Ever since reading Green Arrow: Year One, I have been really excited to read more about this character. That particular trade set the bar pretty high though, and I worried that future trades might fall short.
Luckily, Green Arrow doesn’t disappoint, and his turn in this collection is just as good.
I can’t decide why I liked this trade better: the artwork or the story.
Truth be told, both are equally good, with the artwork complementing the story exceedingly well.
In this collection, a (slightly older) Oliver Queen has just moved to Seattle with Dinah Lance, and is hunting down a serial killer while being pulled into a mystery surrounding another archer in town, a mysterious woman who has been brutally assassinating a slew of older men.
With all of this going on, the story feels complete, filling in the gaps that are so often overlooked in other comics.
The personal interactions between Oliver and Dinah were especially poignant, with Oliver realizing he wants children, while Dinah proclaims that she will never have them:
This scene was particularly powerful, and more than a little sad. Addressing the harsh realities of being a superhero, the reader can’t help but pity the characters and the personal lives they can never lead.
I found the artwork particularly striking, feeling more akin to the painterly style of Green Arrow: Year One than the recent collections I’ve read. Not only was the artwork itself well done, but the styling of the pages themselves created a very unique reading experience.
I love the symmetry in this panel (as well as the fact that it’s not technically a “panel” since it’s not blocked in like the rest). This image is uncontained on the page, a technique I’ve seen used numerous times in comics and one I’m a particular fan of.
There’s just something about the non-traditional layout that appeals to me. I’ll admit, when you’re not familiar with it, it can be difficult to follow which panel you’re supposed to read in what order, as it doesn’t always follow a standard left to right, top to bottom flow. The quality of the images as a whole more than make up for that, though.
Honestly, look at this. There is so much more depth and emotion on this page than can be found in an entire issue of some older comics. Plus, this represents the “show, don’t tell” style so perfectly, of which I am most definitely a fan.
Truth be told, reading this after coming straight off of the brevity in Justice League International was certainly a major shift. There aren’t very many moments in this comic to approach lightly. The overall tone is much more serious in nature here, feeling more akin to certain Batman trades I’ve read than some of the more recent JL or Superman issues.
Although I like the comedic aspect (and it’s certainly a little more fun to write about), I still really enjoy these more serious comics. They end up feeling a bit more substantial than some of the lighter storylines, and help to provide a complete range of emotions on “the shelf”.
Now I’m just left wondering if Green Arrow and Black Canary ever do get to have a kid together. I certainly hope so. (Because you know, that was the only plotline in this trade. I’m not overlooking another more complex, in-depth storyline that doesn’t involve the two of them. Nope, didn’t happen.)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I get way too emotionally invested in some of these characters. I may need an intervention soon.
Arrow/Canary luv luv.