Benjamin Percy (Writer), Otto Schmidt (Artist), Nate Piekos (Letterer) and Juan Ferreyra (Cover Artist).
June 15th, 2016
Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from the publisher and contains spoilers.
I reviewed Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 last week and really enjoyed it. It did well as a one-shot setting up a rebooted/relaunched/reimagined world for our favourite amazon. Otherwise, I haven’t been interested in the titles coming out of Rebirth so far. I heard great things about Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, which prompted me to check out this week’s Green Arrow #1. Within the first page, I found out the first #1 was not a one-shot and the comic confirmed this with a note saying *See Green Arrow: Rebirth. So I read it. I loved the art and thought it was okay for a first issue but what held me back from fully embracing it was its slow descent into the land of exposition by the issue’s end. Subtlety? Where? But I won’t hold it against the series; it was the first issue and I was liking its potential.
Time for the second #1, Green Arrow #1, which has already started to confuse me when it comes to talking about it with other people since both issues are titled #1 and both have the Rebirth banner. I’ve talked this out on Twitter already so I’ll move on. Otto Schmidt’s art for this series is just…stunning. It’s candy for the eyes. The colours are divine, the style makes it stand out as a Rebirth book, and the paneling is interesting. I especially love how Schmidt approached the Canary Cry:
Bravo! My eyes are happy. As for the story, I found the premise interesting but the execution lacking. The idea of this series sounds great, with Green Arrow teaming up with Black Canary to stop rich folks from kidnapping and selling homeless people. This is a vehicle to explore Ollie’s beliefs, which involve a level of understanding that people have it hard and the system is incredibly oppressive. Enter Dinah, whose role seems to include challenging Ollie’s perspective and creating a more woke Green Arrow. So when Ollie gave those cops money for information, I had the same shocked face Black Canary wore. “I’m not paying them off, I’m tipping them,” and, “I’m encouraging goodness,” were actual rationalizations that Ollie made and in that moment I could see what Benjamin Percy was trying to do. He was giving us a socially conscious hero who still has a lot to learn. A great example of that is when he tells Dinah that money can buy happiness since it can provide things like food and shelter but fails to think about issues like structural racism which needs a more nuanced solution.
With that said, the execution was poor. The issue was heavy-handed and full of exposition. The approach to this issue read like the research was done by spending hours on Twitter and Tumblr and that’s it. If the over-the-top approach was limited to Ollie, I’d say that it would add to the story’s direction of showing how little he knows but it’s employed beyond Ollie, like this scene with Emi (in her first appearance):
The reins need to be pulled back on how this story is being told because panels like the one above kept making me hit the breaks whenever I started to get into it. The art is your friend and a little subtlety never hurts anybody. Trust that your audience will be right there with you — as a book primarily read by adults, they don’t need the level of handholding happening here. The art is stunning, the ideas are interesting, and I’d love the writing to follow suit.
Lastly, I have a bone to pick with Ollie. How is it that your tech sidekick doing all of your superhero related computer work is “overworked and underpaid?” You’re rich! Pay your employees well before you go off trying to help the poor. Come on, now.