By Ben Percy, Otto Schmidt, Nate Piekos, Neal Adams, Kevin Nowlan, Dave McCaig
Can Green Arrow put his life back together after his past comes back to haunt him?
In both art and story, this is an issue of extremes. The superhero action is great, the political subtext weighs it down and the art, whether light or dark, is a joy to see. Green Arrow and Black Canary are forming a partnership in more ways than one, but his wealth is coming between them. To him, his money is a resource to help Settle and to her, it’s a crutch he relies on to solve all his problems. While fighting about money is a common problem for couples, here the friction doesn’t feel as deserved. Although bribing cops definitely feels like it crosses a line. On top of all that, most of Ollie’s supporting cast turn against him on the orders of a secret cabal who seem like Court of Owls knockoffs. About midway through this issue, the story just seems to go off the rails as it tries to switch gears from a decent Green Arrow story to a hard-hitting take common to the New 52.
All of that said, it looks gorgeous. In one issue Schmidt has seized the visual reins of Green Arrow and redefined it to his own style. Controlling the pencils, inks and colors gives us his full artistic vision, and what a vision it is. His lines are delicate, yet confident. Stylized, but true. The colors run the range of ROY G BIV and fit the panels well. Little things like Black Canary’s cry depicted in technicolor light or his impressionistic approach to architecture hold the viewer’s attention so well. It’s a vibrant and inventive style that fits perfectly with the character.
I only wish I could say the same for Percy’s script, taking one direction or another instead of both might not bother me as much as seeing a lighthearted adventurous Green Arrow and the gritty crime hero Percy wrote before the Rebirth clashing. The story feels at odds with where the character should go, even though both take him into his past. Reader enjoyment will likely hinge on whether they found love for the character pre or post New 52. It’s disappointing, because the Rebirth one-shot seemed to be the perfect template for Green Arrow to follow (aside from the Social Justice Warrior aspect being underutilized). Hopefully, Percy’s wider scope for the story can find a way to appease both the fans he has won to the title and fans wanting more classic Green Arrow.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent