Green Arrow #23 Review

Reviewer: “Starman” Matt Morrison
Story Title: Busted (Black Circle: Urban Knights Part 1 of 6)

Written by: Ben Raab
Penciled by: Charlie Adlard
Inked by: Charlie Adlard
Colored by: Titjana Wood
Lettered by: Jack Morelli
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

A while back, I expressed some concerns in Looking to the Stars about how this mini-series might turn out. I spoke of how a traditional Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up story would be folly since Kyle Rayner and Oliver Queen are too similar as personalities to have the same conflicts as Hal Jordan and Ollie or even Kyle and Connor Hawke during their many groupings. Silly me, being so unique myself, forgot that oftentimes having to work with someone who is very much like you can be more annoying than dealing with your total opposite. And that is what happens at the very end of this story.

In two acts, in which we are introduced to Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), our heroes discover something rotten in the state of Denmark. Oliver Queen is just about to confront the gang who made him look foolish in front of the police earlier when he finds that a grinning Kyle Rayner has already captured them. Kyle then smugly asks if Ollie wants to do a team-up and “stick it to the fat-cats”.

Now, my first reaction was that Kyle was being a major jerk, sarcastic and flippant as he is. And then I remembered that the last time he and Ollie did meet that Ollie pranked him big time and stole something off the JLA Watchtower right under Kyle’s nose (See GA #19 for that tale). More than that, he gave Kyle an apparently faked speech about respecting him, but being uncomfortable because he reminded him of his own advancing years.

Now when you consider that, its more than natural for Kyle to be a little ticked off about having to deal with Ollie and wanting to show him up in his own home town. It is just as natural for Ollie to be fiercely territorial, unlikely to put up with being called an “old-man” and ready to punch Kyle’s lights out the minute he gets any lip. Passable conflict achieved and the premise of this new Hard-Traveling Heroes story established.

The art lends to this feeling of things not belonging. Adlard’s style emphasizes shadows and detail, which lends itself well to the first part of the book where Green Arrow is tackling a group of drug dealers. It also serves to make the light generating Green Lantern look all the more powerful in the second act, where he glows in a dark nightclub and evening sky. Finally, in the third part, it makes Kyle look all the more out of place in Star City; so as he pushes into Oliver’s territory, so does he appear to have pushed his way into this book from the brighter pages of Dale Eaglesham.

Of course the book does have a few flaws. Devout a Green Arrow fan as I am, even I have trouble believing the chain of events in the first part where Oliver Queen manages to disable three cars fleeing the scene of a crime, while seemingly perusing on foot. And as nitpicky as this is, I can’t ever see Green Arrow saying “Uh-oh” after trying to anger someone enough into starting a fight. Still, this book hits the target more often than not (ah… sly archery humor) and I am looking forward to Part Two in Green Lantern #162 next week.