Nine issues in and the title is starting to focus on Green Arrow and his relationship with the Star City Forest. It has taken the guest appearances of Phantom Stranger, Jason Blood, Etrigan, Doctor Mid-nite, Mr. Terrific, Poison Ivy, and Arrow’s own man-crush, Galahad, to get to this point, but the end of this issue leaves it as Green Arrow and his forest.
I’ve said the forest is entertaining, and again in this issue it is the forest – and the forest’s actions – that provide motion for this story. Etrigan and Jason Blood have been divided from one another due in part or in whole to the magic of the forest. Etrigan takes advantage of the situation and picks a fight with Blood, and in doing so discovers a connection with the forest.
Krul is starting to give me some signs of hope for this book, but the book still feels much more like an ensemble tale than a solo book. I approve of some of the character choices that have popped up – Etrigan, Blood, and the Stranger – and am ambivalent towards the others, which, unfortunately, includes the star of this book. Krul is doing a good job of making the forest intriguing, but Green Arrow is fairly flat by comparison.
Neves’ art is consistent with the previous issues, with ups and downs. He isn’t cementing himself as the definitive Green Arrow artist, but he also isn’t delivering twenty pages of clone stickmen on drab backgrounds. I like Neves’ style, but his storytelling could use a little more zing. Arreola’s coloring, while appropriate to the story and the settings, seems to dull the imagery on the pages, which in turn adds more mire to the storytelling of this issue.
There’s no doubt that this title has some critical ties to the “Brightest Day” story, as the story is moving a little more directly towards an apparent conclusion in parallel with the main “Brightest Day” series. As that story enters its final two months, I’m anxious to see what this title does in that same span. It is apparent that Krul has a plan for a significant reveal (while others have speculated the return of Swamp Thing, I’d like to suggest the Floronic Man perhaps?) and some of the issues to this point have been deliberate pit stops. Now that it is pared down to Oliver Queen and the forest, I think Krul will be able to tell his story unimpeded.