Saturday, April 8, 2017

Green Arrow #20 - A Review

Green Arrow #20 works perfectly on multiple levels. It satisfies as a thrilling action story in the vein of Dennis O'Neil and Mike Grell, but this is the least of Benjamin Percy's accomplishments as a writer. The most impressive part of this issue is the redemption of Roy Harper.

As I mentioned in my review of the previous issue, Roy's background in The New 52 reality was left largely undefined. The flashback sequences in the past three issues have done much to restore Roy's past and, in doing so, define his current character. Some cosmetic changes have been made - such as the name of Roy's adoptive Native American father and what tribe they were part of - yet all of this, curiously, has helped to restore Roy to his Golden Age roots as an orphaned boy-adventurer.

Another aspect of Roy's past that is finally explored in detail is his history of drug abuse. Given Roy's new status as a homeless youth, this makes sense, with the real world statistics regarding homeless teenagers and drug use being depressingly high. Percy does not go for shock value in this, however, and if there is any justice the same people who gave the atrocious The Rise Of Arsenal an award for its depiction of drug use will give the same award to this story arc.

Another change of note that will interest long-time Arrow-heads is Percy's revamp of Count Vertigo. As with Percy's new take on The Clock King, the changes here are largely cosmetic and limited to a brilliant - but logical - twist on a classic character's modus operandi. In this case, Vertigo uses his powers to help a withdrawn Roy Harper get his fix by simulating a heroin high, in order to convince the young hero - recently abandoned by Green Arrow - to work for him.  On that note, the story also does a fair bit to redeem Oliver Queen for his reactions to his young ward's habit while still leaving Oliver firmly in the wrong.

I must not forget to praise the art team in all of this. Both Eleonora Carlini and Mirka Andolfo do a fantastic job of illustrating this entire story arc. The colors by Arif Prianto are perfectly chosen throughout. Quite frankly, if this story arc doesn't see a few Eisner and Harvey nominations, I will be very surprised!

Bottom Line: If you are any kind of Green Arrow and Arsenal fan, you need to read these last three issues.

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