1. The Subtle Storytelling In The Artwork - I noted this before in my review of the first-four-page-preview, but we are shown without a word of dialogue in the first page just how far gone things are in Star City. We see how The Police in Star City are so corrupt/ineffectual that a woman being chased by a group of men won't turn to them for help and the gangs have no fear of running riot past a police station.
2. This whole scene with Ollie talking with the social worker he saved, but especially this last line from Ollie.
3. Ollie steals from the rich to feed the poor... literally! - All that is missing is his striding into the "fund raising" party the corrupt politicians and cops are throwing with a deer slung over his shoulders.
4. The Murder of Brian Nudocedra - I can honestly say that after all the build up the corrupt Police Commissioner of Star City got in The Fall of Green Arrow, I was expecting him to be the big-bad of this new series. Imagine my surprise when he is stabbed to death just halfway through this issue. Good on J.T. Krul for giving us an actual surprise.
5. Who killed Brian Nudocedra? - Longtime Arrowheads might think that the gent above might look a wee bit familiar.
We've been told that they were going back to the Mike Grell run for inspiration on this series. Could it be that Ollie's on-again/off-again frienemy Eddie Fyers might have come to Star City to help/hurt Ollie out?
Let's look at the evidence, shall we?
1. The killer sure LOOKS like Eddie Fyers dressed like a construction worker.
2. The height the police mention - 5'9" - is an exact match for Eddie's height in his Secret Files entry.
1. The killer was clearly wearing a mask so the face we see isn't real.
2. Eddie's always been more of a gun man than a knife guy.
3. Last anyone checked, Eddie was working for Checkmate.
1. It would be just like Eddie to pull a stunt like using an obvious or fake disguise to confuse anybody chasing after him.
2. Just because Eddie prefers guns doesn't mean he can't fight up-close when he has too.
3. Eddie has quit on his employers to freelance before. Whose to say he wouldn't quit Checkmate given a good reason?
There is one other possibility that occurs to me; Connor Hawke.
1. The height the police mention - 5'9" - is an exact match for Connor's height in his Secret Files entry.
2. The last time we saw Connor, he was still working to protect people in Star City, despite being disillusioned with his father and his code of ethics.
3. The rubber mask and gloves totally obscured the killer, so it COULD have been Connor.
1. Connor's never been much for disguises.
2. It's a little hard to believe that Connor - however mad he is at Ollie - would resort to killing as a part of his vigilantism.
3. It's also a little hard to believe that Connor would do anything that might benefit Ollie - much less killing one of the people responsible for making Ollie's life more difficult.
Either way, it's a nice little mystery that really makes you think.
6. Rough Landings - For some odd reason, the Star City forest seems to be a dead-zone for Green Lantern rings. I don't know quite what this means but it IS interesting.
7. What Is To Come... The last two pages give us some idea of what to expect and confirms that Ollie is going to wind up with a group of heroes working to protect the city. The only question now is who the other heroes will turn out to be.
Clearly, we're supposed to believe that the female figure with the bow is Speedy. I think that's a bit obvious but I can't think who else she might be.
I'm not sure who the figure with the badge in the trenchcoat on the first page is. That doesn't stop me from hoping that the shadowy figure in the trenchcoat on the second page is John Constantine.
Not sure who the figure with the sword might be. Any ideas, anyone? On any of these shadowy figures?
1. What's Your Name Again? - As wonderfully written as the scene between Ollie and the social worker he rescues is and as nice as it is to see social commentary in a Green Arrow story that isn't ham-fisted and self-serving to the author's own pet causes... it kinda kills the mood when you realize that we never learn the name of this woman.
2. Who Are You And Why Should I Care? - The apparent new villain of the book - a mysterious/eccentric Russian businesswoman named Isabel Rochev, who has taken over Queen Industries and returned it to Defense Development - isn't really hooking my interest. The mystery of what is under her mask and her apparent respect for Ollie's father (whom she speaks of as if she knew him) and hatred of vigilantes isn't nearly as interesting as the plot of who killed the Police Commissioner.
The Final Verdict: I'd say this book is right on target if I were the sort of person to say things like that. Which, thankfully, I'm not.
This book is everything we could hope for in the return of the Emerald Archer. The artwork is gorgeous and Ollie hasn't been written this well for the better part of a decade. There's a lot of surprises and the promise of some old faces we haven't seen in far too long. Indeed, the one sour note is that so far the new villain is not nearly as interesting as the mystery behind the death of an old villain. Still, it is early yet and there's no reason not to be hopeful.