After the crazy and satisfying conclusion to the epic “Outsiders War” story arc, Lemire, Sorrentino and Maiolo take Oliver Queen back to Seattle to face the threat that has been building there in his absence. Perhaps hoping to get some kind of reprieve after a traumatic and world changing event, Green Arrow is instead met with a surprise attack and an enemy that has him on the ropes.
This story has been built behind the scenes alongside the Outsiders War arc for months now. The mysterious Richard Dragon has been moving behind the scenes, recruiting others and making trouble for Diggle and the remaining members of “Team Arrow” in Seattle. Meanwhile Oliver has just had his world shattered and has learned that a lot of what he believed about his past is false. This folks is the story that we’ve been building up to for so long, and Jeff Lemire does not disappoint. Not only does he introduce well the next story arc (and provides a great jumping on point for new readers, hint hint) but he also manages to flesh out Dragon and give his character more motivation, and lends him a deeper level of interest. I also appreciate the elaboration on why the New 52 Richard Dragon is very unlike his Pre-New 52 counterpart. I won’t spoil it here, but it is both informative and tragic for fans of Richard Dragon. This story has me hooked, and I eagerly anticipate the next issue.
This comic doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to action. After a brief expositional introduction to catch up readers to the situation in Seattle (sounds like a good band name) the action kicks of with a bang (literally) and doesn’t let up for the remainder of the comic. The action isn’t mindless either, it is done with precision and finesse, much like we’ve come to expect from the well paired team that creates this comic. That being said, there are some minor complaints that I have. One particular panel doesn’t convey well that Oliver is dodging an attack, and instead seems to have him standing still until you read the accompanying text. Also, I would like to see some more Oliver-flattering action, but I’m sure that they have more of that in store later.
Lemire has built a formidable force in the “Longbow Hunters,” even if they are made up of D-Listers (or C-listers if you prefer). This sets up some interesting physical conflict here and in the future, and the past that he has with Dragon and Diggle sets up potential for some interesting intra and interpersonal conflict to come. Not only that, but a big reveal at the end of this issue sets up for what I’m certain will be a whole new dynamic of conflict for Oliver to face! This issue is mostly set up, but does well to get me excited for the conflict that is to come.
This villain-centred issue for understandable reason focuses much of its character development on the villains. While the majority of the Longbow Hunters remain largely unexplored (they’ve only got so much space people!) Red Dart does get some development in her abilities, and we get a significant look into Richard Dragons past as I mentioned before. Lemire isn’t interested in giving us forgettable characters, and I like what he’s given us so far about these villains. I look forward to what’s sure to be a fascinating back story for everyone in this rogues gallery. There’s also a certain supporting character who seems to have taken a dramatic character turn, and I’m anxious to see how that plays out.
What can I say about the Sorrentino/Maiolo team that hasn’t already been said over and over again? This is an art team that continues to impress with every issue with they put out. Even 16 issues into their pairing they still throw fascinating art choices at the reader that surprise and impress. This issue includes a great retro-esque flashback sequence (pictured above) that effectively conveys the difference in time without being jarring, and is only distracting in that it is so impressive. Honestly both of these artists deserve the praise that they’ve been getting all over the internet.
Listen guys, this is a phenomenal comic book by anyone’s standards. If you like comic books at all you should check this out, it may surprise you just how much you enjoy it. Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo continue to hit it out of the park, and I only have two complaints about this comic book: That I have to wait a whole month for another issue, and that DC Comics hasn’t bumped up the size of the comic yet. Seriously guys, I just want more, has that been made clear?
What did you think of this issue? Did it blow you away? Are you as anxious for more as I am? Let us know your opinion in the comments.