The 80’s were a time far removed from our own, both in time and in attitude. Things were dark, rough, and edgy. Writers were encouraged to push the envelope more and more. It was during this era that fans read stories like Watchmen, The Killing Joke, and “Days of Future Past”. In 1987, Mike Grell pushed the envelope on his own with one of the greatest Green Arrow stories of all time. The Longbow Hunters was a landmark in the history of the DC universe.
The events center around Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance’s relocation from Star City to Seattle. Ollie abandons his classic costume and trick arrows in favor of a new hooded costume and more traditional arrows. While settling into his new city, he takes his first case as the Emerald City’s new protector. Oliver begins tracking down the Seattle Slasher, a serial killer who specializes in prostitutes. Ollie’s quarry is also hunted by a mysterious female archer with a dragon tattoo. Dinah, meanwhile, is tracking a local drug cartel with ties to a wealthy shipping magnate. The female archer marks the first appearance of Shado, a character who would become one of the most important in Green Arrow’s history (more on that later).
While Oliver spends his time tracking this new, mysterious archer, Dinah finds herself in quite a bit of trouble. While trailing the drug lords, she is kidnaped, strung up, and brutally tortured. Oliver does eventually find and rescue her, but only by killing her torturer. This is the first time Oliver has willingly killed another person, but certainly not the last.
The Longbow Hunters became so popular that DC commissioned Mike Grell as writer and occasional artist for Green Arrow’s first solo series. This series is considered the most seminal of Green Arrow’s runs throughout the history of DC. It is even credited with strongly influencing the CW series Arrow.