Green Arrow Annual #2 – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Writers; Carmen Carnero, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Good Start to a GA run
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The Benson sisters, recently of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, are jumping onto Green Arrow in a few months and this annual serves as a preview. It’s also a tie-in with Justice League: No Justice – oddly, coming out the week that the main event closes but set during the events of the first issue. It’s also, to my eye, a significant level-up over the Bensons’ previous work. It begins by revealing that Green Arrow has been given something powerful in the aftermath of the event – a mysterious box that is supposed to be able to keep the Justice League in check if they ever go rogue. Its exact nature isn’t revealed here, but the story then flashes back to the day of Brainiac’s seeming attack, and what this issue does is pretty clever – while the main event told the story from the perspective of the big heroes who were drafted by Brainiac, this one shows the event from the perspective of the people on the ground. And as massive skull-shaped spaceships descend and countless heroes go into comas, it’s terrifying for a street-level hero like Green Arrow.
While most of Green Arrow’s supporting cast are missing in action this issue – Emiko and Roy can’t be reached, while Black Canary is unconscious with the rest of the Justice League of America. However, Ollie does get a partner in Barbara Gordon, who is mostly in her Oracle role behind the camera and trying to figure out exactly what’s going on in the chaos of Brainiac’s invasion. The two have a good banter, between Ollie’s typical snarky anger and Barbara’s sarcastic cool. It feels like Bensons; take on Barbara is better when away from the Birds of Prey framework. The issue flags a little when it follows the plot of the main No Justice event more closely, like when Ollie confronts Amanda Waller in the Arctic. However, it leaves an intriguing hanging plot thread in the mysterious fail-safe that Ollie is given by Martian Manhunter. This will be followed up on in the second arc of the Bensons’ Green Arrow, and so far I’m intrigued.
Corrina: I approached this comic with trepidation, having not enjoyed the Bensons’ previous stories, but was pleasantly surprised. Whether it’s being freed from the restricting framework of using the Birds of Prey without any of the main characters being the same as in the original conception of the series, whether the Bensens have leveled up with comic storytelling, or whether the improvement is because they’re working on plot points set up by other creators, I have no idea.
Readers should simply be pleased that it’s good. I find most cosmic event stories to be more interesting at the street level, so this use of Ollie was perfect, and his banter with Barbara worked much better than any use of Barbara as Oracle in the recent series. (How come we didn’t get this kind of thing in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey?)
I’m less thrilled with the “box of power” that Ollie receives, annoyed that he wouldn’t confide in Dinah about it, and a bit skeptical that it’s a good enough plot device for an entire run, but we’ll see.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.