When the Green Arrow and Black Canary locked eyes across a field in Geoff Johns’s Rebirth #1, I scoffed. The implication that some ‘ship was a great loss to the genre seemed silly, even simplistic. Having now read Green Arrow Rebirth #1, I totally get it. Oliver Queen needs Dinah Lance.
Anyone who reads my Arrow recaps every week is probably doing a spit take at this moment, but let me clarify. There’s been a lot of complaining recently that the TV version of the Emerald Archer has become a co-star in his own show thanks to the one-woman charisma machine that is Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak. That’s totally accurate, but it’s also not a bad thing, it’s what makes Oliver Queen’s story worth watching and in this case, reading.
On his own, Oliver exists in a lonesome echo chamber of his own self-righteousness and self-hatred. He’s a Batman knockoff in Robin Hood drag. While writer Benjamin Percy (who will also helm post-Rebirth Ollie’s story) previously gave him half-sister Emiko to banter with and Jeff Lemire gave him two nerdy sidekicks, this issue pretty much proves Oliver needs a hot blonde with a smart mouth in that role. Womanizing is a fundamental aspect of the Oliver Queen character and his dialogue is sharpest when there’s an undercurrent of flirtation.
Though Dinah isn’t exactly forthcoming about why she’s in Oliver’s territory, it’s not difficult to imagine that the touch of déjà vu she experienced when she first saw Oliver drove her to Seattle during what she calls her “walkabout.” Still, she’s not exactly kind when she first shows up. In fact, she spends much of the issue calling out Oliver’s white male privilege. The Green Arrow may be a socially conscious warrior for justice who is constantly, as she puts it, “loud-mouthing [his] moral outrage,” but Oliver Queen is a rich guy who’s a member of the same elite he rails against. Her delivery is a little harsh, but her point is valid. There’s a problematic imperialist air to what Oliver does and while he’s ignored it in the past, Dinah–with her underprivileged, foster system background–is uniquely qualified to force Oliver to question himself and his mission.
Despite that rocky beginning, Oliver and Dinah eventually realize they make a pretty good superhero team after they infiltrate an underground human trafficking auction and promise to bring down the whole ring. That wouldn’t seem like the sexiest of circumstances to the average person, but with Percy’s dialogue and Otto Schmidt’s gorgeous art and colors, it seems like these characters are engaged in the most exquisite form of foreplay. Those final panels, where Dinah and Ollie stand so close, feel filled with both romantic and narrative potential. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.