With “Green Arrow” #29, it’s now safe to state somewhat empirically that Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s “Green Arrow” run is one for the ages. Not since Mike Grell’s time on the title has “Green Arrow” been created with such a strong vision, and with each new installment it’s just gotten better.
“Green Arrow” #29 continues “The Outsiders War,” with Ollie reeling from the revelations learned from Shado and his father about his time on the island. It’s in that frame of mind that we see him go up against the Outsiders and the Spear Clan in the middle of Prague. What’s great is how well Lemire balances Ollie’s adjusting to these revelations as he does the big fight that’s ahead. It’s a perfect balance between the two, with neither half intruding on the other. Lemire isn’t afraid to have everyone start attacking one another, because he doesn’t lose track of the characterization that has pushed the book forward ever since he came on board.
In an era that frowns on the idea of heroes using “trick arrows,” Lemire has embraced them in a fun yet deadly way. Moments using new devices like the “thunder-clap arrow” and the “umbrella arrow” could have come across cheesy and ridiculous, but instead Lemire’s transformed the trick arrows into hazardous and dangerous weapons. It’s technology that makes sense (and is in fact very easily in range of what people can do in this day and age), and it’s exciting to see Ollie use them. We’ve come a long way from boxing glove or handcuff arrows.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to miss Sorrentino’s contributions to the title. He and colorist Marcelo Maiolo continue to turn out amazingly beautiful pages. The opening sequence, with Komodo and Emi in flashback, could have easily felt trite or stereotypical. But there’s something about the artistic choices that keep it from happening; the narrow panels giving us slices of their faces, the stark white sky for the red balloon to fly up into, the bower of barren branches up above. They also do fun things with the attacks, like the concentric circles mixed with the straight lines blasting out of the thunder-clap arrow, or how in that moment everything shifts to green and white instead of full color.
And with J.H. Williams III no longer drawing “Batwoman,” I think that “Green Arrow” wins for “most ornate superhero comic” at times. The last four pages in the church are just amazing, with the sculptures and ornate architecture doubling as panel borders. Drawn in a perfectly symmetrical manner, Sorrentino’s attention to detail is perfect… but without ever losing sight of the reader needing to follow what’s inside the panels, too. Look at the top panel of the two-page spread at the end, with Ollie reaching forward even as the mob drags him backwards. It’s perfect, with the mass of arms, torsos, heads, and spears drawing a controlled chaos that’s full of energy. You can see Ollie straining even as they pull him away, and the looks on their faces just complete the picture. When I first heard that Sorrentino was moving from “I, Vampire” to “Green Arrow” the idea seemed bizarre, but now I can’t picture anyone else on the book as artist.
With a suitably dramatic cliffhanger as a hero falls in a fairly definitive manner, the question now is… what next? I have no idea, other than I trust Lemire and Sorrentino to make the follow-through fun and enjoyable. If you aren’t reading “Green Arrow,” seriously, you need to start. This book is too good for you to ignore.