As a huge fan of Arrow and a massive fan of Lemire and Sorrentino’s Green Arrow run, I may be a great reviewer for this issue, or a truly terrible choice. I’ll let you make that call.
The new Green Arrow team’s first issue starts off three months after the end of the Broken storyline that Lemire finished on. Green Arrow seems quite determined to save his city. Many will cite this as making the comic too much like Arrow or turning Oliver into Batman. I challenge those people to go reread the last two pages of #34 (Hint: Lemire sets up this change in Ollie’s behavior there).
He’s transformed his business into the Queen Foundation, a charity that is doing all it can to help the city of Seattle and, eventually, even more. The idea of the Queen Foundation is found in last month’s Futures End issue, where we saw how much success Ollie had with that idea. We are introduced to Zehra, who is in charge of the charity.
Fyff has a new job, Naomi is off gird (likely doing some training to be Dart), and Emiko is off training by herself. Ollie is left with only Diggle to help him. He has a few connections we’ve never really seen before (notably a doctor in the Glades who knows his identity). Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor approach Oliver with the idea of a merger between their companies. Man of the people Oliver, wants nothing to do with the merger.
As we wrap up, we get multiple notable pieces of world-building:
First we see Arthur King, aka Merlyn. As far as I know, Merlyn has not shown up in New 52 outside of what were basically cameos in Forever Evil and Batman, INC. He’s wearing a business suit and does not have the classic Merlyn pointy hairstyle. Most will accu
se them of trying to make him a Malcolm Merlyn clone. I, for one, will be withholding that judgment until we get a third page from him.
Second, we get the (probable) return of Mia Dearden!
Third. we get the introduction of Felicity Smoak. And based on the one page we have of her so far, it’s safe to say she will probably not be identical to her TV counterpart.
Now that that’s all out of the way…
Aside from the sweeping away of past cast members, Kreisberg and Sokolowski actually do a fairly solid job of setting us up in a world post-Lemire by advancing several concepts and ideas that were put in by Lemire. The name of the game this issue is world-building, and the new writing team looks set to expand the world of Green Arrow by bringing back several elements that have been missing from the New 52, and implementing a few successful elements from the television show. The relationship between Ollie and Diggle is the real highlight here, as we see a friendship here that wasn’t at its strongest with Lemire. They make sense, and thinking of them in this light helps the portrayal of some of the duo’s past actions.
I liked that the doctor knew Ollie’s secret identity. It’s just a step in the both classic and Futures End direction of Oliver’s identity being public.
The business meeting was strange. Some people are quite caught up in the whole “Batman doesn’t know Oliver’s identity” bit, but that’s hardly a true negative. Some of the dialogue is awkward, especially from Lex. This is also the main scene where the art suffers.
The biggest negative is the write-out of Naomi, Fyff, and Emiko in the span of one speech bubble. Now, I never cared much for Fyff, but I do think the protagonist’s sister deserves more than one speech bubble if you’re going to shelve her for a few issues.
Also, I do not believe for one second that Naomi and Emiko are permanently gone. I’m betting at least one of them will appear in this arc.
Green Arrow #35 is the start of what looks to be some serious world-building for the world of Green Arrow. It’s easy to view the arc negatively in light of the unforeseen early departure of such a fantastic team, but let’s try to judge this arc fairly, folks.