The final image of Green Arrow #38 is a close-up on a smiling Green Arrow. This is both a bookend to the cover of Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 as well as a fitting summation of the events of the book and, indeed this series. Oliver Queen has had little to smile about for quite a while and the Green Arrow Rebirth series has, as promised, restored the smiling swashbuckler of old.
Of course Green Arrow will continue on next month, but it will be doing so without Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra, who have been the most consistent creative team on the book since the beginning of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. Though other artists have contributed to the series (most notably Otto Schmidt and Stephen Byrne), it is their hands that have held the wheel and steered the series through the rough waters of renewal.
Thirty nine issues seems a small number considering what this series has accomplished. The book reclaimed it’s political edge, with Oliver Queen once again a true “social justice warrior.” His prominent position in the DC Comics Universe at large was restored after years of being a lone outcast. Most importantly, his long-standing romance with Black Canary was restored, once again being a true romantic relationship rather than a merely sexual one.
It spoils little to reveal that Oliver Queen emerges a free man from the murder trial that opens this issue. Indeed, given the build up to this moment over the run of the series, it is almost anti-climactic! Yet the trial is an afterthought compared to the true purpose of this issue and, again, the series as a whole. This issue is all about showcasing the good that one man can do if he stands up to do the right thing regardless of whatever systems stand against him. That, and the idea that we can all move forward to become something better than we once were, is the very essence of Oliver Queen’s character.
Thankfully, Benjamin Percy’s script does not get too preachy on this point. We are shown far more of what Oliver Queen has done to save his city through Juan Ferreyra’s artwork than we are told through lengthy monologues. We also see Green Arrow and Black Canary portrayed as the consummate crime-fighting duo and a loving couple, with a number of scenes that leave no doubt as to their prowess and a scene in which Oliver Queen shows has much he has changed with a gift to his Pretty Bird that shows how much he understand and cherishes her more than anything his family fortune can buy.
Green Arrow #38 is the end of an era and I am sorry to see this creative team’s run end. Still, as Ollie notes in the ending coda of the issue, “As much as some things have changed, others never will.” I hope that one of the things that doesn’t change is the level of quality and effort put into this series by its future writers and artists.
Still, for now at least, I’m smiling like Oliver Queen.