Wednesday (August 16th) was Part-4 of the “Hard-Traveling Hero” arc out of GREEN ARROW. I’ve come to expect one thing from what I like to call the Green Team — Benjamin Percy (writer,) Juan Ferreyra (artist,) Otto Schmidt (artist) and Nate Piekos (letterer) — and that is solid comics. I think one of my favorite things about this arc is that it truly is a journey, but not only for my favorite archer — Oliver Queen — it’s also a journey for us readers as we’re following him across the country. It feels like a road trip, and if I’m being honest, I got quite the Griswold feel in the aspect that you just never know what’s going to go down.
Reading comics to a degree, and a large one at that, is supposed to be a form of escapism and that’s what I get reading GREEN ARROW. Benjamin has this way of telling a story that touches on reality in great ways, but yet is enough for you to escape the real world darkness. Now sure, this issue has Ollie driving directly into the most dark and gritty place in any comic book universe… Gotham City.
I’ve actually been anticipating this issue from the second Juan had posted up some WIPs on his twitter of the “Dark Knight.”
Juan has a very unique style to begin with, and it’s why I love him as an artist (along-with Otto, as their styles are very similar.) He captured Batman in this issue better than I was expecting him to. He did something that I absolutely loved, and that was the way he exaggerated his cape. It give him this extra level of over-the-topness, and adds to that awe/fear inspiring presence of his. The art of GREEN ARROW is always top-notch, and this issue definitely rose the bar a notch or two going forward, which says a lot since Otto and Juan have been friendly back-and-forthing the other in getting better by the issue.
The Batman side of this issue’s story was much in line with the past “cameoed” characters — the Flash, Wonder Woman and Superman — as they fulfilled the part the story demanded, and nothing more or less. This is another aspect I’ve loved about the “Hard-Traveling Hero” arc, that Benjamin continues to only use the A-level characters as almost objects in the story and not forcing them to be a HUGE role.
Benjamin smartly used the Court of Owls (one of my all time favorite baddie groups in comics) to place Batman into the story, and then weave the Ninth Circle through it by having that the Court utilizes the former’s black market “slave trade” for unmoral and sadistic “games.” It was a very smart use of the two, and continues to build up the Ninth Circle to be a permanent fixture in Ollie’s rogues gallery going forward.
Also utilizing the Court to place Batman in the story allowed for Ollie and him to come face-to-face. It’s not too often when we get to see the “Caped Crusader” and the “Emerald Archer” butting heads over morals, and we got that as there was a moment of the two shouting at the other over how to deal with a Talon as well as why the other might be the way they are. It was a great reflection moment, as the two characters were originally very closely based, and it was at one point a joke that Oliver Queen/Green Arrow was a “Batman-lite.” *COUGH* If you follow the TV show “ARROW” that’s exactly what they’re making Ollie to be, “Batman-lite.” *COUGH*
My only complaint with this issue was how Benjamin altered who comprises the Talons. He instead of having the “one-percenters” make up the upper echelon wearing the iconic “snow owl” masks, he had them making up the ranks of the Talons, which were established during Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Court of Owls debut as being revived assassins of the Court. It bothered me because of how big of a Court fan I am, and I’m sure to the regular reader of GREEN ARROW who might not be as attached to them as I it’s not that big of a deal. And I’m fine with that.
The highlight moment, and I don’t mean to take away from the rest of the issue, for me was the very last panel of the issue. I, as the biggest Hal Jordan fan there is– okay, I might be hyperbolizing there a bit, but seeing the tease for the next issue being Batman telling Ollie, “It’s time to take a cue from Gotham… and put out a signal when you need help,” only for a Green Lantern symbol to display to Ollie, it made me squeal like a teenage girl. I have no shame. I’ve been waiting since the NEW52 for these two to get back together, and I’m beyond ecstatic that Benjamin (and Green Team) are finally giving us that.
Make sure you stop into your local comic shop to pick up a copy of GREEN ARROW #29, and be on the look out for GREEN ARROW #30 when it hits shelves on September 9th, with the “Emerald Duo” reuniting!