Comic Review: Green Arrow: Broken

Published: June 4th, 2014 – September 3rd, 2014
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino

DC Comics, 123 Pages

Review:

Broken followed up the Green Arrow story The Outsiders War. It is also the last big story arc from Jeff Lemire.

While many people thought that Lemire’s run on Green Arrow was spectacular, I’ve felt pretty lukewarm towards it. I thought it started out well and was building towards something great but it just seems to move a long with a whimper.

It just continues to feel like it is trying to be more like the show Arrow, as opposed to the comic book series that has come and gone for decades. It’s almost too dark, too serious and just lacks the character and charisma of years of Green Arrow stories. This sort of falls victim to the gritty reboot trend in the worst way.

It sucks because I generally like Lemire’s writing but as his Green Arrow tenure ran on, it also ran dry. I’m not sure what people see in this, unless most people only really know this character from the more serious and dark television show.

Anyway, this closes out most of the big plot threads from Lemire’s time on the series.

The only real highlight of this is the artwork. Andrea Sorrentino has a real talent for capturing action in a unique and refreshing way. This guy should get more work on action heavy titles from the major publishers.

In the end, the Jeff Lemire run was a disappointment for me, especially after I heard people rave about it for a few years.

While it sounds like I’m being hard on this, it isn’t terrible. It’s decent, for sure, but it’s hardly as iconic as the hardcore Lemire fans claim.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: The other story arcs in the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow.

Comic Review: Green Arrow: The Outsiders War

Published: November 6th, 2013 – May 7th, 2014
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino

DC Comics, 157 Pages

Review:

This is the biggest story arc in Jeff Lemire’s run on Green Arrow.

This was also pretty damn intense. But as Lemire’s run on the title rolls on, I have developed a love/hate relationship with it.

For one, I’m not entirely sure of why this version of Oliver Queen lives in Seattle as opposed to Star City and it’s never really been explained within Lemire’s stories. It’s a weird setting for a DC title and maybe trying to ground this in some sort of gritty reality is why they use a real world city but Seattle is hardly some dark and gritty metropolis like Star City has been in the past.

Also, this started bringing in characters and concepts from the TV show Arrow. I’m not sure if that’s because this came out just after the show started and was at its height in popularity but the comic doesn’t need to follow the show or be a comic book version of the show. That show is its own thing and what works on TV isn’t always what works in comics, and vice versa. This is why the show has changed some things but Lemire’s run is adopting some of those changes and characters. But it is also an attempt to make this more accessible to the fans that have only watched the TV series.

The stuff between Oliver and Komodo is really good though. I like the Komodo character, what he represents and how he’s completely altered the course of Oliver’s life.

I like the mystical elements of the story, as well, and it reminds me of old school Iron Fist comics in a lot of ways.

The best thing about Lemire’s run on Green Arrow isn’t Lemire though, at least not for me. The best thing is the art. Andrea Sorrentino has such a unique and incredible style that it breathes more life into these tales. His ability to showcase action in new and exciting ways is really refreshing.

All in all, this is fun if you are a fan of the character, whether through the comics or just from the television series.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: The other story arcs in the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow.

Comic Review: Green Arrow: Shados

Published: July 3rd, 2013 – October 2nd, 2013
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo

DC Comics, 85 Pages

Review:

This is the second story arc in the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow. What I’m reviewing here is the Shado story, as well as the couple single issues right after it that lead into the next big arc. The issues reviewed here are numbers 22, 23, 23.1 and 24 of Green Arrow (2011-2016) a.k.a. The New 52 run.

So reading these issues made me a bit confused over what The New 52 is to DC Comics continuity. Reason being, Count Vertigo is a new villain in the way that this story is written and the event within brought me to the realization that Oliver Queen a.k.a. the Green Arrow is really friggin’ young here. Clues to his age were in The Kill Machine but I guess it didn’t dawn on me fully until his interractions with Shado in this book. Or maybe Lemire is just writing him so that he comes off as a twenty year-old.

Ultimately, this Lemire run feels much more like it is in the tonal vein of the television show. I mentioned in my last review of Lemire’s run that this is pretty gritty and very different than what Green Arrow has been in the past. Sure, he’s had some darker, serious stories but Lemire has brought Oliver into the modern gritty reboot age with gusto.

