12 July 2012

Faster than a DC Bullet: The End of Green Arrow, Part IV: Green Arrow: Into the Woods

Comic hardcover, n.pag.
Published 2011 (contents: 2010-11)
Borrowed from the library
Read June 2012
Green Arrow: Into the Woods

Writer: J. T. Krul
Pencillers: Diogenes Neves, Mike Mayhew
Inkers: Vicente Cifuentes, Guillermo Ortego, Mike Mayhew
Colorists: Ulises Arreola, Andy Troy
Letterer: Rob Leigh

Since we last saw Green Arrow standing in the middle of the devastated Star City in Justice League: Rise and Fall, a forest has magically appeared. I guess I'd know something about it if I'd read Brightest Day, but it works without that-- it's a mysterious occurrence anyway, so seeing it happen isn't particularly useful. Officially exiled from Star City, Green Arrow is hiding out in the forest, using it as a base of operations to fight the good fight. It's a good idea, making Green Arrow into a Robin Hood figure; it feels like it merges the patrolling hunter aspects of the character emphasized by Mike Grell (in The Longbow Hunters) with the mystical ones brought to the forefront by Kevin Smith (Quiver) and Brad Metzler (The Archer's Quest).

But J. T. Krul doesn't really capitalize on this setup. Oliver is given a new supporting cast-- a plucky charity worker, a crusading journalist, a man who thinks he's Galahad of the Round Table-- and a new set of villains-- the mysterious "Queen" who takes over his old company, the police commissioner who put him on trial-- but the book doesn't focus on this new setup enough. Green Lantern shows up, and there's some guff about a magic tree, the Martian Manhunter shows up for no readily apparent reason, there's more stuff about the tree, and he leaves too. To someone who hasn't read/isn't reading Brightest Day, it doesn't seem to have much of a point or hook. (Incidentally, there's a discontinuity with Krul's own Rise and Fall in that Hal and, implicitly, the rest of the League seem okay with Ollie whereas they were butts to him in that book, but it's a discontinuity I'm happy to have.)

When the story does focus on the new setup, it's not very interesting; the villains are kinda dull. The Queen has a connection to Oliver's past, and the book does a little with it (there's a beautiful flashback issue drawn by Mike Mayhew), but not enough. Her faceless goons are boring, and haven't we seen more than enough sexy female assassins in Green Arrow stories? I'd like to see a set of stories about raging liberal / ferocious hunter using his forest base to retake Star City for the forces of good with his band of heroes (how awesome does that sound?), but the book dances around that idea.

All that said, Diogenes Neves is the best artist to draw Ollie since Cliff Chiang sadly left, and it's least stupid take on the character since Tony Bedard's Road to the Altar and (the beginning of) Judd Winick's The Wedding Album. Not great stuff, but there's some real potential once Brightest Day is over and the title can go its own way.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed this era of Green Arrow stumbled and is mostly skippable. My only correction is, wasn't Hal the only one who would still talk to Ollie and didn't treat him poorly at the end of Rise and Fall? Maybe it's my own mis-remembering, but I didn't think Hal's appearance here was so out of character. But that's a minor point -- enjoying your run through of these stories.