Feb 15, 2013
Green Arrow #17
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Going into this, I’ve had no experience with the Green Arrow at all, except for brief cameos in other titles, and the never-ending advertising for the TV show strewn across DC’s titles at the moment. With the new creative team and push as a reboot for the series, it seemed like a good jumping on point with a team that came well recommended within the community. As such, I came into this with no real expectations, except a pang of excitement at maybe finding a new hero to love and enjoy within this run. What I read however, did not reflect this not reflect this.
The plot itself falls in between a reboot, and a seeming continuation of the previous story. With no experience of the previous issues, there were holes I couldn’t fill in, and ultimately could not get past, which creates this atmosphere of uncertainty as to what Lemire is ultimately trying to achieve with this run. Is it actually a reboot as it has be sold? Or is it a continuation? The book falls into this murky middle ground that it struggles to get out of, instead relying on a doppelgänger arrow villain to start a new plot line, regardless of what happens before.
These plot holes could have been easier to digest if the writing itself wasn’t as clunky as it comes off, with choice narration that sometimes feels like Frank Miller on an off day, which is a shame because of what Lemire seems to be trying to do, forcing Oliver Queen to grow up and develop as a character and creating a darker Green Arrow with a slight over dramatic bent. But with no real groundwork and the seeming need to have read the rest of the series, it fails to do what it’s been promoted to do, that is be a good jumping on point and reboot of the failing book.
On Sorrentino’s side, You can also witness this trap the comic seems to have fallen into. The art has some stylistic high points, such as greying out the image as a whole, while colouring in small boxes to highlight that part to the reader, with some great minimalist-realistic style panels to back it up. It’s a shame though that as a whole, the art fails to really nail its intention down being too minimalist to really pull the realism off, yet too realistic to let the minimalist aesthetic really take hold (for a good take on minimalist art with some fantastic layouts, check out Marvel’s current Hawkeye title).
It’s the aesthetics are however, what kept me reading the comic from start to finish, so I can’t come down too hard, but it does highlight the main trouble this issue has had, that of being caught between a reboot and a continuation, of bringing a stylistic change while remaining true to those who stayed on the book until now.
Ultimately, the change in creative team has done little to convince me to continue this book. The few things I enjoyed are heavily outweighed by the negatives, such as the heave-ho in the art style to the plot holes the book fails to help me overlook, I just can’t recommend it as a series to follow. If however, later issues manage to nail it down and tighten up, it could be something to keep an eye out for. But as it stands, this issue failed to make me excited for the series