GREEN ARROW #44

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[ BITE THOSE BARGAINS
Many moons ago, when the earth was young and full of hope, Benjamin Percy, Patrick Zircher, and Fabrizio Fiorentino, gathered around a mystic fire and conjured a tale full of mystery, secrets, and ancient bones which passed on through the most esteemed of mortals until it reached your ears.  Of course, by many moons I mean September, 2015.  And by esteemed mortals I mean DC Comics.  But the rest I mean quite literally.

To QUOTE Geoffrey god damn Chaucer: “Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun / To telle yow al the condicioun / Of ech of hem, so as it semed me, / And whiche they weren, and of what degree, / And eek in what array that they were inne; / And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.”

THE REVIEW:
This review should really only need three words to get you to buy the book...

Magical canine spermatozoa.

If that's not enough for you, I don't know what else I can say to try and get you to buy it. But we've got plenty of screen space left, so lets give it a go. Percy -- who concluded his beautiful, albeit abruptly ending, opening arc last issue -- looks to be poised to deliver another great tale with what started this month. The tale so far is mostly prologue. However, it's a great prologue that feels like it's the opening pages to a classic graphic novel.

All that happens in the current timeline is a framework for Oliver's current girlfriend (hello, Kyra... goodbye, Kyra) to take him to a seer, presumably to learn more about one another, only to get a prophetic history of George's supernatural pedigree instead.  And, of course, our requisite September “post-Flashpoint character debut” that so many titles are doing.  The rest is all prophecy.  Or dubstep.  Sometimes its hard to tell.

The seer appears to be the same “wart lady” that forecasted doom from a soapbox in front of Emiko's private school, only with a fancy starred scarf. But Oliver doesn't make any comment about recognizing her, or being surprised to find she has a shop in Pike Place Market.  Plus the monologue also makes the implication that maybe the whole shop “wasn't there a second ago” scenario, so who knows how much of this issue is floating in the deep end of the mystic side of the DCU?

What I know for certain is that I'm loving the way Zircher and Fiorentino created such a real-world accurate representation of the market.  Every issue makes it feel more and more like Green Arrow takes place in our world, even if we know it doesn't.  Which of course begs the question as to whether the guy we see in a Batman t-shirt is a fan of the mysterious vigilante from the other side of the country, or if he just picked up his pull list from Golden Age Collectibles (directly below the fish market – perhaps that's where Wart Lady really works?).

What else matters?  Let's see, we get a little touch of character, establishing why Oliver can't / won't have a stable relationship anytime soon.  (Does this mean we've seen the last of Naomi Singh?)  We get the introduction of Catalina Flores.  And we get the Bone Hunters, a thus far fairly mysterious enemy, but wonderfully drawn despite having a somewhat cliché appearance.  The key difference between them and the multitude of other skull-mask wearing cults in DC and other comic universes, of course, is that given their name and hobby, I'm not so sure they're “masks”.

Most importantly, though, we've got... dum-dum-dummmmm, The Legend of George.  It feels like Percy is gently nudging the Green Arrow mythos towards his wheelhouse, giving us a saga that starts in an isolated arctic town as roots for the modern day urban battle.  He establishes a folklore scaled battle between nature, man, and beast, with native spirituality and literal demonic artifacts to spice things up.  When he goes full-on comic book magic with his Athabaskan healing poultice, I missed a beat due to being pretty sure that Athabaskan has no written form (thus “old words that can not be written, only said” lacks the intended gravitas), but the legendary origin story for George was a tale that could stand alone if needed.

The art, though perhaps a bit gory at times for some folks' tastes, was a spot on match for the tone of the legend. It works for the rainy streets of modern Seattle as well as the flashback to snow blanketed Burns. And don't think I didn't notice the wolf with Lobo styled dark fur around his eyes (Styled like the eyeshadow of Lobo the Czarnian, of course, who's name means wolf in Spanish).  Cheeky artists.

THE MUSIC:
This one is just too easy.  It doesn't really have a “rainy day in Seattle visiting the seer” vibe, nor a prophetic “maze of history” vibe, but it does rant on and on about wolf blood.  So, yeah, your theme song for this issue is the Misfits' Wolfs Blood

Yes, I do use Misfits songs a lot [Editors Note: Agreed].  No, that's not a bad thing [Editors Other Note: Also Agreed].  Perhaps I'll see if I can switch to a Misfits-only comparison section without ruffling too many site editor feathers? [Yet Another Editors Note: No Comment]



 

THE COMPARISON:
Since the legend in this issue deals heavily with some ancient religious magic, the best comparison I can draw is to the cave paintings in Lascaux, believed by scholars to be associated with “the magic of the hunt”.  The Old One was a hunter and a trapper, so it stands to reason that his fancy sack of conch, willow, and the salt of his own tears was based in hunt-magic.

THE CONCLUSION:
As I mentioned, the only problem I had with this issue is that one line about non-spoken words in the Old One's magic.  But hell, that's not a big deal, and I may very well be wrong about the Athabaskan languages.  I was wrong a couple of reviews ago when I thought Green Arrow was Percy's first foray into comics (he previously penned that two-part “Terminal” tale last year in Detective Comics #35 and #36), so what the hell do I know?

I do know that we have a great magic-tinged tale coming our way.  We've got a tale that's tied to the prior arc in a organic way.  We've got a character we haven't seen since the opening arc of Gail Simone's pre-Flashpoint Secret Six (I think).  We've got a mysterious new enemy cult with apparently limitless numbers and mystical roots.  As someone who prefers mortals to superheroes, and was very saddened by the severe dwindling of our magic titles after Convergence, this is a wonderful match up.  I have great expectations.

We've still got unanswered questions from the prior arc, such as the logic and fate of Zimm, and the dynamic between Oliver and Emiko, but neither appear to be pertinent to the story we're about to be told.  We do seem to have an indication that Oliver's identity is still secret, though, or else Kyra might've gotten a last name.

*** Just reading and writing and rambling in the back of the Joker's old Ho-Home-On-Wheels... Keath.