Arrow Annual Ghost in the Machine
Writer Benjamin Percy
Art Eleonora Carlini
Coloured by HI-FI
Lettered by Tom Napolitano
What you need to know:
It’s Christmas time and Arrow is in the Festive Sprit for this Annual.
What just happened?
Oliver Queen is Wakening up to Christmas day and it has snowed outside, climbing down from his tree cabin where he is met by Dinah Lance who demands her first present a romantic kiss full of morning breath.
As Oliver makes his way into the lower part of the cabin which is nicely decorated and where he is met by his friends Roy, Digg, Henry Emiko.
But the tree is a little too perfect and the mass of Wasps comes buzzing of taking out the entire team and snap back in the real world Oliver take of the realistic holograms called the dream machine.
The machine can perform many neural tasks but it’s not something the Green Arrow needs in his life. He is picked up by an unexpected driver who takes him home.
When he arrives home as a boy greeted by his Mom but his Dad is in Japan on business, his Mom covers up the man she was hiding by asking Ollie to join her for some fresh air.
They take a walk along the shore looking at the starfish and then just like that she is gone, he is greeted by an old pal and she’s who dead body behind him.
He wakes up from the nightmare tied to a chair where Diggle had clearly put him, Oliver asks why he saved Merlyn so he can kill again.
Diggle tells him that he owed him a debit and he pays his, and that his not forgiven him for moving on with his Ex Fiancé.
There is nothing for Diggle this Christmas so he intends to beat on his old friend.
We find Roy in a bar drunk and the barman with a baseball bat ready to cut of the supply, its Christmas Eve and the bar tender is provoked and knocks Roy to the ground telling him does he not have someone to be with.
So out in the cold he picks up the phone and calls Jade, jumps in a car and starts driving, but in the state he is in it is not long before he almost collides with another car serving on the icy road he crashes.
Crash, bang we find Roy being drilled about the booze he snuck in, as well as being asked if he was sober enough in the ice bath he has been put in.
The program he is on needs him to give up all his baggage, saved air, clipped nails and the bow is put into the burning furnace, as Roy looks into the flames we see a flashback of him calling out to him Mom and Dad whilst trapped in the forest fire.
Red Arrow and Nightwing team up to take out a gang, he start to give her a compliment but that is short lived as an arrow ends up in his back from none other than Emiko’s Mother.
This chapter ends notably quickly shouting out you do not own me Emiko is dragged onto a helicopter where she is told she is not in her right mind.
Cruising on her motor cycle Dinah arrives at the woodland cabin with gifts apologising for being late but when she arrives no one is there.
She heads out to the emergency calls, there is a lot of traffic to get through, firing up her sonic to honk her way through.
Halfway down she realises this is not an ordinary traffic jam as all the people are being summoned and they are going into the nearby lake including her friends.
Working out where the signal is coming from she heads to confront Count Veritgo who is in fact singing sleep in heavenly peace, guess he got into the Christmas mood.
With no way up the building Dinah goes to the highest point nearby and disrupts his signal, Vertigo losing everything to Arrow intends to take her out.
Meanwhile Arrow is still caught up in his daydream courtesy of Vertigo, Dinnah taunts her enemy, and he gets the upper hand pushing her towards the edge and what a response a head butt.
The spell is finally broken and our dazed heroes are unsure if they have woken in another nightmare, Dinah calls on Arrow to assist her in finishing her enemy who has used a scarf to silence her.
Team Arrow fully awake fire their arrows with grappling to catch their falling comrade, Oliver appears to be back in control and not caught in his nightmarish past.
Shooting an arrow into Vertigo’s chest he follows through by saving him and repairing his cybernetic implant so he gets to have a pleasant dream on Christmas.
This Annual was quite crazy instead of giving us Christmas cheer we see how our heroes have real issues in life through a nightmare dream state with a solid story throughout the chapters.
Some of these dreams also apply to the real world where there are many people who share similar experiences apart from all the death, mayhem and heroics I guess.
Wishing my fellow comic reader a Happy Holiday.