Drawing the introduction of Shado to a close, “Green Arrow” #23 is an interesting cross-section of the New 52 continuity and pre-relaunch characters and concepts. Writer Jeff Lemire all but delivers an organizational chart for readers to connect the dots between Green Arrow, Shado, Count Vertigo, Komodo and Robert Queen while artist Andrea Sorrentino continues to deliver unorthodox art that divides readers’ perceptions of this title.
There’s plenty of action, even if some of that action is depicted in flashbacks that are not cleanly rendered. Over the course of five pages, Shado relates her tale to Oliver Queen as the two attempt to escape Vertigo’s realm. The images used in that flashback are murky and gritty, depicted to appear as ink on parchment. Many of the images are not exceptionally clear, as would be the case for so much ink on that style of paper, but with careful layout decisions from Sorrentino, those look really cool as studies in graphic design. Sorrentino’s decisions to capture action in the comic book equivalent of freeze-frames with more vibrant colors from Marcelo Maiolo are bold, but they deflate much of the action they are intended to highlight. Additionally, some of the more intentionally designed pages seem to crush other pages, making certain scenes appear as though they are hurrying along so other decompressed segments can stretch out and go easy.
Even this far into his run, Lemire’s take on Green Arrow still eludes. “Green Arrow” #23 in particular marginalizes the character of Oliver Queen and removes any character development for the title’s star as the pages are filled with background and development on many other characters in this series like Shado, Komodo and even Naomi Singh and Henry Fyff. Lemire has done a very good job of fleshing out the world around Oliver Queen, but has yet to provide me with enough characterization in Queen for readers to potentially care.
“Green Arrow” #23 makes significant strides in the continued process of constructing a supporting cast and rogues’ gallery, but does so without innovation. The best part of the issue comes in the form of the final two pages, which do more towards opening up the next storyline than contributing to this one. Unfortunately, that interesting scene, like much of the interesting pieces in this issue, does not feature Green Arrow — at all.