I dropped off Green Arrow shortly after the team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino came on the book. Their work was impressive, their direction assured, but not really my cup of tea. Still, new Green Arrow Emiko Queen's involvement in the Futures End series - co-written by Lemire - intrigued me enough to pick up this 'five years later' tie-in.
That, and a rather nifty lenticular cover. Dig that crumbling gravestone!
Lemire and Sorrentino are still around, and still impressing. They make it easy to jump back in, explaining things as we go along and 'colouring in' the characters, meaning that by the time the clever ending came it meant something to me.
Futures End #1 featured the five-years-later funeral of Green Arrow Oliver Queen. This issue, set a little before that, shows how he meets his end. Ollie persuades his frenemies in the Outsiders to help him take down the scientists of Cadmus Island, who are experimenting with refugee super-beings from Earth 2. To improve the odds, he wants to add the element of surprise, setting up the story's twist.
Lemire's X-Men-style jokey intro captions take away from the drama a tad - I never want to see 'Nuff said' in a DC comics again - but overall the script is a winner.
The Ollie in this issue is unrecognisable as the callow youth we met at the New 52 relaunch. Never mind five years, he seems at least 15 years older, like the Green Arrow of the Mike Grell series. And, truly unforgivable haircut aside, that's fine by me, I prefer my GA a world weary crusader rather than a swashbuckling one. I also like this kid Emiko - Ollie's half-sister, daughter of Shado, I learn - and Ollie's tech pal Naomi has become a hero of the streets, Dart. The villain of the piece is the inevitable Deathstroke - all DC creators have a hard-on for this guy, even those nice Tiny Titans fellows - but Lemire writes him well, making him a bitter Republican to Ollie's liberal.
And Sorrentino draws Deathstroke superbly, presenting him as a ghostly figure, a seemingly unstoppable force. The whole book looks very, very good, with Sorrentino's control of mood to the fore. And colouring partner Marcelo Maiolo adds to the intensity, trademark duo-hue panels and all.
Even if you're not a Green Arrow fan, I recommend this issue purely from a craft point of view; it shows how excellent creators can put a new spin on the well-worn superhero tale. It's especially worth getting if you're following Futures End, with the direct tie-in some of this week's other gimmick issues doesn't have. It's sharp, it's fun - buy it.