Judging by the cover Green Arrow is going to be reacquainting himself with Arsenal as they come to blows.
Green Arrow #18 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“REUNION” part one! Oliver Queen and Roy Harper once patrolled the streets as Green Arrow and Speedy, but a massive falling-out left them estranged for years. Now, learn the truth behind the tragic dissolution—and triumphant reunion—of one of comics’ most iconic super-duos as Green Arrow and Arsenal join forces once more!
Why does this book matter?
Benjamin Percy has been writing a good series as he weaves in political commentary and generally makes Green Arrow’s life harder by the day. The thing is, the character is better off for it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is the type of comic people will be talking about due to its very obvious connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s not a literal connection–the name is changed–but it’s rather obvious what it’s referring to. That’s in spoilers because it’s more of a final page reveal, though it’s somewhat obvious as the story progresses. Considering what happened in real life just last week this comic couldn’t be more well timed. Whether or not you like politics in your comics will determine if you dig this angle, but its inclusion certainly gives this story a deeper meaning.
And deep meaning is a key aspect of this issue. Percy cuts between Ollie meeting Arsenal for the first time and to the present where Arsenal is attempting to communicate with his adopted family. Through this cutting Percy shows us a younger Ollie who is just as kind as today, but a bit more fathering than we’ve seen as of late. It’s a nice dynamic that works well due to the strength of the characters’ interactions and one that helps set up their bond and ultimately the shocking cliffhanger. There’s also a nice payoff in regards to Arsenal inventing crazy arrows which is set up earlier in the issue.
Art wise, Eleonora Carlini does a bang up job with a lot of this book letting the art do the talking. It’s a clean style that doesn’t go overboard on detail, but is quite competent too. The layouts keep the action moving and the interactions between Ollie and Arsenal honest.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Someone forgot to draw pupils on the horse! You don’t get to say that often, but it made me wonder if the horse was some kind of supernatural beast or something. Carlini’s art style uses the speed lines you see in manga quite a bit which ends up hiding the fact there’s no backgrounds here and there. It didn’t bother me too much, but there were times it was quite clear we were seeing a rather plain looking scene without backgrounds.
While the political angle is interesting, Percy doesn’t explain how Green Arrow knew where Arsenal was or why he even thought to show up. This new story arc is a stark contrast from where we left off, which left me with more questions than answers. And while the cliffhanger is somewhat jarring you can’t honestly believe it’ll end up being a misunderstanding next issue. Or at the very least, an issue they come to agree upon. Ultimately the execution is good, but there isn’t enough here to make this much more than an average superhero type affair.
Is It Good?
This story is well timed as Green Arrow and Arsenal come to blows over a very real and meaningful real life issue. Percy and Carlini do a great job using flashbacks to remind us Arsenal and Green Arrow have a long lived past.