Written by Shawna Benson, Julie Benson
Illustrated by Carmen Carnero
Published by DC Comics
“Sometimes you get so busy being the boots on the ground, you forget to look up to see who’s stomping on you.”
This year’s Green Arrow Annual is a straightforward superhero tale, that is more a showcase for the book’s new incoming creative team, than anything truly new, exciting or inspiring.
That’s not their fault, this is a tie-in story to the Justice League: No Justice event that’s just finished up, so most of the events it describes are a rehash of what we already know in broad strokes.
To be fair that leaves a lot of detail to fill in, and indeed Green Arrow’s adventure consists primarily to fill in some of these gaps – what happens on Earth while the bulk of the Justice League has been abducted to space by Braniac; how (sort of) the remaining heroes on earth get defeated and taken off the board; and how Ollie escapes that fate and lands himself in the thick of the action here at home.
In that regard it would have been far more satisfying to get this story earlier in the month.
Instead, it appears that the Annual is meant to serve mostly as a transition bridge from the latest era of Green Arrow into the next, complete with a heavy emphasis on a new role for Green Arrow: caretaker of the new mysterious fail safe device that will take down the Justice League, should Ollie ever decide they need to be stopped.
Of course, that can’t possibly take long.
Oliver Queen is known for railing against the over-reaching power of the League. In that regard he’s not far removed from Amanda Waller, who he spends much of this adventure squaring off against to save the League, and all the heroes of earth, to say nothing of the several million people she seems willing to nuke in order to ‘save the planet’. But Ollie is a hero, so save them he does.
And it seems that this effort earns him the honor of playing Good Cop to Amanda’s Bad in whatever super-fiasco Scott Snyder is clearly laying the groundwork for in his new Justice League run, launching this summer.
But all of this is laid out in No Justice. So, what do we need this book for? Maybe nothing. But there are a few things this story does do well that I think bode well for the coming run of Green Arrow.
The art is solid. Carmen Carnero could use a bit more polish, but this is a good book to develop his chops, with a pretty even blend of the human and the fantastic and lots of action sequences to play with.
Writers Julie and Shawna Benson also turn in decent work. The plotting may be necessarily unoriginal for their debut, but their scripting shows that they understand not only comics storytelling in general, but the character of Oliver Queen in particular.
And so, Ollie not only shows much of the character evolution that has crept in from the CW storylines, but in many important regards it’s back to the basics. Here we have Ollie’s trademark aggressive, never say die, style. Ping-ponging from the great big elitist chip on his shoulder, to displays of overprotective emoting, to his signature principled outrage, Ollie is every bit the hero we’ve always known. Throw in a penchant for bad relationship judgment, and a dusted-off Arrowplane, along with the likelihood that he’ll continue to run both of them hot and rough, and it seems our swashbuckler playboy is back folks.
May he prove up to all the burdens he doesn’t want but will always protect with his dying breath. Mark my words, he’ll be the hero we really need when all the chips are down.
And maybe sooner than we think.
Next Issue: Jailbreak, courtesy of the Parasite! Julie and Shawna Benson will return with their debut arc in Green Arrow #43