Oliver Queen battles to save Seattle’s homeless population from The Underground Men, as well as his relationship with the Black Canary, in Green Arrow #1.
In the opening pages, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Emi, Ollie’s younger sister, fight a group of The Underground Men. They are a mysterious organization that is systematically rounding up the homeless population of Seattle and auctioning them off to the highest bidder. The fight takes place at the Seattle Docks, where the kidnapped homeless are being loaded into shipping containers belonging to, of all companies, Queen Industries.
Following the fracas, Canary witnesses Arrow paying off a few of Seattle’s finest for information about a masked man. We can only assume he is the leader of The Underground Men. This causes Canary to question her relationship with Ollie, as she begins to wonder whether any of Queen’s relationships are genuine and not a product of his wealth. On the other hand, Oliver digs deeper into his company’s involvement with The Underground Men, where he threatens to uncover potentially deadly secrets involving both his professional and personal lives.
Writer Benjamin Percy, a relative newcomer to the comic book scene, weaves an interesting story full of compelling and mysterious subplots that are every bit as entertaining as the main story line, if not more so. While the main story arc focuses on Green Arrow’s investigation into The Underground Men, side stories include Oliver’s developing relationship with Canary, possible corruption within Queen industries, and Ollie’s mentorship of his sister, Emi. Author of two short fiction books and five novels, Percy’s story telling really carries this book, as Otto Schmidt’s artwork falls a little short of the mark.
While certainly adequate and by no means terrible, there are points throughout the book where the artwork almost seems rushed and unfinished. Schmidt makes up for this though with his coloring. He’s both the artist and colorist on this issue. Since this issue takes place over the course of a single day, the colors start out darker and more muted as our heroes battle on the docks in the pre-dawn morning. As the day progresses, the colors get brighter and more vibrant, before gradually getting darker and muted again as night settles upon the city. It is a creative and unique way of expressing the passage of time without the need for those overused phrases such as “later that day”.
Green Arrow #1 packs a punch with its compelling storytelling and creative use of color, which almost acts to timestamp the story as it progresses. While the artwork at times seems rough and unpolished, Green Arrow #1 is well worth the read. I’d recommend collectors upgrade to the Neal Adams variant cover, which is visually far superior to the standard cover.
- Multiple, interweaving subplots, each as compelling as the main story arc
- Creative use of color that assists with the storytelling
- Beautiful variant cover by Neal Adams
- Artwork appears rough and unfinished at times throughout the book
- Standard cover is not very appealing