Prison is Hell (Green Arrow #42 Comic Review)

Green Arrow #42 “Better Than” Part 2

Writer: Marighread Scott

Artists: Matthew Clark & Sean Parsons 

Cover Artist: Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto

Variant Cover: Mike Grell

Colors: Jason Wright

Letters: Deron Bennett

Green Arrow #42 cover by Tyler Kirkham & Arif Prianto


Last time on Green Arrow: The Emerald Archer had been tasked with escorting Superman foe the Parasite back to prison after a trial hearing, when the power-absorbing inmate freaks out, attacks the prison guards, and begins a prison riot. Dealing with the wide-array of crooks both super and non-powered, Oliver Queen tracks down the Parasite to a hole leading to the sewers below…

Summary with limited spoilers:

Picking up right where the previous issue ended, Oliver continues his search for Joshua Allen, AKA the Parasite, in the maintenance tunnels beneath the prison. After a bit of self-reflection on the previous issue’s events and trying to figure out how he’ll stop such a powerful adversary, he realizes the Parasite has snuck up behind him. After several attempts to stop Allen, Oliver mentions his intent to return Parasite to his cell and this causes the purple-behemoth to freak out, desperately trying to escape the archer’s grip and the prison. Oliver attempts to pursue, as Parasite flashes back, and recounts to how he was treated while incarcerated. Constantly being bombarded by light, Allen is terrified they’ll eventually burn him completely. Hearing Allen’s despair, Oliver is heartbroken over his inability to help, knowing that the Parasite still has to be incarcerated. Parasite cries out that it’s unjust, that he’s not evil, and that he’s never had control over his abilities and the hunger that comes with it. But Oliver can’t help, causing the Parasite to lash out even further…


Much like the previous issue, fill-in writer Mairghread Scott does a superb job both capturing Green Arrow’s liberal core and crafting a story where Oliver’s heart and what he must do are completely at odds with one another. It’s a shame this is the last issue she’s writing as of right now, as I would love to see Mairghread write more Green Arrow stories in the future! She also does a great job making readers sympathize with the Parasite, and the story’s paced very effectively.

The art is even better than the previous issue. Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons do a terrific job crafting some very striking pages throughout the issue. Of particular note are the third and fourth pages: first highlighting the truly massive threat Parasite poses and following it up with a very great format for the following action sequences, breaking the panels up with various arrows being fired by Oliver! And the coloring in the comic, provided by Jason Wright, is very effective, such as showing the bleak and artificially bright lights of the Parasite’s cell. 

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Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron

A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!
The second part of “Better Than” continues and concludes the prior entry’s plot & characterization very efficiently, and the art, well-handled in part one, becomes even better in the second. The story crafts a terrific conflict for a Green Arrow comic, and one that highlights a very real problem and concern when it comes to how people are treated while incarcerated. Highlighting very real social problems is something some of the best Green Arrow stories do, and this two-parter is no exception. I highly recommend giving it a read!
  • The strong characterization of Oliver Queen from the previous issue continues, and the Parasite is likewise depicted in a sympathetic & compelling light
  • The moral dilemma presented, whether Oliver should let the Parasite go and save him from the abuse at the hands of the prison warden, or return him to his cell, is perfect for Green Arrow & is very well-handled.
  • The art is both effectively gritty for a prison-story, and full of very striking action-sequences and panel-layouts.
  • The ending might be a bit dour for a fill-in story.
Art - 8.5
Writing - 8.5
Plot - 8.5
Character Development - 8
Written by
A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!

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