Following a middling start to their run, writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski return with artists Daniel Sampere (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks), and Gabe Eltaeb (colors) with their sights set on delivering a stronger package in Green Arrow #36. The creative team’s intention (perhaps at DC’s request) to more closely align the book with the popular CW show Arrow is evident given this issue’s developments. Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen.
From the opening page, it is evident that this issue is an improvement over the previous one thanks to the art alone. Daniel Sampere clearly upped his game this month, as the flaws persistent last month seem to have been remedied. Though the design of Oliver Queen and his alter ego still leave something to be desired (especially for fans of the classic Ollie), that is something which he cannot control. What he can control includes character’s facial expressions, which are cleaner and lack the awkwardness that cropped up throughout the previous issue. The only exception to this is Oliver’s goggles, which at times make him appear cross-eyed.
The layouts and choreography of Green Arrow #36 has also markedly improved from the previous issue. The action sequence at the issue’s end is both taught in its execution and engaging. The use of wide panels adds a cinematic quality to the title that reinforces its superheroics. Following Andrea Sorrentino’s stylized aesthetic, Sampere’s traditional comic art creates an overall lighter mood for DC’s Emerald Archer.
Though Kreisberg has stated on multiple occasions that the intention is not to make this “Arrow: The Comic,” it is difficult to not read this issue with exactly that in mind. This is especially the case given the portrayal of the recently introduced Felicity Smoak, who comes bearing a striking resemblance to actress Emily Beck Rickards – who plays the character on Arrow. That her speech patterns and mannerisms similarly resemble Rickards’ portrayal should come as no surprise as the show’s interpretation has proven to be, for the most part, favorably received by fans. However, the character is differentiated enough from her television counterpart to be a unique addition to Green Arrow.
The new dynamic between Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity adds a jolt of energy to the previously meandering plot. Rather than having Oliver alone in the field as the other two stay behind, the full trio makes its way around Seattle together. Throughout their investigation, the script intersperses banter between the cast which fails to achieve the desired humourous beats, instead deteriorating into needless exposition. Thankfully, it is kept to a minimum.
Green Arrow may not reach the heights of Mike Grell’s, Kevin Smith’s, or even Jeff Lemire’s run, but what it does offer is a solid, meat and potatoes superhero story. The book does not try to reach beyond its capabilities, but instead continues to build a foundation with much room to grow. Hopefully, the series can continue to build upon itself in terms of artistic and narrative quality, but as it stands now it is just merely okay.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com