“Green Arrow” #1 is one of the few “Rebirth” titles that maintains its regular series writer, and — while that made me a little hesitant at first — I’ll give Benjamin Percy and new series artist Otto Schmidt credit where it’s due. Not only is “Green Arrow” #1 new-reader friendly, but they pack a few big hooks into this issue to keep readers coming back for more.
Most of “Green Arrow” #1 is devoted to Green Arrow and Black Canary working together, having finally teamed up in “Green Arrow: Rebirth” #1 earlier this month. Percy isn’t afraid to use the opportunity to let Black Canary show Green Arrow how off-track his mission — or at least his methods — has become, as he bribes police, pays criminals and lets Queen Industries run rampant without his paying attention; as she points out, he only has one relationship that isn’t based on money. In short, Percy uses Black Canary’s voice for more than just her sonic powers; it’s a call to get Oliver to stop and reevaluate his life.
Black Canary herself is a good addition to the title for reasons other than just that, though. Her relationship with Green Arrow is built on a strong attraction, but she’s clearly the one calling the shots and isn’t afraid to point out what that relationship is and is not. It’s also nice that Percy hasn’t wiped out the events of the last year in the short-lived “Black Canary” title, as Emi gets excited to meet one of her favorite singers.
Schmidt’s art is a lot of fun here; it’s angular in all the right places, like Green Arrow’s goatee, even as he still gives characters some gentle curves (most notably in Dinah’s hair and shoulders). Schmidt is able to draw the classic goatee without making the character look unnaturally old. The moment where Oliver says he did once have another friend is a prime example; there’s a youthful look in his eyes as well as the design of his jacket. You wouldn’t mistake him for an older character, and that’s a good thing.
Up until the last third of the book, Percy and Schmidt were doing a good, solid job on the title. It’s after Oliver leaves Queen Industries that everything kicks up a notch, though. The way Schmidt draws Oliver on his motorcycle driving in the rain is dramatic and dizzying; his perspective points up towards the rain as it comes down at both the reader and Oliver while the buildings stretch towards the sky. Even Schmidt’s colors contribute to this; the shift in the blues as they move from a cheery day to a darker storm really sets the mood. The attack is also a show-stopper; the arrows aimed at Oliver are daunting and creepy, and the final page reveal is one massive hook to bring readers back for the next chapter. It was set up very well in early pages of the comic, and Percy and Schmidt hit the nail on the head.
“Green Arrow” #1 takes the basic ideas in “Green Arrow: Rebirth” #1 and uses them as a foundation for a strong first issue. This is what I was hoping to see in a “Green Arrow” series and I’m all on board for what happens next. More importantly, I’m glad this book releases twice a month now, so I don’t have to wait quite so long to find out what happens. This new “Green Arrow” series is a keeper.