This review contains spoilers.
In Green Arrow Annual #1, Oliver and Emiko have to deal with an epidemic that is turning people into wolf-like creatures as well as a group of men that are hunting the wolf-men.
The issue begins with masked men attacking a man who had been affected with the Lukos disease. This is an ancient disease that turned men into wolf-men. Meanwhile, after spending the night with Oliver, Melanie tells him off about his white privilege and leaves feeling that there is no way she can connect with Oliver. Oliver and Emiko go to a Halloween parade in their respective costumes where both the wargs, which is the name of the hybrids, and the men hunting them break out into a fight. The issue ends with Oliver being infected by one of the hybrids.
I love that this issue is set on Halloween. The holiday is always great for imagery and it is the right time of year.
I really enjoy the relationship between Oliver and Emiko. Their banter feels genuine and I can see their relationship growing. I definitely see Emiko as a more effectively written Damian Wayne. She has a similar backstory but Benjamin Percy does more with her trying to adjust to normal life and how hard that is for her as well as Ollie who has never really lived a normal life due to his wealth.
The conflict between the wargs and the hunters is interesting in that it reflects racial issues that are going on in the U.S. right now. The wargs are understandably scared and angry as they are being hunted by people who are naturally afraid but go too far in their fear. Neither side is doing the right thing but they are not completely wrong. It also helps that the brief scene between Oliver and Melanie highlights how hard it is for two very different people to interact.
This is a complaint about DC Comics in general but recap pages are necessary. Melanie seems to be a character that I should know but I barely remember her. I shouldn’t have to go back and read previous issues just to enjoy this one. However, she may be a character that is appearing for the first time. I read a lot of comics and it’s hard to keep everything straight sometimes.
Green Arrow’s costume is silly. He has this weird arrow painted on his chest and it just doesn’t look good.
There is way too much exposition. Fyff spends a lot of time explaining a rather long backstory on the disease and I felt it was unnecessary. It could have been a new disease. It just felt dull.
Despite some minor complaints, this is a good issue. The character interactions are sweet, the conflict feels legitimate and there is some great atmosphere in the artwork. I definitely recommend reading this.