A darkness creeps into Seattle as a post-Convergence era for Green Arrow begins in The New DC Universe.
If there has been one consistent throughout GREEN ARROW‘s run since the New 52 re-launch, it’s been change. The post-Flashpoint character struggled to find an identity throughout J.T. Krul and Keith Giffen’s initial issues, Ann Nocenti’s incongruous run that involved battles with undead grandparents in China, and Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s sublime revision of Oliver Queen’s origin story. So it’s clear from the start of novelist Benjamin Percy’s first issue that he aims to do two things: pay tribute to an urban hunter’s legacy that has existing since Mike Grell‘s run, and re-establish the connection to Seattle as a living and breathing city.
As one of the opening shots in the post-Convergence New DC Universe, it’s curious that “Green Arrow” only appears in a handful of the pages of this arc’s debut. Instead, Percy concentrates on Oliver Queen’s return to Seattle to find a city suffering a sickness. As he and half-sister Emiko try and settle into some kind of normalcy, Oliver takes up his responsibilities as CEO of Queen Industries and Emiko begins going to school. Yet the ‘street’ tells him that a growing darkness is approaching, and to “beware the night birds,” as we are introduced to a shadowy new villain that will undoubtedly be unveiled in the coming months.
Prior to Convergence, writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski seemed determined to merge the worlds of television’s Arrow and the comic together. Percy’s approach is pleasingly more streamlined, and certainly recalls a post-Crisis street-level approach. “Your responsibilities are legion,” remarks Ollie’s business associate Broderick. “Hope you have it all figured out.” Which seems to be Percy’s rationale in making this first issue about Oliver Queen out of costume, firmly establishing who the man under the hood is before throwing him into action.
Percy has remarked in previous interviews that he hopes to bring a “darkness” to the book, and inject it with “ingredients of horror.” There’s a sense of disquiet to the city, and a running commentary about the moon and a sub-plot involving a wolf are analogous to the 1988 Grell arc Hunters Moon. The 8-page preview throughout Convergence also gave us a hint of the supernatural elements that will imbue GREEN ARROW, something that the final page reveal of this issue
With a new writer, a new art team also comes aboard the title. Patrick Zircher, who began his professional career during the era that inspired this arc, seems like a good fit. From the opening page, Zircher uses familiar icons of the Seattle waterfront, most notably the Pier 57 ferris wheel, to position the reader in the “real world.” Gabe Eltaeb’s unearthly colours glow underneath the structure to indicate the unease creeping into the city. Yet Eltaeb also knows that depicting Seattle require a certain amount of desaturation of colour, making the eventual of Green Arrow’s costume a more striking reveal.
Percy’s GREEN ARROW appears to be a slow burn, and we get the sense that not all of the pieces are in place just yet. For now, it’s difficult to be anything more than cautiously optimistic about this new beginning, with only a handful of hints as to where the comic is headed. What we need now is some status quo, rather than a new direction every few months. The character of Green Arrow has always been in constant flux, as well he should be, but the post-Convergence DCU provides the perfect opportunity to take some time to rebuild this character from the ground up.
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