I really like this run. However, this string of issues wasn’t as badass as the ones that preceded them. This isn’t so much filler, as it is more about fleshing out Lemire’s vision for the series.

The bulk of the story here is about Oliver going to a small European nation to find the next “dragon”. He rescues Shado from the lair of Count Vertigo, who is a dictator over the small country. We also get an origin story for this incarnation of Vertigo, which was pretty interesting.

So far, I’m happy with this run and can’t wait to get into the story arcs after this one.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: The other story arcs in the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow.

Comic Review: Green Arrow: The Kill Machine

Published: February 6th, 2013 – June 5th, 2013
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo

DC Comics, 115 Pages

Review:

I like the stuff I’ve read from Jeff Lemire and considering that I have heard good things about his run on Green Arrow, I figured that I should check it out.

What stands out most about this is that it has a vibe closer to the show Arrow. This is dark, gritty and much harder than a typical Green Arrow story. I guess gritty reboots are all the rage the last decade or so but for a character that is dealing with street level crime, it fits the character of Oliver Queen a.k.a. the Green Arrow.

This is also the first Green Arrow arc that I have read within The New 52 era of DC Comics. I kind of checked out for a bit before this, as I was growing tiresome of DC always doing soft reboots of their universe. But since this is one of my favorite characters, written by one of my favorite modern writers, I needed to give it a shot.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed and this arc set up the rest of Lemire’s run nicely.

We are introduced to the villain Komodo, who has gone on to be featured in the TV show, as well as a new group called The Outsiders. They are very different from the group that used to hang out with Batman in the ’80s. This Outsiders group is an ancient organization that Ollie’s father was a part of.

As this story unfolds, Ollie learns about his father’s big secret and must continue down a dark path, trying to understand this organization and his father’s secret legacy within it.

All the fights between Oliver and Komodo are really well done and Komodo feels like a pretty formidable opponent. I love stories like this where Oliver is pushed to his limits and has to rely on his gut and an almost primal sense of survival to best his foes.

Lemire did a really superb job with the writing and at generating interest to keep the reader invested going into the next arc.

I also enjoyed Andrea Sorrentino’s art. It really gave this story a dark feel that complimented the tone of the plot and was a good departure from the standard look of the Green Arrow comics before The New 52.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: The other story arcs in the Jeff Lemire run on Green Arrow.

Comic Review: Black Hammer, Vol. 1: Secret Origins

Published: April 11th, 2017
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Dean Ormsto

Dark Horse Books, 152 Pages

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect from Black Hammer but in the last year and a half that it has been out, it has been pretty popular and even spawned a few spinoffs within its unique universe.

I have historically loved Dark Horse’s original titles. I’ve read Hellboy and B.P.R.D. on and off for years, I was a massive fan of Umbrella Academy and have occasionally checked out other titles. Plus, I was always happy with their Star Wars books for the long period of time that they had the publishing rights to that megafranchise.

I saw that this was a series by Jeff Lemire, who had some good runs on some major titles over the years, most notably SuperboyJustice League DarkAnimal ManGreen ArrowTeen Titans: Earth OneHawkeyeOld Man LoganMoon Knight and Bloodshot.

Originally, Lemire was going to do the art for this book but he’s a busy guy, so the art was created by Dean Ormsto.

I love that this is a book about a superhero team but it is probably the most nontraditional superhero team book that I have ever read. The story follows a group of former heroes, trapped in a Twilight Zone type of small town. They have been stuck there for years with no way of getting back to their own reality.

The story is highly emotional, as each character tries to deal with their new reality in their own way. The most interesting character is Gail, who was a superhero woman that grew into old age but is now trapped in her superhero persona: a small girl. She has lived a full life, enjoyed sexual maturity but is cursed with an adult mind and needs in the body of an elementary school student.

All of the other characters are interesting too but I felt that Gail’s story had the most to offer, at least only having read the first story arc.

I’m looking forward to keeping up with this series. So far, it’s pretty good. Time will tell how it develops and if it can grow legs. So far, things look pretty promising.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: I’d have to assume Black Hammer, Vol. 2. There are also some similarities in style with other Dark Horse series Umbrella AcademyHellboy and B.P.R.D.