Green Arrow #24 Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: Hero Worship — Black Circle: Urban Knights, Part 3 of 6

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

One would think that after three issues of a cross-title crossover that the story would be further along. Well, after three straight weeks of overexposing DC’s “green team” (Green Arrow and Green Lantern) the only important plot point we’ve gleaned is that an intergalactic crime syndicate is trying to horn in on the street drug trade … using household cleaning products? Wow, lets not give the kids any ideas here!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Cleaning products are for … the cleaning of products. Do NOT ingest. Read product labels for instructions on proper cleaning use.

As I indicated in the concluding thoughts of my Green Arrow #22 review:

I have some reservations about the next ‘six weeks of crime, cartels and interstellar suspense, as the Black Circle: Urban Knights crossover (with Green Lantern) begins.’ Green Arrow does not lend itself well to sci-fi, but I did enjoy the old Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow crossover from the 1970s (collected in a hardcover if anyone wants to pick it up), which had some sci-fi elements. I will reserve my comments and see what this new creative team can pull off, they have big shoes to fill.”

Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer, and Scott Beatty’s shoes remain under-filled by Ben Raab. Judd Winick, Green Arrow’s future writer (currently handling the writing chores for the Green Lantern (GL) books of this crossover), has not raised expectations by fans with his work to date. This crossover is just ill conceived, ill timed, and, well … it’s just ill.

I’ve read some advance solicitations for future, post-crossover Green Arrow (GA) issues, and it looks like Judd Winick will be setting up some of his Outsiders series’ characters in this title. Well, with Phil Hester back on art at that point, and hopefully more “human” stories on the way, maybe this series isn’t in decline. Although the current issue sure doesn’t help reassure fans.

Phil Hester’s pencils and Ande Parks’ inks are sorely missed here. While I’m sure current artist Charlie Adlard’s pencils are decent (he’s clearly heavily influenced by former Hitman artist John McCrea), his inks are horrible. It appears he’s gone to the John Byrne School of Inking. It looks like he’s using a marker over his pencils.

This issue isn’t all bad. While its a little too GL-focused, not surprising as Ben Raab will take over the writing chores of the GL series after this crossover wraps up, it does present some interesting revelations about former GL Abin Sur. For those unaware, Abin Sur was the presumed-to-be-dying-GL (see GL #162 and current GA issue, #24, for why I’ve worded it this way) who selected Hal Jordan to be Earth’s GL, in the “silver age” of comics. Earth’s current GL Kyle Rayner succeeded Hal Jordan, who in turn became the villain Parallax, was redeemed, died, and was reborn as the Spectre. Whew.

We also have some interesting father/son moments in GA #24, but not only between the two GAs, Oliver Queen and Connor Hawke. There are some human elements here, which fit well within the “GA genre”, but a very poorly conceived and implemented crossover overshadows them.

I can’t wait for the “six weeks of crime and cartels and interstellar suspense” to be over. Three weeks to go — I can tell you with certainty, if I had a GL ring right now, I’d travel three weeks ahead. What was DC thinking? Must have been those cleaning products!