By Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt, Nate Piekos, Juan Ferreya
Green Arrow has gone back to his roots, sort of. He’s a millionaire and a Social Justice Warrior and is dating Black Canary. Sort Of…
“Social Justice Warrior” is a term I hear a lot but I’m not sure people know what it really means, like “hipster”. There’s some funny possible explanations, but none that really match to me or apply to Green Arrow. At worst, I thought of SJWs as just running around telling people to check their privilege. At best, people like Black Lives Matter who are actually trying to improve society through protests and media awareness. Again, none of this really applies to Green Arrow.
Green Arrow used to be a blatant Batman knock-off who turned into a Socialist and then a Communist, then Robin Hood and then back to being a Batman knock-off. DC hasn’t seemed to know what to do with him in years. Even Jeff Lemire’s run, the most celebrated for the character in the New 52 or in recent memory, feels like a missed opportunity for Oliver Queen’s comeback. If he didn’t have a TV show, I’m pretty sure DC would’ve canceled him years ago.
Enter Benjamin Percy, whose early issues showed promise by establishing a darker somewhat political tone, but didn’t quite hit the mark. His three main selling points for this issue are the return of Green Arrow’s politics, goatee and romantic relationship with Black Canary. Two out of three isn’t bad. The opening page of Ollie complaining about the Conservative politics of his date and her father and Black Canary’s questioning his legitimacy as a SJW are about as far as the political issues go. Unless homeless people being sold into Human Trafficking counts. It kind of makes me wish the racist stereotype from Superman the Movie would show up and ask Ollie “How can you fight the Man when YOU are the Man?”. It would be extremely hokey, but could be a nice nod to when Green Lantern was asked why he didn’t help Black people in the 70s.
All of that aside, this is actually a decent Rebirth for Green Arrow as a new chapter and jumping on point for readers. It’s not too serious, it’s not too silly and it uses the character in a way that apart from the faults with the story is pretty entertaining. Green Arrow is someone who turned a wasteful, meaningless life into one based on helping others through charity and vigilante activities based on protecting the have-nots of Society.
The art by Otto Schmidt “spiritually” follows Andrea Sorrentino’s and the kind of art seen in DCYOU titles. Very expressive, almost painterly, with a Pop Art style which sets it far apart from any DC may prefer. It’s one of the prettiest books I’ve read in a while, which for me is based on weeks not months but still. I love his use of textures on the characters and backgrounds. Schmidt’s work here is a refreshing take that works well with the tone of Percy’s past issues while also highlighting what he’s trying to do here, which is bring Green Arrow (proper) back. His style evokes memories of not just Sorrentino, but Phil Hester and Mike Grell as well.
The art in this issue may do a better job of bringing Green Arrow back than the script. Which isn’t to say the story is bad, it’s fun, accessible and humanizes Oliver Queen more than the dozen issues I’ve read during the New 52. I just wish Percy had pushed the political angle a little further. If Green Arrow really is a Social Justice Warrior, then he should be to Social Justice what Midnighter is to LGBT+ culture. Unapologetic and upfront about it. Still, its a first issue and I’m sure Percy intends to build upon what’s here in subsequent issues. It’s a promising start and has me excited about picking up Green Arrow again for the first time in a long time.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent