Green Arrow 17

green arrow 17

Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 17, originally released February 6th 2013.

Mikyzptlk: I’ve been waiting quite a while for this to happen. Finally, a talented writer with a clear and long term vision for Green Arrow has come to save us from the meandering mediocrity that has plagued this title since its New 52 inception. I was extremely excited when Jeff Lemire was announced for this book, and intrigued when he stated that much of his influence would be coming from Mike Grell’s run of the character. That book was an extremely adult take on the Emerald Archer, and would have easily been printed under the Vertigo banner, had it existed at the time of its publication. I was also excited to hear that Lemire’s intentions would be to take this character back to square one and essentially start over, fantastic news for anyone disappointed with the run thus far. I’m happy to say that Lemire’s first issue met both of those expectations, and delivered something that I’m extremely interested in reading further.

Issue 1…I mean, 17 of Green Arrow begins with Oliver Queen stranded in the desert Uncharted 3 style. He’s lost everything including his fathers company, his money, and apparently, all of his superhero equipment. We then flashback 3 weeks to find Ollie storming into the office of the man who lost him everything. Mr. Emerson has been in charge of things while Ollie was off playing hero. He explains that all of his babysitting of Ollie left the company vulnerable to a takeover. Ollie doesn’t have too much time to argue however, as an archer assassin uses a trick “grapple-arrow” to pull Emerson out of his office window, plummeting him to his doom. Security is left thinking Ollie has become a murderer, so he makes a break for it. He quickly attempts to get aid from his friends at Q-Core, however the assassin is again one step ahead and BLOWS IT ALL TO HELL. Ollie is understandably stunned, but makes it to one of his safe houses where he is able to suit up as Green Arrow. GA knows that whoever he is up against has somehow discovered his secrets, but decides that’s it’s time to hunt down whoever it is that’s been messing with him. Yet again, however, his antagonist is one step ahead and appears at his safe house. He reveals that his name is Komodo, and he means to put an end to Oliver Queen. A fight begins as Komodo uses Ollie’s own arrows against him. As Oliver is about to be taken out for good, an eyeless man by the name Magus comes to his rescue and claims that Ollie was “never supposed to leave the island!”

Surprise!

WAIT…hold on a second, that’s not right. Okay, here we go.

Okay, so yeah, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite television shows of all time when I read the conclusion of this issue. But you know what? LOST was awesome, and this issue was too. It’s clear that Lemire wishes he could have had this character from the start, but since that wasn’t in the cards he had to go with plan B. He’s stripped Ollie of seemingly everything that he’s garnered since the beginning of the New 52. He no longer has Q-Core, his allies, or even any of his cool trick arrows. While this issue spent the majority of its time in the past, its present shows us that Ollie is in some seriously dire straits. He’s shown nearly dying in the dessert, with pretty much nothing in the way of supplies. This promises that we are going to be able to see him become the hero we are supposed to love. Lemire…I mean Mr. Emerson even says it himself.

Yeah Ollie just look at the bright side.

Lemire has even found a way to incorporate the island into his take on the character. The island has always been a big part of Green Arrow’s origin since that’s where he learned how to use the bow and arrow, but I’ve never personally seen it used beyond his formative years. Again, Lemire is making this character his own by taking us back to GA’s point of origin, essentially giving us a Secret Origin story. Of course, I have no clue where Lemire is going with this, but I have to assume that since we are going back to the island that birthed Green Arrow, we are going to be seeing glimpses of his past as Lemire defines the characters future. I can’t tell you how incredibly excited I am to see where the story goes from here. What is so special about the island? And does it involved electromagnetism? Alright, that was last LOST joke that I’ll make…in this review.

Andrea Sorrentino is the artist and colorist of the series and he’s definitely a good fit for the tone that Lemire is going for. I’m really enjoying his pencils and his colors are interesting too. You can probably tell from the pictures above that he’s going for something a bit more stylized with the coloring. The color green was definitely at the forefront of this issue, but black and white imagery with variously colored backgrounds were also used. The colors in this issue at times highlighted things of importance, foreshadowed events, or even gave away allegiances. Now, while I appreciate this style for its storytelling uses, I can’t help but feel that I wanted to see a bit more detail in the colors. This is entirely to blame for this issues beautiful cover.

