Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Otto Schmidt
Release Date: 15th June 2016
After a strong “Rebirth” issue, Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt’s Green Arrow series kicks off properly here, and while the bright visuals and charming tone are still very much present, this issue is marred by a few troubling flaws that are, sadly, impossible to ignore.
Before we get to that though, it’s worth acknowledging everything this first issue gets right. Flaws aside, there’s no denying that Percy’s fast-moving, ‘animated series’ approach to the storytelling makes this a quick, enjoyable read. And, while the main story hasn’t really got moving yet, some of the themes Percy is introducing – like Oliver’s reliance (perhaps even overreliance) on money to get things done, as well as the contradiction of him adopting the stance of “Social Justice Warrior” while enjoying the privilege of his inherited wealth – are genuinely intriguing, and will hopefully be fleshed out and expanded upon in months to come.
It also perhaps goes without saying, but Schmidt’s artwork is still undeniably slick and dynamic, keeping things fairly cartoony for the most part but ramping up the violence and darkness when needed. He also deserves credit for managing to capture such an impressive sense of motion in his panels, particularly during the frenetic and somewhat shocking final few pages.
Now, to the flaws. The dialogue is pretty awful in places, particularly during the opening action sequence. Puns miss the mark completely, mid-combat exposition feels awkward and tacked-on, and the whole thing almost feels like it’s being intentionally cheesy and clichéd, something I’m fairly sure isn’t the case. New characters, like Henry, Oliver’s Oracle-esque tech support, are introduced without any explanation – which would be fine, if this whole Rebirth thing wasn’t being touted as a perfect jumping-in point. Ollie’s “kid sister” Emi is also introduced rapidly, although in fairness Percy does a decent – if not particularly smooth – job of giving us some background information about her.
There also seems to have been a significant jump in the relationship between Ollie and Dinah since we last saw them. This issue sees them shift from a minor flirtation at the end of Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 to full on “friends with benefits” here, which is more than a little jarring. It’s also something I would like to have seen take place a little more gradually, and while their relationship is still far from perfect, it does feel like Percy may be moving things a little too quickly here from a storyline point of view. Oh, and the shocking “twist” at the end, as intriguing as it undeniably is, would probably have resonated a little more if Percy had taken a little more time to get there. As such, from a new reader’s point of view, the twist feels more like “oh, okay then” than “oh my god, no!”
Overall though, I still have high hopes for this series as it moves forwards. As I mentioned, some of the themes brought up have some real meat to them, and the fact remains that it looks great (something which is only going to continue when Ceej favourite Juan Ferreyra starts “tagging in” from issue four). It remains to be seen whether the clunky dialogue and full-sprint narrative flow can resolve themselves, but based on the strength of the Rebirth issue, I’m willing to call this a minor blip rather than hitting the eject button – for the time being, at least.
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