Sunday, March 8, 2015

Green Arrow #40 - A Review

Green Arrow #40 is one of the most contrived, over-the-top and outright ludicrous comics I have ever read. And I loved every page of it! This issue is a fitting capstone for a run that has tried to do as much as possible to resurrect elements of the Green Arrow mythos long dead while simultaneously turning the New 52 reality into something recognizable to fans of the Arrow television series.

It remains to be seen just how successful Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Soklowski will be in that regard in the long-term. With a new creative team set to come on post-Convergence we could well see yet another shift of the status quo on a book that has been continually unstable since the first issue!

For the moment, at least, I am content.  Whatever faults this run had - and there are many - it managed to at least be amusing and avoided being dull.  How can it be dull when you have the likes of Lex Luthor, Batman, Katana, Arsenal and an army of Green Arrow's other allies, enemies and acquaintances uniting to bring down the tyrannical billionaire John King and his Subjects.

This issue is packed with a lot of action and very few explanations. For instance, the panel above is all we get to see of the villain Cupid in this issue. Except for a quick cameo on the final page of last month's issue, Cupid has not been seen in The New 52 Green Arrow book.  No background has been given for her and there is no explanation of who she is. So if you didn't read the Green Arrow/Black Canary book almost a decade ago or see her recent appearance on Arrow... well, too bad. Perhaps it is unreasonable in the Internet age to expect these things to be included as part of the narrative when we are given enough information to look up Cupid's page on ComicVine. Call me old fashioned but I like to see these things in the book itself. That just seems like Storytelling 101.

A similar problem comes up in the final battle, where - in defiance of all logic - King elects to go after Green Arrow with a sword. He hasn't been shown to be a swordsman before now. Nothing has been said about him using a sword to kill people. And it adds nothing to the final battle (other than looking cool) as this is merely a set-up for an obvious trap.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE... billionaire playboy with a royalty-based surname in this town!

The artwork of Daniel Sampere and Jonathan Glapion lends an epic scope to this material that it doesn't truly deserve. With a lesser art team, this series might have looked as ridiculous as it seems.  As it is, it looks amazing and the fight scenes that make up the majority of this issue are all well depicted.

In the end, I'd say this run on Green Arrow was a success.  It lacked the depth of Jeff Lemire's run but it did set out what it was meant to do. And an Arrow Cave with Felicity Smoak and Mia Dearden in the house should prove to be a welcome starting point for the series to begin with in two months time.

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