Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Green Arrow #7 review

Take three girls. Three attractive, deadly girls. Triplets with massive assets. And never mind their brains, they're stunning to boot - this is comics - and their blonde charms prove useful for getting Green Arrow's attention.

Along with hundreds of tiny arrows aimed at his head.

Ann Nocenti gets her run as writer off to a splendid start, presenting an Oliver Queen who's just having fun. Throw anything at him, and the unflappable archer will toss back a quip worthy of Ian Fleming. Or perhaps a line from Shakespeare. Along with a killer judo move and maybe even one of those arrows he's named after. This is an Oliver Queen channeling Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man, a guy so bright he's constantly fighting boredom. So when three girls show up inviting him back to Daddy's place in Canada to look at the arrows they've invented for him, and they include flak, six-shooter and 'mindprick' arrows, of course he's going to go. They may be trying to play him, but if so, well, Ollie knows a thing or two about (ahem) shafts.

The Skylark sisters sound like a lounge act, but they're not to be dismissed; think Marvel's Stepford  Cuckoos with incredible toys. Not that this bunch constitutes a group mind - there's a rebel in the nest, and whether that makes her their strongest asset or a weak link remains to be seen.

This really is a delightful surprise, the Green Arrow book DC should have given us from the start of the New 52. I packed in this series with #2, but I'm back and can see myself hanging around awhile. From the story's punning title, Triple Treat, to the final spread showing that Ollie's flights of fancy have consequences, this is a tremendous read.

Away from the adventure, Ollie quits his boring job as the public face of Q-Core, and thank goodness for that - it just doesn't suit his devil-may-care ways. That butterfly mind of his, along with his athletic skills, is better employed out in the field (click on image to enlarge).
Nocenti's not the only newcomer this issue, with Harvey Tolibao signing on as artist. There are some rough edges - he hasn't a good handle on upward angles, making for a few Egg-Fu-like physogs. But his storytelling's good, he doesn't skimp on backgrounds, the action scenes come off and the work is just plain interesting to look at. As for the dodgy upshots, a study session focusing on the great Gil Kane nostril-shots should help. Tolibao's style reminds me a little of the early work of Richard Piers Rayner and Mark Buckingham, which isn't a bad place to start. With an old hand editing this book - the excellent Joey Cavalieri - Tolibao could come on in leaps and bounds. The first tweak I'd make would be to lose the presumably realistic light marbling on the goggles - Green Arrow's a hero who lets his personality play and we need to see his eyes.

The rest of the creative team - that's Richard and Tanya Horie colouring and Rob Leigh lettering - play their parts to perfection, supporting Nocenti and Talibao all the way. Howard Porter provides the dramatic cover while Hi-Fi adds the tones. And ... Blimey O'Reilly... this book actually has a weapons consultant, Raphael Pierson Sante. Well done that man (any chance of making me a mindprick arrow!).

This is, as they say, a perfect jumping-on point. I hope plenty of people dive in

14 comments:

  1. I decided to give this one a try, and liked it more than I tend to like Green Arrow. GA's a character that I think really benefits from the reboot -- there was so much baggage to the character that I'd pretty much given up on ever following him again. But this was a light, high-velocity book that barrels forward, full steam ahead.

    This is a 3-part story, and I'm going to stick around through #9 and see how this one goes.

    And I can't help thinking that there's a relationship between Skylark and Carggg. But that just my LSH-fandom talking.

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    1. You saddo. And me too - I wondered exactly the same thing. Who knows, maybe the Skylarks popped back through time?

      I was even wondering if the rebellious one might end up as the new Dinah Lance, then recalled that Black Canary is in the recently dropped Birds of Prey title. That goes to show how little the BC of the New 52 feels like the BC I know.

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  2. Hi,

    I came across your page recently and I'm trying to find an email address to contact you on to ask if you would please consider adding a link to my website. I'd really appreciate if you could email me back.

    Thanks and have a great day!

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    1. Hi Madison, there's a Contact Me link at top right, give us a yell!

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  3. This is kind of neat because I was planning to pick up the new teams GA run because 1. it's nice to see women writers get a chance in the business and 2. GA is one of those great non-super-powered super-heroes, and was hoping you'd review it, and here it is! I liked the issue myself. At first when the Skylarks come off as way below Ollie in skill level I was a bit prepared to be let down a little, but then they, and the story, really picked up.

