Spilled Ink: Rise of Arsenal

In the world of comic book fans there is a small group of fans, to some they are viewed as weird for their choice of hero they follow, others compare them to boxer because every time they pick up their comic they are going to get hurt but despite how they are viewed they are strong, they are Archer Fans.

Oliver Queen.  Roy Harper.  Mia Dearden.  Dinah Lance.  Conner Hawke.  Lian Harper.

These are the names of the characters they care about, the unpowered humans, and their meta entourage.  These are the names of the characters that get beaten around time and time again, but none as much as Roy Harper.

If you were to compare the Archer fan to a boxer, then the Roy Harper fan would be a masochist because nobody in the DCU has gone through what Roy has and as his miniseries, Justice League – The Rise of Arsenal, comes to a close we see the character suffer and fall like we have never seen him before.

I have to put u a disclaimer for both SPOILERS and THE WEAK HEARTED because what comes next reveals a lot and hurts to read.

It started with the Cry For Justice miniseries, a movement by the Justice League members in response to the passing of Batman.  The heroes are now questioning both their safety and their family’s because if the Bat could die then they all could.  Some want to become proactive, stopping crime and criminals before they strike and some are out for blood.  Oliver Queen is one of them.

Seeing this as his chance to strike super villain Prometheus launches a brutal attack, defeating the Justice League, cutting the right arm off of Roy Harper, and activating a massive teleportation device in Star City, home of the Archer, killing thousands.

Among the dead is Lian Harper, the young child of Roy Harper.

This is where the Rise of Arsenal miniseries begins.  With Roy devastated we begin to see a hurt and beaten man fall deeper into the darkness.  Roy has been beaten before, shot in the heart, addicted to heroin, and near death more times than any comic character should, but as writer J.T. Krul shows us Lian was always his shinning beacon, and without her he’s is nothing.

Roy lashes out at his teammates and the former Teen Titans, his closest friends.  Krul does an excellent job reminding us of a couple facts about Roy.  While until recently Roy has never been an A-list character like Batman, Superman, or even his mentor Green Arrow, Roy has always been there and he knows more dirt than anybody and while he has the entire hero community behind him Roy is completely alone.

Krul makes us watch as Roy falls into madness, abuses his prescription drugs and eventually returns a drug he kicked eons ago, heroin.  While the third issue has an eerily twisted panel of Roy, high for the first time in years and hallucinating, beating homeless men with a stray cat.  The third issue closes with Roy locked in a rehab center for addicted criminal with Dick Grayson and Dinah Lance walking away.

Will Roy fall to the dark side and turn villain?  Will he get clean?  Will he stop turning to sex as a method to grieve?

Only the final issue will tell.

Now while Krul, who wrote Call for Justice along with Rise of Arsenal’s sister series Fall of Green Arrow, is doing a massacre on Archer Family, making Oliver a wanted murderer, killing Lian and destroying Roy, the true character to watch as the series unfolds is Dinah.  Black Canary has had to deal with the love of her life lying to everybody, hunting and killing Prometheus in cold blood and admitting Roy to a criminal rehab center.  Krul shows us that it is killing her but that deep down it is her, not Oliver that is the strength of the Archers.

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