Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Cover Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 1st June, 2016
While my New 52 knowledge of the Green Arrow begins and ends with Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s stellar nineteen-issue run with the character, I always felt like Oliver Queen was a character I’d like to read a little more of. So with a fresh start and a new artistic team – including perennial Ceej fave Juan Ferreyra – joining writer Benjamin Percy for Green Arrow’s “Rebirth”, I figured now was as good a time as any to jump in.
Adopting a fairly light approach, this stand-alone issue establishes the status quo with the now-bearded Oliver Queen returning to Seattle, only to discover that a worrying large number of the local homeless community have been going missing. There’s humour from the get-go, mainly exhibited in a succession of beard gags, and the story whips along at a brisk pace as Ollie – alongside the “just so happened to be in Seattle” Black Canary – investigate the disturbances, uncovering a menacing new villain and rekindling a little of their pre-existing spark (a spark that, as we all know, was erased from existence by a certain big blue guy in the form of the New 52).
It feels like the first episode of a new animated TV series, with Ollie’s inherent heroism clashing ever so slightly with his rich, playboy exterior, and plenty of arrows, sonic screams and over-the-top villains along the way. The Black Canary (re)introduction gives Queen someone interesting to bounce off, and while their romantic past is still unknown to both of them, there’s still an interesting dynamic at play with Dinah repeatedly calling Ollie out on the hypocrisy of him claiming to be a “Social Justice Warrior” while living in a luxury penthouse. Their back and forth banter crackles throughout, and while a brief moment of flirtation later in the issue feels a little forced and a lot more like fan service than natural storytelling, the seeds are clearly being planted for what should be an intriguing partnership.
While the story itself is admittedly fairly slight for the time being, one thing that definitely impressed me about this first issue was the artwork of Otto Schmidt. His slightly cartoony style works well with the relatively light tone, and while the basic story here does admittedly revolve around the kidnapping of homeless people for some nefarious purpose, things never get too harrowing along the way. He draws a fantastic Green Arrow, that’s for sure, and the action sequences in this issue are handled with impressive confidence. There’s also something vaguely reminiscent of Rafael Albuquerque in his ever-so-scratchy linework, which – as I’m sure you’ll agree – is no bad thing.
Overall then, this is definitely a great jumping-on point for Green Arrow, and provides an intriguing, accessible and character-focused standalone issue. While there isn’t a huge amount of meat on those storyline bones just yet, the pieces are definitely being put in place for what should be a fun series, and the artwork is almost worth the $2.99 cover price alone. You can definitely count me in with this one – for the time being, at least.
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