    Good review, let's hope this new run stays good.

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    1. Indeedy! Always feel free to give me a shout if there's anything you want looking at. You never know, I may discover something I'd otherwise have missed.

      And thank you!

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  4. I think most of the time, Martin, you and I tend to agree on our taste in comics but this time? Not so much.

    Didn't like the overly chatty Ollie talking to himself; wasn't that keen on the art; didn't like the interaction between him and Naomi; all in all, not that impressed for a first issue with the new team.

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    1. Ollie soliloquising on the first page came across a tad strangely, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I just enjoyed having a story that wasn't cookie cutter generic.

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  5. Sorry, I can't really agree with your assesment. I really wanted to like the issue, but the art really let it down. I will spare you my long review (rant!) , but the short version is: the art was so bad that half the time I couldn't tell what was happening on the page. It made it impossible for me to enjoy the issue, and it's highly likely I will drop the title (again).

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    1. Here's what I wrote about it on another forum. Remember, I warned you ;-)



      Ok, finally had time to read Green Arrow #7. Had really high hopes.

      Was very disappointed.

      The art killed it. The artist (I forget his name, and I'm not writing this with the issue next to me) has very little idea of how to communicate an action story. The first page (which was just talking heads) was passable, but turn the page and there's a splash page of... well, I don't know what it was of. Green Arrow is doing something acrobatic, and the artist is using the old trick of multiple-images-of-the-figure-in-one-panel, but the images don't flow properly. I can't actually tell which order to "read" them in. In one (the rearmost one) GA is floating in the air in a way that makes no sense unless he's just jumped out an airplane (!). What is he actually trying to accomplish in that move? Then there are the things in the air...like white sheets... are they part of the attack on GA, and if so what are they going? After staring at the image, I finally decide they are his defence: he's fired arrows (probably two arrows) that deploy small shields above him. Why was it so hard to work out? The figure which is firing the bow is in the middle and obscured by the one in the foreground. You can sort of see the bow but it's not obvious, and there is a disconnect between the bow and these "shields". In the other two figures on the panel, I can't work out what he's doing (in one, he's floating like he jumped out of an airplane; in the other he's holding something I can't identify, logically it must be his bow but it doesn't look like one).

      I spent more time on this splash page than the rest of the comic put together, I think. Not because it was good but because it was incomprehensible. Three or four panels on the page would have made everything plain. I don't know if Noccenti called for a splash or if the artist chose to do it that way, but either way it was a bad call.

      Then the villains appear, and apparently they are half-human-sized dolls. Look at the scene where GA is tussling with one of them: her head is half the size of his. I know women are smaller than men, and GA is pretty buff, but there should not be a 50% size discrepancy in their heads! And you get the same discrapancy whether she is in front of or behind GA. Nothing in the dialogue suggests that they are actually doll-sized, quite the opposite, so I have to assume it's basically just a total failure of perspective.

      A couple of panels later, GA is talking about some clever pressure point hold he is applying to her. Can you see what he's doing? Does it look like he's holding her at all? It must be some contactless martial art I am unfamiliar with. I can't follow any of the fighting (or the sex, actually) in this comic as it all seems to involved randomly-placed bodies in random poses.

      And it goes on, page after page of art I struggle to understand. It's not ugly, it's just meaningless.

      I couldn't tell you how good the story was because the art distracted me. I think the personality of GA comes across as interesting, and the doll-sized villains (I know, I know) are an interesting concept, and the plot was intriguing. (though ended on an odd abrupt note -- was it written for 22 pages instead of 20 or something?), but I couldn't really enjoy it.

      Honestly, I can't recall the time art turned me off a comic this much.

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    2. Thanks David! I like the idea of these women as doll-sized villains. And just imagine if Rob Liefeld got his hands on them over at Hawk and Dove ...

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  6. I was waiting for a new creative team to jump on board. I've never been big fan of J.T. Krul's, so I can't wait to dive into the new arc now that he's out of the picture.

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    1. You may notice the book isn't appealing to all, so I can't wait for your thoughts.

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