Dont judge a book by its...you know the rest

I’ve been quite enamored by this image since I first saw it. Everything about it, including the coloring done by Hi-Fi, is incredibly striking to me, and I was looking forward to seeing more of this kind of thing in the interior. Instead, we got something that looked like this.

GA

I don’t want to imply that I dislike this as I understand where it’s coming from artistically. The pencils are just as striking inside, and as I said, the coloring is being used to help tell the story in a very interesting way. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that I was missing out on the beautiful coloring seen on the cover, and I wish there was a way to incorporate that depth of color into the issue itself.

Okay Shelby, what did you think about the new “first issue” of Green Arrow? I’m not sure what your history is with the character or if you’ve ever liked him in the past. Either way, did this issue hook you at all? Are you cool with Lemire throwing away the first 16 issues of this book or do you think he should have stuck with what he was given and just build from there? Any thoughts on what Komodo and Magus are all about? Lastly, do you think that Green Arrow will encounter any Smoke Monsters while on the island? Damn it, I’ve already broken my promise.

Shelby: My only exposure to any New 52 Oliver Queen was the abysmal zero issue, so I’ve got no problem with Lemire starting from scratch. It’s exactly what he did with Justice League Dark, and I think I can already see some of the same results. He has such a talent for stripping characters down to bare bones, reducing them to just their essence, to what makes them tick, and rebuilding them from the ground up. If you haven’t read Lemire’s Underwater Welder, I highly recommend you do so; it’s a great example of his style.

As much as I love Lemire’s writing, I want to talk about Sorrentino’s amazing pencils. Seriously, the art in this book took my breath away. Unlike Mik, I have no desire to see Hi-Fi’s colors carried to the interior, I L-O-V-E Sorrentino’s minimalist, mod style of inks. The panel when Emerson is pulled from his office is one of my favorites in this issue.

green arrow

This is the only mostly black and white panel on the whole spread; the super high contrast really emphasizes the action. It’s the equivalent of a bullet-time shot in an action movie: it focuses the eye on what is happening, simultaneously slowing down the action and drawing attention to it. The green window is interesting. At first, I just took the color as a way to tie this panel to the rest on the page, keep the black and white from being TOO jarring. But then I skimmed the book again, and black and white with a green accent is kind of Sorrentino’s go-to color scheme for inset panels.

green arrow color scheme

I can’t help but think of Hawkeye when I read this book, and not just because of the whole arrow thing. With Hawkeye, artist David Aja has created a very specific feel for the the book with his ultra-slick, graphic style and cool, purple-based color palette. Sorrentino has done the same with his loose, almost manic style pencils and cool, green-based color palette. My LCS was shorted this book, so they sold out before I was able to get there last week. This is one of the few times I am disappointed to have to read this online and not have a physical copy of the book; the art is that gorgeous.

I’m excited for this title. I’m looking forward to learning more about a character I know very little about, and I’m definitely looking forward to learning from Lemire. With his writing and Sorrentino’s fabulous art, this title is already shaping up to be one of my favorites. 

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

36 comments on “Green Arrow 17

  1. I went into this slightly optimistic, laughing at myself about getting multiple comics about dorks with bows each month.

    Sadly, I think I’m sticking with Hawkeye for my dork with a bow fix. I found the story here to be cliched and trite. I’ve liked most of what Lemire has done lately, but not here at all. Also, I’m all for minimalist art, but I felt like some of the art was unfinished. I thought Ollie’s face changed from page to page, and not due to emotion but due to inconsistency in penciling.

    I was pretty disappointed in this.

    I probably haven’t read Green Arrow for 30+ years. Not since the ’70s, maybe early ’80s. This did not inspire me to come back.

