I know, I know. I swore off of this title last year. Except a funny thing happened at the comic shop. I picked up "Green Arrow" #8 just to flip through it and saw Etrigan spewing forth hellfire. I then proceeded to write a story in my mind wherein Etrigan makes this book interesting by burning away everything and letting the book grow anew from the ashes of itself.
Imagine my disappointment when the story inside these covers didn't match my sweet imagination.
I keep trying to like this book and it continues to find new ways to disappoint me. The latest of which is the fumbling of scenes. A scene, character, subplot, or discussion sometimes gets dropped in a comic, but in this case, this is an "NFL Films: Football Follies" quality fumble where the ball squirts from a running back's or receiver's hands and then touches the other twenty-one players on the field before slipping out of bounds. In this particular scene, Etrigan makes his presence known in the Star City forest, but the forest subdues him. Pinned by slithering vines and branches, Etrigan belches his hellfire once more, this time on the final panel of a page. The end result of the fire is not shown, and the next page turns to Ollie, Galahad, and Jason Blood chatting as though they've just had a most satisfying brunch, with Etrigan nowhere to be seen. Smoke on the horizon sets Galahad off and he goes charging into battle, seeking to challenge Etrigan once more. Only they left Etrigan pinned by the trees, didn't they? Eight pages later that is confirmed. Yes, Etrigan is still held fast by overgrown shrubbery. So, um, what the hell was wrong with Galahad, Green Arrow, and Jason Blood? They couldn't see the Etrigan for the trees?
Ollie fails to impress me, feeling like a guest in his own title. I'm not even sure we need Ollie here, as the mysteries of the forest - and their investigators - are much more interesting than anything we've seen from Oliver Queen in this series.
This issue appealed to me simply by putting Etrigan in here. The additions of Lois Lane (why, why, why doesn't she have regular solo adventures somewhere?!? It'd certainly be better than some other titles on the racks, like this one), Jason Blood, Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, and a surprise last page guest enhanced this book enough for me to cough up three bucks in what was already a pricey week. It sure would be nice to get a solid story told with that cast. Again, it bears stating: Ollie isn't even necessary in his own book. He's little more than Cain was to the original "House of Mysteries" series.
Neves' art continues to be inconsistent. There are pages of pure brilliance, like Etrigan descending upon the trio of Blood, Queen, and Galahad, but then there are images where Galahad could almost be mistaken for Lois Lane as she was depicted earlier in the issue, the only distinguishing factors being their apparel, hair color, and Lois' unnatural softballs-under-the-blouse-like breasts. Hmm, maybe Galahad was disguised as Lois like Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari from "Bosom Buddies." For the most part, though, Neves draws some great looking panels, and Arreola fills those panels with wild coloring that helps the Star City Forest breathe and grow.
This cover is one of the failures of DC's cover experiment for January. The overly stylized "G" shaped like an arrowhead competes too heavily with the image of Green Arrow for either to truly be the focus of this cover, never mind the fact that Green Arrow is the least interesting character in the pages behind that cover.
If I've said it once, I've said it six times (I didn't review issues #3 or #7): this book has potential. I just don't see that potential being tapped. Krul has done a good job bringing in characters that make this book interesting, but by comparison, they make the titular character seem lackluster. I'd like to see Krul give me a reason or seven to care about Ollie, but so far, there's nothing. At least the forest is entertaining.