Green Arrow #24 by Jeff Lemire – Friday Flash Review [Shadowhawk/Bane of Kings]
Shadowhawk and Bane of Kings take a look at the latest issue of Jeff Lemire’s Green Arrow run.
“Sometimes it so happens that all the popular acclaim for a series is understated. This is one of those times.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
“As usual, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino continue to deliver on one of my favourite ongoing DC Comics, providing a perfect jumping on point for new readers that really gives you no excuse to miss out.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
Given Green Arrow’s appearances in the second arc of Geoff Johns’ Justice League (New 52), I was massively turned off of the character, despite the fact that I really liked the Justice League Unlimited version. It wasn’t until last year’s surprise hit Arrow from CW that I really got into the character and could root for him again. The fresh take on the hero and on his home-city really changed how I looked at him. But I still wasn’t reading the comics with him since I wasn’t hearing anything good about them. Then, this year Jeff Lemire started writing them and the praises kept flooding in. Bane of Kings, who was following the series, suggested I check out the comics in August and I thought sure, why not. I had enjoyed the issue in August, #23, and the Villain’s Month issue with Count Vertigo was pretty damn good. These two issues gave me pretty much all the information I needed to know about Count Vertigo and they proved to be good “intro” issues to this new issue, in which things finally go down between Count Vertigo and Green Arrow.
The most striking thing about this issue is Andrea Sorrentino’s art. He has a very distinct and unique style to his work, which is completely different from what anyone else in DC is doing right now. All of his panels are extremely detailed and they offer up a host of visual stimuli, especially some subtle visual clues as to what’s going to happen next in a panel. Or just hints in general which tie into what happens in later panels and they leave you amazed when you go back and do another read-through.
Combine his pencils with Marcell Maiolo’s psychedelic artwork and you’ve got a recipe for mega-success on your hands. There are lots of dominant colours in this issue: reds and yellows with a dose of black and green, and they all work together really nicely. The colours highlight the right elements of each panel and they make the details pop out so you’d take notice of them. Visually, Green Arrow is easily one of the best books that DC is putting out right now.
That said, the series isn’t all that far behind with the writing either. Jeff Lemire, who I’m familiar with from his work on Constantine and Justice League Dark and Trillium is pretty much a perfect fit for the series. He really seems to be able to get into the mindset of Ollie and his supporting cast, and I say that as someone who has never read any Green Arrow comics before. I’m going off on just my experience with the various animated features and Arrow. His dialogue is always spot on and it conveys a really nice sense of story and pacing throughout, which is all the more important since there is so little exposition here. Each panel is full of dialogue and shows character interactions and dynamics in one way or another.
There’s essentially no wasted space anywhere in the comic. And that goes for the artwork as well. After reading #23 in August, I really wanted to go back and read the rest of the issues that Jeff Lemire has written for the series. Now last month’s Count Vertigo #1 issue and this new one have made it a necessity. I really want to catch-up. If you are looking for a good jumping-on point for the series, then this one certainly qualifies for that position. This brings the current arc to an end, and it also recaps a lot of the previous story which was really helpful for me since I don’t know exactly what all has happened before I picked up the series.
Hopefully it is the same for you as well.
Bane of Kings:
Art: Andrea Sorrentino | Colourist: Marcelo Maiolo | Letterer: Rob Leigh | Cover: Andrea Sorrentino and Marvelo Maiolo
After months away, Green Arrow returns to Seattle with new ally Shado at his side. But a furious Count Vertigo is hot on their tail! Plus, the city’s mysterious new crimelord is revealed!
Wow. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have been continuously knocking the ball out of the park for this series ever since they jumped on with #17, proving that they should have been the creative team behind this series from the get go, and #24 is a welcome return to the ongoing adventures of Green Arrow following the break in the ongoing story for Villain’s Month, and I’m glad to have this series back. Both halves of the creative team continue to put out their best work over the course of the series, and when it’s the best of Lemire and Sorrentino, you know you’re in for something special. Seriously – if you’re not already reading this comic, you should be – Green Arrow ranks as my second favourite ongoing book at DC now behind Snyder’s Batman and each issue continues to excel.
This issue sees Ollie return to America with Shado – whom he rescued from Count Vertigo in previous issues, and his two tech-experts, Naomi Singh and Henry Fyff. It’s certainly fun to see these four members of the team working together, and when you take into consideration the fact that Diggle, who some readers may recognise from the Arrow TV show – has just made his first appearance in the comic, could end up joining Team Arrow if this series follows the same route as the show, then you’ll be in for something special here. Green Arrow #24 uses all its characters very well, and even Count Vertigo – the main villain, gets a fair amount of screen time in this book. I fully look forward to seeing where Lemire and Sorrentino take it after Zero Year in #25, so I’ll certainly be sticking with the book to find out what happens then.
From start to finish, Sorrentino’s visuals are superb. The cover itself strikes me as being similar to the posters for the original Star Wars movies in the way that they have all the main characters on the page at once, and this approach really pays off as I loved how the characters are presented on the page. Seriously, each cover that Sorrentino has produced has been epic, and this one is no exception. It may even top #17 as my favourite cover – it’s just that awesome. Sorrentino is one of my Top 5 favourite artists and he justifies why he is in that list (and that’s no small thing, as he’s within the ranks of incredible artists like Francesco Francavilla, Greg Capullo, JH Williams III & Jim Lee). The splash pages are epic and the consistency continues to be really strong throughout. The first page alone is jaw-dropping – and it doesn’t let up until the very end. Lemire’s storyline is equally exceptional as well, with the confrontation between Arrow, Shado and Vertigo being executed very well even if the ending may be somewhat anticlimactic, especially as Ollie dispatched Vertigo somewhat easily given the fact he was built up to be a main villain.
But that’s literally the only problem that I had with Green Arrow #24. Sure, it was a little frustrating to have a recap of the series so far, but it was kept brief and not overlong – and what’s more, as this provides a perfectly good jumping on point for the book, you shouldn’t miss it out. This book has been receiving praise from pretty much everyone anywhere, and it’s one book that I’ve been pretty much telling everyone to pick up for a while now, it’s really something that deserves as much attention as the likes of Justice League and Batman. My opinion is of course, biased – as I’m an unapologetic fanboy for Lemire and Sorrentino’s run – but it’s one thing that really, really deserves it. It’s a heck of an awesome read, and if you’re not reading it then you don’t know what you’re missing out on.