Green Arrow #43 – Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Writers; Javier Fernandez, Artist; John Kalisz, Colorist
Ray – 4/10
Ray: The first issue of the Benson sisters’ run on Green Arrow was actually the recent annual, which tied in to Justice League: No Justice and was actually a highly entertaining action-adventure that made good use of Amanda Waller, Barbara Gordon, and Ollie himself. Despite my issues with their Birds of Prey run, that made me optimistic that they might have the right angle for Green Arrow. Those hopes were largely dashed with Green Arrow #34, an issue that seems to have the right ideas for what a Green Arrow run should be, but not the execution to pull it off. Picking up from the annual, with Ollie dealing with a massive responsibility of a secret anti-Justice League weapon courtesy of Martian Manhunter, the story immediately shifts the focus to the partnership between Ollie and Roy Harper, who are teaming up to stop a corrupt landlord named Jubal Slade from blowing up buildings with tenants inside. A high-wire escape kicks the book off with a bang, but the dialogue is an issue – Slade is far too cartoonishly evil, and Roy and Ollie’s constant snark feels like they’ve come nowhere in regards to sorting out their partnership.
Also, where’s Emiko? Ollie and Dinah are moving in together, and seem to be moving forward with their relationship – Emiko’s a big part of that. She’s Ollie’s sister and he’s her legal guardian, but she seems to have been left to go off by herself to capture criminals with Damian. DC really doesn’t like to let its superhero parents actually be parents, does it? The dialogue in this issue is a big problem. It drops a lot of major plot threads including the secret weapon and Roy apparently having ties to Sanctuary, but the dialogue (using words like “tum-tum”) is so overly jokey that it doesn’t give the scenes any weight. The biggest problem, though, is the villain – The Citizen, a radical Anarky-like villain who targets the rich and corrupt, executing Jubal Slade late in the issue and setting his sights on Ollie in the next issue. Green Arrow comics should be socially relevant, but this is a very clumsy handling of a character who seems like a more violent version of Anarky. Having him actually refer to himself as a “Social Justice Warrior” feels like a bad flashback to the awkward arc of Birds of Prey involving radfems trying to commit genocide against the men in Gotham. Based on this first issue, this run wants to deal with heavy issues, but it’s bitten off a lot more than it can chew.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.