Green Arrow #38 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Juan Ferreyra, Artist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Green Arrow #38 is the conclusion of Ben Percy’s run on Green Arrow, and it ends pretty much as it spent the entire run – imperfect, but with a good core and very entertaining. Almost the entire run has been drawn by a trio of wildly talented artists – Otto Schmidt, Stephen Byrne, and this issue’s Juan Ferreyra – and their unmistakable style is a big part of the issue’s appeal. This final issue, now that most of the major villains have been defeated, focuses on Ollie’s trial, as he quickly dismisses his attorney Kate Spencer (with a handsome parting gift) and proceeds to represent himself. Knowing the odds are against him, he focuses his defense not on defending himself but on implicating every member of the Ninth’s Circle’s gang that he can. And he’s not alone – he’s got the entire Justice League working behind the scenes to help him out. These scenes, showing the core group of allies Ollie’s built, are among the issue’s best.
I laughed at scenes like Flash speeding the prosecutor out of the courtroom and into the mountains, but the core of the issue is Ollie’s big speech to the court, where he exposes the depth of corruption in the city – as well as his own family’s involvement in it. This is socially active Ollie at his most vocal, putting Star City and capitalism on trial alongside him. Your interest in this speech will likely depend on how much you agree with him. Ollie gets off free when Wendy shows up to the courtroom, but it’s what happens next that really sells the issue. He takes what he was saying, and puts it into practice – using his family’s dirty fortune to create a positive network of social welfare around the newly renamed Seattle, and creating a legacy far bigger than the one he had as Green Arrow. And for once, his relationship with Dinah felt genuine. Would have liked to see more Emiko than a few scenes with her in a hospital bed, but she and Dinah’s friendship was a low-key highlight of this run. I’m hoping that the next creative team – be it Lanzing and Kelly, or someone else – do well by her, and the whole cast.
Corrina: At times, I basically gave up on Percy’s run because while it had all the pieces that I should have enjoyed, including Black Canary and Emiko, and Ollie’s intense need to protect his city, I found constant problems that prevented me from fully embracing it.
Those problems included the main villain, the Ninth Circle, which never acquired any distinctive personality; the missteps in handling Roy’s reunion with Ollie; and the baffling emotional connection between Dinah and Ollie that seemed to rely on nothing more than a surface sexual attraction and failed to show why these two people connected emotionally. (Grell’s variant cover shown above reminded me just how much time Grell’s classic stories spent on building up the relationships between Ollie and Dinah and how much time was also spent nurturing the complex emotions in that relationship.)
Mostly, Percy seemed to have a particular plot in mind that required characters to do certain things, rather than having that plot emanating from character decisions. That means people like Moira would show up and do their thing without setup and then the fallout (such as her betrayal) was supposed to feel emotional but it didn’t. Or characters would walk on, show promise, and not be used often or well, such as Kate Spencer.
But there was always the art, which has been a feast for the eyes, though I’m slightly more partial to Schmidt’s work. And there were always individual scenes that worked too, such as the ending montage in this issue. The arc did succeed in defining Ollie for this generation of comic readers, too, settling him back into the familiar liberal bowman who wears his heart on his sleeve.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.