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COMIC REVIEW: FTN reviews Green Arrow #17

March 7th, 2013 by Michael Leonard Comments

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Andrea Sorrentino

With Green Arrow issue 18 just out I thought it was time to look at last month’s issue 17 and just what the new teaming of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have brought to the Emerald Archer.

What a difference one issue can make. Green Arrow has been a problem child of the New 52, with changes in writer and the passage of time having done very little to turn the book from a disappointment to something a reader can really get excited about. I’ve liked Ollie Queen for a very long time and came aboard the re-launched book with issue 1 only to disembark a very disappointed reader with issue 10. How DC turned one of their most interesting and distinct characters into a boring, generic and really annoying and unlikable character is hard for me to fathom but somehow they managed it.

Part of the problem I think was Smallville and their Batman substitute Green Arrow. He really acted as neither a proper interpretation of GA nor Batman, resulting in a character that may have severed a role for the show but lacked anything that made him truly interesting. DC seemed to base the New 52 Ollie on this version, particularly his clean-shaven look and costume, but the problem they faced was they already have a Batman and an inferior substitute isn’t needed in the monthly comics as it was on the TV show.

After quitting the book I would have just continued to console myself with my copies of The Long Bow Hunters and Green Arrow: Year One and not returned to the ongoing title if it had not been for one name: Jeff Lemire. One of the breakthrough writers of the New 52, with his work on Animal Man, and one of my favourites, Justice League Dark, the choice of Lemire as the new GA writer as of issue 17 was an interesting choice by DC that got me back on to the title and having read issue 17 I’m on for the long haul.

Taking his cues from books like DareDevil: Born Again Lemire is sweeping aside what he sees as unnecessary to the character to get to the core hero beneath. Rather than ignore what has come before this issue we witness the destruction of the pervious statuesque which while brief does not feel forced, in fact its sudden nature and Ollie’s reaction to it makes it feel like Lemire wants to show how this is a time of traumatic upheaval for the lead as well as the title.

Two antagonists are also introduced in this issue both with apparent links to GA’s island origin and that does smell very much like DC are taking elements from another TV show version of GA in the form of Arrow. Mind you the great Green Arrow Year One as well as the work of Mike Grell influence that show heavily and the building up of a mythology around Ollie Queen which is done in the show is something the comics sorely need right now.

The art from Sorrentino is excellent. Very reminiscent of Jock’s art style. The number of panels per page may seem high at times in comparison to the modern norm but it does result it scenes that feel like a lot is happening. The use of what I can only call ‘Arrow Vision’, where green is used in black and white art to show the reader what Ollie sees as being important, is a great new addition to the book and lets us see the world as our hero does but it is at first hard to make out fully what we are looking at due to the colour change and Sorrentino’s sketchy style.

While its hard to say if a run will be any good based on a single issue I got to say the Lemire / Sorrentino era looks promising and while we are yet to see what we will see over the coming issues Lemire’s promise of GA as ‘a really big crime noir superhero story’ has got me very excited. Oh and this is great jump on point for anyone who is watching Arrow and wants to give the comics a shot.

4 out of 5 nerds

Michael Leonard is a media lecturer and writer based in Northern Ireland. A fan of the classic geek for all things movies, TV, comics, and games. When not writing he is usually travelling the world seeking the means to fight injustice, or just reading.