Bizarro Back Issues: Green Arrow Meets Xeen Arrow, His 100 Foot-Tall Alien Counterpart (1958)
I haven't really watched any of DC's current television offerings, but to be honest, I'm actually pretty impressed with what I've heard. It seems like they're really going for it in a way that Smallville only ever did in its final season, going right to these big, weird superhero stories right out of the gate. I mean, if you'd asked me a year ago, I would've told you that there was no way we were ever going to see a telepathic talking super-gorilla show up on the CW's version of The Flash, and yet, here we are, living in a world where Gorilla Grodd is starring on a live-action TV show.
With that in mind, I'm guessing that we're only one, maybe two seasons away from TV's Arrow meeting up with Xeen Arrow, the hundred foot-tall alien Green Arrow from another dimension, a character who may in fact be Jack Kirby's strangest co-creation.
As far as I'm aware, Xeen Arrow only appears in one story, a two-parter from 1958 that ran in the pages of Adventure Comics #252 and 253. If you're curious to see it for yourself, it was collected along with a handful of other Kirby oddities in DC's Jack Kirby Omnibus vol. 1 a few years back, but if you read it there, you'll be missing out on this story where Aquaman fights dinosaurs by making an artificial rainbow, and the one where Robin goes back in time to smash up Superboy's prized possessions with a baseball bat.
Just so we're clear here, keep in mind that this story is weirder than those. I mean, really, just look at how Kirby and writer Ed Herron start things:
The first half of the story is called "Mystery of the Giant Arrows," and it's mainly just a bunch of gigantic arrows crashing down into Star City --- or at least, "The City" --- from space while everyone just stands around looking up and trying to figure out what's going on. It does, however, feature a pretty amazing line where Green Arrow and Speedy realize that giant arrow-related problems are pretty much exactly what they're hanging around for.
At first, it's just a giant arrow --- which I think we can all agree will ruin an afternoon commute --- but when the second one shows up, it's sending out music loud enough to shatter windows, and a third one appears glowing red-hot with fire until it finally explodes, sending flaming wreckage down on The and/or Star City. Wreckage that can only be dealt with by shooting smaller, less effective explosives at it.
Dubious physics aside, that single panel of the giant arrow exploding and raining fire down on the city is both Kirby as heck and the single most exciting thing to happen in both of these comics. With the possible exception of Robin beating up Superboy's clock, I mean.
Eventually, Green Arrow and speedy realize that the only way to really solve this problem is through SCIENCE!, so they head over to a laboratory operated by one Professor Riggles, who has a "Cosmo-Radar Set" that just happens to provide the answer to the title's Mystery: The Giant Arrows are being fired by --- what else? --- giant children.
Giant space children.
When the Secondarily Dynamic Duo head to the giant-sized cable arrow to check it out, they end up climbing on top and straddling it as whoever's on the other side starts pulling it back to its point of origin, meaning that the shock ending of this story is actually the exact event shown in the first panel. But instead of going all the way out into the cold vacuum of space, they end up passing through a portal to another dimension. This is where we pick up in the second part of the story with "Prisoners of Dimension Zero," and y'all, this is where things get weird.
As it turns out, Dimension Zero is full of creatures that are described in the dialogue as being "at least a mile tall," but seem to be more in the amazing, colossal 50-foot range. And one of them is a weird spindly fifty foot tall archer, Xeen Arrow!
And not only does he look like Green Arrow --- and presumably this dimension's kindhearted thief, Robin Xood - but he also employs the same kind of trick arrows in his crime-fighting. He's got a chain arrow, for instance, and a smoke screen arrow. And, perhaps most impressive of all, his Out-Of-Context Innuendo Arrow:
Green Arrow and Speedy decide to hop into Xeen Arrow's gigantic quiver and tag along back to his headquarters which, of course, is exactly like the Arrowcave back home.
At this point, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was some kind of reverse Bat-Mite situation and that Xeen Arrow was inspired to take up the noble art of archery-based crimefighting after a peek into our dimension revealed all of Green Arrow's heroic accomplishments. That's what I thought, anyway, until Xeen Arrow reveals that he's completely unfamiliar with Ollie Queen and that it's all just one big cosmic coincidence.
As for just why this whole thing got started, well, as you might have already suspected if you're at all familiar with Silver Age stories, it has a lot to do with a comet that's been cruising around Dimension Zero. Well, that and the fact that Xeen Arrow is a way bigger celebrity than his human counterpart, with (gigantic) children flocking to stores to buy replicas of his amazing trick arrows:
To be fair, Green Arrow himself wonders earlier in the story if he'll ever get back home where there are so many children pretending to be him, but a) that is a pretty weird thing to think about when you are being confronted with the possibility of being stranded in another dimension, and b) there aren't that many stores that have run out of Batman toys.
With the portal threatening to close, Xeen pulls off the amazing feat of launching a jet-powered arrow from his cave to the rooftop garden where they first arrived, getting them back to Earth in the nick of time and providing Green Arrow and Speedy with a giant memento of the time they went to another dimension and did not actually do anything.
All in all a truly bizarre tale, but I really do think it could work pretty well on TV if they gave it a shot. I mean, all you really need is a fifty-foot Stephen Amell, and surely that's not too hard to find, right?
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