Saturday, May 13, 2017

Green Arrow #22 - A Review

With Seattle suffering on multiple fronts and the corrupt Mayor Domini doing nothing to help, the city is more in need of its heroes than ever. Yet even as Green Arrow does what he can to undo the damage wrought by The Four Horsemen, he can't help but wonder about the secret room he discovered in The Queen Family mausoleum and the revelation that his father was part of The Ninth Circle syndicate that seeks to destroy everything Oliver Queen has ever fought to protect.

At this point, I think you can safely assume I'm going to love anything Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra do together. Theirs is one of the greatest partnerships in modern comics. And this issue of Green Arrow is a near-perfect symphony of art and script working together in perfect unison.

There's only one false note in that symphony and that is the scene between Black Canary and Green Arrow near the end of the issue. While I'm relieved to see Oliver reject the notion that Dinah is his conscience (a concern I voiced nearly a year ago), this whole conversation seems forced. I can't see Dinah holding the belief that the need for people to be free to make their own mistakes absolves Oliver of the need to do something about the evil being done in his family's name. Particularly given that her pre-Rebirth solo series (is that still canon?) was based around Dinah trying to learn about her mother and uphold her legacy.

The irony is this conversation does a fantastic job of showcasing one of the classic conflicts of Oliver Queen's character,and modern liberalism in general. Oliver Queen honestly does want to help people but Dinah rightly points out that drive is somewhat inspired by a belief in Noblesse oblige - that the rich and powerful are obligated to look after their sociological "lessers". The problem is it's difficult to be a man of the people when you're mentally placing yourself above the people you're trying to help.

As Terry Pratchett noted, the root of all evil lies in viewing people as things, As Dinah points out here, that attitude can come just as easily to a humanist who views "the people" as something to be saved as to a fascist who views people as property. Regardless of where you stand on this discussion, I think it is impressive that Green Arrow has once again become so thought-provoking even as I decry how awkwardly the ideas are presented.

Final Analysis: 8 Out of 10. Great action and artwork with some honest-to-goodness social commentary. It could be handled more smoothly, though.

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