Oliver Queen has had – to put it mildly – a hell of a year.
It all began when he nearly lost his company and was framed for murder thanks to the machinations of one would-be super-villain. This drew Oliver into a world he didn’t know existed – a world of secretive families united by mystic totems and ancient weapons. By the time Oliver escaped, he’d discovered a half-sister that he’d never known had existed! Finally, Oliver nearly saw his hometown of Seattle destroyed by a vicious gang war that had erupted while he was distracted by the so-called Outsiders.
Now, Oliver Queen is focused on one goal – saving his city from the evils that threaten it.
Being a CEO by day and a hero by night isn’t an easy task, even with help. And that help has been severely curtailed of late, with all of Green Arrow’s allies – except for Oliver Queen’s bodyguard John Diggle – having jumped ship. Friends are in similar short supply at Oliver’s day job, where his only ally is Zehra – his current love interest and Chair of the charitable Queen Foundation.
Enemies, unfortunately, are something Oliver Queen has never lacked. And as Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne unite to try and force Queen Industries into an alliance with their companies, trouble brews on the streets of Seattle. A very bad man is torturing the scum of the city in search of an important missing woman. And someone very clever is setting a trap for The Green Arrow!
When it was announced that the writing duties on Green Arrow were being taken over by Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and producer Ben Sokolowski, one question was immediately raised – could we expect the tone of the book to be changed, yet again, to make it more similar to the Arrow TV series? This was an important question, as Green Arrow was something of a problem title for DC Comics in the early months of The New 52 reboot, and most agree the book only came into its own under the previous creative team of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino.
On the surface, it appears that drastic changes have taken place in regards to the cast of Green Arrow. We’re informed early on that most of the supporting cast have disappeared, with only John Diggle remaining to assist Ollie’s nocturnal activities. It is worth noting, however, that this personnel change was telegraphed in Lemire’s Green Arrow: Future’s End special last month, where we found out that Ollie’s half-sister Emiko had gone off to train on her own and that tech-genius Naomi had left Ollie’s service to begin training as a vigilante herself.
That said, fans of Arrow who have yet to be exposed to the Green Arrow comics will find this issue to be an easily accessible entry point. The relationship between Oliver Queen and John Diggle is one of the few things that is relatively the same in both the comics and the TV show, and the banter between the two characters is quite amusing. There’s also a fair bit of humor to be found in the iconoclastic Oliver Queen’s dealings with Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor, and the irony that of all the people in the boardroom it is the villainous Lex Luthor who is the most open and honest among them.
Fans of the Lemire run will be happy to know that while some of the supporting cast may have been taken off-camera, this book is still a good read. Whatever the make-up of Team Arrow, Oliver Queen himself is still written true to form as an uncompromising, idealistic ass-kicker. And long-term fans of Green Arrow will be pleased by the identity of the missing woman even as they wonder what that might mean for the future of this title.
And yes, Arrow fans – that IS who you think it is on the cover. And she IS in this issue.
While fans may quibble about the changes in the book’s cast, few will argue that the book hasn’t traded one fine art team for another. Daniel Sampere and Jonathan Glapion – most recently seen working together on Batgirl – bring a more traditional comic-book style to Green Arrow than the experimental Andrea Sorrentino. In this case, however, traditional works. The action sequences are all well choreographed, the splash pages are all poster-worthy, and even the scenes where the characters just talk are full of a subtle, dynamic action.
Whether you’re a long-time Arrow-Head, a fan of the Arrow TV series looking for a good place to start with the comics, or just someone who loves good action-packed comics–Green Arrow #35 is a must-read. Its only real flaw is that as good as it is, it tries to do a little too much with its subplots and some elements of the issue feel tacked-on as a result. The bits focusing on Oliver Queen, however, are top-notch.