GREEN ARROW VOL. 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra
Released January 10th, 2017
In recent years, it’s felt like something has been missing from Green Arrow. He has never been more popular thanks to the CW’s Arrow, but he has also become increasingly misunderstood as a character. ‘Green Arrow Vol. 1’ brings back the most familiar traits of the character: his clever sense of humor, progressivism, and his relationship with Black Canary.
‘Green Arrow Vol. 1’ collects issues 1-6 and the Rebirth one-shot. While the story isn’t perfect, it’s easily the most fun I’ve had with a Green Arrow title in a long time. Benjamin Percy’s writing seamlessly brings back the classic Oliver Queen/Green Arrow persona. Otto Schmidt’s (Rebirth & issues 1-2) art took me a minute to get into, but once I was used to his style I found myself loving the tone he creates visually. There is a noticeable change when Juan Ferreyra takes over the artwork for issues 3-5, but again just takes some adjusting. The most striking aspect of Ferreya’s work is in character emotions: the characters felt the most human in his issues. However, while Ferreya certainly does great work, the missing tone created in Schmidt’s issues is felt.
The story presented both visually and in the script presents a faithful and familiar Oliver Queen. In the midst of the most intense and dramatic moments, a witty quip from Ollie is usually just around the corner to break the tension. Beyond his humor, the reader is frequently reminded that Oliver Queen sees his wealth as a tool to help his city. These are both fundamentals of the character that have seemed to take a back seat in recent years, and so it feels refreshing and fun to rediscover these qualities. But perhaps the most important aspect of Green Arrow’s character is his relationship with Black Canary – which this story nails. It was so exciting to see their relationship hinted at in ‘DC Universe: Rebirth’, and the relationship progression – while quick – doesn’t seem rushed. In fact, there’s not a moment in this story arc where their relationship feels out of place or forced. It really begs the question, “Why didn’t this happen sooner?”
The weaknesses of ‘Green Arrow Vol. 1’ are loose ties, unnecessary characters, and a rushed conclusion. The loose ties left after the story concludes seem to be too insignificant to be addressed in future issues, but are still noticeable in the midst of the story. The addition of Diggle made sense because they forced it to. It’s understandable in the story why they brought back his character, but the way it was done made his presence of very little value to the plot. The climax of the story comes and goes so fast, I had to read it over several times to catch all the details. There are so many important story elements crammed into the last several pages of the book. This, on top of an odd page layout, make the ending difficult to understand the first time through.
‘Green Arrow Vol. 1’s’ accomplishments in characterization overshadow its perplexing ending and loose ends to make for a great return of the Emerald Archer – and an enjoyable read for old fans and new fans alike.