This is a spoiler-free review
Green Arrow #1 is written by Benjamin Percy with art and colors by Otto Schmidt.
Green Arrow and Black Canary discovered that a human trafficking organization was being run in Seattle. The organization appears to target homeless people to sell. Green Arrow and Black Canary were able to stop one particular auction and swore to tear the entire operation down.
Green Arrow and Black Canary continue to hunt for the human traffickers while the use of Oliver’s money is put into question.
I was worried that with the return of Dinah Lance, certain New 52 characters would be forgotten but Percy weaves them in here. Fyff and Emiko both play a part and it was great to see that as someone who is a huge fan of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s run on the character. I just love Emiko; she has such a fun and snarky personality that works so well with Oliver’s own snark. Before Rebirth, I felt Percy was at his strongest when he was writing the relationship between Ollie and Emi so I hope it is still a major part of Oliver’s life going forward.
Percy continues to excel at the characterization of everyone in this book. He is doing really great at being consistent with who these characters were in the New 52 and naturally getting them to a place that is more in line with what we know from the old continuity. They feel like their classic counterparts but without throwing away their recent stories and adventures. The best comparison is the Kevin Smith run on Green Arrow. Smith was able to celebrate the entire history of the character new and old while taking it in a fresh direction. Percy, so far, seems to be doing the same thing.
Schimdt’s art is great. In particular, I like this colors quite a bit. They just really stand out to me the entire issue. Oliver takes Dinah on a tour of Seattle that I think is really well done. It was nice to see Seattle as happy place with sunshine for once.
The argument over Oliver’s money is continued here and it’s actually really great. While I liked it in the first issue, it works much better because Dinah is given a better argument. Oliver does questionable things with his money here and it is made clear that Oliver operates this way all the time. He is not wrong in what he is doing. He has good intentions; he is trying to help and he does do good things with his money but there are moral implications to his choices. Oliver isn’t seeing the big picture. He’s trying to use band aids as a quick fix without thinking about the real problem. Additionally, both Dinah and Oliver are mature and respectful about the debate this time around which was a nice change from the Rebirth issue.
The twist at the end works both as a great continuation of the New 52 story while also tying directly into the themes about Oliver’s money that I talked about above.
My first complaint is hard to talk about without spoiling. It is a minor spoiler but I won’t say it just in case. Something happens between Oliver and Dinah that is completely out of nowhere and unnecessary. It’s something that could have been built towards but it just happens for no reason. It’s not a huge complaint but I just thought it happened too fast.
Dinah sings a Black Canary song to Emiko that isn’t on the EP so it’s just poetry. It’s always weird to have music in comics since there’s no sound. I guess I can imagine what it sounds like but it always feels awkward to me.
There is a bit of dialogue that is too on the nose. That has been a problem I’ve had with Percy as a writer. He sometimes writes dialogue or narration that will spoon-feed themes and character motivations to the audience. It always feels like a writer explaining things as opposed to something a person would actually say. There are two main examples. The first is when Dinah explains the meaning of her song to Emi and the second is when Oliver tells Dinah why he likes Emi and her so much. It feels unnatural and forced.
Despite some minor complaints, I think this is an excellent issue. It continues the story, characters and themes all in an interesting way that I found to be captivating and fun. The art is great and there is a cool action scene that starts the book off. Green Arrow continues to be the highlight of Rebirth so far. I highly recommend this issue.