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- Or: The Time Ollie Left His Teddy Outdoors...

Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 38,283
Subj: Green Arrow #21 - Land of Confusion.
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 at 03:18:59 pm EDT (Viewed 373 times)

Seemingly marinating in its own juices these days Green Arrow as a title stands in that strange twilight world that belongs to half-comicbook and half dutiful TV-tie in.
By way of contextualising that consider that in 2011 the title launched itself as a thinly disguised storyboard for a television series proposal and that the subsequent television series did indeed pick up many of the elements by which Dan Jurgens introduced, magnificently though the comicbook then defiantly paid lip service to any notions of being a slave to its television counterpart and under Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino seemingly redefined what was possible with the format of Oliver Queen and his love of archery. To this day the triumph of Lemire and Sorrentino stands undiminished, as in their search for the original and the innovative what they managed to devise for the page was and still is thoroughly imaginative entertainment and some of the most memorable fodder Green Arrow has ever been blessed with in its seventy year history as a going concern.

And so Green Arrow #21, and Ben Percy, a writer with some ability to be sure, so why is it this issue in question reads not only as a TV-tie in but is heavily recycling the books own six year old past in addition?
Perhaps the purpose is that transparent, perhaps, despite his previous comments to the contrary, Mr Percy is under pressure to align the series closer to the television canon and so the appearance of the mercenary Cheshire, Danny Brickwell, and an unlikely plot to create a Star City out of Seattle. Perhaps the otherwise effective layouts of artist Juan Ferrayra only coincidentally ape the effect of a flow of serialised storyboards and thus a television treatment. And despite the considerable charms of Mr Ferrayra's work perhaps the proof of a lapse in the books earlier quality lies squarely in the proof of the pudding as Ben Percy's script challenges him to illustrate and make vaguely credible a progressive sequence of scenes that hard to credit even in a comicbook...
"I'm Crying Because I Left My Teddy Bear Out In The Yard..."

While the quality and work ethic of Mr Ferrayra's work is never in question the problems within the script itself are made rapidly evident by the third page of action, as we watch the chic and glamorous Cheshire's not-so-subtle idea of a lowkey unassuming entry into Seattle's airport lounge and her improbable locating and targeting of key staff who will go on to cause carnage thanks to her efforts. This facet of the plot alone is troublesome, if it was some metahuman oddity such as Major Disaster at work here then the subsequent events surrounding Cheshire's effortless infiltration into a theoretically secure flight staff area would make some amount of sense at least, after all we have seen full well the Major's ability to manipulate probability and bring down airliners with pinpoint precision and thus achieve a particular desired effect. But this labour saving plot-device is devoid in Percy's plot and in its place a leisurely stroll around the surely busy lounge and an effortless find of just the right people she requires to do the job planned. And planned out it most definitely is.
But this is but one strand of plot this issue, and a lead in to others of equal dubiousness and logic. As Danny Brickwater dramatically introduces himself to us with a demolition job beneath an apartment block and elsewhere Eddie Fyers shows off a love of bugs the statement being made by Ben Percy seems to be one of assumed bottom-line fearfulness, we voyeurs watching on are expected to accept the crudely constructed message this is the introduction of brand new form of menacing evil moving in, and three figures who should be assumed as very very bad indeed. Never mind the preposterous natures of their introductions, these three new arrivals as we are told are no less than a part of the new "Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse"! And led by none other than Oliver Queen's oldtime trusted lieutenant Cyrus Broderick, a character Ben Percy himself introduced as a substitute for the now deceased figure of Emerson who debuted in the relaunch of 2011 but was despatched by Jeff Lemire in his efforts to reinvigorate the title... and if this is one example of a book recycling its own mythos then the sight of the beleaguered rain sodden gray-toned Oliver Queen moping around a splendidly presented gothic cemetery while reminiscing on the childhood trauma's of his beloved teddy left out in the rain to be spattered by mud vies for mirth and the readers head-shake of disbelief to the following scenes of Ollie entering an underground lavish lair, hid beneath an equally extravagant crypt, all in the midst of this consecrated and rain soaked landscape of tombs and hallowed memories.

It's a lazy business. That this silliness was (somehow) built and inhabited by Oliver Queen's long deceased father and is filled with memorabilia is, unsurprisingly, not commented upon. Nor even are we given the slightest understanding as to why this refuge is set here of all places, or what its necessity, its importance, was to Queen snr. No, It exists purely because it serves the nature of the plot, such as that is, and with no other purpose or logic it feeds into the rest of the slack story content to deliver a book that, splendid art aside, can never hope to stimulate and engage the reader. For within lies not so much a story built on logical progression, as a story that is little else but a checklist being ticked off. With atrocious dialogue it offers forth a list of the writers 'things' to be done this issue, of random plot elements, scarcely thought through and with no obvious point of identification by which to snare a readers interest, much less retain it. Yet when the culmination of the issue is an astoundingly unsubtle and out-of-context devil worship cult out to take over the world city then the ambitions of Ben Percy's designs on Green Arrow have plainly all but collapsed by this point. Pride and imagination have been exhausted, there is nothing left that is new to explore, and so anything will now do - all that matters is that the Bi-Weekly beast is kept fed and the schedule maintained... \(no\)

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