    • I think that’s a fair assessment of the issue, but maybe a rash reaction in re: the series going forward. Lemire did have to pull a lot of magical levers to affect a reset on Ollie. The result is a character without a lot of agency (even when it comes to shooting arrows, which he should be like the best at). I know one of the things that draws me to Clint is that — for all of his personal shortcomings — he has one trump skill-set that (dorky as it may be) is neigh unstoppable. I see some serious potential in breaking Green Arrow down and making him earn those skills, but that’s more a promise of greatness down the road than delivering on it here and now.

      But the art man – THE ART!

      • I’m going to disagree with both of these, while at the same time validating the latter’s opinion as such. As a writer you can’t have a character be the best and have the story merit anything. There always has to be someone better of just as good, because one could just say, “Wow that villain is pretty cool, but Ollie’s an awesome archer and will win in the end, so I probably can skip ACTUALLY read it.” When you see a character struggle or aspire to be better, it makes you the reader want to see exactly how they do it. Why should we get “[delivery] on it here and now?” What’s the point of reading anything if you get what you want immediately? And as for trite? I would say that Oliver Queen from Sept. 2011 to Jan. 2013 would fit that description, no arguement. With #17 we only see the very beginnings of who the character is going to become, but trite is most certainly not an adjective that’s applicable. Perhaps down the road, but this iteration of Ollie is razor edged and returns some of the hunter acuity to his thoughts and actions. Again, one can’t make an accurate comparison between one issue of a revamped Ollie vs a years developed Clint Barton, but trite can just as easily be applied to several of the versions that Marvel has put out of him.

        • I assumed that Kaif meant that the automatic-losses that Ollie suffers are trite because they seem so arbitrary. This actually speaks to your point about a character needing to earn their abilities and actually struggle to defeat whatever obstacle they’re up against: From what we see in this issue, it’s just undeserved tragedy after undeserved tragedy. The in-narrative justification for that sounds suspiciously like the out-of-narrative justification: essentially a “you need to grow up and be better” reason.

          And as far as how good of an archer Ollie needs to be for me to be invested in the series – you’re right to say that I’m making unfair comparisons to Hawkeye. Both of these books are so stylish and feature regular dudes with a bow and arrow so it’s kind of tough not to hold one up to the other. But Green Arrow has opted for a more thorough Hero’s Journey, where Hawkeye is mostly a series of character-vingiettes. And extreme competence is a core tenant of Clint’s character (and something I love love love reading). My only point was that this series lacks that quality (which, like, come on Patrick, it’s a different series: it can have different qualities.)

        • Well argued and I can’t fault any of your logic. Like I said, I am weighing one issue against a whole run of Hawkeyes and sixteen garbage issues preceding this. However, the loss of his fortune seems to have been an eventuality since the reboot started. They see-sawed back and forth whether the jet-setting vigilante thing was going to be his new shtick or whether they would do as they had always done since the great Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams divested him of his riches in the late 60’s and made him a voice of the downtrodden. His losing his fortune was in the works for a long time and had to happen for him to return to the character we know and love. All the great runs that people remember have him scraping by. Denny O’Neil’s Green Arrow, Mike Grell’s Green Arrow, and I throw in JT Krul’s initial run as well because that also was a fundamental depiction. In any event, you have to give a restart like this more than one issue before you throw out harsh adjectives. All I’m saying.

        • Oh for suresies. Kaif really doesn’t like “nerds with bows and arrows” and I have to respect that because he’s just so damn firm in his convictions (don’t get him started on Legolas). Retcon Punch will be following Green Arrow for the foreseeable future – I think we’re posting on issue 18 on Monday? Some time early next week. I hope to see you in the comments there: you’ve obviously got some love for the character.

