October has brought many changes to DC, including a couple of books getting new creative team changes. One of these books happens to be Green Arrow, which I was absolutely loving while Jeff Lemire was writing it. Heck, under his watch, Green Arrow was my favorite comic of 2013. Now we have a brand new team, that of Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski (guys who worked on the TV show, Arrow), and to me and probably a lot of fans, they have a lot to live up to. With their first issue out, it’s time to see if they can sink or swim. Is it good?
Green Arrow #35 (DC Comics)
It’s been who knows how long since Richard Dragon wrecked the city and Seattle still isn’t doing too well. Plus, with the whole recent Crime Syndicate situation, the whole place is slowly going in the direction of Gotham City from what the characters are implying (and frankly, who wants that?). So, Oliver Queen has a lot to work on going forward, both as himself and as Green Arrow. What to do next?
Well apparently blow up a couple of bad guys if this art is to be believed.
Now, I understand when a new creative team takes over, a lot of things can and will change. Some characters leave, new characters join, the tone can change, the concepts and direction can be different, and other things like that. That’s not a bad thing really, since the new team should be allowed to go their own direction and not completely follow the path the previous team (especially true if the previous team really sucked). There’s also the Jeff Lemire approach, where he just flipped the table over and started fresh when he took the book over. Again, not really a bad thing depending on the circumstances (it’s not like the series was doing anything good before then), but the route the new team is going here is… disheartening to say the least.
I mentioned that the writers worked on Arrow before and it certainly shows. In the span of one issue, they are trying to make this comic as close to the TV show as possible while keeping to continuity and switching a few things up. The problem is in the execution and in the loss of several things. Besides Diggle, we lost pretty much every supporting character. No more Naomi and Fyff. No follow up on trying to capture Count Vertigo, the Outsiders are completely gone and there’s no mention of them, and those villains in the last arc are not mentioned either. Most depressingly and confusing is that there is no Emiko anywhere. She was a character who had plenty of potential and a lot going for her, especially at the end of Lemire’s run and with Green Arrow promising to train her. I was really hoping to see her again here, but no. She’s gone off training by herself! What the hell.
Dammit, don’t leave me former supporting cast!
So we lost a lot and now the book is trying hard to be more like Arrow. We’re now just plopping tons of ideas, characters, and concepts from the TV series into this book, and it’s not executed well. I’m not sure if some of these ideas, like the Glades, was already in the book at some point before Lemire’s run, but they are just popping out of nowhere in this book without any buildup or setup to them. Hell, where did this Zehra character come from and why is she all of a sudden Oliver’s new love interest (also, when did they go to Paris?!)? Now, I have no problem trying to introduce these ideas or trying to connect this book more to Arrow… but you got to build up to it and have some foundation rather than tossing them all out there.
But enough about harping on the changes, what about the story here? Well, it’s alright I suppose. I’m not against any of these ideas, like Seattle experiencing a crime wave that’s causing more problems or the possible buyout of Queen Foundation. It’s just not particularly exciting or all that engaging due to the poor presentation of it. Again, with all of this poor buildup to these events, they just come out of nowhere and don’t feel as big of a problem as the writers are making them out to be. Plus, there are so many different storylines, subplots, and new characters that’s it is a bit hard to keep track of it all. Maybe as the series goes on, it’ll get better, but I’m not exactly feeling confident in that.
So… who are you anyways, lady?
The rest of the writing is okay, but nothing special. Characterization is alright, but everyone but Diggle feels a bit off here. That especially goes for Bruce Wayne when he appears in the book. The dialogue is forgettable and sometimes very questionable or groan-inducing. The pacing is alright, but slow at a lot of points. The storytelling is fine, but some panels don’t flow very well (like in the ending scene) and feel a bit off. The ending is sort of interesting, but it probably won’t mean much to anyone who hasn’t seen the TV show. Ultimately, I think if you haven’t read the book up until now, you may be fine with it, but for the rest, the story and writing feels like a downgrade. We went from a large-scale epic to your basic, average superhero story.
The artwork is questionable. Daniel Sampere does the art and he’s not particularly bad, but not that great either. I mean, his layouts and backgrounds are fine and he draws some decent action. However, his characters look off a lot of the time. The body poses, positions, and musculature feel rather off in a lot of areas and look unnatural. Faces can make some goofy looking expressions that are hard to take seriously. There are also some minor inconsistencies, as wounds a character gets, from panel to panel. Like the story and the writing, it’s a significant downgrade from what we had previously. If we could only get someone who could do Andrea Sorrentino-lite style work!
It honestly looks like that guy is falling asleep with how squinty his eyes are.
Is It Good?
What a sad fate that has befallen such a great comic. Green Arrow #35 is a gigantic step down after the previous run in most areas. It squanders all the potential the previous team left, the execution and introduction of Arrow elements are poor, the writing is weak, the story is unremarkable, and the artwork is at best passable. If you were a fan of the previous run, do not bother with this. If you are a fan of Arrow, I suppose you might like this. However, as much as it pains me to say this, this is probably not worth your time at all.