With the opening four panels of “Green Arrow” #7, Ann Nocenti delivers a cursory summary of the titular character in his current iteration in order to understand the unhappy dichotomy of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow. While still on the same page, she leads us into her introductory villain: a set of triplets who go by the joint moniker “Skylark.”
Skylark is the centerpiece of the story in a concept sure to be a point of contention, even though Nocenti uses them with exact caution. The attractive female triplets raise the question of whether female objectification is all right if a female creator writes it. In the end, Nocenti creates a layered feeling in the way her villainous triplets play into stereotypes to great effect.
While the intriguing lure of Skylark is an excellent hook for the issue, Oliver Queen doesn’t actually feel like he can carry a title. He starts the issue complaining and ends having walked himself into a major load of trouble. In between, he’s rather petulant and relatively irresponsible. Granted, he needs to be an idiot for the trap to work but he doesn’t make the audience stand up and cheer for his survival.
Getting Nocenti onto an ongoing DC title is a minor coup and her debut issue with its attractive villainous trifecta is sure to split readers and spark debate. This ability to divide the audience is actually one of Nocenti’s strengths and the reader certainly must read to the final page before casting any opinion in stone.
Harvey Tolibao’s art straddles the line between sketchily detailed work and bland, flat faces. Tolibao seems more focused on drawing the veins in Queen’s musculature than he is making Skylark look like anything but a blow-up doll set of villainy. There are some very cool moments but much of the storytelling is lost in his panoramic panels across the page.
The new run of “Green Arrow” already feels like it wants to push boundaries. As a writer who does not shy away from making her comics have a deeper meaning, Nocenti aims at a longtime contentious issue: the role of women in comics. Skylark will surely turn heads, open up discussion and hopefully lead to some rich analysis. Aside from the subtext, there is a story here and it isn’t bad. While the lead is inconsequential and the rest is build up, it’s enough to come back for another issue.