WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Green Arrow #38 by Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra, on sale now.
Towards the end of DC’s New 52 run, Green Arrow received a new creative team. While the Emerald Archer’s final pair of arcs in that era had a rotating roster of artists, the writer stayed the same throughout: Benjamin Percy. Though he was only really on the book for the last two arcs of that era of DC continuity, he impressed the company enough to be one of the very few writers to stick around in the transition from New 52 to Rebirth in 2016.
With Rebirth, Percy decided to remake Ollie into a “social justice warrior,” in his own words. It sounds like a very obvious thing to say — after all, in their own way or another, all superheroes are Social Justice Warriors — but Percy was determined to make Oliver walk the walk as best as he could. In the first issue alone, Black Canary dresses our titular hero down for fighting against The Man while also being a rich white dude that could do something with his fortune. Sure, he’s hoping with the Queen’s Hospital and homeless shelter, but he could do so much more, and it’s clear that those words hit him where it counts.
So, of course, Percy has Ollie lose his fortune and get framed for murder by the second issue.
Yeah, to say that Ollie’s had a rough go of it lately at Percy’s hands would be an understatement. But in making Ollie a wanted man, Percy has set up some great “SJW”-style stories for Green Arrow and his ragtag team to work through. Whether it was having the Emerald Archer deal with police brutality, socially conscious athletes, or the DAPL pipeline, Green Arrow wasn’t afraid to get directly political in a way that other books weren’t willing or able to try to. But for how politically charged this book is, it probably doesn’t more political than when Oliver heads to Metropolis in the middle of the “Hard Traveling Hero” arc where, thanks to a computer virus, Lexcorp employees were having all their dirty laundry aired to the whole city.
While Green Arrow and Superman dealt with saving the employees who were so ridden with guilt that taking their lives was the only option, Lex Luthor set about reversing the virus to transmit messages of happiness. It’s incredibly hokey, but effective, thanks to both Percy’s writing and artist Juan Ferreyra’s artwork.
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