GREEN ARROW #24/ Written by JEFF LEMIRE/ Art by ANDREA SORRENTINO/ Colors by MARCELO MAIOLO/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS
One could argue that Green Arrow was the most troubled title out of all the problem-ridden books that made up the first wave of DC Comics’ New 52 line. The series was tossed around like a hot potato, switching creative teams four times in its’ first year. This left the book with a largely inconsistent tone and no clear overriding plot, as the Oliver Queen who was first established as the Steve Jobs of the DC Universe degenerated into a generic action hero, metamorphosed into a poetry-spouting hipster and finally transformed into a moronic party boy depending on who was writing any given issue.
That changed when writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino took over this series with Issue #17 and developed it into the Green Arrow the fans had been waiting for. Soon billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was a wanted fugitive, framed for the murder of the executive who ran his company while he was off saving the world. His fortune was taken by a mysterious new enemy, who stole away Oliver’s livelihood through a dummy corporation and sought to end Oliver’s life on the field of battle. And amidst all the chaos and confusion was a new wrinkle – a revelation involving Oliver’s father and a legacy of heroism he was unknowingly groomed for his whole life and fell into in spite of himself!
Somehow, Lemire effortlessly explains all this exposition and more on a single page before diving straight into the action and not letting up for a second. Newly returned to his hometown of Seattle, Oliver Queen is still recovering from his injuries at the hands of the mercenary Count Vertigo during a trip to Europe. Unable to shoot straight, Oliver is still reluctant to sit on the sidelines as a gang-war threatens the whole city. But even this danger becomes an afterthought as Count Vertigo reveals himself, determined to take his revenge on the people of Green Arrow’s city if he cannot have the Emerald Archer himself.
Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork is phenomenal. There is no other word for it. The sheer amount of detail Sorrentino can fit into a single panel while still maintaining clarity of vision is miraculous. This precision presents itself in every page of the book, even the ones featuring bolder artistic choices than usual. That is saying something, given Sorrentino’s usual adventurousness!
Perhaps the best example of this is an early splash page featuring Count Vertigo facing down a large number of police officers. Vertigo’s attack is depicted as a spiral lain over the scene, with the nerves and skeletons of the police officers revealed within the lines of the spiral. This disturbing effect is amplified thanks to the efforts of colorist Marcelo Maiolo, who tints the spiral in such a way that the backgrounds are transformed a sickly green shade and the police are a vivid red with pained green veins spreading throughout their tortured bodies.
Green Arrow #24 is a perfect jumping-on point for those who have yet to see what Green Arrow and Oliver Queen are all about in the new DC Universe. The timing is most auspicious, given that Arrow – the hit CW series based on the classic Green Arrow comics – begins its second season next week and there seems a high likelihood that fans of the show might be interested in checking out the source material. Indeed, Arrow-heads will probably pick this issue up just to see the DC Universe premiere of a character originally created exclusively for the Arrow series.