By: Jeff Lemire (story), Andrea Sorrentino (art), Marcelo Maiolo (colors)
The Story: Ollie gets to experience the joy of having an annoying little sister.
The Review: When the DCU relaunched, the idea was supposedly that we were in a sparkling new world, with the characters living out their early superheroic histories before our very eyes. Going by that theory, you assumed that in the first few issues of Green Arrow, Ollie had only recently started going about town in his emerald hoodie. The introduction of Diggle thus creates a slightly awkward pre-history to this early period, one even odder since Ollie never gave a hint of its existence before now.
Lemire tries his best to reconcile these two eras in Ollie’s vigilante life, using the death of his mom as a sensible dividing line. But from a character development standpoint, there are redundancies. Lemire goes through a great deal of trouble playing out Diggle’s disgust with Ollie’s indolence after his mother’s death, accusing him of being a “self-absorbed, spoiled little rich kid with a lot of fancy toys.” Given that Ollie resumed the Green Arrow identity by the first issue of this series, Ollie must have taken those words to heart. But then what should we make of his self-loathing remarks about being a spoiled kid in practically every issue of Lemire’s first arc on this series?
Ollie’s evolution doesn’t operate so much like an escalator, where every issue takes him progressively upward, but works more like waves on the ocean; each crest leads invariably to a dip, which then springs back up to a slightly higher peak. Repetitive and tiresome it might be, but it very much reflects a good chunk of humanity and at the very least it ties into Ollie’s slightly self-destructive nature.
What’s interesting is that Ollie shares that tendency with not only Roy Harper, whom Diggle alleges was fired for his “self-destructive” bull, but with Diggle himself. Incensed that Diggle took over Green Arrow duties during his sabbatical, Ollie grates that when they first associated, Diggle was “[s]ome washed up vet who was drinking himself to death!” So it perhaps isn’t surprising that a team of three borderline addicts broke up, but how great would it have been to see them in action for however long they lasted?
It probably would’ve been more entertaining than having the largely useless Naomi and Fyff hovering on the sidelines, wringing their hands over what they should do. Even though Lemire made a conscious decision to retain Naomi and create Fyff, he doesn’t actually seem to know what to do with them. Mostly, they show up whenever Ollie’s in a bad spot and Lemire’s not exactly sure how to get him out of it and personality-wise, neither have been so likable that you’re particularly concerned if one of them dies, as it looks like one of them might by the end of this issue.
Sadly, Emiko has proven more fruitful as a supporting character in the few pages she appears in here than Naomi and Fyff have during their entire lifetimes on this title. This is hard for me to admit because, as I’ve said before, I sort of dislike precocious young characters as a rule. But the immediate sibling rivalry and squabbling between Ollie and Emiko is pretty amusing, especially when both are relating over their horrible parents (on Shado, both agree “That woman is crazy!” and both wholeheartedly believe that Robert Queen just sucks). Less amusing is Ollie sinking to infantile behavior in claiming the Green Arrow identity: “No one wears the hood except for ME!
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned anything about the progress of the ongoing plot. Well, there’s a very good reason for that: there is none, or barely any. The issue is mostly Ollie continuing to deal with the three D-Listers* until one of them spits out Dragon’s location (and adds, quite unnecessarily, “it’s like a fortress up there!”). Toodles.
At least the action is pretty good, especially every time Ollie pulls out yet another completely implausible trick arrow (“Pyrotechnics arrow,” “Tornado arrow, you psycho.”). Sorrentino does well with these scenes, of course, but the many dramatic sequences in this issue reveal his limitations. There’s always been a kind of vagueness to his characters’ faces; their features are so small, delicate, and shadowy that you tend to lose sight of their actual expression. While some close-ups reveal that Sorrentino indeed knows how to capture a complicated emotion—Ollie’s selfish resentment, Diggle’s judgmental anger—most times the characters have a strangely neutral look to them.
Conclusion: An admirable feat of continuity massage from Lemire, although the story doesn’t go much of anywhere.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * Which sounds like the less popular cousins to the Three Amigos.
– I can’t get over Emiko’s ridiculously sudden appearance. So are we to assume that within an hour of refusing Ollie’s offer to join him, she discovers that her precious mother is nuts then somehow makes her way from freaking Europe to Star City on her own?