Perhaps the pimple-face adolescent boys who moved their lips as they read the simple text and gazed at the colorful (mostly green) drawings didn't suspect, but anyone who'd ever read a story featuring the Caped Crusader and his sidekick, the Boy Wonder, would understand, at once, that the comic book hero Green Arrow and his assistant Speedy were obvious knockoffs of Batman and Robin.
While the Dynamic Duo had the Batcave, the Batcar, the Batplane, and the various tools and gadgets they carried in their utility belts, the Green Arrow and Speedy had the the Arrow-cave, the Arrowcar, and the Arrowplane (which sounds a lot like "airplane"), and the various arrows the carried in their quivers. Moreover, just as Batman and Robin has secret identities (Bruce Wayne and his ward, Dick Grayson, respectively), so, too, did Green Arrow and Speedy (Oliver Queen-uh, Green-and his ward, Roy Harper, respectively).
What made Green Arrow a unique comic book was-well, nothing, really. However, the arrows were supposed to be the gimmick that made the it a special read. How the archers ever managed to fit all the manifold sundry of arrows in their quivers is as much a mystery as is the technological knowledge and sheer wizardry that must have gone into their design and manufacture. The expense alone had to have been enormous. How Green Arrow and Speedy managed, simply by touch, and under the enormous pressure of fending off homicidal maniacs with superpowers of their own, to put their fingers on exactly the right missile every time, despite the fact that, until launched, every arrow looked like every other dart is, well, indescribable. No wonder that such mysteries are never adequately explained. Much is left to readers' imaginations, but, no doubt, such matters were hard to fathom for even the youths who perused these dubious periodicals. Much more difficult must have been their suspension of disbelief in the face of such absurd, but commonplace, impossibilities.
The adventurers' adventures strained credulity as well-to the breaking point. Green Arrow and Speedy occupied themselves, for example, with discovering the cause of a barrage of "super arrows" that turn out to be fired, as toys, by gigantic children who live in another dimension; the arrows, in fact, are items from a "Xeen Arrow play kit" (Xeen Arrow is Green Arrow's counterpart in the alternate dimension). More annoying (if possible) than the absurd plots is Speedy's habit of referring to Green arrow as "G. A." for no other reason, it seems, than to save space or because the youthful "ward" may have a crush on his benefactor the same way that, according to Dr. Frederick Wertham, Dick Grayson-notice the nickname for "Richard"-is in love with his guardian, Bruce Wayne.
Of course, neither DC's self-plagiarism, the plethora of parallels between the foursome, the imbecilic plots, nor the latent homosexuality of the comic book is Green Arrow's most offensive element; rather, the most odious feature is the heroes' arrows themselves. One, two, or even a handful of technological marvels is acceptable, perhaps, but when spectacular weaponry pops up on a regular basis, whenever and wherever the archers have need-and it is usually a very specific need-there is, in their bottomless quivers, an arrow that will answer this requirement, for the costumed crimefighters' arsenal of arrows is capable of solving any problem, regardless of how challenging, unlikely, or asinine. Simply to list all the astounding arrows upon whose extraordinary attributes Green Arrow and Speed draw would take a book in itself, but, fortunately, a mere sample suggests the true idiocy of the comic book's central conceit:
- Their Heli-spotter Arrow (three mirrors mounted around shaft of arrow whose propeller at end causes it to hover) allows the archers to keep a suspect in a crowd under surveillance: they can see him in the revolving mirrors.
- Their Ricochet Arrow (upon contact, its point becomes a falcon's hood, blocking target's sight) blinds a "Bogus Bowman" whom Green Arrow pursues.
- Their Rain Arrow (equipped with a shower head nozzle at tip) showers water upon its target.
- Their Cable Arrow (the arrow has a cable coiled inside a reel on its shaft) circles its target, wrapping it with an attached cable.
- Balloons on their Balloon Arrows (green arrows with red tips and balloons on the arrows' shafts) expand as the arrows fly; the balloons then burst in the target's face, disorienting him or her.
- Their Parachute Arrows (equipped with parachutes that trail from the shafts by cups that are connected to the bolt by wires) slow their descent.
There are many, many other arrows equally ludicrous or even more ridiculous. However, despite a fortune and technological mastery that rivals that of Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), neither Oliver Green nor Roy Harper put their considerable assets to any use that older teenage males with far more spending money than the pimple-face younger boys who read this trash might find interesting. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what sort of arrows such older youths might find interesting-but it would take a heterosexual superhero to fathom such a matter; hence, the Green Arrow comic doesn't offer any such missiles and always remained a second- or third-tier magazine among DC's many better titles.
Many, many other arrows of erotic design could be devised to augment the archers' quivers. If Green Arrow and Speedy ever make a comic book comeback, adding such arrows to their arsenal could make their publication a huge success. Characters who were too obscure to endure could become subjects of bestsellers whose popularity transcends even that of Batman and Robin, whom Green Arrow and Speedy tried, unsuccessfully, to rip off.