When I read Green Arrow, Vol. 4, I was torn by the exciting potential and my lack of belief in the character to become worthy of his own book. And so I was hesitant to dig in to Vol 5. Fortunately, Vol. 5 does more to push Oliver Queen to becoming a hero worthy of his own book. …But only just barely.
For the first portion of this book I was quite excited and feeling good about the direction of the story and character growth. He steps in and steps up and helps people with his uncanny bow and arrow skills (which he couldn’t seem to do in the previous volume). Although he’s hiding his presence from his family, he looks after them, and even manages to show the Batman that he can fight on par with the famed vigilante. Oliver’s bringing in Diggle to help him shows maturity in recognizing what he can not do by himself.
And then he returns to the island he had just managed to get away from, and he is knocked down a few pegs. Secrets that perhaps would have been best left secret are revealed to him and he reverts back to the lost, confused boy who doesn’t seem capable of being on his own. Which is odd because the very reason he managed to escape the island was because he had grown capable (supposedly) To be fair, there are some powerful reasons to revert to the little lost boy, given what happens, but even here, he is just on the verge of stepping up, taking the all-important kill shot, when he loses everything. It may, however, be the turning point for Ollie. The moment he needs to actually grow up.
I did feel that the story wandered a bit. Author Jeff Lemire is writing this book as if it is a movie script, cutting to flashbacks and switching point of view often. It’s not unusual for a graphic novel to do this, but I felt more of it here and it felt like an attempt to elevate the stakes of the story (by teasing the reader by almost telling a story and then switching it up).
Whereas Andrea Sorrentino’s art in Vol. 4 often felt noir-ish and appropriate, it now feels rushed and incomplete…a little sloppy. The art does not help focus the story (and vice versa). Though I will say that I really liked the physical appearance of a surprise guest to the book.
I really appreciate Lemire’s attempt to heighten the dark reality side of the character and it brings back memories of the drug stories in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow books of the seventies, but if Oliver Queen doesn’t grow up soon, his brooding, YA-style immaturity is going to be boring and not worth reading.
Looking for a good book? Green Arrow, Vol. 5: The Outsiders War is still showing Oliver Queen as a work in progress, slowly growing in to the ‘Arrow’ role. The art is not as strong and efficient as the previous volume.
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Green Arrow, Vol. 5: The Outsiders War
author: Jeff Lemire
artist: Andrea Sorrentino
publisher: DC Comics
paperback, 176 pages