A new creative team on an established comic series is often met with a mix of fanfare and trepidation. Sadly, in the case of Green Arrow #35, I felt more fear than optimism. Sure, new writers Andrew Kriesberg and Ben Sokolowski are both established writers for both comics and television, but that’s not the issue. No, loyal readers, there’s but one word to sum up my issue: Arrow.
“But Silverwolf, don’t you like that series?” I hear you ask, and I’d respond with, “Yes, that’s right. In fact, I love Arrow.” But see, that’s where the problem lies: I like the Arrow universe because it presents a new spin on my favorite DC hero. I’d prefer if both the comic and the TV series held parallels, but were mostly separate entities. Is this fear justified? Let’s take a look at Green Arrow #35! Green Arrow #35 focuses on Oliver Queen’s present state after a whirlwind of changes. He’s transformed his corporation Queen Industries into the Queen Foundation, an organization concerned with improving the lives of Seattle’s struggling citizens. Though Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne suggest a company merger to achieve greater profit, Ollie declines and instead decides to continue his focus on social justice. Meanwhile, the shadowy Mr. King has set his sights on a young woman who is perhaps more of a threat than even Green Arrow.
Kreisberg and Sokolowski show clear cognizance of Green Arrow’s character: they focus on his commitment to the downtrodden, the “little guys” who are often forgotten as most superheroes focus on Planet-Ending battles and ignore the plight of a lone man getting mugged or a child’s kidnapping. I quite liked this renewed focus, as the social justice element of Green Arrow was one thing that drew me to the character in the first place, and has been noticeably absent in recent years. There’s some decent banter in the issue, and while some jokes fall flat others are chuckle-worthy. The writers also tease the return of one of my favorite pre-New 52 characters, and it was definitely a bait-and-switch I didn’t expect from the solicit (even if another character’s arrival was expected).
Daniel Sampere leads the art team and performs superbly. Sampere’s pencil work fits a street level hero book: his lines are clean, his action scenes kinetic, but nothing feels unbelievable. The panel layout is commendable as well, and we’re treated to clean, straightforward comic book art. Inker Johnathan Glapion and colorist Gabe Eltaeb lend their considerable skills to the work, further enhancing the comic. Letterer Rob Leigh, who possesses a list of superb credits, continues a strong run in this issue as well.
On some level, I wanted to hate the new team on Green Arrow. But you know what? At the end of the day, it’s clear these creators have poured their passion into this project and are devoted to bringing the Emerald Archer back to his socially-conscious roots. Is it as strong as the previous team? No. Is it vastly different? Yes. But neither of those things are inherently negative, and it isn’t really fair to compare this new team to what came before when their vision is clearly different. I think Kreisberg, Sokolowski, and Sampere gave us a solid first issue and set up a lot of potential. I’m not utterly ensorcelled by this new team yet, but I’m still in for the ride. Give this new team a try.
-returns GA to his social crusader roots
-hints at the return of one of my favorite characters in Green Arrow lore
-doesn’t “wow” me the way Sorrentino and Lemire did
-clear shift away from plot threads established by previous teams
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