Monday, July 28, 2014

Green Arrow v4: The Kill Machine TPB

Why, oh why, does every single hero need to be a part of a secret conspiracy? Wasn’t it good enough that Oliver Queen learned to shoot a bow fighting pirates on some crazy island? I guess not, because Jeff Lemire spends this entire trade building up a complicated backstory devoted to giving a vigilante with a bow a deeper meaning.

It seems that Oliver Queen’s dad was really a devotee of a secret cult of weapons masters. These “Outsiders” are each named by a totem weapon, and they have secretly guided the world for centuries. The elder Queen gave up on Oliver when he didn’t show an aptitude for the bow, replacing him with an apprentice who has stuck around to endanger our hero now.

I can’t stand it when characters are suddenly revealed to be one in a long-standing line of legacy characters. In my opinion, it just makes the current lead less unique (Marvel is doing the same with Black Knight these days).

You know I can’t get through a DC review without complaining about the “reimagined” versions of characters I used to enjoy. This time, in addition to Green Arrow himself, we have new/bad versions of Count Vertigo, who has given up the spandex and looks ready for a TV movie. Richard Dragon, formerly a butt-kicking hero, is now a criminal with an entirely different look and motivation. Butcher is one of the aforementioned “Outsiders” the master of the axe or some such. The only character to make it through mostly unscathed is Shaddo. She seems to have retained the look and powers that made her an interesting character in older GA stories.

Andrea Sorrentino’s art has one big thing going for it: it doesn’t look like every other book in the new 52. It’s got almost an Alex Maleev vibe going on, a grittiness that really sells Green Arrow as being in his own corner of the DCU. Too bad that every single issue includes one character or another saying “Should we call the Justice League? Nah, let’s let GA handle it himself.” So basically, the dangerous situation only exists because no one feels like giving Martian Manhunter a call.

Sorrentino’s down-to-Earth style does keep the look grounded, but that actually hurts when dealing with more historically flamboyant characters like Count Vertigo. Without his cape and spandex, he just seems like a boring version of his old self.

This might be an OK comic if the reader has no experience with Green Arrow. But this is an EVIL comic if you have the option of going back and reading stories that are actually good. 


David Charles Bitterbaum said...

When I read this I actually had such minimal knowledge of Green Arrow that I wasn't sure who was a being re-imagined and what characters were new--I had just started reading when Lemire came on and quit sometime during this arc due to being unimpressed with the story too.

That said, the reason I stuck around as long as I did was Sorrentino's art is just incredible and deserving of being on a big-name book that could use the unique style to its advantage.

Timbotron said...

I definitely found the art to be unique and evocative, but the panel layouts confused me at times. I found myself wandering to the wrong panel.