Today, Mike and Shelby are discussing Green Arrow 28, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Mike: I took the opportunity to reread Jeff Lemire’s run so far on Green Arrow from #17 on and man is this a well-executed series. I remember reading it for the first time and being as uncertain as to what was really going on as Oliver himself was. When The Magus popped up and told Oliver that “you were never supposed to leave the island!” I immediately thought of Lost, for the obvious “island” premise as well as the intriguingly vague cliffhangers the show was known for. An early episode of Lost was called “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” – absent fathers being a recurring theme on the show. It’s also a title which is very appropriate for Green Arrow, a character with his own daddy issues that have now been taken to a different level entirely with the revelation of Robert Queen being alive.
Green Arrow 28 does a very good balancing act with the groundwork that it has been laying for ten issues now. The bulk of the issue deals with Oliver’s discovery that his father Robert Queen is still alive. Turns out Robert orchestrated Ollie’s stint on the island from the get-go, in order to protect him from Komodo and the rogue Outsiders. After the necessary exposition, the Queen boys and Shado take down Shield Clan leader Kodiak once and for all. Meanwhile Diggle joins Naomi and Fyff to prepare for Seattle’s gang war and Komodo leads a coup of The Outsiders by killing current leader Golgotha.
So Oliver discovers that most of what he thought he knew about his father was a lie (again). Worse still, apparently most everyone in Oliver’s new inner circle (barring Fyff and Naomi) has known about it all along. Green Arrow has slowly become a book where everyone knows Green Arrow’s backstory better than he does – which I kind of really love for some reason. Secrets have been revealed to Ollie and later he finds out that there are more secrets WITHIN those secrets. You can’t blame Ollie for reacting the way he did to such a mind fuck.
Let’s talk about Robert Queen for a bit here, shall we? The more I think about this character the more excited I get about him. This guy is NUTS man! Clearly he’s not so insane that he has lost touch with reality, but the lengths that he has gone to keep secrets from his friends and enemies are ridiculous; not to mention the three year hell that he made his own son endure to “train” him. I mean, the guy literally said that he would’ve killed his son if he had to, when he battled Oliver on the island way back when. Robert Queen is the epitome of an absent father; but his methodical planning also makes him thoroughly interesting. Green Arrow is a series that is drastically different from what it was years ago, and even at the start of The New 52. New 52 Green Arrow plays a different role than he did pre-Flashpoint, but I think that role has been handed over to Robert Queen. For starters, just look at the guy:
Robert Queen not only looks like the ol’ Robin Hood of the bygone DC era, but he shares a lot of the same character traits, especially in regards to family. Both of them willingly abandoned their sons (Ollie, Roy and Connor), weren’t exactly faithful to their wives/girlfriends (Moira Queen and Black Canary) and even fathered illegitimate children (Emiko and Connor.) I really hope that Robert Queen sticks around for a while – there’s so much meaty tension between him and Oliver to explore. My biggest fear is that Lemire might make the mistake of killing off Robert Queen (for real this time) before he even gets a chance to grow as a character. My big fanboy wish however, is to see Oliver and Robert tag-teaming as dual Green Arrows the way that Oliver and Connor used to do. But that’s just wishful thinking.
Jeff Lemire has had a lot of plates spinning in his Green Arrow run, and it feels like things are going to be coming to a head very soon – gang war, Outsider war and father/son war. Shelby – do you fear that Robert Queen will go out in a blaze of glory before he gets a chance to develop, like I do? Are you anticipating an inevitable gang war vs. Outsider war in Seattle? And don’t forget, that along with the six Outsider clans we’ve learned about so far (Arrow, Sword, Spear, Axe, Fist and Shield) that there’s a forgotten seventh clan. I’m betting that it’s going to be the Foot Clan – TMNT crossover!
Shelby: Green Arrow and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Green Team! I’d read the heck out of that. I understand your concern about losing Robert before we really have a chance to see him fleshed out, but I’m more concerned with losing Robert before we have a chance to really see Ollie deal with it. He just found out the water he’s swimming in is filled with piranhas, and that his father was the one who dumped them in the tank. On top of that, Ollie nearly killed his own father.
While that little tidbit sinks in, let’s talk about the amazing Andrea Sorrentino for a second. This spread is absolutely amazing. It employs some of Sorrentino’s usual tricks: monotone color washes, small panels of action, etc. But bigger picture, Sorrentino is telling Ollie’s story without letting us lose focus on Ollie and his father. You might think the action of the fight is supposed to be the highlight of the scene, but Sorrentino makes it the background, instead honing in on a ferocious Robert and terrified Ollie. The details of the fight are not important; it’s the confrontation between these two men and what it means for their relationship that is important. And for good reason: I can’t imagine what the knowledge that he nearly killed his own father to keep from getting killed himself is doing to Ollie. At the immediate moment, it seems to be pissing him off, but this is going to leave some deep battle scars, and there’s no way to know how Ollie is going to deal with this.
As much as I was intrigued by the mystery of the Outsiders and the Seven Clans last issue, I found myself not caring at all as this extreme family drama unfolded. Sure, the pieces are moving into place for all-out turf war in Seattle and all-out weapons war between the Clans, but Lemire and Sorrentino have kept the focus tight on the relationships the characters have with each other; as much as I love seeing the head of the Fist Clan punch her way through Spear with almost no effort, it’s the characters that keep me coming back. That, and speculation on the seventh clan. Maybe it’s warhammer? Or…ooh, mace would be good. Or maybe for a real change of pace, it’s the Clan of Cutting Wit and Acerbic Tongue. I’m going to hold out for that one.
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?