        • Thank you. Very well stated… Now, I’m going to be quite minimal/tangent/morphed here: the Lemire/Sorrentino team w/ or w/out anything prior in the GA/Ollie myhtos is, for me, BRILLIANT. Everyone knows Hawkeye is just a Marvel-ised version of DC’s GA & the original Hawk just a Halloween character… I love what Fraction brought to Clint. I love that THAT version translated into this New GA. And let’s not forget what Kevin Smith did/brought w/ his reboot of GA from Quiver… For me, in the end: I DON’T CARE what where how why when etc stories WERE, so long as the current issues I’m reading are engaging, well written w/ ‘good-enough’ to excellent art. For the visual: ART first – yes, sometimes the COVER sells me. For the STAY: well crafted characters, dialogue, thought-squares, arc-developments. On the old Hawkeye-halloween outfit, I LOVE the look of the Dark Reign old-outfit Hawkeye and of course they have Diggle who is fave writer of mine. I love when Diggle works w/ Jock: possibly my fave NOW team; & then there’s the Lemire/Sorrentino team… How I’d love to see a Dark Archer (GA) Realm brought to us by the teams of Frank Miller/Jansen Etc… Sorry, I know I was all over the place, but inside my madness I think a method exists… I like what I like and you, sir, write engaging blogs. chairs, ah-urn, Cheers!

  2. I’m with Shelby on Sorrentino’s colors, though I’m a bit of a sucker for more old-fashioned, flatter coloring. I’ve certainly been wowed by more cutting-edge techniques (and don’t get me wrong — I’m no technophobe), but something about reaching back for that more classic comic book feel just appeals to me.

    • I’m working on the first volume of Starman right now, so I am totally immersed in this flat, classic style. I think Sorrentino has a more contemporary version of that old-school aesthetic, and so far I think it really works.

      • I actually loved Sorrentino’s coloring and felt it had a big impact in the issue. The minimalist feel really worked for me, but I think artistic style is a very subjective thing. Another stylistic choice that people either love or hate is swapping the Robin Hood look for the hoodie. Personally, I always thought his pre-New 52 look was really lame and caused me to not take him seriously as a character.

  3. Miller used the “superhero going broke” idea for Daredevil in the 80s, and the result was one of the best comic books ever written, Daredevil: Born Again. I hope Lemire will use this idea as brilliantly as Miller did.

  4. Not to divert the conversation, but the LOST finale was on tv last night and oh my glob it is better every time I watch it. Ok. Carry on with comics.

  5. I’m so happy Lemire is spinning this into a crime drama-action book. Raking Ollie across the coals to actually leave a lasting impression needed to be done. And that was just the first issue! The threat effectively cut out the cancer from the New 52 editors. No more goofy tech base. No more Steve-Jobs-by-day/Emerald-Archer-by-night. Now it’s a killing machine, or rather THE Kill Machine, destroying out hero on both fronts.

    Suddenly I care what happens to our daring Mr. Queen. Sign me up. (And a new colorist is coming on board the title for issue 18, Sorrentino has already tweeted an image of what to expect https://twitter.com/And_Sorrentino/status/299908602553040896/photo/1 )

    • “I’m so happy Lemire is spinning this into a crime drama-action book.” Me too! : )
      “And a new colorist is coming on board the title for issue 18, Sorrentino has already tweeted an image of what to expect” Thank you for sharing the link! The colorist for issue # 17 was much better, in my opinion.

  6. So, all LOST jokes aside, any guesses as to what is so special about this island?

    Also, is anyone familiar with any history that has already been established for Ollie in the N52?

    • Here’s my big question. Lemire’s always talking about working a little here and there with Johns, they seem to be buddies, and Johns is using Ollie in JLoA. Welllllll, in JL #8 (you know, the GA-centric issue) Johns specifically mentions that Ollie and Aquaman have a big problem with each other that goes back to the island. Will THAT still come up or is it a comic subplot that will be simply forgotten and lost (LOST)?

      • I SAID NO MORE LOST JOKES!!!! But, since it was your first, I’ll let it slide just this once.

        I would imagine that will definitely come up in JLA, especially since Lemire said that for the first year or so, GA and JLA will be separate entities to give GA enough room to breathe as his own character. That said, I expect to see a lot more back and forth with JLA after the first year of GA.

  7. LMAO at the LOST still. Gotta agree with Shelby about the coloring, but that kind of stylization is always going to be a matter of personal preference as to whether it works or not. For me, though, it definitely does. CANNOT WAIT for Green Arrow #2 (#18)

  8. Pingback: Green Arrow 34 | Retcon Punch

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