What do you say about something you’ve already given all of your praise to? How do you find new ways to praise it? How can you compliment it more when a simple “perfect, five out of five” would suffice? It’s incredibly difficult to write about the things you love, because by loving them you cannot look at the inherent flaws in something. Those shades of adoration will not just come off your eyes, no matter how hard you try to look for a weak spot in the grand design. It’s difficult to write about things you love.
That’s why covering Green Arrow is the hardest thing for me to do right now.
I can’t do anything but compliment it and shower it with praise and therefore I shouldn’t be the one reviewing it. Someone with more objectivity should handle this. But no, The Outsiders War is going to be my deal. All six issues which should be egregiously difficult to write about with each advancing month.
What’s exciting about Green Arrow #26 is that it sets up the rest of the arc and reveals a huge chunk of Oliver’s history on the island, which in the new 52 has been a bit of an untold train wreck, with lots of hints being thrown around but no actual showing. Lemire and Sorrentino quickly salvage things though and lend a good chunk of page space to showing him around the island, surviving, hunting and thriving. They also tease the continuation of the flashback subplot with something really intriguing. In the present day, Oliver and Shado are also back on the island searching for the location of the Arrow Clan’s totem weapon, “the Green Arrow” (yes, it’s corny but corny in a cool, wuxia-style martial arts film kind of way) in a hidden location that Oliver didn’t know about on his first run through. The juxtaposition of the flashbacks and the present day brilliantly illustrates the growth in Arrow’s character. Then, he was young and reckless, a survivalist who didn’t care for knowing the ins and outs of the island; now he’s far wiser and experienced and knows the exterior of the island, but still has much to learn about it. It’s symbolic of growth and potential, learning new things and overcoming old fears to develop as a person.
Elsewhere we get teases towards the rest of the arc, with Golgotha, leader of the spear clan and head of the Outsiders, ordering Kodiak, head of the shield clan, to hunt down and kill Green Arrow. Also welcomed is the return of John Butcher and Magus, who seek to gather the rogue clans to battle the outsiders. I’m fully expecting a crazy, six-way martial arts fight scene reminiscent of Legendary Weapons of China by the end of this.
The real winner of the show here though is the art by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Sorrentino just renders everything beautifully, from the lush, jungle-meets-forest environments of the island to the dark, gritty rooftops of Seattle and the mystic, monolithic feeling of cave interiors; the guy just turns everything he touches to solid gold. He’s got versatility as an artist, able to fully develop and create these expansive environments while still bringing the characters into focus so they don’t get lost in this big world. Maiolo’s coloring is the real star though. There’s a great scene of contrasting blue and yellowish coloring that embellishes the thematic differences between the two leads. Oliver’s in the brighter side of things with a more optimistic outlook while Shado resides in the darker, blue half, always dead serious and ready for action. Elsewhere, the book uses lots of greens (given the title of the book, this should be obvious) to bring the island a full, punchy impact. I love how the coloring has gotten way more subtle since the book began, maintaining its uniqueness whilst keeping an air of professionalism.
This is just about the best the book’s been, and Green Arrow #26 is a testament to the time-old cycle of reinvention. Sometimes, in the right cases, redoing things actually does work. It can lead to something memorable and long-lasting. I predict this run of Green Arrow will be influential on any future incarnations to come.
Don’t forget that if you want to keep up to date on the show version of the character, there is always Screen Rebellion!