Advent Review #5: Green Arrow #26 (Comics Review)

Despite the fact that I liked Green Arrow in Justice League Unlimited and the portrayal of Oliver Queen in CW’s Arrow last year, I never really got on the character bandwagon to start reading the comics. Part of that was how he was handled in his guest appearances in Geoff Johns’ Justice League last year, and part general disinterest. But after fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started talking very highly of the series from when Jeff Lemire took over, that interest started to grow and now Green Arrow is one of my favourite books in the New 52.

With this week’s issue, Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino begin a new arc, The Outsiders War, and are set to explore much more of the character’s mythology than we’ve seen before. I still haven’t caught up to Lemire’s issues (its in the cards!!) but I have to say that across the last four issues, he has done some impressive work, and the artwork by Sorrentino and colourist Maiolo has been quite amazing. The new arc gets off to a really strong start and I am quite liking where things are going with respect to the various characters involved. If the future issues are anything like the previous issues, then this is definitely going to be a great arc.

Green Arrow 26I’ll be honest. Most of this issue is a catch-up for those who haven’t been reading the series before this and also a setup for all the stories that are going to follow from this. You don’t get thrown right into the middle of things here and that can be somewhat problematic, but this is an approach that worked very well for me. In the first few pages we see Ollie recovering and retraining following his run-in with Count Vertigo previously and then he decides to go back to the Island with Shado, to look for something that will help him get his half-sister, the daughter of Shado and Ollie’s father, back from whoever has taken her. As a jumping-on point for new readers (or relatively new readers I should say) this issue is pretty damn good.

I loved how Ollie has characterised here, and the same for Shado as well. Lemire plays them off each other, considering how different they are in terms of personality, attitude and nature, and he gives both a depth and breadth to them. Lemire’s Ollie is certainly not the Ollie I’m familiar with from CW’s Arrow, and neither is Shado, but they are every bit as interesting because of that very difference. Lemire gives both characters some really strong emotional moments and he hits all the right beats for the story as well.

The villains, the Outsiders, don’t get all that much attention here, but since the arc has just kicked off I’m fine with it. If Lemire wants to take things slow then that works out since for me that means he is going to make sure that everything slots together neatly in the end and nothing is rushed. A rushed job would be disappointing. Lemire has shown with his work on Justice League Dark previously that he is excellent at telling complex, in-depth arcs, and I want that same thing from him on this series. He hasn’t disappointed me yet with any of his work that I’ve read, and I doubt that’s going to start any time soon.

Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo return as the series art team, along with letterer Rob Leigh and they knock another issue out of the park. Lemire gives the art team every opportunity to excel with the visuals and they deliver again and again. Sorrentino’s trademark technique of small panel boxouts within larger panels is one that really works here, especially when we get the splash page with Ollie’s flashback to his self-training when he was on the island. Through a sequential image, we get a really good sense for Ollie improving his archery over time, eventually coming close to the heights of the skill that he now possesses. And there are other moments in the art as well which impress just as much. Such as the return of the blind character Magus, who has shown up previously. And the art team definitely gets the sense of scale and wonder of the island as well, which is another feather in their cap.

For my money’s worth, this was a really good issue in pretty much all respects and I can’t wait to see what the entire team has in store for next month’s issue and where the story goes. I want to learn more about these clans that Lemire has introduced, the sword clan, the shield clan, the arrow clan, and so on. Seems like a very intriguing take on the Green Arrow lore.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Green Arrow: #24, #25.

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Posted on December 5, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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