Green Arrow #41 marks the beginning of a new direction for Oliver Queen and with it, a new creative team. Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Patrick Zircher have basically ignored the most recent, almost embarrassingly slight arc written by Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski with Daniel Sampere on pencils. What they’ve created is closer to the darker, better run by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino that ended last year, but with an added touch of the supernatural.
After an extended roadtrip that ended with self-discovery in Alaska (detailed in a short preview comic available for free digitally on Comixology), Oliver returns to Seattle with a longer haircut and a pretty serious case of ennui. In fact, this first issue leans a little too hard on the idea of Oliver as the brooding, slightly depressed hero—like when his half-sister Emiko asks him for help with her calculus homework and he responds by gazing at the city and muttering something profound about windows.
Despite being a little too self-serious, this issue is a strong start. It’s mystery recalls hardboiled detective novels, but with a hint of the strange to make it feel more like a comic book. Think Blue Velvet with a severed arm on a beach instead of an ear in a field. Moreover, the implication that the winged kidnappers/murderers are targeting black men and the police don’t seem to care feels surprisingly current (and potentially controversial) for a Big Two comic and it will be interesting to see the pay off.
Until then, Zircher’s art is its own reward. Perhaps appropriately, his lines are like a mix between Sorrentino and Sampere. It’s as if someone took the sketch-like realism of Sorrentino’s work and gave it the thicker, more impersonal lines of a big name book. Colorist Gabe Eltaeb helps set the right mood with a palette that’s a little leached of color but still realistic. The panels have a strong sense of movement and detail (a close-up of a smirk here, the silhouette of an arrow there) that keeps you engaged and the same applies to the plot. Both are worth sticking around for the next issue.
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.