Green Arrow 22

green arrow 22

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Green Arrow 22, originally released July 3rd, 2013.

Shelby:  Last night I was hanging out with friend and fellow writer Taylor; we’re going to the steampunk weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, and we needed to spend some time crafting toy guns into steampunk weaponry. After adding some gears and coils to the rubber band shooter he’s going to use, Taylor started to play around with some copper wire, but ultimately decided to keep it simple with what he already had. It’s easy to give in to the temptation to add more stuff to a craft project because you can, but it’s important to know when something is finished, to keep things simple instead of cluttering your project with unnecessary extras. Jeff Lemire is the king of keeping things simple; his books may not have a lot going on, story-wise, but he definitely knows how to use simplicity to let a book shine.

Ollie and his crew have made their way to Vlatava to the compound of Zytle, ruling monarch of the tiny country. Using all sorts of fancy new trick arrows, Ollie busts his way into the fortress, where he finds his first dragon.

shado the dragon

He frees the woman, who confuses him for his father Robert, but before Ollie can explore that further they are attacked by Count Vertigo. With a quick remote assist from Fyff and an EMP arrow, Ollie is able to disrupt Vertigo’s attack long enough to get away with Shado. Once they escape the fortress, she reveals that not only was Robert Queen “her Robert,” but also Emiko, psycho child of Komodo, is actually her and Robert’s daughter and Ollie’s half sister.

DUN DUN DUN! Huge cliffhanger reveal! I have to say, even though its a fairly transparent comic book move, Shado’s reveal definitely caught me unawares. As soon as we see her costume, it seemed pretty obvious Shado was probably Emiko’s mother. That by itself is an interesting enough development; it calls Shado’s loyalties to question, making us wonder if she would really help Ollie find Lacroix, or if she actually sides with the father of her daughter. But to have Lacroix raise as his own the daughter of his enemy (whom he killed) adds a whole new level of complicated to these characters’ relationships. We already know Emiko is fiercely loyal to the man she thinks is her father, how would her loyalty change knowing her actual father was dead by Lacroix’s hand? We’ve already guessed that Ollie is going to have to face off against Emiko, especially after stabbing Lacroix in the face with an arrow; now, he’s going to have to fight an archer who is better than him, a child, and his sister. To quote the esteemed Lando Calrissian, “This deal’s getting worse all the time.”

Plot-wise, Shado’s confession is probably the most interesting thing to happen, the bulk of the book is devoted to Ollie shooting things and Fyff and Naomi competing to see who made the best trick arrows. Once again, Jeff Lemire proves to be smart enough to let Andrea Sorrentino take the reins when dealing with a villain whose power is making people disoriented.

count vertigo

This is so, so smart. Sorrentino takes his normal trick of highlighting aspects of the scene with little, inset panels, and instead of having Marcelo Maiolo tweak the colors, simply knocks the panels askew. As Count Vertigo begins to twist the perceptions of the characters in the scene, so too does Sorrentino begin to twist our own perceptions of what is happening. This might be one of the more clever artistic executions in a comic book I’ve seen.

On my first read through this issue, I was a little underwhelmed. The art blew me away, obviously, but most of the story fell a little flat. There’s not a ton going on, and no great character development to speak of. But after reading through it a couple more times, I think that simplicity is part of this book’s (and Lemire’s) strengths. Patrick, what did you think of this issue? Was the simple “Ollie shoots a lot of arrows!” story not quite enough for you, or do you like the pace Lemire is taking with this book? How about that Sorrentino, eh?

Patrick: Oh heavens, no Shelby – I was not underwhelmed in the slightest. I always think the most fun we can ever have with Batman is just watching him do what he does well. There’s all sorts of pathos and blah blah blah and whatever that we can explore, but the detective work, the gadgets, the tactics will always be at the heart of the character. Understanding how a superhero works can be an absolute delight when handled with the deft care that Lemire does. Ollie brings the same Batman-level of precision and tactics to his castle-invasion, but he gets to be a little more cavalier and playful about it. That’s what makes it all the more devastating when Count Vertigo is able to muss with all that precision. Plus, I like seeing that 3D mapping arrow in a narrative more competent that Prometheus.

