Roy Harper: You never wanted a partner, O. All you ever wanted was an arsenal.
The long awaited origin of new 52 Roy Harper.
There have been a lot of changes since the relaunch and Roy is a good example as he's now a genius inventor. Taking a break from the current arc we focus on our archer flashing back to when he was a ten years old at a National Science Fair looking a little more...well stereotypical nerdy than he's usually shown. At least with the suit and big glasses. His dad--who in the old universe was park ranger Roy Sr.-- is bored and apparently a drinker. A detail I'm sure will annoy serveral fans as for myself I'm split. On the one hand I don't recall there ever being much revealed about the guy besides his name, job and the fact he died when Roy was three. On the other I wish there was something more to him.
Sadly Roy's invention causes trouble by shorting out everything since he was more focused on getting attention than doing something useful. The judges aren't pleased but his dad is. In present day Ollie is having an awkward conversation with Roy (who looks fine except for his arms being bandaged.) He's not sure how to feel about Ollie and recalls when he first saw him. In the past Ollie is a different kind of ass than issue #36 where you can at least say he was lashing out because of grief over Roy's condition. Here it's pure ego as he says no one can do what he does and answers a reporters' question about critics by giving a double bird salute. Roy is utterly charmed by this and thinks he's a lot like Ollie only without the money.
Back in the present Roy looks like he's back to himself save for some missing tattoos which is given credit to Essence healing him last issue. He wants to get back into the field and help find Kori. While Ollie respects that he thinks Roy needs time to heal. Roy doesn't want Ollie telling him what to do anymore. Flashback to the first day they met which was partly covered in Green Arrow #25 by Winnick. Roy had hacked into Ollie's system and was arrested for it. Instead of pressing charges Ollie decides he can use someone with such skill. He gets the criminal record wiped cleared then gives him a job. Getting all this attention reels Roy in along with all the benefits he's offered.
It wasn't long until Roy started feeling more like a partner than employee. They hang out (I believe Roy was a minor back then indulging drinking which Ollie doesn't bat an eye at) and grow closer. Something is missing as Roy gets drunk at a party but his life only to have a rude awaking by an attempted hostile take over. This leads to him discovering his friend is Green Arrow. Ollie avoids him for awhile as Roy's life falls apart. He's depressed at the realization that he never knew his boss that well which means that their friendship might be a lie too. Naturally Ollie doesn't deal with the topic with care which upsets Roy more.
He doesn't see why Roy is taking the reveal to heart and Roy points out Ollie has been using his inventions in the field as Green Arrow. The position of partner is brought up as something Ollie claims he was considering. Roy doesn't believe it since he thinks everything was fake and all Ollie wants is his ability to make weapons. They get into a fight which Roy admits might not have happened quite like that since everyone remembers things differently. Ollie kicks him out saying some pretty nasty things but Roy does get in his shots too. Only after Roy leaves does Ollie see the targeting dummy with red arrows stuck in the bullseye.
In the present Ollie admits he knows Roy is too stubborn to accept his help. Roy in turn admits he never apologized to Ollie because he never wants to forget what he did to push himself into becoming a better person. Ollie does give Roy a replacement bow as his was destroyed in the fire. He goes off alone knowing that he can't instantly make things right he'll just have to work improving himself.
Overall: The art is excellent except for the pages with Roy getting dressed. Which has Roy smiling at odd times like mentioning Kori being addicted on drugs and being harsh with Ollie. Otherwise the emotions come across strongly.
There's still a lot about Roy's past that remains unclear. His father was dead by the time he met Ollie but we don't know why or what happened to his mother. Comparing this to Tynions' take of the Ollie/Roy relationship there's some big differences. While Ollie did come rushing to Roy's side in both he's not as pleasant as he was under Tynion which actually works a lot better. Back in the Speedy does drugs days he wasn't the most supportive or even nice guy. Since we're led to believe Roy is Dick Grayson's age (recently confirmed to be 21) that means Ollie still kicked out a teen. Tynions' version also made it so Ollie had little to no blame and hinted at the break being Hugo Stranges' fault. Here Ollie uses Roy's talents and doesn't consider his emotions until he has no other choice. He's partly to blame for letting a teen be around parties where there's plenty of drinking and doesn't speak out against it until it becomes a problem for him.
Roy does recognize his part in his own addiction but at the same time calls Ollie on his behavior. Tynion did have Roy acting furious towards Ollie but it was apparently for something else he never revealed. While Lobdell does reference Winicks' story of their first meeting he retcons most if not all of Tynions' annual--which I'm okay with. Tynion had Roy dressed up in the Speedy get up eager to be a sidekick which Ollie refused in fear for him getting hurt. In this version Roy never becomes his partner and he's not even offered it until moments before their split. The offer might have been genuine but at the same time it comes off as a very manipulative way to soothe Roy.
This story also shows where Roy is compared to Jason and Kori in terms of addiction. Kori is currently lost to it, Jason is slipping into it and Roy has recovered but knows he still has a ways to go I liked that there is also a notable difference between the mentorships of Bruce/Jason and Ollie/Roy. Not just in the way they act towards each other but also where they are after their break down of their relationships. The mentors both waited by their bedsides yet the issues and their interactions aren't the same. There's no real forgiveness here even if there's a little understanding. Ollie still has some ego, they push each other's buttons and they know their not in a place that they can mend. So overall I liked this. Not as good as the second annual but it was still enjoyable.
Questions Raised?: Why did Jason say Roy was considered the worst sidekick in #1 if he never was one? I also used to take it that he was being ignored by most heroes because of what happened although he has been seen working with Dick and Kori in flashbacks.
Did You Notice?: Roy tattoos are in the flashback even though Rocafort showed he didn't get them until much later.
The Superman logo in Roy's lab.
Roy wears a arrowhead necklace. It's never stated if he had prior training as an archer but it makes his falling out with Ollie more ironic since Ollie never seems to realize it until after he kicks him out.
Say What?: According to Roy he calls the group Outlaws although his friends aren't keen on it. They have been called that by others too.
I'm 90% sure Lobdell is just joking around but when Roy makes comments like wanting to have Ollie's baby. ...Although it sometimes makes me wonder if Roy swings both ways.
Roy pretends he doesn't know where the word vigil comes from but mentally defines it's origins. A nice little character moment to highlight him being smarter than people think.
"The lifeless desert where I was raised" is mentioned by Roy hinting at some connection to his past origin. I like the detail that Roy prefers water because of this which gives nice insight for how he must feel about the island the trio live on.
The boxing glove arrow joke was a nice touch.
I liked how the associate with Roy's code name was brought up.