Brightest Day is over, Black Lantern Swamp Thing is on the loose, and Galahad’s secret has been revealed. What does this mean for the new status quo of Green Arrow?
GREEN ARROW #12
Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Vicente Cifuentes and Oclair Albert
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Joe Prado and Rod Reis
Variant Cover: David Aja
Assistant Editor: Katie Kubert
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Green Arrow: After killing Prometheus in Cry For Justice, Oliver Queen was forced to retreat to the mysterious star-shaped forest that appeared in the middle of Star City as a result of Blackest Night. There he met up with Galahad, a man who claimed to be the Arthurian knight of lore. Recently we learned that he was actually a scholar of Arthurian legend whose daughter died of illness. Following her death he lost himself in the mythology he studied and convinced himself he was Galahad. He took up residence in the forest and has been assisting Green Arrow, and the two of them discovered Galahad’s sordid past and vanquished the demon Etrigan–just in time for Black Lantern Swamp Thing to show up and attack!
This is the end of Green Arrow’s tie-in to Brightest Day, and the series has really picked up in action over the last several issues. Unfortunately, the catalyst for the action in this issue–the appearance of Swamp Thing in the forest–is a bit dated at this point in time, considering Brightest Day 24 came out a month ago. J.T. Krul seems to comment on this through Ollie’s mouth, lamenting that despite the forest appearing in his city at exactly the perfect moment for him to inhabit it–a seeming deus ex machina for the Green Arrow–its actual purpose “was for something bigger.”
This something bigger is the Black Lantern Swamp Thing, who ends up battling White Lantern Swamp Thing Alec Holland while the two ignore Ollie and the rest of the GA cast.
This issue ties up a lot of loose plot ends very nicely: The Etrigan subplot is unsurprisingly resolved with Etrigan re-bonding with Jason Blood (sidenote: Krul is a good writer, but his Etrigan dialogue is rather poor. He ought to try reading some of Kevin Smith’s Etrigan from the Green Arrow arc “Quiver,” or read Gail Simone’s work in the recent Secret Six arc). Krul’s writing has been up and down for me–I seem to be one of the few who really enjoyed Rise of Arsenal, but as much as I’ve tried to like it, his Teen Titans just hasn’t grabbed me yet.
This issue of Green Arrow reminded me of how much I love his writing when it is on; the scene with Ollie counseling Galahad shows a remorseful and very human side of Oliver–and that human side is what makes Green Arrow a hero worth reading. When it was first announced Krul would be writing Green Arrow, he mentioned that he wanted to bring some of the Mike Grell run’s feel to the character. While the isolation of Oliver Queen from the rest of the DCU is probably not going to happen again, I feel bringing about a more down to earth peoples’ hero Green Arrow is necessary for the character. Green Arrow 12 sets up just this, as Green Arrow leaves the forest to return to Star City, and hopefully resolve the conflict over the Queen Industries takeover.
Diogenes Neves’ pencils in this book are fantastic. In the first few issues of the ongoing I had qualms about the way he drew Ollie, not liking how the shagginess of his facial hair depicted an older Green Arrow, whereas I preferred a crisper Ollie with the pointed Van Dyke a la Neal Adams. The cover, done beautifully by Joe Prado and Rod Reis, has this better groomed version of facial hair. Neves’ version has grown on me; it fits well with the take on the character to be a bit older and rough around the edges after all he’s been through.
Another problem I have with the art is how Green Arrow’s eyes inconsistently appear through his mask. Either the mask should be transparent over the eyes, or it should be opaque, but having it alternate on the artist’s whim irks me to no end. Even though it is a very minor element, it jars me out of the story (especially since when the eyes are drawn, they are unusually small). Every other aspect of how Neves draws Green Arrow is spot on–the musculature and costume are both spot on, and as stated earlier the shaggy hair has grown on me.
If you haven’t been following Green Arrow, you might be a bit confused, but this issue does a good job of wrapping up the existing plot while setting up for the future. I think a new reader could follow the issue moderately well, as long as they understand they may not know what is happening with all the characters immediately. If you have been on board with Green Arrow, this is definitely NOT the time to get off. As of the last several issues, the Krul train is definitely rolling, and looks to only gain from here–hopefully this will be a new era of strong Green Arrow comics to make up for the latter half of the Green Arrow / Black Canary series. I give the book three and a half stars out of five; definitely worth the $2.99.