went out of your way to get. The phone call you never made. These are the things that any of us that have lost somebody dear to us will tell you eat at you. They are wounds, untreated and festering. Letting go and allowing yourself to heal is not as easy as simply saying the words. The Bensons, along with Javier Fernandez, seem to get that this scenario is about more than simply losing a popular character. It’s not the death of the character/person that makes us sad– its all the things they gave and took from our lives and the realization that there will be no more. I was sad when Roy died– I was devastated by his funeral.
In an era of comics where death holds very little power over our favorite costumed heroes, Julie and Shawna Benson craft a tale of finality that leaves the reader with enough closure to feel like this time, he may not return to us.
Green Arrow #45: Survivor’s Guilt
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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