Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1
This week Ancient History jumps into another post crisis DC property, in light of St Paddy's day this week I figured a visit from the Emerald Archer was in order! That's right it's Green Arrow: the Longbow Hunters #1!
Longtime Green Arrow backup story writer artist Mike Grell moves GA to a new locale, Seattle (my hometown!) and puts him against a serial killer and a mysterious assassin.
I love Mike Grell, just a heads up. Warlord is one of my all time favorite series and his Green Arrow work in backup stories is stellar. I do find it interesting that rather than fully rebooting continuity like so many other series did Grell rebooted Ollie’s LIFE but kept the continuity intact. We aren’t forced to meet a new hero making his was in the world. There’s something familiar and wholesome within these dreary pages.
Speaking of dreary being a Seattle native I think one of my favorite things is the geography and architecture being so on point. It’s unbelievable how many times a book will be set in Seattle with the artist never having visited or even making a cursory google search. Granted this is above and beyond what an artist might be required to do, but that’s what makes Longbow Hunters so good. It’s perfect.
The plot is a bit bare bones basic but even so it is a mystery and I do love mysteries! I love the scenes with Ollie doing detective work, and what action there is is well crafted and fun. At no point does this dense book feel tedious or slow, and Grell does a great job of interweaving continuity into his story without being derailed.
One of Mike Grell’s greatest strengths as a creator is that he writes and draws many of his books, and shockingly as good a writer as he is he’s an even better artist, with perfect layouts, interesting panel choices and dynamic action. Grell wrote and drew this and much of the following series as well as many of his other works.
Stellar linework is of course further solidified by the color work of Julia Lacquement, who perfectly captures the gloomy setting but doesn’t use it as an excuse to rely too heavily on solid black fills. Colors can become muddy with tones like these but Lacquement nails it. Especially noteworthy is the fine detail work in Shado’s tattoos, which are flawlessly replicated every panel she appears in.
Letterer Ken Bruzenak does and excellent job of integrating dialogue and narration into the art without inhibiting anything. I might have liked some sound effects in fight scenes but sadly they were going out of style at the time. Still, that isn’t Bruzebak’s fault, solid lettering is such that if done well you barely notice it and as such I’d call this solid.
This 3 issue prestige series is extremely affordable with full runs widely available for $2-10, there is a trade paperback that is out of print but still easy enough to find, this mini also appears in the Green Arrow by Mike Grell omnibus which is solicited for June, assuming DC doesn’t pull the random omnibus cancellation game they’ve played lately it is $150 MSRP and is worth EVERY PENNY.
This is a great series and a must read for any Green Arrow fan new or old.
ANCIENT HISTORY #25: The Longbow Hunter
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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