Review: GREEN ARROW #41

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GREEN ARROW #41
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Patrick Zircher and Gabe Eltaeb
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: June 3, 2015

Oliver Queen has returned to Seattle and there’s a mystery afoot. Adult African-American men are disappearing under strange (and mystical) circumstances in the city and no one is talking about it. It’s time for Green Arrow to do a little digging and get back onto the streets he’s sworn to protect — before it’s too late.

It’s been a long time — maybe since the early1970s — since Green Arrow worked as a straight super-hero book. That’s to say, a book about a guy who puts on a colorful costume, hits costumed villains with a boxing glove arrow, and pals around with other super-types. That’s just not how the character works best. And Percy and Zircher have a strong understanding of that right off the bat.

With a light noir feel permeating Zircher’s pencils and inks, we’re reintroduced to Oliver Queen and shown his status quo. CEO, new surrogate father, vigilante — all weighted pretty evenly against the development of a new threat rising in Seattle. It’s the kind of art throughout that makes the city feel like it’s experiencing perpetual nightfall, with Eltaeb’s moody color palette laying over Zircher’s bold inks.

Even so, there’s an amazing amount of expressive detail in Oliver’s appearance that really sets him apart from previous incarnations of the hero. He’s a bit older looking, but not ragged. Still put together finely, so that from boardroom to bedroom and the streets in-between, he won’t stand out. The real treat, however, is Zircher’s initial handling of the new villain, who looks sincerely maniacal without much effort at all — standing apart like a ghost, particularly when placed in a crowd.

Percy is rebuilding to a certain extent here, which in some ways is frustrating for its necessity, but still refreshing given his take. So far, we’re not seeing an overwhelming degree of any one thing — horror, noir, or straightforward crime drama — but a balancing act of a few different elements. It’s leaving the issue with a bit of an unsettling feeling that either needs to retreat or, more likely, expand as the next two issues evolve. I believe the word “macabre” was used by the creative team. If that’s the direction, I think we’re on our way. But we’re not there yet.

The return of Emiko is of course a very welcome development, as she gives Oliver that touchpoint which he always needs. In absence of his super-heroic friends of old, Emiko — that other Green Arrow — challenges Oliver to be better, to be smarter, and to be more compassionate in some ways. And that’s an element to the Arrow mythos that the television show actually does just a little bit better than the book has to date.

A great first shot at what I hope is a new, long tenure on the title, Green Arrow #41 is a strong place to jump back in if you’ve given the Emerald Archer a pass for the last few months. I’m ready to see Oliver return to some great social justice roots, and it seems like Percy and Zircher are too.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

 

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3 Comments

  1. MBII said:

    I highly disagree that Green Arrow doesn’t work when interacting with other superheroes and fighting supervillains. You must have missed Jeff Lemire’s take on Count Vertigo.

  2. Matt SantoriGriffith said:

    I didn’t. Lemire’s reinvention of Vertigo isn’t exactly what I would call a “costumed supervillain.”

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