The Batman title has focused on a story titled “Zero Year” for the last few months, retelling Batman’s origin for the New 52. This month, DC is rolling out a number of “Zero Year” tie-ins, including not only the standard Bat-family titles, but also the likes of Green Arrow. Given my love of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Marcelo Maiolo’s work on the character since February, I was very excited to see how the team portrayed the Emerald Archer’s early days.
Green Arrow #25 begins six years in the past, shortly after Oliver Queen returns from the island on which he was marooned and where he learned to become a skilled archer. Sadly, his return home is marred by an announcement that his mother, Moira, has gone to Gotham City to help impoverished people during the event now known as “Zero Year.” Oliver rushes off to save his mother from a new villain, while making the acquaintance of John Diggle, a man who will become a valued ally.
This issue had a number of great positive aspects. Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo continue to provide amazing artwork. Their pencilling and coloring, respectively, are some of the best in comics. The backup story, drawn by Denys Cowan, looked very different, but still quite good, the style reminiscent of Green Arrow comics of the 1980s such as “The Longbow Hunters.” Writer Jeff Lemire continues to build on GA’s mythology, hinting at his experiences on the island and setting up for the much anticipated “Outsiders War” which starts with Issue #26. The dialogue is enjoyable, especially the back and forth between Batman and Green Arrow, emphasizing that the fact that the two share a number of similarities despite a subtle rivalry. This issue also introduced Diggle, a character original from the television series Arrow; while this new character could have felt forced, Lemire introduces him organically, giving him aspects similar to the TV character but with original aspects as well.
Despite these positive aspects, Green Arrow #25 possessed some downsides as well. Put bluntly, I don’t think this needed to be a “Zero Year” tie-in. Honestly, the story could have just as easily happened in Seattle or some other location in the DC Universe and accomplished the goal of presenting one of Ollie’s early adventures and introducing Diggle and Moira. I’m not sure if the choice is tied to the so-called “Batman Publicity” to boost the book’s sales, but regardless it felt a little forced. Also, I would have liked to see a little more of Killer Moth, since his introduction, while awesome, felt rather hasty. There were also a few continuity errors based on Green Arrow’s New 52 back story, but I can’t blame Lemire much since his run is essentially a (desperately needed) soft reset of the character. Also, it must be said that Rob Leigh’s choice of panel placement felt a little confusing in some of the smaller panels, though that could just be a function of space constraints.
Green Arrow #25 is a good issue of a solid series, though probably one of the weaker entries in Lemire, Sorrentino, and Maiolo’s run. Still, referring to a comic as “weaker” than other issues an ongoing which ranks as my favorite series is still high praise. Honestly, it’s worth picking up since it presents an ideal starting point before “Outsiders War” begins next month and to check out my favorite art team in modern comics. I advise everyone to go out and grab Green Arrow, you won’t regret it!
-amazing art, arguably the best in modern comics
-great set up for future plot points
-Diggle’s introduction is smooth and promising
-brings back the beard (even if only temporarily)!
-did not need to be a “Zero Year” tie in
-a few instances of awkward lettering
-contradicts some of the previous established Green Arrow continuity in the New 52
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He thinks Gotham City should just become one giant prison a la Escape from New York.
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