Green Arrow #4
Green Arrow: lost in the time stream! Enter: Hal Jordan - except isn't this Parallax? Is Oliver's oldest friend here in peace, or will the monster within Green Lantern win the inevitable battle of wills?
This latest volume of Green Arrow has been one heck of a fun ride, and issue four is no exception. Readers have grown so accustomed to Oliver Queen operating at street level, it’s sometimes easy to forget that he potentially has the entire DCU as his playground anytime a given writer wants. But could sending Ollie careening through the timestream feel right? Does he need that space? Do readers?
For writer Joshua Williamson, the answer is resoundingly, “Yes.”
As it turns out, having Ollie lost in the timestream and getting to enact his own brand of super-liberal/sometimes-hypocritical justice in various times and places (including alien worlds) reinforces the things that make him great: that stubbornness, that innate sense of right and wrong; his unflappable need to pick fights with any and all authority figures while seemingly forgetting that as a costumed hero, he is de facto one himself. This has been, thus far, a gem of a character study that frankly nobody saw coming.
Williamson likes to play in big sandboxes as a writer; sometimes it works (this series) and sometimes he extends himself too far (Dark Crisis). With issue four, he takes his biggest swing yet, bringing Parallax into the fray and possibly offering the whys and wherefores as to Oliver’s current predicament. Of course, it would be easy for Williamson to kick up his feet and say, “Parallax did it!” about the jam Ollie’s in (hey, it worked during Kevin Smith’s run, right?), but fortunately Williamson shows grace and restraint as a writer and doesn’t take the easy way out.
Instead, he chooses to use the pairing of hard-travelling heroes Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan – both at utterly different points in their lives than they had been when they first became fast friends – to write both a love letter to the original O’Neil/Adams GL/GA run and to how far these characters were removed from those stories by this time in their respective histories. As Ollie goads Hal – or is that Parallax? – into a fistfight for the ages, the duo trade barbs that only the best of brothers can get away with, walloping the snot out of one another ’til the last man is left standing. What could have been an exercise in surface-level fan service turns into a multi-layered character study instead.
On the art side, Sean Izaakse continues to prove why he’s one of the industry’s fastest-rising stars:
Izaakse’s pages are smooth and easy to look at without any unnecessary lines or fussy over-rendering. He’s reminiscent of Carlos Gomez in that way; he can pack a world of emotion into simple body language for each character he renders – a feat less easy to pull off than words alone can do justice. There are artists decades deep into their careers working who still don’t know how to make that work.
Izaakse is complemented by stalwart DC colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr. Fajardo is one of the greatest work horses in comics today. He can turn out multiple pages per month across multiple titles, and he still innately understands the hows and whys of what colors to use where and to what degree. This issue, being all Hal and Ollie, is soaked in lush hues of green, but never feels like he just dumped a paint can on the panels. Everything is colored exactly how it needs to be.
Green Arrow #4 continues to prove why this title is one of DC's big winners, especially in this Dawn of DC era that's absolutely soaked in an embarrassing wealth of amazing comics.
Green Arrow #4: The Ballad of Hal and Ollie
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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