Review: Flashpoint – Green Arrow Industries

Oliver Queen is the Tony Stark of the Flashpoint world, and he's a champion for big business.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries

So… this is sort of interesting.

Flashpoint continues gallivanting its merry way across the DC Universe, giving us wacky alternate versions of their popular characters, before it winds down and settles into giving us MORE alternate versions of their popular characters that are designed to turn the original established versions of their popular characters into alternate versions of their popular characters by becoming the new established versions of their popular characters.  These events run on long enough, you start to get silly with the recaps.

So in the Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries one-shot, we're introduced to Oliver Queen, the head of Queen Industries, a weapons manufacturer which employs a small private army of mercs which hunts down bad guys like the Trickster, the Top and the Folded Man, steals their technology and repurposes it for military applications.  After unveiling anti-superhuman missiles to a room full of generals, Queen whines that big business is always automatically considered evil, while he's fathered eight children with seven different actress/model type women.  In four pages, Queen is established as a bigger douchebag than Tony Stark ever was.

That's not to say he doesn't ever get the chance to do something.  The interesting part comes in when Roy Harper, Queen's head of security, claims his boss has the capability to do something inspiring, and puts forth a compelling topic of discussion:  what would it take to get people to trust a big business?  What would it take for the public to view a corporation as a form of superhero?  "Seriously," Roy says, "what would it look like?  A company that fought for people and inspired them?  One they trusted?" 

Of course, an instant later, we see Roy is dead.  It seems a team of raiders led by a vengeful young assassin brandishing a bow and arrow has quickly laid siege to Queen's private island storehouse of supervillain tech and killed everybody, and she's personally hunting for the head honcho, who seems completely clueless.  He tries to defend himself by loading up with bad guy tech, but he's obviously no kind of fighter.  He's just luckier than he has any right to be.  When he finds out why they're attacking – mainly because the small towns where he built testing facilities became magnets for angry supervillain escapees trying to get their tech back, resulting in scores of communities being wiped out, with supremely angry survivors blaming Queen Industries – he seems shaken up enough to pose the question himself.

"We live in a country where we'll trust one man in office to make nationwide decisions, but not an incorporated body of one thousand men in offices.  Why?  What would big business have to do to get people to trust it?" 

Writer Pornsak Pichetshote (sorry about what your junior high years must have been like, there, pal) then completely derails Queen's realization by revealing that the woman trying to kill him is a bastard daughter of his with Vixen whom he's never seen before, and as soon as his backup security squad guns her down in front of him, he immediately retreats back into "I'm just a guy who makes missiles."  Essentially, that may be the answer to one question – the reason we don't trust them is that they lack the courage of conviction that one man can have, and they're far too concerned with self-preservation and their own bottom lines.  Incidentally, we don't really even trust that "one man in office" either, given how quickly poll numbers and job approval ratings tend to swing around that pendulum. 

To qualify this next point, I haven't read a heck of a lot of Green Arrow, so maybe I've only seen him in situations where writers tend to make him an obnoxious mouthpiece or someone to whom Hawkman yells 'shut up.'   But one thing Pichetshote proves is that it doesn't really matter what side of the ideological fence Oliver Queen is spouting off from – he still tends to come off as a pompous asshat gasbag whom you kinda want to kick in the crotch even if you agree with him.  That makes it a bit hard to enjoy reading about him.

But this issue is interesting.  For one, it's pretty cool to see a guy loaded for bear with weapons boosted from a wide range of supervillains, and that's an idea that bears further exploration.  For two… what would a corporation have to do to get people to trust it?  It's a very pointed question worth some consideration, but I'd have to guess that the first order of business would be to stop screwing over the little guy.  Trouble is, there doesn't seem to be much money to be made in fighting for people and inspiring them, which tends to mean said super-corporation won't exist for very long.  This is why the world sucks.

Ah, well.  Read more comics.