Secret Origins: Green Arrow and Speedy: Targets, Chapter 1: The Journal of Oliver Queen

by Libbylawrence

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Diana Dare was miffed. She pouted, she fumed, she ranted, and she raved. Here she was, a wealthy, beautiful, talented woman who was one of the greatest living archers in the world. She was known the world over for her many posters, magazine covers, modeling jobs, and sensational costume of bikini and high heels she wore as Queen Arrow. Yet she did not feel complete. She wanted more. She had recently decided to form her own modern version of the Law’s Legionnaires. It made perfect sense to the blonde archer, since her old friend, the late Green Arrow, had been a founding member of the original group of heroes who had used that name along with the more colorful, if numerically incorrect, name of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

She had made a fine start. She had secured the promises of a Southern belle second-generation version of the famous Black Canary named Angel O’Day and of the masked mystery-woman called the Tarantula, alias Angela Leonard, that they would join her team soon. (*) But each had personal business to attend to first.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Law’s Legionnaires: The Deadlier of the Species.]

Lady Di, as she often thought of herself, could imagine a nice parallel between the martial artists Black Canary and Tarantula with the former group’s Crimson Avenger and Wing. She represented the archer role the late Oliver Queen had filled so well. Of course, she did not expect to stumble across a modern Shining Knight or Vigilante just waiting to sign up, but she did know that Speedy, the surviving partner to Green Arrow, was still around under the name of Red Arrow and possibly in need of a mentor. She remembered Speedy as a bright kid who’d had a rustic upbringing that did not prevent him from being devoted to the more urban Oliver Queen, with whom he often indulged in good-natured banter.

She thought of Roy Harper as the boy he had been when she knew him in the 1940s, yet due to the weird workings of their mutual time-tossed lives, Diana was now younger than Red Arrow. (*) He had aged fourteen years since his rescue from the past, while she had been plucked out of her proper time and brought directly to 1985 during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. (*) She hoped he would still have the same crush on her that he had displayed back when they first met.

[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One Queen Arrow, on whom the Earth-Two version is based, appeared in “The Queen Arrow,” Adventure Comics #241 (October, 1957); see Arrowette: Who’s the Arrowest of Them All?]

Red Arrow would make a perfect sidekick for her. After all, he had years of experience in the role. She knew the bratty Arrowette was more appropriate for the role, since she was much younger and female, but Diana did not like her. She found her skilled, but she also had a touch of resentment for this other female archer.

Queen Arrow had been around first. Max Lord, business representative for the late Green Arrow, admitted this claim to her as well. However, Arrowette had revealed that she was Oliver’s grandchild. That amazed Di, who could not help but recall Oliver as the young and crusading hero she had met during the war.

She referred to the girl archer as Smurfette out of disdain and, yes, a bit of jealousy. Diana knew her own claim to the role of female archer was a prior one to that of Arrowette’s, but Arrowette clearly had a closer blood tie to the Green Arrow legacy. So she vowed to remain civil to the child, but not go out of her way to invite her to join her new team.

Diana Dare tossed herself down on her sofa as the maids cleared away her breakfast dishes. She wore a fluffy white robe with faux fur trim over a sheer fabric. She wondered if the real Shining Knight, Stripesy, Vigilante, and Star-Spangled Kid — now called Patriot — would also like to join her team. She knew her glamor could attract them, but would they respect her as a leader? The Knight and the Patriot were each more of a leader type than she was. Plus, the Patriot had started the California-based Infinity Inc., which Red Arrow had already joined. (*) The Patriot was out of the question now, and possibly even the former Speedy.

[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 1, Chapter 5: A Date With Destiny.]

She did not know what to do. Then, as she threw back her head and her long blonde locks cascaded back, she spotted her library in the next room. That gave her an idea. She swung her feet off the sofa and slipped on her furry pom-pom slippers.

Running into the library, she made a quick call. “Hello, Max? This is Di. How are you? Little Maxie still OK? Wonderful! Listen, Max, I need a favor. Do you think you could give me access to the private papers of Oliver Queen? You know we were very, very good friends. I have a good reason. I need to understand his origin and what made him the leader and hero he was. You see, I’m starting my own team, and something is missing. If I could learn what drove him, maybe I could compensate. You are such a dear!”

***

Diana Dare, wearing an orchid miniskirt and blazer with high heels, sat in the luxurious home of the late Oliver Queen. She gazed at his private papers and read for the afternoon. She knew a lot about the late hero from press clippings and personal conversations, yet she had failed to live through many of his exploits due to the trap of Atoman’s that had brought her decades through time against her will. She had that much in common with Green Arrow and Speedy, too. As members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, they had fought a being called the Nebula-Man in 1948 who had used his chronal energies to hurl them into distant regions of time. From their perspectives they had been quickly rescued, but in fact nearly twenty-two years had passed in their absence. Thus, they too found themselves young years after their initial youth. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Unknown Soldier of Victory,” Justice League of America #100 (August, 1972), “The Hand That Shook the World,” Justice League of America #101 (September, 1972), and “And One of Us Must Die,” Justice League of America #102 (October, 1972).]

She sighed. How this world had altered. She had worn a modest yellow and green costume as Queen Arrow back then, which she now thought ugly. Now, however, she had vowed from the start of her second career that she would garner attention. Thus, she had used publicity agents and photo opportunities as well as a daring bikini costume to attract the media and establish her name.

