We all have our favorite comic books runs. I can cite Frank Miller’s Daredevil as one of my favorites (Vol. 1, Nos. 158–191 with Klaus Janson, and Nos. 226– 233 with David Mazzucchelli) or J. Michael Straczynski’s Thor (Vol. 3, Nos. 1–12 and Vol. 1, Nos. 600–603 with Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjević). These storylines redefined the characters and brought them back from obscurity. The same can be said of Jeff Lemire’s current run on Green Arrow, beginning with issue No. 17 of The New 52.
Lemire is best known for his writing and artwork on Vertigo’s Sweet Tooth (2009–2012) and his independent projects (The Nobody and The Underwater Welder), as well as his work on the monthly comic books, Justice League Dark (starting with issue No. 9) and the relaunch of Animal Man (The New 52). I’ve heard great things about all these books, but I was not familiar with Lemire’s work until I read Green Arrow. I have to admit that it was Andrea Sorrentino’s incredible covers that drew me in, but it was Lemire’s plotting and storytelling that kept me involved.
The first storyline is a five-parter called, “The Kill Machine” in which Oliver’s Queen Industries is disbanded by corporate takeover and the Green Arrow is attacked by a mysterious archer who calls himself Komodo. When it rains, it pours, and that is certainly the case for Oliver Queen, who loses everything except for two tech genius friends, who help him in his covert operations as Green Arrow.
Lemire literally broke the character down to rebuild him in his own image, and I’m fond of the direction it’s taking. So far, there are many questions to be asked, but that’s how a writer keeps a reader hooked … through mystery. Why was Robert Queen, Oliver’s father, murdered? Who are the clan leaders of the Seven Weapons and where can the arrow totem-weapon be found? Can Oliver trust the Japanese archer, Shado, who claims to have known his father? The story is a throwback to Mike Grell’s run on Green Arrow (Vol. 2, Nos. 1–80 from 1988–1994) in which the world of Green Arrow is grittier and more realistic, taking place in Seattle, instead of Star City.
But cheers and applause should not be given solely to Jeff Lemire. A comic book writer is only as good as his artists. Andrea Sorrentino, who does the penciling and inking, provides us with the realism. His talent is immediately apparent upon viewing his covers. The interior pages are no different. I especially like Sorrentino’s use of a panel within a panel and the sudden shift in coloring from pop-artistry to black-and-white.
The most recent storyline, “Shado” is a two-parter that introduces us to Green Arrow’s arch nemesis, Count Vertigo, and it leaves us with more questions to be answered—the beginning of a new adventure. I’m intrigued, hooked even, and I look forward to the next issue. I’m as deeply engrossed in the comic as when I first read Miller’s Daredevil and Straczynski’s Thor. It’s a comic book that is not to be missed.