After being rejected by Black Canary and betrayed by both his C.F.O. and his sister, a seemingly defeated Ollie finds himself at the mercy of Shado and her masters. Who is this mysterious group plotting the downfall of Oliver Queen?
Green Arrow #2 continues an arc that most people will recognize as nothing particularly new in superhero comics. The hero betrayed and left for dead. Evidence planted to stain his reputation. His power and resources shifted into the hands of a friend turned enemy.
Benjamin Percy uses this familiar concept as an opportunity to juxtapose traditional characterization with modern continuity in a fashion that embraces the new and the old. He manages to give us our classic Ollie (one character even refers to him as “bleeding heart”), yet also incorporates elements introduced in the New 52 like Oliver’s half-sister Emiko and John Diggle. We get to have Ollie and Dinah working together while also having just met. While this “have your cake and eat it too” approach doesn’t always work and might be a slight barrier for some new readers, Percy handles it craftily and doesn’t punish the reader for their lack of exposure.
The introduction of a new and particularly intriguing set of villains also aids to shake some life into this tried and true story. “The Ninth Circle”, as Shado calls them, are appropriately mysterious and menacing as they cruise around on a monolithic vessel looking like burn victims pulled straight out of hell. While not much is revealed about this ghoulish cabal, we know that their penchant for burning people to death and their involvement in Oliver’s disappearance end up leading Black Canary down the rabbit hole after them. Green Arrow #2 is almost as much Dinah’s book as Ollie’s, and it’s all the better for it.
I had never heard of Otto Schmidt before Green Arrow Rebirth #1, but from that issue to the current one his art has been stunning. Schmidt handles all art duties except the lettering and doesn’t let the quality drop in any area. Fans of the recent “Burnside” books (Batgirl, Gotham Academy, Black Canary, etc.), will definitely want to check this out as it shares a similar aesthetic to those books. While complementing that style well, Schmidt’s art is in no way derivative of it and has it’s own clear and unique voice. Everyone needs to be keeping their eyes on Otto Schmidt. He is arguably drawing one of the best looking DC books right now.
Percy and Schmidt are wasting no time getting right into the thick of it in Green Arrow #2. In only three issues (including the Green Arrow Rebirth one-shot), they have managed to take the character of Oliver Queen back to a more traditional core, re-introduce some recent additions from Lemire’s run, and then deconstruct the character by stripping away his reputation and excess of wealth. The fact that this all fits together so seamlessly is nothing short of impressive. So far, this solidly maintains its position in my top three books coming out of Rebirth and shows no sign of losing momentum.
- Traditional characterization
- Embraces legacy while continuing to forge ahead
- Otto Schmidt’s fantastic artwork
- Inclusion of New 52 characters might be a barrier for some