The mystery of The King continues to unravel in the latest chapter of Green Arrow by writers Andrew Kriesberg and Ben Sokolowski and artists Daniel Sampere, Jonathan Glapion, and Gabe Eltaeb. Since the creative team switch back in issue #35, this title has become, at best, ordinary. Though that continues to be the case here, Green Arrow #37 shows signs of improvement and, most importantly, potential of the series’ future.
Sokolowski takes on full scripting duties for this issue, working from an outlined developed by himself and Kriesberg, resulting in a surprisingly solid story. Beginning with an action sequence that picks up from the previous issue’s cliffhanger, the issue moves at a brisk pace towards its final page. With the exception of a two-page sequence involving the Sword Clan, Sokolowski and Kriesberg keep the focus of the issue largely on the triumvirate of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity and their investigation of The King. It turns out, the woman that Team Arrow has saved twice, Mia Dearden, is the daughter of The King – who is revealed to be philanthropist John King. The revelation leads to both an infiltration gone awry (and a cameo by Green Lantern) and strain on Oliver’s relationship with his girlfriend, Zehra.
Though the John King plot takes center stage, the identity of the archer from the opening pages remains a mystery and, for some, may be the most tantalizing part of this issue. Given that this character was able to recognize Oliver in his Green Arrow garb, readers can suspect this is someone close to the hero. Hopefully, Sokolowski and Kriesberg are able to satisfy readers when the revelation finally occurs.
Much like the television series Arrow, Felicity Smoak’s presence in Green Arrow lends comic relief to gravity of the series. Unfortunately, while actress Emily Bett Rickards infuses the character with personality in the melodramatic show, the character lacks such a benefit in this title. Though she shares Rickards’ likeness, this version of Smoak lacks a filter and is “quirky Felicity” all the time, including when the situation doesn’t call for it. The most notable occasion is when Mia Dearden is pouring out her heart to the team and Smoak can only mutter something about being hungry. It’s an unfortunate distraction in an otherwise solid read.
Like the writing, the art in this issue is the best that Daniel Sampere has produced for Green Arrow. Though previous criticisms hold steady, they have been minimized here. Action sequences are fluid and full of energy. Settings are detailed. Characters are expressive and consistently rendered. Most importantly, Sampere’s “traditional” superhero aesthetic makes this title easily accessible to new readers compared to something with more abstract art.
For readers that jumped on this series with the new creative team, Green Arrow #37 is the “pull or drop” issue. While Sokolowski’s script marks a step up from the previous two issues, the writing and art are just too ordinary to stand out among the myriad of great titles released each month. Fans of the character may wish to stick around, but those looking for something more than standard superhero fare should look elsewhere.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com