“Green Arrow” #8 is certainly trying. It wants to be a comic taken seriously, aims to homage a famous Shakespeare work and the story jumps around to fit in plenty. Yet, for all this effort, the result is a comic that just doesn’t land. This is a swing and a miss on many levels.
The narrative jumps away from the end of the last issue and drops us “in media res” for an Oliver Queen versus ravaging dog fight card line up. Ann Nocenti works very hard to ensure we know Queen isn’t actually hurting these dogs. It’s almost sweet the lengths she goes to make Queen still seem heroic and sensible while kicking a dog in the face. Beyond such niceties, this scene barely makes sense because it yields no return and plays off as a test — as if the capturer does not know how this hero will handle himself and yet the villain turns out to know plenty. It’s a throwaway scene and takes us nowhere while wasting precious pages.
Queen is an intangible lead because most of his actions don’t endear the reader to his character. He seems pretty committed to making mistakes and doesn’t care as long as he gets the female on his arm. With the nearly fatal dalliances and backhanding of man’s best friend, you could be forgiven for thinking this guy is a lost cause. It’s certainly no fun to watch a guy make mistakes everyone can easily see coming a mile off. Queen needs to stay away from these girls and yet he won’t. It’s kind of annoying.
Nocenti introduces her villain, Leer, who comes straight out of left field. He looks like some sort of cryptid throwback and seems to have some DNA Bond movie plans. The motivation is still lacking and the theatrics are high, but more in concept than delivery. The thick shadow of King Lear hangs over this man with his triplet set of daughters — a comparison that is encouraged. Nocenti seems to play against this tragedy classic but all it does it is make “Green Arrow” look inferior. The themes and moments are evoked but with little regard as to why, feeling more like a crutch rather than another juicy layer.
Behind the plot of Queen dealing with this monstrously maniacal villain, his caged hybrids and sexy amalgam of daughters sits a simple sub-plot of Queen losing control of his business. This corporate thriller wants to play second fiddle to the grand theatrics of the main play and the juxtaposition is simply ineffective.
Harvey Tolibao’s art is clear but also unremarkable. He expresses action and puts effort into his designs but the story isn’t always serviced. Panels are cluttered or oddly angled for no apparent reason and this derails the flow of the story. His line work is solid, but the storytelling leaves room for improvement.
“Green Arrow” #8 is a comic trying its best. There are attempts at making the action flow, the sexual tension grab you and the villain seem interesting and powerful. These attempts sadly fail and what’s left is a mildly confusing and wholly uninteresting comic. A real shame to see this character become unlikeable and this story spread out so thinly across a variety of genres that don’t work together.