Naomi and Fyff map Green Arrow's location

I appreciate that after Lemire and Sorrentino’s first 5-issue arc (can you believe we’ve been reading this thing for half a year already?), that the subject of Ollie’s past and his legacy are still cards very much in play. After last month’s mythology-widening drug trip, it’s reassuring to see that the people, and not the concepts, are still the heart of this series.

Hey, speaking of people – what do we make of Oliver Queen these days? I can’t quite tell whether we’re supposed to read him as rightfully confident or overly arrogant. We know, for sure, that he was too arrogant, and much of the first story arc has been about breaking him down and forcing a little humility down his throat. But then he approaches a castle full of guards without even knowing what he’s up against or even what all of his arrows can do. All of his prep work has been done by the support team – he didn’t even know the first thing about the country he was going to invade. Maybe all of that growing up he was ordered to do in the issue 17 is still a long ways coming. It’s not even like Ollie has a lot of say in the direction his quest takes him, with Shado being so much more knowledgeable than he is, it is her priorities that will dictate the story going forward. Unless…

There seems to be some kind of something bubbling in the background of this issue. Back in Seattle, the three major crime bosses are having a rare meeting to discuss a mysterious individual that’s been encroaching on their turf. Rather than find common ground, the crime lords suggest:

Green Arrow Crime bosses

Maybe Green Arrow’s been shirking his “real” responsibilities for too long and he’s got to divert some of his attention away from this silly mystic quest so he can square things up back home. It’s so strange to get this tiny look into the Seattle underworld, apropos of nothing else in the story. Perhaps it’s a reminder that for all the fun world-exploring our heroes do, they’re supposed to be fighting crime. Either that, or it’s just the promise of a fun gangster story in a few months. Hey, color me satisfied either way.

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?

18 comments on “Green Arrow 22

  1. The Clock King comes to Seattle! I feel as though we are not going to have Ollie clashing with the Seattle Mafia for at least 6 month. I think it will take a similar path that the First Born took in WW. I mean First Born was introduced in Aug ’12 and only just met Diana in June.

    • Wait, how do we know that the Clock King is involved there? Also, he (or some idiot version of him) did appear in the first arc of Batman: The Dark Knight. NOT RECOMMENDED.

  2. The art from Sorrentino and Maiolo is just awesome! I’d read this book just for the art. But luckily, I am also enjoying Lemire’s story and take on Green Arrow.

    Except for two things. First, as Patrick mentioned, the idea that Ollie walks up to the front gate of a fortress/compound or whatever, which was guarded by guys with assault rifles, while carrying only a bow, had me totally rolling my eyes. Batman, with body armor and gadgets and the element of surprise, maybe, but Green Arrow, in a straight up fight with a bow against half a dozen or so guys with guns in the open, no way. Even with trick arrows. I grew up with an extended family of avid bow hunters and have some familiarity with archery. I know how long it takes to nock, draw, aim, and release an arrow. The number of bullets fired by multiple automatic rifles per arrow is pretty high (not to mention the jumping and rolling around and whatnot). Those guards must have been incredibly bad shots. Even Legalos at his most awesome would have a hard go facing six guys with assault rifles. The second thing that has me rolling my eyes is the depiction of bow fights. Razor broadheads are designed to cut blood vessels, cause bleeding and prevent clotting. It is rare to get a clean kill with an arrow, so you want rapid bleeding and a good blood trail, Most frequently, game bleeds to death after being shot. And at the range depicted in the books, an arrow would go right through a person, unless it hit bone (which would cause major problems like broken bones, arrows lodged in bone, and broadheads and arrows shattering in the body). The idea that Ollie could sustain multiple arrow wounds and walk away (or even be able to stand the next day), let alone avoid prolonged hospitalization, is pretty hard to swallow. This is one reason I liked Mike Grell’s Green Arrow–Ollie acted more like a hunter–tracking bad guys from the shadows, engaging in more prep work, and generally avoiding this kind of confrontation.

    But I am enjoying the title, even though it stretches things a bit past my ability to suspend disbelief!

    • I mean, by that same token, heroes take WAY too many bullets without any serious repercussions. I can understand the frustration though: any movie or TV show about musicians a) looks terrible and b) totally misrepresents what’s either frustrating or rewarding about making music — this one is especially true for singers on TV (FUCKING GLEE).

