I’ve broken the comic reviews for this month up into two posts, with the rest of my reviews arriving at the end of the month. Enjoy!
Green Arrow #7
As Green Arrow stands over the rooftops of Star City pondering his dual life aloud, a trio of sisters called the Skylarks approach him and tempt with with the prospect of partnership…personal and professional. Changing back into his civilian identity, billionaire Oliver Queen is hounded by executives and admits he is growing bored of his responsibilities as head of Q-Core. He resolves to take a week-long leave to fly out to the home of the Skylarks, but as he continues to associate with the sisters, he quickly discovers that they aren’t what they seem. Back at Q-Core, the threat of new management at the company grows ever nearer in Queen’s absence.
Still suffering from the misguided direction brought on by DC’s New 52, the new Green Arrow series has all but axed Oliver Queen’s trademark personality, the heart of soul of the character, in favor of what is essentially a Tony Stark clone. J.T. Krul’s Issue #1 from last September introduced us to the generic, bland direction the series would be taking, forgettable supporting cast and all. Now Issue #7 comes along and makes that issue look like a masterpiece in comparison.
This issue is new series writer Ann Nocenti’s first comic in fifteen years, and it shows. Her dialogue is dry, lacking a compelling edge and character drama. While, in contrast to Krul’s portrayal, there is at least a hint of deeper characterization at the beginning, when Queen is written as something of a regal loner-type, the resulting action is too poorly executed for it to even matter. Even in his businessman persona, Nocenti writes Queen as a spoiled, unlikable brat.
Even worse is the new artwork from Harvey Tolibao, which lends a sickeningly scratchy, ugly grittiness. I saw one internet commentator compare Queen’s appearance in certain panels to that of a monkey. It’s a huge step down from the preceding glossy, natural textures of Dan Jurgens’ pencils and George Perez’s finishes.
After skipping issues 2-6 of the new series, I thought I’d give this issue a shot when I saw there would be a new writer and potentially new direction on the book. I was sadly mistaken; Issue #7 is neither a bold new direction, nor particularly worth reading at all, and I look forward to the day when Green Arrow is given the treatment he deserves.
Captain America #9
In the penultimate issue of the “Powerless” arc that began with Cap #6, Steve Rogers has found himself reverting to his scrawny, pre-super-soldier-serum-self in the midst of battle with a group of Hydra assassins. As Tony Stark tries to cure Steve’s new condition, Sharon Carter fights with Saxon, a villain that can control technology, to get information on how to cure Steve.
If you’ve read the first eight issues of the new Captain America volume, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect for Issue #9. Boasting solid writing and artwork all around, the character is in good hands for the foreseeable future with longtime series writer Ed Brubaker at the helm. The concept of Steve reverting back to his old form has, I believe, been explored in comics before, but Brubaker gives it a fresh spin that makes for an altogether solid read.
I can’t help but nitpick, however, as to the direction of the new volume. Brubaker’s opening Winter Soldier arc back in 2005 was bold and grounded. The past few issues have been more metaphysical and otherworldly which, while not entirely unfitting for a comic book, sort of makes me long for the days of Brubaker’s earlier, more fresh work.
Still, Issue #9 is yet another example that Brubaker really gets this character and I very much hope he continues writing Cap for years to come.
In two weeks, I’ll post reviews of the latest issues for Superman, All-Star Western, and The Flash, as well as the new Curse of Shazam backup story in Justice League #7, debuting next week. Until then, cheers!