Now she paced the room and wondered what she was missing. She saw a painting with an abstract feel to it, with weird hues of color scattered across the canvas. She mused that it resembled a target — a warped and imaginative bullseye pattern, but still a target. She saw his desk and pens still lined up so orderly and sharp, and on a whim born of instinct, she tossed a pen toward the painting. When she hit the bullseye, the painting dropped down to reveal a hidden safe.

She jumped up, heels clattering, and opened it. It swung open to reveal a leather-bound journal.

The Journal of Oliver Queen was written across a title page. She hoped she had found the information she needed. Perhaps this one book had even escaped Max Lord’s survey. She decided to read it, so she settled down and began with the first entry, which was titled Introduction and dated December 9, 1947. She thought about it for a moment and realized that date was Oliver Queen’s birthday.

***

“I can’t stand this! All my work gone… I’ve got to get away! I must get away to some place where I can forget the kind of men who would do this!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Birth of the Battling Bowmen,” More Fun Comics #89 (March, 1943).]

Those agonized words began my career as the Green Arrow, although I did not realize those events were anything more than a fiery ending to the world-famous collection of Indian lore and relics I had amassed over ten years, in which I had gained great renown in American archeological circles.

I had loved all aspects of American Indian lore and had devoted most of my family fortune to buy and preserve the relics of a lost or fading way of life that was intrinsically American. My collection was housed in the Queen Branch for American Indian Studies in one of New York City’s greatest museums. The curator was my teacher, mentor, and friend, Professor Lamont Morgan. His name was the first resource that came to my fevered brain the night thugs burned my collection to ashes and tried to kill me, before I used my skill with old weapons to subdue them for the authorities. I rushed away from the burning ruins of my life’s work to my club, where he and I and many of New York City’s noblest and wealthiest circles socialized in exclusive and male seclusion.

I spoke the very same words in which I opened this journal to the patient, caring, and somewhat detached Professor Morgan, while a crooked waiter at the club eavesdropped on our conversation from behind silken curtains. In his customary problem-solving way, Morgan told me, “Why don’t you continue your archaeological work? Go out to Lost Mesa and explore the Indian remains! You’ll find some valuable things out there! It’s supposed to be a hidden gold mine!”

He spoke of a secluded, virtually lost locale where American Indian cultures had thrived and still clung to the ancient ways in a modern world at war. With a passion borne out of desperation, I eagerly agreed to the idea. But the figurative phrase of “hidden gold mine” had already caught the eager ears of the waiter, who took Morgan’s words at face value and hired gunmen to get there first and rob me of the imagined wealth that phrase painted within his mind.

Thus, unknowingly from despair, fear, and the fires of my past life, was born the career of the Green Arrow!

My trip to Lost Mesa was a retreat in more ways than one. I was fleeing the civilization that had produced men with the greed and malice to destroy the work I had collected for ten years. I was running away from evil men, and I was hoping to find for myself renewal of spirit and mind in the relics of a lost past.

As I approached the slope of the rocky embankment, I noticed caverns cut deep within the jagged cliffs. I flew my own plane, as always — a rich man’s toy, as Roy Harper would mockingly call it. I met that valiant boy at Lost Mesa, and he changed my life. I had always been attracted to the past. The lore of the Indians called to me, and I did master the use of the weaponry and the life skills of those noble people. However, it was a scholarly love that allowed little room for practical matters like relationships with other people. He changed me and my life by bringing a raw, enthusiastic vitality to my rather sterile life. I studied the ways of the American Indians. He lived them!

***

Diana kicked off her orchid high heels and curled up in the chair in the Queen study. “Roy Harper was raised by Indians? I never knew that!”

She frowned as a noise echoed through the halls. “Max? Is that you?” she called languidly. When the blonde bow-girl received no answer, she slipped down to peer out the door that led to the long hallway. A soft hiss caught her ear, and she spun to the ground seconds before an arrow would have parted her skull. It embedded in the doorframe, and the agile woman rolled across the floor to the table, which she flipped on its side, and she gazed toward the dark door.

Slowly, she detected a figure approaching from the outside. He carried a bow and had to have been the person who had just tried to kill her.

“I know you’re there!” he yelled. “Come out, and I shall not harm you! I want Queen’s treasure map — that’s all — the map to Lost Mesa’s gold!”

Di scanned the shadows and reached for her cast-off heels. She reached them, and with the precision of an expert markswoman, she tossed them into the man’s face. He yelped in pain as the spike heels smacked his face. She tackled him with one fluid motion, and they fell to the carpeted floor. She slugged him as he grabbed her throat.

“You’ll pay for that! I’ll kill you right here!” he shouted. His voice carried through the empty estate, and Di flipped him over her head with both legs.

She swung out again and connected. He was old and gray-headed, with a gray goatee, but she could not say she had ever seen him before. “The map to Lost Mesa was lost or used and destroyed over forty years ago!” she said as she kicked high and dropped her foe to the floor. “Queen used it to finance his heroic career!”

Swinging out, he tripped her in his own bow. He pounced for her and pinned her to the floor with his stronger body. “I don’t believe you! Tell me where Queen’s lost gold is!” he hissed as he pressed his face closer to hers.

She bit his hand and clawed his eyes until he released her. Then she grabbed the bow and sprang to her feet. She felt better as the weapon she had mastered so long ago became hers to use.

Diana saw his eyes widen with understanding. She was in control now. He fled, and she allowed him to escape. She was tired and knew he would return. His greedy passion for the supposed Queen treasure made that fact evident.

She locked the door and began reading the journal’s introduction anew.

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