      It certainly does seem like Ollie should have taken the castle with stealthier tactics – relative silence is one of the principal advantages he’s going to have with the bow. But he doesn’t. I’m happy to waive the implausability of it by just saying that he’s a superhero, so he’s got the chops. Maybe this is supposed to look stupid to us – I still think we’re supposed to view Ollie as overly reckless.

      • Its funny that I can accept a raccoon that carries energy weapons bigger than he is (which seem to appear out of thin air), but I have problems with Green Arrow taking arrows to the shoulder and leg and walking away from it. I suppose that a raccoon carrying weapons is so outrageous (or maybe not, given the raccoon that gets into my garbage) that I just roll with it, while a guy with no super powers who carries a bow I expect to be more grounded in reality. But I am enjoying the series overall, so I suppose I will stop complaining.

        • You’re right, Green Arrow had a marvellous cast of supporting characters, and it’s a shame that all of them have been blown away. And it’s even more shameful that Gotham Central closed. Thank you for your reply! : )

  3. That page you posted, Shelby, where the inset panels start floating away to show Ollie’s vertigo, is just astounding. I remember just sitting there slack-jawed when I got to that page.

    Honestly, this whole issue was fantastic. I loved the trick arrows, the interaction between these three characters, the art, and of course, the twists. Even Vertigo’s new design is pretty cool, although I doubt he’s gonna pulling his usual shtick of walking around foreign countries claiming diplomatic immunity without at least putting a shirt on first.

  4. Well, if you’re going to introduce a long lost sibling, now’s the time to do it! With this being The New 52, I can totally buy the fact that Ollie has a sister he’s never known about. I’m FINALLY able to appreciate the N52 reboot as far as Ollie goes. We’re getting to see him learn to be a hero all over again and it’s fun. I love seeing him screw up but get back on his feet again. It’s wonderful.

    It’s strange though, I wonder why we didn’t really get to see any of our other heroes in this stage. Like, Batman, Supes, WW and all of them are already expert level superheroes. Hell, even Cyborg is an expert supe and he was just a teenager 5 years ago!

    I guess we are getting Superman/Batman and Zero Year now, so there’s that.

    • I think we didn’t see any of our other heroes in this stage simply because a lot of writers act like the reboot never happened. Which is not far from the truth, in my opinion. : )

        • DC writers are ignoring the reboot in a so evident way that I can’t recall more than 2 – 3 details of DC Universe that the reboot changed (apparently) for good. Let me think: Green Arrow’s rejuvenation, Babs being able to walk once again, some characters who fell into oblivion… can you think about some other examples?

        • I mean, those are some pretty important examples you mentioned. Other examples would be: Babs never being Oracle, the JSA, the BoP, Ray Palmer, Tim Drake, Conner Kent, let’s just throw in all of the Teen Titans ever. Batman’s personal timeline is difficult to accept as is (including the Robins). Lois and Clark, Ma and Pa, the rest of the Superman family, Captai–sorry, Shazam, Flash, and on, and on.

          I’m not saying any of these changes are bad necessarily, but they are evident. I honestly feel the N52 is the biggest reboot the DCU has ever seen. Even the original Crisis left a lot of history intact (but merged). Like, the characters still knew of each other in very similar ways, unless it was overtly contradicted.

          Like, I know I can still read Wally West stories any time I want, but the fact that Barry has no knowledge of his one time sidekick and nephew is kind of heartbreaking and definitely disappointing.

        • Yes, it is quite difficult to accept that Batman had FOUR Robins in a matter of FIVE years. Thank you for your replies! : )

        • Just sticking with Green Arrow–I miss his relationships with the other superheroes, like Roy Harper, Black Canary, Hal Jordan, Ralph Dibny (where is he, anyway), etc. I suppose these may still develop, but there is not any evidence I have seen that he even knows Dinah.

          And as a fan of Gotham Central and 52, I miss Renee Montoya.

  5. This is probably one of the best books DC is publishing. Also, that two-page spread near the end where Vertigo mind-f*cks Ollie is just amazing.

  6. I’m really loving the plot development and mythos Lemire is building here. But by the same token I’m still waiting for some actual character development for Green Arrow. Is he really any more likeable than he was before Lemire took over? It would be nice if he could be more than one-dimensional.

    • The book is certainly more likeable, but that may be through sheer competence / stylishness. There’s so much mythology that’s rolling around right now, I’m really looking forward to Lemire devoting the same care to exploring the character on a personal level.

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