Review: Green Arrow #17 By Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino


Green Arrow #17
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino

The short of it:

Once he was rich, famous, a super hero, really, a somebody. Now? He’s a nobody named Oliver Queen who is awaiting inevitable death in the desert. But how did he get here? For the first time in a while, this really is a short version. His company gets bought up, his entire supporting cast is killed off, and his Green Arrow arsenal is blown sky high. There’s a new villain named Komodo who knows that Ollie is Green Arrow, and he’s the one doing the killing, and it all goes back to Ollie’s time on the island.

What I liked:

  • Quick and to the point, Lemire made his intentions clear in short order. There is no padding of this story to drag his fall out for trade, he just gets it out of the way in one issue so he can get to writing a, hopefully, interesting Ollie.
  • I’ve always wanted to read an issue where a writer was told “It’s broken, fix it”, and then did so. I mean, I probably have before, but I really can’t think of anything off the top of my head. So it was nice to have this issue. More books need this treatment.
  • Two Green Arrow’s in a week I’ve liked for the first time ever, thanks to the show.
  • Andrea Sorrentino’s art really is the right style for this book.

What I didn’t like:

  • Ollie needs a beard.
  • The biggest issue with taking away Ollie’s money is that it’s happened more times than I can count. It’s one of the go-to plot lines with Ollie, you take away the company and he goes and gets it back. It really just depends on how DC feels about him, and if they want him to have money or not, so I have a hard time believing (even with the clear cut ‘he’s never getting money again’ explanation) that he won’t wind up rich again in the next 5-10 years.

Final thoughts:

Green Arrow wasn’t just a creative shuffle away from getting better, the book was fundamentally flawed from day one with seemingly zero creative direction. JT Krul was brought on to write the book, after having written the previous “Ollie in the woods” run, but he was out the door inside of four months. Replacement? Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen co-writing a few issues before Anne Nocenti came on board. I read these issues, the first seven issues, maybe eight, and then I was done. The optimist in me saw a new TV show coming out and thought that maybe, just maybe, DC had a plan for Green Arrow. They did not.

How do I know that DC had no plan for Green Arrow? Because the big creative change to Jeff Lemire (who writes Animal Man) opens up with him scorching the Earth. He doesn’t just boot Ollie out of the company and leave an opening for him to come back and take over again, he has the company bought out and absorbed into something that Ollie can’t go out and take over. The supporting cast doesn’t disown him, forcing him to be a better person so he can one day return to them, no, Lemire simply KILLS ALL OF THEM! We’ve got a guy struck in the back with a grappling hook arrow and ripped out a window from a tall building, we have Ollie’s tech duo blown up along with all of his tech. This isn’t a status quo change, this is burning everything to the ground and hoping that the soil is still fertile.

They say if something isn’t broken, not to fix it. Green Arrow was a mess of crap that had stripped away so much from Ollie while trying to keep him as the same character, and then it was accompanied by uninteresting plots, characters, and Ollie simply not being worth reading about. Really, it read like someone told them the basic plot of the pilot of Arrow, and they tried to do a comic book version. And then failed. Miserably. They made him rich and young, but they forgot to add in complexity or anyone to truly answer to.

This issue wasn’t perfect, but it’s a giant leap into the proper direction. Without any superhero gimmicks there’s actually a chance to capture some sort of magic with Oliver Queen in the New 52. There’s his time on the island to explore, the nature of being an upowered character who isn’t as rich as Bruce Wayne in this world of Gods. For the first time since the book launched, Oliver Queen has a chance at being an interesting character and not just a caricature of his classic self.

Now I just wonder how this is going to fit in with him being in JLA.

How awesome is Arrow?

Overall: 7.5/10

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