Review – Green Arrow #4 (DC Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 3rd August 2016

It’s been a rough three issues of post-Rebirth action for Oliver Queen, losing his company, his fortune, his sister and almost his life at the hands of the shadowy criminal organisation known only as the Ninth Circle.  While the opening few issues have been a little uneven in terms of the story, there’s no denying that there’s something far more exciting about Green Arrow lately; a sense of energy and enthusiasm that had been sorely lacking from the tail end of the New 52 run.  Maybe it’s the “clean slate” approach of DC’s Rebirth event, or perhaps the return of Black Canary to the fold.  Hell, it could just be the goatee.

Regardless of the reason, artist Juan Ferreyra continues to make this one of the absolute best looking books on the shelves today – something he has a tendency to do with basically every title he puts his name to.  The kinetic action sequences, expressive characters and occasional disturbing moments of gore are all Ferreyra staples, but more so than in perhaps any of his other work, it’s his use of colour here that really tips this book over the edge.  From the hazy neon glow of Seattle at night to the almost tangible heat of the furnace at the heart of the Ninth Circle’s menacing ship “The Inferno”, Ferreyra’s colour work here is nothing short of sublime, giving this book a rich, visceral aesthetic that truly is like nothing else in DC’s crop of titles.

While this issue features a little less action than the previous chapter, we are treated to a fairly ‘physical’ reunion between Ollie and Diggle, as well as a fantastic double-page spread of Black Canary doing her thang in impressive style.  There’s definitely more of a sense of purpose here than in the early issues too, with Percy’s initially erratic storyline gradually coalescing into an engaging, focused showdown. And with the final pages hinting at some all-out carnage just around the corner, I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next.  Hooray for DC’s new fortnightly schedule, right?

It’s not without its flaws, though; Percy’s dialogue occasionally comes across as clunky and poorly judged, particularly in some of Ollie’s glib remarks.  There’s also a niggling feeling that this initial arc is being rushed just a little, with twists, turns, betrayals and redemptions all happening at a blistering pace.  Also, while I appreciate the enthusiasm Percy clearly has for these characters, things are starting to get a tad overcrowded, and as enjoyable as it still is, I think this story could definitely benefit from a more focused, pared back approach.

That said, there’s still a heck of a lot to like about this series, not least of which is the fact that it provides an engaging, accessible entry point to the world of Green Arrow.  Plus, when you have an artistic tag team like Oscar Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra providing the visuals, you can pick this one up safe in the knowledge that you’re buying one of the best looking comics available today.  It’ll be interesting to see where the conclusion of this arc leaves us moving forwards, but I’m definitely on board with this series for the foreseeable future.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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