It’s the first Thursday of the month and you know what that means: time for me to read Green Arrow and pray that my favorite hero gets the treatment he deserves. I’ve said it before, but the New 52 has been full of ups and downs for Mr. Queen. Some issues have filled me with joy, others with terrible regret, but in the end I just can’t abandon the Emerald Archer. So, with an open mind and high hopes, I picked up Green Arrow #9, the final chapter in Ann Nocenti and Harvey Tolibao’s first arc as the newest creative team. How did they wrap it up and did things impress and entertain me?
As issue #8 wrapped up, we saw Leer planning to send his two loyal daughters to take down Green Arrow and his “defective” offspring. We join Green Arrow and the “good” Skylark as they enter an old train station to rest before the locals set upon them. Their misunderstanding is cleared up quickly, and Ollie resolves to help out a nearby mining village regain their claim to the gold on the mountain. The problem? Leer controls all the mining in the area and won’t go down without a fight. What results is a lot of action coupled with a few positive, albeit briefly discussed, environmental themes.
Nocenti…what happened? As much as I loved the writing in the past two issues of her run, I can find almost nothing good to say about this issue. Green Arrow’s dialogue made him come off as a cocky jerk; while it’s fine to give him this characterization, these moments were so overdone and repetitive that the point was bludgeoned to death. I really liked the New 52 GA (not as much as the classic one, mind you) but this new persona is starting to grate on my nerves. Furthermore, the plot of this issue was rushed and convoluted; I felt like Nocenti was desperately trying to find an excuse for Green Arrow to go back and fight Leer, and tried to throw in some “helping the locals” story in order to give our hero further justification. While it was nice to try and tie things back to Green Arrow’s roots as the Savior of the Little Guy, this plot line was introduced and resolved so hastily it almost felt meaningless. The issue ended with Nocenti setting up for some “big changes” when Queen gets back to Seattle…but I’m not holding my breath.
Now, I know a lot of people aren’t fans of Harvey Tolibao’s art, but to be honest I like it. Though some of the fight scenes look a little hectic, I like the life and emotion he breathes into the scenes he illustrates. I thought the little details on Green Arrow’s uniform and the weaponry he used were great, and I like the way the character’s seemed to flow and ripple across the pages. He also did a great job depicting dilapidated and decaying buildings in the towns that Green Arrow and Skylark visited. I think Tolibao may still be finding his footing in terms of action scenes, but overall I believe he’s got some talent.
Green Arrow #9 was a real let down for me. The story was convoluted and summarized this entire arc: lots of flashy, cool ideas executed far too hastily and haphazardly. I feel like this arc could have been good if extended over an issue or two more, but as it stands things just zipped by and left me with an unfulfilled, confused feeling. The art was good, though nothing exceptional, but I feel most people won’t share my sentiment in this regard. As much as it pains me to say this, I may just drop reading Green Arrow all together for awhile; it’s a real shame, because he’s my favorite superhero of all time. I feel like Nocenti may just need a bit more time to get settled in, but I can’t keep waiting forever. All in all, I’d say people should avoid this issue unless you have a crippling need to see how Green Arrow beats Leer (spoiler alert: it’s not particularly impressive).
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. It actually pains him to rate a Green Arrow comic so negatively.