Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 has Oliver Queen investigating the disappearance of over a dozen women and children of the underclass. During his nightly patrol, Oliver comes across a new ally, Black Canary, who is also looking into these missing persons cases. Together, Green Arrow and Black Canary join forces as they try to rescue abductees from mysterious slavers and discover something else lost to time, each other.
Never has a character, whose political views are so diametrically opposed my own, made me grin from ear to ear as Green Arrow did in Green Arrow: Rebirth #1. Writer Benjamin Percy nails who Oliver Queen is. He’s rude, he’s crass, he loves his goatee, and he doesn’t date Republican women. He even calls himself a “social justice warrior” in a completely serious way. I burst out laughing when I read that passage because, not only is it very core to who Oliver Queen is, it’s absolutely true. Unlike internet slacktivists on Twitter and Facebook, Oliver Queen is an actual warrior for social justice, fighting to protect the little guy from those that would oppress them. In this case, it’s the homeless getting abducted by monstrous slavers. I couldn’t quite tell who or what those creatures are abducting homeless people, but it’s clear these Underground Men are going to be an ongoing threat for both Green Arrow and the Black Canary.
DC’s Rebirth relaunch seems determined to fix many of the mistakes from the New 52. One of those mistakes was having the Black Canary not even know who the Green Arrow is let alone having them be in a relationship with each other. Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 gives us the first ever meeting post-Flashpoint of Green Arrow and Black Canary, and it’s magical right from the get-go. The banter back and forth between the two is a sight to behold. Black Canary doesn’t take any of his crap, and she calls him out for his hypocrisy of being a rich dude in a penthouse claiming to be a social justice warrior.
Ultimately, she’s grateful for the fact Ollie backs up his words with actions by taking in a homeless boy whose mother was abducted. He also doesn’t try to hide his identity if it means helping someone out. It was great seeing the two of them fight the slavers together. It’s perfect that the word “finally” is how the issue ends. Finally, Green Arrow and Black Canary have met. I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see them together by any stretch.
The art by Otto Schmidt is not my favorite. Compared to the polished look of other Rebirth titles like Batman: Rebirth #1 or Superman: Rebirth #1, Green Arrow: Rebirth #1 looked quite rough. It reminded me of storyboard drawings on a DVD extra for a movie but with color. It seems to want to convey a sense of darkness and edginess in the world of Oliver Queen, but it comes off as dull and the colors are muted. For example, Ollie and Dinah’s hair look off-white instead of blonde. Full disclosure: I am red-green colorblind, so that might affect how I see the art, but none of the other aforementioned Rebirth titles gave me any problems.
I’m also not a fan of Black Canary’s character design. I know the fishnets are her usual signature, but they are an eyesore with this visual style when they’re supposed to connote sexuality. However, Green Arrow’s design looks great.
Percy introduces DC own version of cryptocurrency now called Lexcoin. There’s a real life debate going on about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as conduits for illegal activity given their decentralized, mostly anonymous nature. Percy’s inclusion of Lexcoin in this instance reminds me about the controversies surrounding Silk Road, an online darknet marketplace shut down by the FBI in 2013. Given that cryptocurrencies also play a role in subverting government authority, particularly in regions ruled by oppressive regimes, we might see Ollie confront an enemy that might not really be an enemy to many people, such as a Ross Ulbricht or an Edward Snowden-type.
Percy has stated he intends his run of Green Arrow: Rebirth to rip stories straight from the headlines, and this issue is proof of that. It’s also not hard to see the parallels Percy is drawing between this story and real life human trafficking. Often the most forgotten elements of society are scooped and sold on the black market. With resources stretched thin for world governments, or often wasted chasing petty criminals and drug users, it takes a superhero like Oliver Queen to fill in the gap to make sure these people aren’t forgotten.
I loved Green Arrow: Rebirth #1. I look forward to seeing how the story plays out, and how Percy will bring Ollie and Dinah’s romance back to life. Percy brilliantly balances the piggish, obnoxious side of Oliver Queen with his more caring, protecting side all while not sacrificing any part of the Green Arrow persona. The art needs some polishing. They can still go for that grittier style without sacrificing aesthetics or color.
- Oliver Queen acts unapologetically like Oliver Queen
- Arrow and Canary finally meet and their chemistry is great
- Intriguing mystery of the Underground Men
- Art style is visually rough and dull