Green Arrow has had a rough year and the crowning downer of that year has been the complete takeover of his fair city of Seattle. Now dubbed Star City, Oliver Queen is in jail with nothing to fight for anymore. Talk about a great time to redirect the character!
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Publisher: DC Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“BROKEN ARROW” part one! Hopelessly divided over Oliver’s role in the rise of Star City, Green Arrow and Black Canary do the unthinkable and break up. While Dinah starts a resistance movement in the former Seattle underground, Ollie’s been driven out of the city he sacrificed everything to protect. And that’s only the beginning! The next major phase of GREEN ARROW begins with in this oversized anniversary issue!
Why does this book matter?
Benjamin Percy has written quite an epic, especially when you look back on the journey Green Arrow has been through. This issue serves as a great jumping on point, but also a nice ode to the past stories as Emi, Black Canary, and others factor into this issue and Oliver’s new life.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Oliver facing a bad cop/bad cop situation and getting the stuffing beat out of him verbally. As if the guy needed any more negativity in his life. Cut to Mayor Domini reflecting on how much better the city is now that it’s run by a corporation and you can see justice is not being served. That’s because the city’s poor–those Oliver swore to protect–are being disenfranchised and maybe even worse. To say Green Arrow needs a recharge of the old hero batteries is an understatement. It sets up the developments of this issue well, but also prepares the reader for a new direction for the character.
Along the way, Percy sets up a lot of plot threads for future stories, but also reminds us who fights alongside Green Arrow and who the enemy is behind the masks. The concept of corporations taking over and running cities is clever and Percy takes that a step further in this issue. There’s also some good callbacks to some character we haven’t seen in a while, and overall this issue sets Green Arrow up for an intriguing new road-trip caliber story.
Otto Schmidt draws this issue and he does a bang up job. Creatures in the sewers end up returning and they give the issue an extra jolt of action that Schmidt captures well. There’s also a fantastic full page spread of Mayor Domini juxtaposed with a full page spread of the truth being told by a news outlet that shows spinning truth is a talent. In the closing pages Schmidt will make you want to read the next story in part because Green Arrow looks so boss on a motorcycle. Overall the issue feels tightly paced because of the art and the excellent balance of story and action.
I really hate this dude.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m all for Henry Fyff forgiving Oliver and joining back up with him, but it doesn’t seem very natural since he basically swore off being Oliver’s right-hand man in previous issues. Hell, joining forces with the bad guys seemed to be a plot to be explored further, but instead this issue conveniently has him have a change of heart. Add to the fact that he thinks joining up with Green Arrow again is the best move even though they ended a rather tumultuous friendship and it all feels forced.
My only other gripe is the opening with the cops who are laying it on thick with the hate for Oliver. It serves to get the reader up to speed for why he’s hated in the public sure, but it runs for 3 pages and could have easily been reduced to one.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent issue that’s well paced and entertaining all the way through. Call it a reboot of sorts, as Percy and Schmidt write the character into a new direction that feels natural and builds on all the work done before it.