By: Jeff Lemire (story), Andrea Sorrentino (art), Marcelo Maiolo (colors)

The Story: Ollie attends the least heartwarming family reunion ever.

The Review: So Lemire was serious about killing off Robert Queen after all. A pity, though not much of one, in all honesty. Having revealed he was still alive only four issues ago and showing little character to be admired since then, it’s not as if you’re particularly attached to his existence. Even Ollie, after giving himself a moment to mourn for all that was wasted between them, refuses to get maudlin about it, and allows the Outsiders to bury Robert on the island, away from the rest of his family, significantly enough.

There’s a poetic, even karmic, justice to all this. Robert, whose pointless obsession with the Totem Arrow led him to abandon his wife and nearly kill his son, dies for the sake of his family, even if it’s not the one he left behind in Star City. Komodo gets his comeuppance, too. After raising his child to be an Outsider on a foundation of lies, his child lives up to her upbringing by taking out the man who betrayed her all her life. A deserving end for Komodo, but at a monstrous cost to Emiko.

And for what? What’s so great about this glowing green arrow that these two men were willing to set their children aside for it? As with all parts of the Outsiders mythology, Lemire only gives us vague hints. “The Arrow is enlightenment,” says Magus, “The Arrow shows the true path.” Indeed, when Ollie and Komodo take hold of the Arrow, they’re flooded with visions of past, present, and future, though any advantage to be gained is shut down once Ollie snaps the Arrow in disgust over all that’s happened.

A shame to see such a promising idea tossed before it fully came to fruition, but it’s a good moment for Ollie, proving that unlike any of the Outsiders, even Katana, his closest counterpart, he’s a true hero. Magus makes some grand speeches about taking control of the Outsiders to become a force for good, conveniently trying to shrug off scrutiny for the death and crimes the clans have become responsible for. Ollie is having none of that, though the possibility remains for the Outsiders’ return into his life.

Leaving the Outsiders also means leaving his sister, who chooses to stick to her guns and by her long-lost mom, despite his offer to take her away from it all. While this leaves Ollie and Emiko’s relationship at loose ends, it’s probably the only sensible ending for the kid. Having murdered her own adoptive father before hitting puberty, she was never going to adjust to even a half-life of normalcy. At least, if Magus is serious about cleaning up the Outsiders’ act, she can follow Shado’s footsteps and turn her damaged, twisted towards better things.

Ollie might have done good, getting rid of an object of power but also so much strife, but when you take a step back, you realize he had a really limited part in stopping the evil Outsiders. Besides the fact that Emiko steals his chance to take care of Komodo, it’s Katana who singlehandedly stops Onyx from setting out with another payload of chemical weapons. It’s a less impressive feat than it sounds, mostly involving Tatsu slicing off the fists off every member of the Fist Clan, including Onyx, who comes armed with the Fist Totem, no less. That’s been a consistent problem for this arc, the fact that despite its emphasis on martial arts and weaponry, sequences of both have been a bit scarce and all too brief.

What little there is, Sorrentino definitely makes the most of. Katana’s hand-chopping is brutal, but elegant, and her victory over Onyx is superbly rendered as two panels separating Onyx’s limb from her writhing body, splitting apart as if Katana’s sword cut through the very fabric of the story itself. Between Sorrentino’s consistently brilliant layouts and Maiolo expertly juxtaposing the uncolored against the monochrome, the issue is, like its predecessors, visually mesmerizing, a virtuoso performance of two artists elevating a slightly above-average script into necessary reading.

Conclusion: This arc with the Outsiders didn’t quite live up to its promise, but at least it more often than not profited by its ambition.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – In Star City news, Diggle, Fyff, and Naomi’s efforts to handle Richard Dragon on their own go astray when—surprise, surprise—their alliance with a mobster falls through. Dragon is joined not only by Vertigo, but by Killer Moth, Brick, and Red Dart. I like it.