Originally published at ComicsBulletin.com
(W) Ben Percy, (A/C) Juan Ferreyra
Five issues in (six if you count the Rebirth one-shot), it’s disingenuous to continue to call Green Arrow a “surprise hit.” But with each issue, Ben Percy and his art team – Juan Ferreyra – surpass reader expectations by delivering a narrative that successfully folds in beloved elements from Green Arrow lore both past and present. The Ninth Circle is an enemy that satisfies both Oliver Queen’s superhero antics and political agenda, enabling his natural charisma to shine. The supporting cast is large but not not overwhelming, which gives the creative team plenty of toys to play with.
Character and relationship dynamics is the biggest reason for the success of Green Arrow. As has been the case for the rest of this arc, Percy nails the interactions between Green Arrow and Black Canary. There is equal parts adoration and tension in their relationship, which Ferrerya takes advantage of with his visuals. And as a bonus, Percy makes good on his promise that Black Canary will never be a victim again.
But it’s not just these two that draw readers’ delight. Emiko and Diggle are also given their moments to shine. Emiko comes clean to Oliver regarding her actions, which comes across as both genuine and contrived. Diggle, like his television counterpart, is the voice of reason amidst the chaos, albeit with a quip or two thrown in. Throughout their conflict with the Ninth Circle, Percy has boiled these characters down to their core and expanded on those characteristics, rather than attempting to add superfluous and inorganic traits.
Unfortunately, Percy’s focus on character dynamics causes the issue (and arc as a whole) to suffer from a rushed pace. The slow and methodical buildup over the course of issues #1-5 is wrapped up in hurried fashion. In the space of a few pages, Ollie “rescues” Dinah, Emiko is “freed”, and the Ninth Circle is (for now) dispatched. Before the reader has a chance to settle in, the story is over and the reader is staring at the cliffhanger leading into the next arc. However, the character dynamics are too enjoyable for the rushed pace to severely hamstring this issue. Green Arrow #5 is a blast from start to finish.