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Green Arrow is on a road trip. Ever since his company, and Star City, are bankrupt by a villainous cadre called the Ninth Circle, Arrow treks the country in search of answers. His alter ego, Oliver Queen, is also framed for murder. As a result Ollie searches for redemption and further information on those who run the Ninth Circle.
Given that the main lever of influence in this tangled web is money, his next stop takes him to the richest man in Metropolis (if not the world); Lex Luthor. In this great self-contained episode of a larger narrative, writer Benjamin Percy and artist Juan Ferreyra continue a great run on Green Arrow. In addition to a fun guest appearance from Superman (it is Metropolis after all), this issue conveys the hero Ollie is despite the hardships he endures.
As part three of the “Hard-Traveling Hero” arc, this issue does a great job explaining the broader stakes while focusing on the current crisis. The story opens with Green Arrow entering Luthor’s office, hands up and surrounded by guards. Naturally, he makes short work of them and cuts to the chase with Luthor.
The two then launch into a back and forth of exposition. This covers the trail that leads Ollie to Luthor, the opposing political views they share, and a warning that the Circle is coming for LexCorp next. Normally a big exposition dump like this can be cumbersome, but Percy and Ferreyra balance it superbly with the action that unfolds as they talk.
In the midst of their conversation a massive cyber-attack unleashes the dirty laundry of every LexCorp employee and subliminally inspires suicide. Each panel of text bubbles is followed by another where Superman catches falling people, stops buses, etc.
In addition to the great pacing of the story is the great characterization of our major players. Arrow is always a “bleeding-heart” liberal, so convincing Luthor that the people he employs are his real strength makes for compelling dialogue. There’s also the fantastic interactions between Superman and Ollie, in particular their exchange after saving the city:
Superman: You’re still a disagreeable, sarcastic loose cannon…but I’m proud of you.
Green Arrow: Thanks, America’s Dad.
For being a small step toward the larger plot, this is a supremely well crafted one-shot that shows Green Arrow’s progress as a hero, his standing among his peers, and the social values that influence his actions. There’s a lot of talking to establish all that, so it’s a relief that the art is equally great.
Ever since Rebirth launched, I’ve read the art in Green Arrow is far and away some of the best DC has to offer. This issue is certainly no exception. Ferreyra masterfully breaks down the opening action, from Ollie disarming Luthor’s guards to a casual Clark Kent subtly stopping a mugging.
Superman in particular gets a great splash page as he rescues a suicide attempt. The line-work and color create soft hues that simultaneously convey the propelling forces and action. When the city continues to descend into chaos and Ollie joins the fray, their teamwork makes for several fantastic panels. These are two heroes that aren’t often paired together. As a result, seeing Supes catch a grappling arrow to swing Ollie into the path of a falling innocent is as satisfying as it is action packed.
Faces get great treatment here too. Superman’s glee at a job well done and Arrow’s respect are apparent, just as their shared disdain for Luthor shows when he drops in to thank them. Brightly defined colors take what could be a grim story and turn it into fresh optimism.
Which Ollie will sorely need, it turns out. In return for his assistance, Luthor provides him with a clue to the Ninth Circle’s funding which will lead him to Gotham City. The last panel shows him barreling forth into the much darker, but intentionally green-tinted Gotham.
With such compelling story telling and artwork, it’s easy to see why Green Arrow is a hit among its Rebirth cohorts. Get to Downtown Comics today to catch up and check out other great titles!