GREEN ARROW #45 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Border Town #2 CoverBORDER TOWN #2/ Written by ERIC M. ESQUIVEL/ Art by RAMON VILLALOBOS/ Colors by TAMRA BONVILLAIN/ Letters by DERON BENNETT/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The weirdness continues to mount in Devil’s Fork, as more monsters enter our world chasing after the rogue beastie responsible for terrorizing the town with images of their worst fears. Only four teens know the truth of what is going on, but can they stand against the rising darkness?

More sedately paced than the first issue, the second chapter of Border Town proves no less engaging for that fact. With the series’ concept established along with our heroes, Esquivel takes some time to meander a bit and expand on certain elements. Chief among these are precisely why Quinteh wears a luchador mask and how each of our four main protagonists find themselves going toward ground zero of a supernatural invasion for entirely different reasons. The artwork continues to impress, with Ramon Villalobos’ perfectly capturing the action of Esquivel’s script and Bonvillain and Bennett adding the perfect finishes. This is easily the best new series Vertigo Comics has published in years and a must read for any fan of the comics medium and supernatural horror.

5-5

 

The Dreaming #2 CoverTHE DREAMING #2/ Script by SIMON SPURRIER/ Art by BILQUIS EVELY/ Colors by MAT LOPES/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by VERTIGO COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Merv Pumpkinhead is mad as Hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore! The Dreaming is falling apart and the management, such as it is, isn’t doing anything to help Merv keep the trains running, so to speak. In fact, they seem to be actively hindering Merv’s best efforts to keep things running smoothly. Merv’s out for answers, but what will everyone’s favorite working-class root vegetable man do once he finds them?

The deeper mystery of The Dreaming’s collapse is put on hold, as the point-of-view shifts from that of Lucien and Matthew to Merv Pumpkinhead and we get a view of the crisis from the trenches and the mind of someone who has even less idea what is going on than Dream’s librarian and messenger. It’s a welcome divergence and Merv’s annoyance will inspire sympathy from anyone who was ever kept in the dark by management for seemingly arbitrary reasons. The artwork by Bilquis Evely is as lovely and horrific in equal measure, as ever. Mat Lopes’ colors are eye-catching and Simon Bowland’s text is wonderful. The spirit of Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece remains as strong as ever in this must-read series.

5-5

 

Green Arrow #45 CoverGREEN ARROW #45/ Script by JULIE & SHAWNA BENSON/ Art by JAVIER FERNANDEZ/ Colors by JOHN KALISZ/ Letters by DERON BENNETT / Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

A Heroes In Crisis tie-in, this issue depicts the funeral of Roy Harper and shows Oliver Queen reflecting on how he failed to be the mentor Arsenal needed or the father that he wanted.

I wanted to like this issue more than I did, but I can’t help but feel it was rushed to create a tie-in special to Heroes In Crisis. Javier Fernandez’s art is far sloppier than usual and I wasn’t able to recognize half of the cast of characters. There’s also some messy continuity, which makes reference to the infamous “My Ward Is A Junkie?” GL/GA cover – something that never happened within the reality of Rebirth.

In fact, in the original story O’Neil/Adams story, Hal wasn’t there when Ollie discovered Roy was a drug addict. And Ollie and Hal didn’t become friends until long after Roy quit working for Ollie in the current timeline. These are minor points, but vexing ones given how it ignores the fantastic new origin Benjamin Percy wrote for Roy Harper a little over a year ago.

That being said, the core of the story – Ollie coping with loss and his own failings – is spot on and The Bensons perfectly capture Ollie’s character, even if part of me thinks that Ollie was more like an older brother to Roy than a dad in the current timeline, given their respective ages. But whatever.  As rushed as it may be artistically and as many questions as the script leaves me with, this comic is still a grand acknowledgement of what a great character Roy Harper is and how tragically stupid his death was.

 

What If Spider-Man 2018 #1 CoverWHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN #1/ Script by GERRY CONWAY/ Art by DIEGO OLORTEGUI/ Ink Assists by WALDEN WONG/ Colors by CHRIS O’HALLORAN/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Marvel revives the classic “What If?” line with a new series devoted toward alternate realities involving Spider-Man. This first issue answers the question – “What If Flash Thompson Had Become Spider-Man?

Thankfully, Gerry Conway explores the ramifications beyond such obvious answers as “Spider-Man would be kind of a jerk.” The whole of the Lee/Ditko era is reexamined as we learn little details like Uncle Ben survived, because Flash – who was far more eager to become a hero than Peter Parker – jumped at the chance to nail the thief that would have gone on to kill Ben Parker. As is typical of the “What If?” stories, there is an ironic twist that builds towards an elegant climax.

Diego Olortegui does a great job of depicting this. Unfortunately, the inks are a little thin at times and Chris O’Halloran’s colors are oddly muted, washing out moments that should be depicted in bold, vibrant colors. Still, there is far more good than bad about this book. It is a must-read for all fans of old-school Spider-Man stories.

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *