By: Andrew Kreisberg & Ben Sokolowski (story), Daniel Sampere (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks), Gabe Eltaeb (colors)

The Story: Ollie hates people who steal from orphanages and mergers equally.

The Review: When Jeff Lemire first took over this series, I accused him of discarding much of the continuity that had been established on the series up to that point. My concern at the time was almost purely abstract; since I never really read Green Arrow before Lemire came aboard, I didn’t actually care how much of the past remained. Now, with over eighteen issues under my belt, I have more reason to be invested.

Which is why it’s especially distressing that Kreisberg-Sokolowski decide to do away with nearly all the features of Lemire’s run. At least Lemire had the good manners to remove things as part of the story; Kreisberg-Sokolowski merely toss everything out with the bathwater in a clipped update from Diggle: “Emiko‘s off training. Naomi’s been off grid for three months and Fyff took another job. Face it, Queen. I’m all you got left.”

For anyone other than a total newbie to the series, this is unacceptable. Kreisberg-Sokolowski are free to get rid of any characters they don’t find useful to their story, but to do so this shabbily is nothing but pure laziness. No matter how you slice it, disposing nearly the entire supporting cast without even showing where they end up or how they took off reeks of change for its own sake, the basis for some of the worst decisions ever made. And I say this without even particularly liking Emiko, Naomi, or Fyff.

In their place are two new (?) characters: Dr. Cross, who helps patch Ollie up after his nightly excursions, and Zehra, Ollie’s new assistant at Queen Consolidated and potential romantic interest (apparently, they shared a kiss in Paris). Neither offer much in the way of personality except to lecture Ollie for his poor choices of vigilantism and business.

That leaves Diggle to carry most of the weight left behind by our departed characters, and although he makes a decent foil to Ollie, he doesn’t provide the energy Green Arrow needs. It’s not like he was much of a firecracker on Arrow, either.

And then there’s [Spoiler Alert!] the appearance of Felicity Smoak. Much as I love her, I question what Kreisberg-Sokolowski plan to do with her on this series. As a potential ally, she would only serve the same role Naomi and Fyff did—and if that’s why those two lovebirds are gone now, Kreisberg-Sokolowski are even more arrogant than you believed. They’d have more integrity making her a villain, which is how she first appears in the issue’s cliffhanger, though she makes a pretty cruddy one if she’s seriously revealing herself in person now.

And just to prove they can be equally heavy-handed working the plot as the characters, Kreisberg-Sokolowski focus much of their debut issue on a long scene in which Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne fail to get Ollie to join their partnership.* The substance of their conversation doesn’t matter; it’s just a lot of talk to make the point that Ollie’s a rebel and no one’s going to tell him what to do. Frankly, Ollie doesn’t even offer a very good reason for refusing, and eventually falls back on personal acrimony, which makes no one look bad here except Ollie.

The art is on the slightly higher end of DC’s house style, nearly a replica of Aaron Lopresti’s bold figures, but this is clearly a step down from Andrea Sorrentino’s hip, gritty, entirely unique work. Sampere does a fine job capturing the basics of the script, but he neither enhances nor does he make the visuals an attractive feature on their own. Eltaeb’s coloring is similarly fine, although the purple bruising he splashes on Ollie looks more like Ollie came from a hectic paintball match than a night of vigilantism.

Conclusion: Writers who feel like they can make major changes without explanation can’t be trusted. Dropped.

Grade: C-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: * Luthor and Bruce must be bleeding money to keep the antitrust suits at bay. Between the two of them, they’ve “generated an economy greater than ninety-five percent of the national GDP.” They basically are the 1%.