In this week’s Pull List, I said that “I think I can safely say that I am satisfied with the new Green Arrow series and its treatment of both Green Arrow and Black Canary.”
I just HAD to open my big mouth, didn’t I?
Green Arrow #4 is everything I was afraid we were in for when it was announced that Benjamin Percy would still be writing the series post-DC Universe Rebirth. Oliver Queen is presented as an incompetent vigilante, an even worse businessman and an all-around jackass. And yet he still fares better than Black Canary.
If you were hoping for any kind of action sequence resembling what we see on either of this issue’s covers, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. There is no fist-fight between Black Canary and Emiko Queen (Oliver’s treacherous half-sister), nor an epic battle between Black Canary and Shado, as depicted on the Neal Adams variant cover. Instead, Dinah Lance is unceremoniously ambushed and tranquilized without so much as a Canary Cry and spends the rest of the issue bound and gagged like a cliche damsel-in-distress!
I suppose technically this is in keeping with Percy’s statement that he was trying to emulate Mike Grell’s The Longbow Hunters aesthetically. I just thought that meant we’d be getting a story involving gritty, street-level justice and not another story where Black Canary is objectified in order to build up Green Arrow.
Sexism aside, there’s other issues with the story. Until now, Percy has done a good job making this series accessible to new readers and not requiring any knowledge of what happened pre-Rebirth. Suddenly, in this issue, we’re hit with an ill-explained subplot about John Diggle having a grudge against Ollie and Ollie being responsible for the death of a woman Diggle loved. The matter is resolved in record time and the conflict only seems to be there to force a “Robin Hood vs. Little John” duel on a bridge. Because metaphors!
Even Juan Ferreyra’s artwork seems slapdash this time around. The color art looks amazing throughout the issue, but the inking is wildly inconsistent. The character’s bodies are also off-model at several points, with the close-up on Black Canary’s leg as she is shot with a tranquilizer arrow being a particularly grievous example of a badly drawn leg.
Despite all this, I still have hope that there is a swerve coming. I hope that this issue truly the last we’ve seen of stereotypical hacker and whiny coward Henry Fyff and that – with Diggle returned – we will also see the return of Felicity Smoak. I hope that Shado turns face before this arc ends and that Emiko will shortly follow Fyff into Comics Limbo. Most of all, I hope that Dinah will save herself and become the cavalry Ollie needs in the final part of this story.