Green Arrow #44
Now targeted by the enigmatic Citizen, Oliver is on a mission to evade the throngs of citizens who want to see him held accountable while also attempting to protect the newest victims on Citizen’s hitlist. Citizen reveals a skeleton in Ollie’s closet that Ollie wasn’t even aware of—the death of a young woman by hit-and-run on a night in Ollie’s ill-spent youth that he was found driving drunk. Oliver has no time to cope with the news, however, as a woman’s life hangs in the balance of the twisted scales of justice imposed by Citizen. Oliver manages to save the woman and drive Citizen off into the night and delivers her into the hands of the US Justice System, only to return home guilt-ridden and adrift. Just as Oliver begins to put the day behind him, however, he is visited by a certain Big Blue Boy Scout requesting a chat.
The big question facing readers at this moment in the first arc from the Benson sisters is whether or not we believe Oliver is responsible for Nadia’s death. Depending on where you stand in relation to that question, the arc can be viewed in varying degrees of provocativeness. If Oliver is guilty, then the notion of White Privilege as extended to the immensely wealthy takes center stage in a unique and powerful way, however, if it comes out later that he is not guilty, but merely framed to look that way (likely positioning Citizen as somebody who knew Nadia in some capacity in either instance), then there seems to be the potential for this arc, through well-written and beautifully rendered, to be lost in the annals of history as “just standard comics fare.” The direction Julie and Shawna choose moving forward will certainly be a defining moment for their Green Arrow run, one way or the other. The potential here for a quietly ground-breaking arc is astounding, but I will reserve final judgment until I’ve seen where we’re going. I should note, though, that the dialogue is still exactly what you would expect based on the previous work of the writing duo in the best way possible, and it bears mentioning that Kate Spencer’s time as Manhunter, something that hasn’t really been addressed to this point (to my recollection), is hinted at in this issue.
In terms of the art team’s execution of the book, Fernandez’s varying art style clicked with me in this issue in a way that didn’t last issue, but it was his page layouts that really struck me as phenomenal this month. In particular, the above splash page and the ways it uses the multiple television monitors to mimic a more traditional comics page layout with typical panels and frames struck me as visually stunning.
Last, but certainly not least, the amazing work of Deron Bennett on letters should be acknowledged. Rarely has the work of the letterer shone as brightly as it does in this particular two-page spread which features a great number of different contributions by Bennett. From sound effects to screens, radio voices to dialogue, Bennett seems to take control of the narrative here with a clear and distinct voice.
I’m hedging my bets with this month’s “rating”, erring low with the understanding that eventually, this could become an arc that I cherish. I want to have the utmost faith in writers that I have come to greatly respect, but editorial oversight can and has muted potential in the past, so I will remain reserved and see where the arc goes from here.
Green Arrow #44: (W)reckless Youth?
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 7/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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