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‘Green Arrow #43’ (review)

Written by Julie and Shawna Benson
Illustrated by Javier Fernandez
Published by DC Comics

 

Julie and Shawna Benson take over on Green Arrow after a long run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey – Rebirth. Black Canary joins Oliver in Seattle to kick off a new arc “Citizens Arrest”. The last two issues were a fill-in but the Benson’s set us up for “Citizens Arrest” in Green Arrow Annual #2 way back at the end of May.

Canary isn’t the only familiar face, nor a member of another team to appear as Speedy/Roy Harper/Arsenal settles back on in to the sidekick roll. With Rebirth we were given a second chance with Ollie with Ben Percy at the helm. The Bensons don’t have an easy act to follow, that is for sure.

Unfortunately Green Arrow #43 is not off to a gangbuster start with this creative team in my opinion.

Rarely do I dispense disparaging words to describe my favorite format, the floppy comic, but this issue was rather dull and more of a team book than what I was expecting.

I found the art sub-par, the characterizations to be a bit off and a yearning for some flavor of writers past. Adams, Grell, Diggle, Nocenti, Lemire and Percy all built off each other’s stories as the quiver was passed along. I’m sure I missed some great runs and writers to touch Green Arrow but these come to mind. I will certainly give our new writers some time to get settled in to the Arrow Cave and put issue #43 in the rear view mirror.

I’m also sympathetic that taking over a major character with a hit television show going into Season 7 raises the bar of expectation pretty high. #43 needs to establish the groundwork, just like Season 7 Episode #1 of Arrow will surely do. The good stuff usually comes in around the fourth episode.

There are some nice things I can say about this book and here they are.

The introduction of a new villain, “Citizen” who broadcasts on Facebook Live his intentions and acts as a stand in for “V” or Anonymous to take down the One Percent. Citizen does capture a slum lord and to mete out his own version of justice, but at what cost?

Green Arrow and Black Canary discover the landlord and rich guy Oliver Queen fears he is the next victim.

I also like the new spot that Canary and Oliver call home, and the longtime G.I. Joe fan in me can’t resist a good underground secret bunker. Canary uses her super powers to save on demolition crew costs.

And as far as criticisms go, and I know DC churns out a lot of books each month but I thought the art was not befitting of a Justice Leaguer. The cartooning is a bit flat on these pages and not rendered enough. Perhaps there are good drawings under Fernandez pages but I think he may need an inker rather than doing everything himself. It’s not that the art looks bad, but perhaps a bit rushed, I could use a bit more realism.

Onward and upward to issue #44, perhaps the Queen Industries drama will resolve itself in a more entertaining way, or we have fun chasing Citizen around Seattle.

I’m in for the long hall on Green Arrow, so I offer the Bensons a chance to woo me over the next few issues, or I’ll consider dropping it from my stack!

 

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