Green Arrow’s Greatest Test Is Leading Two of DC’s Most Powerful Teams
Green Arrow has recently taken on the reins of leadership for two very powerful DC teams that have very different goals and moral obligations.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League #65, on sale now from DC Comics.
Green Arrow has always grappled with finding a balance between pursuing moral convictions and accepting the consequences of his actions. While he champions the oppressed in his superhero career, in his civilian life as billionaire Oliver Queen, he has been guilty of many of the same crimes he rallies against. Now, his position on the Justice League is raising some particularly interesting ethical questions.
In many ways, Green Arrow is the moral compass of the team. He is always trying to think of new ways for the Justice League to be better. He is even funding the team using his own personal finances. However, this has created a conflict of interest as he is also funding another team, Checkmate, and hiding the details from his fellow Leaguers.
Green Arrow has recently exerted more influence over the Justice League, both by sponsoring it and advocating that the group bring in new members with different perspectives. However, the Emerald Archer’s actions had some unforeseen consequences that came to light in Justice League #65 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve Pugh, Romulo Fajadro, Jr. and Josh Reed. His long-time romantic partner, Black Canary, just learned about him bankrolling Checkmate, a group with a long and complicated history regarding the superhero community.
Checkmate was once a government organization that monitored and policed superhuman activities. After their leader, Maxwell Lord, used mind control to turn Superman into a weapon, the organization was absorbed into the UN to be held accountable. Despite this, it eventually disbanded. More recently, a secret group called Leviathan absorbed every secret agency on the planet that had been interested in spying on superhumans. Green Arrow reformed Checkmate specifically to combat Leviathan.
However, he is now in a morally compromised position. He and Superman have each served as a different facet of the Justice League’s conscience. While Superman represents an inherent sense of good, Green Arrow challenges old ways of thinking and uplifts marginalized people who are often overlooked by other heroes. After Green Arrow advocated for bringing in new members with different perspectives, Superman reached out to Black Adam, the despotic ruler of the nation of Kahndaq. So far, Black Adam has proven he is trying to redeem himself, but this is an example of how the Emerald Archer’s plans do not always turn out as expected.
Green Arrow is paying out of pocket to finance the League, whose expenses include fueling jets capable of interstellar travel and powering Flash’s cosmic treadmill. Now, he has a second major expense. If he is not careful, he could run out of funds and bankrupt one or both groups. But it’s also concerning that he is simultaneously funding the world’s primary superhero team and a group that was established to keep heroes in check. This is a clear conflict of interests.
As the man bankrolling Checkmate, he should be concerned with putting limits on the Justice League, while his job with the League involves doing everything possible to help others. Superman is also unlikely to approve of Green Arrow’s ties to Checkmate, considering what the organization has done to him in the past. There are also three heads of state on the Justice League now: Aquaman, Black Adam, and Queen Hippolyta. Green Arrow’s connection to a one-time covert government organization could potentially cause a diplomatic incident.
The one consequence that has already come to fruition is that Black Canary became furious when she found out he was sponsoring Checkmate. It will certainly not be the last time he is called out for this conflict of interests.
KEEP READING: Justice League: Who Is Checkmate’s Mysterious Daemon Rose?
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