Warning: This review contains spoilers.
A new era for Oliver Queen begins in Green Arrow #35. The writing duo of Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Skolowski take over the story of DC’s Emerald Archer, joined by the art team of Daniel Sampere, Jonathan Glapion, and Gabe Eltaeb. The resulting issue is one that brings Green Arrow closer to the mainstream DC Universe while incorporating more elements from the popular television show Arrow. That said, this is anything but an adaptation of the television series as Kreisberg and Skolowski throw enough twists and turns for this story to stand on its own.
One of the most apparent differences in the series’ new direction is Oliver’s supporting cast. Only Diggle, who was introduced back in issue #24, remains as Naomi, Fyff, and Emiko have been jettisoned. The writers waste no time developing the chemistry between Oliver and Diggle, their banter demonstrative of their tight friendship. Given that their relationship might be the strongest aspect of the television show, it’s no surprise to see it in play from the issue’s opening pages. Unfortunately, much of their dialogue is stilted – a problem that persists over the course of the issue.
The issue’s smaller cast enables Kreisberg and Skolowski to focus on Oliver’s character. Since DC’s relaunch in 2011, Oliver Queen has reverted from the complex crusader for social justice to the Batman knock-off he was originally created to be. Jeff Lemire’s run brought Oliver to a crossroads of conscience, but it is here that glimpses of that iconic Green Arrow shine through. Dedicated to cleaning up the streets of Seattle, this is an Oliver that would take Hal Jordan on a road-trip across America to face society’s problems head-on rather than worry about his Justice League membership card.
Daniel Sampere’s art is an unfortunate hindrance to the issue’s overall enjoyment. For much of the issue, it is quite adequate. The opening action sequence, though far from groundbreaking, is competently constructed and easy for readers to follow. Sadly, the same cannot be said for scenes in which Queen is not clad in green. In a key sequence involving two of DC’s most prominent characters, the artwork devolves from adequate to laughable. Though this problem persists over the course of only a few panels, the impact on the issue’s overall perception is large.
Green Arrow #35 is a competently constructed relaunch for one of DC’s more popular characters. The characterization of Oliver Queen is endearing to both longtime and new readers, a trend which will hopefully continue as the character’s classic elements are reintroduced. Should the artwork improve in consistency, Green Arrow could become one of the better “traditional” superhero comics on stands.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com