1. The knight wandering around the Star City woods, Galahad, is formally introduced and he is easily the best part of the issue. The idea of a modern day knight wandering around the DCU is hardly an original concept but the suggestion that he is the Galahad of legend showing up at a time when such heroes are needed is a mighty one.
2. For that matter, the concept of the forest itself healing Oliver is played very well here. What might have been a deus ex machina - with the presence of Galahad - suddenly becomes a bit more plausable, with the idea of myth itself being explored and the suggestion that the White Energy of Life might be connected to The Holy Grail, The Magic of Sherwood, The Lady of The Lake and Avalon.
1. The background of Queen Industries new owner Isabel Rochev is cartoonishly bad for a character that is meant to be the main villain in a comic that prides itself on realism. While there is something to be said for the idea of making a villain who is the polar opposite of Oliver Queen in terms of background (i.e. an ex-slave who grew up amongst the worst excesses of Soviet-style socialism and came to rise to power while romanticizing unfettered American capitalism), the execution here makes her seem like a Captain Planet villain, especially given some of the actions we see depicted elsewhere in the book.
I'm also not that crazy (but neither am I surprised) about the revelation that she had a sexual relationship with Oliver's father ("He was challenging me to prove I was more than anyone's pet. Robert was daring me to break free from my prison - to take what I wanted from this world. And so I dod. Beginning with Robert, I took him body and soul.") or that she was apparently one of his many conquests.
And the less said about the fact that Oliver's dad uses "pretty bird" as a term of endearment (or that the young Isabel Rochev looks like Dinah Lance), the better.
2. Ollie's "do you deserve to live?" flashback while he is recovering in the healing pool.
Granting that you could fill several pages with all of the mistakes Ollie has made and that Krul probably didn't want to bog the book down with a lot of continuity... you'd expect...
a) Ollie to remember that he abandoned more than one son, if you count his kicking Roy Harper out of the house in Snow Birds Don't Fly
b) Ollie to number Lian and Roy as being a bit more than "those I put in harms way".
c) For that matter, Ollie's role in putting the two of them directly in harm's way recently is, at the least, highly debatable. Sure, Ollie set Roy on the path to being a hero which eventually led to Roy losing his arm and if he and Roy had remained estranged, Lian wouldn't have been in Star City when the bombs went off... but while Ollie would likely blame himself for all of that, it can't really be said to be his fault.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HUH?:
1. Some of the dialogue just doesn't flow well. At ALL. Witness how smoothly Galhad brings up the similarities between himself and Oliver just after Oliver has a non-sequiter about exploring the forest.
2. Star City's Police Department proves to be as incompetent as they are corrupt, as yet another mysterious disguised killer (this time a woman with red hair, apparently) manages to kill a prominent corrupt city official - this time in front of a crowd in broad daylight.
This entire sequence is crammed into one page and feels terribly rushed compared to the chase scene in Issue #1 involving the man (?) who killed the Police Commissioner.
What is worse, we see the reporter from Issue #1 but they don't bother to remind us of his name. The social worker from issue #1 also puts in an appearance, but we don't get a name for her this time around either.
The Final Verdict: There's some rather good stuff here involving the mystery behind the forest, the appearance of a young man who claims to be Sir Galahad of myth and the Brightest Day event. Shame most of the issue is devoted toward establishing Ollie's father as a corrupt businessman with loose morals in the boardroom and bedroom, more scenes with unnamed supporting cast we're supposed to care about and Oliver having hallucinations as he fights for his life and maybe, literally, fights the darkness within.
I'm still trying to make up my mind about this book. Apart from a few questionable things in one flashback, Ollie hasn't been this well characterized or well-explored as a character in years. It's only when we try and focus on things apart from Ollie or the Forest that the cracks in the paint start to show.