Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes
Colours: Ulises Arreola
Here we are again with another issue of the revamped Green Arrow, and it’s clear after this last issue that this isn’t your parents’ Sherwood Forest and surely not their Robin Hood. Trick arrows and green power rings meet high-tech gizmos and highly trained covert operatives in this issue, but as cool as that all sounds, does the issue fall off after a great first issue?
What’s the Story?
“Nature has always been more resilient than any creature on the planet. Despite man’s best efforts to destroy the landscape, it always comes back. Fighting through the scorched earth to grow and thrive once again. But this time – Star City has witnessed an entire forest sprouting up from the ground overnight. This is not the work of Mother Nature. It’s something else”
The book begins on that note, showing a mysterious man we’ve yet to be introduced to walking through the forest. We begin the issue with Green Lantern and Green Arrow talking after Green Lantern crashed to the forest bed in Green Arrow #1. They quickly discuss the forest and the white lantern symbol vibrantly illuminating the trunk of a tree. It’s quickly explained for the non-Green Lantern readers what the white lantern power is, what it did in Blackest Night and how it caused an entire forest to sprout up. Jordan explains that he came to check up on his friend, Green Arrow, and to investigate the forest.
In the next scenes the new owner of Queen Industries, Isabel Rochev recounts her past in her diary. She explains where she came from and her humble beginnings amidst poverty and slavery. She continues to display her admiration for Robert Queen, Green Arrow’s father. She paraphrases a quote from Robert in reference to the world. She says:
“It did not care if you were male or female, young or old, rich or poor. You need only the strength and the resolve to rise above and seize control”
Rochev seems content with her path thus far and she proclaims once more that she will return Queen Industries to its past glory, interestingly parting by saying that the name will be hers, as well as its legacy. She only has a need to rid herself of “that bastard of a son”.
We return to Hal and Ollie as they joke about Ollie living inside a cave within the forest. Ollie tells him that he was a fool to think he could be both Green Arrow and Oliver Queen, to defend the people of the city and be one of them as well. The two are suddenly attacked. Ollie jumps into the fray to protect both himself and Hal whose ring has been depowered since he arrived in the forest. He quickly dispatches several troops while Hal grabs a large tree branch and swings it like a Louisville slugger over some unsuspecting noggins. Unfortunately more troops arrive, and Ollie and Hal retreat. They quickly come up with a plan to re-power Hal’s Green Lantern ring. Ollie tells him to grab a vine, which he then shoots, sending Hal flying into the tree canopy and beyond. His ring sparks, and Hal dispatches the troops’ helicopters while Ollie fights the ground troops. The rest are disposed of, and we fast forward to a final conversation between the two hard travelling heroes.
Ollie explains to Hal who the soldiers were and who commissioned them.. Hal flies off, but not before making it clear he’s still welcome on Watchtower, the Justice League headquarters. Ollie uses his makeshift vine-elevator to rise into the tree canopy. As he does though, the vine snaps and he falls to the forest bed. When he examines the vine, he notices it’s been cut. He then turns around just in time to catch an arrow in the middle of his forehead.
The Pretty, Pretty Pictures
The art continues to amaze. The team does a great job of coming together to create a vivid, colourful landscape that brings the forest to life. Some of the characters don’t feel as detailed as in the previous issue, such as Green Lantern which seems clumsily drawn in a few panels. In some panels it feels like the team arbitrarily becomes lazy. In earlier panels Oliver Queen’s eyes are visible through his domino mask, while in scenes where Hal and Ollie navigate his cave, they aren’t despite drawing similar close-up shots of Green Arrow. It feels like there’s a lack of continuity in the art in that respect. Even still, the team continues a trend seen in the last issue where some of the arts bleeds and leads the reader’s eyes to specific points on the page, or the art and panels are arranged cerebrally to illicit certain reactions from the reader. In one page while Hal and Ollie are talking, they stand at the base of the large tree with the white lantern symbol on it. On this page, reading from left to right, the tree leads your eyes down to its base where Ollie and Hal continue their conversation. At the bottom of the page, we see Hal in the background speaking to Ollie. Following to the right, Ollie turns and looks directly at you as though you were Hal Jordan. It feels as though the art attempts to establish a connection between the characters and the reader, conversationally bringing the reader into the story.
In contrast to the forest scenes, the team yang’s the dynamic of the forest by shifting focus to the Star City skyline. We see Rochev standing at the top floor of the Queen Industries offices looking out across the city to the forest. I liked this scene because it contrasted the previous scene with Green Arrow and Green Lantern, while also alluding back to the opening monologue by Green Arrow about man’s destruction of nature. There are some other nice touches like the helicopters as they converge on the forest from above while Ollie and Hal walk through the cave Ollie uses for a hideout. This shows another stark contrast between the technological world of man again contrasting against the simplified life Arrow leads within the forest. Overall the art is quite nice and despite some very minor flaws, continues to do what it does well. Minor touches like those mentioned or watching a blood trail fly through the air as in the last issue, the art does a great job of conveying an underlaying story while offering a more mature freeze frame of the action.
Krul and company continue to impress. Although the overall experience was lacking in comparison to the first issue, the team delivered an issue that explains the forest to new readers, how it got there and attempt to slowly build toward an explanation of what it holds for the future of both Oliver Queen and the larger DC Universe. It didn’t take long though for the team to work in the obligatory Green Arrow-Green Lantern team-up issue, doing it about five issues faster than Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run. It works functionally here, and doesn’t have a forced “hey we’re both here fighting dudes, let’s team-up” feel to it. The team-up serves a functional purpose within the story to explain the backstory behind the forest, and to set-up the introduction of the eventual merry men (and women).
Because of that though, the story didn’t progress much beyond what we saw in the first issue. It essentially can be summed up as: Hal Jordan falls out of the sky, they walk around and visit the Arrow-Cave, leave the Arrow-Cave and walk around more, get attacked, fend off attackers and then Ollie is shot. Despite the lack of story progression, two additional pieces of the story were set in motion or built upon. One, we gain a larger perspective of who Isabel Rochev is on a personal level. We see her in her office writing in a diary. Here she communicates her thoughts on Robert Queen, Oliver’s father. This strongly hints at a deeper relationship between the two, as she writes reverently about the man who shaped her life, while also showing disdain for Oliver. It’s far fetched, but the two could be connected more than we think. Second, the arrow which strikes Green Arrow in the head is interesting. It’s black, so considering Green Arrow’s rogues, it’s likely either Shado or Merlyn who did the deed. Both have shot Queen and purposely missed a kill-shot in the past. Despite Ollie seeming very dead at the end of the issue, I think it is less likely the former scenario and more likely someone was sent to kill Oliver and succeeded. I think we’ll see the forest resurrect Queen back to health, because this obviously isn’t the end of the story.
It was a good issue overall. Albeit slightly snail-paced due to its focus, it looks like the story is on the verge of expanding as Queen’s cast of characters grows, and we learn more about the mysteries behind both the forest and Queen Industries’ new owner.