Firing in A New Direction: (Green Arrow Annual #2 Review)
Green Arrow Annual #2
Writer: Julie & Shawna Benson
Artists: Carmen Carnero
Cover Artist: David Lopez
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Deron Bennett
A new direction for DC”s Emerald Archer begins as Oliver Queen finds himself caught up in the events of the DC miniseries “No Justice” going against both the cybernetic horror of Brainiac and the much more human threat of Amanda Waller!!
Summary with limited spoilers:
Beginning at the end, the annual opens with Oliver Queen reflecting on a strange box he has been given by the new chairman of the Justice League, Martian Manhunter. The mysterious contents apparently having the power to take down the league, Oliver begins to reflect on why he has been entrusted with such a weapon, leading to the flashback that takes up the majority of the comic. The recounting begins with Green Arrow fighting long-time recurring Star City foe & gangster Brick, who’s attempting to rob a casino, Brick pointing out to Ollie the giant Brainiac ship floating the sky above them, as Brick’s trying to grab some cash & get out of dodge. Confused about the appearance of Brainiac here (and why the Justice League isn’t there to fight him off), GA distracts Brick, before the ship grabs him. However, the ships let him go & begins trying to grab Oliver instead. Realizing Brainiac is after heroes, the archer escapes the ship’s grasp, and begins trying to call others for help, but finds all his Seattle allies fail to respond. To top that off, every Queen Industries phone nearby explodes. However, Oliver then hears an unknown Black Canary ear-piece stashed in his quiver go off. It’s Batgirl, trying to get in contact with anybody, as everyone seems to be missing!! BG reveals to Ollie that the Queen Industries satellite has been hacked, then using a tracking signal she has on Black Canary (standard Birds of Prey operating procedure apparently) to find Black Canary, directing the unusual duo to Mount Justice, the headquarters of the JLA. Oliver needs to rush over there, so he makes a quick stop first…he pulls the Arrow-Plane out of mothballs!! Flying out to the JLA’s base, he finds all of them except Atom & Lobo, the rest all unconscious & unresponsive, with Brainiac-symbols on their foreheads. Batgirl then relays a realization to GA, the satellite hack wasn’t Brainiac’s doing, but that of Task-Force X & Suicide Squad leader Amanda Waller. Enraged & confused by Waller’s actions, Green Arrow flies off to the Arctic to confront Waller…
Opinions on story and art
This first entry in the Benson sister’s new run on Green Arrow is interesting, having the story tie-into the events of the Justice League mini-series “No Justice” to establish part of their status-quo for the direction on the title. As a tie-in to the event, it’s enjoyable, being relatively easy to follow as the story mostly takes place just before the events of Justice League: No Justice #1. As a story by itself? Readers may be confused by how Oliver’s recounting of his confrontation with Waller seemingly just stops before returning to the present. Julie & Shawna Benson do a good job capturing Oliver’s voice, and from the brief glimpses we get of them through their voice-mail messages, seem to have a good grasp on the voices of Oliver’s supporting cast. The art is fine. Carmen Carnero’s pencils & Trish Mulvihill’s colors convey the shifting mood & tone of the story very effectively, as they shift from the bright sunny day in Seattle before slowly getting darker as the story goes on, and are at their darkest when GA eventually finds Black Canary and is at his lowest point. The action sequences are likewise conveyed pretty well, the highlight being Oliver’s single-handed take-down of a group of Brainiac robots designed to defeat the JLA in a two-page splash.