Thursday, June 16, 2016

Green Arrow #1 - A Review

Things seem to be improving for Oliver Queen. His half-sister Emiko finally seems to be settling down into the normal life he's tried to build for her. And his new partnership with Black Canary - both on the streets and in the sheets - seems to be moving along swimmingly.

Unfortunately, his tendency to rely on his wealth as a means of getting the job done as both a vigilante and an activist does little to endear himself to "The Pretty Bird". And, even more unfortunately, their latest encounter with the gang of human traffickers known as The Underground Men revealed they were using Queen Industries shipping containers to transport their victims.

Now Oliver Queen has been forced to ask some uncomfortable questions. And those questions will shortly lead to some uncomfortable answers... and an even more uncomfortable battle.

My greatest fear with this new Green Arrow series was that Dinah Lance would be reduced to a supporting figure, more plot-device than a fully rounded character in her own right. While the Rebirth #1 special (which I reviewed for did calm my fears somewhat, this issue brought those worries back.

Dinah serves little function in this issue beyond putting Ollie in his place and teaching him "What Really Matters". While I'm not quite comfortable throwing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl label at her just yet, I do find it worrying that this version of Dinah (who, it should be noted, is a former covert-ops agent who did a lot of questionable things in the most recent incarnation of The Birds of Prey) will raise objections to Green Arrow's bribing a corrupt cop into doing the right thing but then go ahead and sleep with him before shooting down his earnest attempts at friendship. And the idea that Oliver is somehow less of a hero because of his privileged upbringing just doesn't ring true.

The strange irony of this issue is that - as before - the best bits of this issue involving Green Arrow and Black Canary interacting together are the action sequences. Give them a common menace to fight together and the chemistry between the two characters as written by Benjamin Percy is perfect. Return to the narrative that Oliver "cannot fight The Man because he is The Man" and the whole thing becomes as forced and tedious as the most cliched romantic comedy.

At least the artwork by Otto Schmidt continues to impress. Schmidt's gritty style is perfectly suited to the dark world of Green Arrow's Seattle and the color art is largely wonderful. My only quibble is the occasional odd page where Oliver and Dinah are suddenly platinum blonde and look more like Travis and Jennifer Morgan from Warlord.

Despite my quibbles, I do intend to keep reading this series for the moment. If nothing else, the final page is enough to hold my interest for another issue. I think, if this plays out the way I think it will, I may well forgive Percy any temporary mismanagement of Black Canary if this ends with him removing one of the more problematic aspects of Green Arrow in the New 52 reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment