Despite its ups and downs, Arrow managed to bring us an entertaining run as a series, putting a character into the spotlight who doesn’t often get the love he deserves. The shows take on the character differed some from his comic counterpart, but that’s not always a bad thing. You could always tell that the show respected the character.
With the show’s end, those craving more Green Arrow will need to turn to comics. With the sheer catalog these characters have, it can be daunting to figure out where to start. Below are some of his better stories, a few of which were adapted somewhat to the show.
10 The Longbow Hunters
This is one of, if not the best, Green Arrow story you can read. It’s the sole reason the archer even got his ongoing series, one that spanned over a decade. Mike Grell decided to take Oliver out of Star City and into Seattle, the home of Dinah Lance.
What makes this story so good isn’t so much it’s villain, but what Oliver is forced into doing. He crosses a line that has an effect for years after that, making it so he could never find true peace again. It explores the consequence of your actions very well.
This was one of the stories that helped put Kevin Smith on the map as a comic book writer. It helps deconstruct Oliver, bringing him back into comics after his death. It brings in mysticism, demons, and resurrection, all things Smith likes to dabble within his stories.
The biggest take away of the story is Oliver growing to accept what he’s done and understanding how much people need him in their lives, particularly his son, Connor. It’s the story that helped launch Oliver to a new generation of fans.
8 Green Arrow: Year One
Every hero has an origin story, a fact that often gets bemoaned a bit considering how often it’s been done lately. It’s necessary, however. You can’t have a hero without knowing their origins, and Year One is the best of the bunch.
It shows Oliver’s change from thrill-seeking playboy to the vigilante we all know and love. It was also one of the most influential books on the show, the biggest inspiration for the flashbacks they used. They even added Andy Diggle as a character just to pay homage to the writer.
7 Archer’s Quest
This is a story that won’t be for everyone, taking a different turn on a superhero comic. There’s action spread throughout it, but this is more of a road trip down memory lane with Arsenal rather than your usual hero vs villain fare. That’s part of what makes it so great, focusing more on character development and moments.
In essence, Green Arrow and Arsenal spend the series collecting relics of Oliver’s past, allowing for very touching moments where he reflects on his life. The fact good friends Barry and Hal were dead at this time, only helped enhance things.
6 Sounds Of Violence
Yet another entry from Kevin Smith, a guy who despite his fair share of misses, has created some real underrated classics. In this case, he does a great job of telling two stories, one chock-full of humor and another that’s filled with action.
It’s the second half that makes it worthy of a read, introducing Onomatopeia, a villain that you need to experience for yourself. He’s the star of the book, bringing a very creepy vibe to his portion of the story.
5 Kill Machine
The New 52 isn’t often looked back on fondly, and with good reason. It had more duds than hits, and the first three volumes of Green Arrow were among them, being utter trash, and that’s putting them lightly. Then Jeff Lemire came along and literally blew it up, starting from scratch.
Oliver’s life is crashing down around him, forced to dredge up his past to find out who the culprit is. It’s a good launching point for those that liked the show’s take on the character as well, Oliver is a bit darker here than he usually is. The art is an acquired taste, however, and may turn some people off.
4 Identity Crisis
Identity Crisis is a comic that you will either love or hate, one of those stories that have no middle ground to it. It paints heroes in a less than flattering light and tackles real-world issues head-on.
It’s the only story on this list that isn’t just a Green Arrow tale, spanning the entire Justice League. What starts as a murder investigation into Sue Dibny’s death, leads down a road that forces the heroes to question themselves as well as their motives.
3 Blood Of The Dragon
This story is often bundled with a few others by Mike Grell, neither of them really stand out. The four-issue Blood of the Dragon is a great revenge tale, following Oliver and Shado as they try to recover her stolen child from the Yakuza.
The story doesn’t have much depth to it but makes up for that in sheer action and brutality. Shado is one of the most influential characters during Grell’s run on the series, one that didn’t get used to nearly her full potential on the show.
2 Hunter’s Moon
If you haven’t noticed yet, Mike Grell is the don when it comes to Green Arrow stories, understanding the character better than any writer that followed. Hunter’s moon is the first two issues of the solo series that spawned from The Longbow Hunters.
It tackles Oliver trying to track down a serial killer. Grell deep dives into how a killer affects his victims, exploring PTSD, among other things. It’s the sort of gritty and real story that made Arrow great.
1 Black Arrow
With a title like that, you’d think this would be about Merlyn and his start as the Dark Archer, but it’s not. Instead, it’s yet another Grell deep dive into the psyche of Oliver Queen. He’s on the run from authorities all the while dealing with his own forms of PTSD over his capture.
The biggest moment from this is Shado and Black Canary meeting for the first time and the amazingly mature way that the meeting goes. Grell’s run with the character is truly mandatory for anyone who is a fan of the character.
After 8 seasons the CW show Arrow has aired its final episode. For fans of the show, here are some comics you will absolutely love.