GREEN ARROW #47

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[ AIM FOR A DISCOUNT
It might look to you like its December, 2015, or, hell, by the time this is published it might even be January, 2016 (Correct). But to Benjamin Percy, Fabrizio Fiorentino, Federico Dallocchio, and the rest of the folks at DC Comics, it's still November 2nd in Ciudad Juárez, and a jefe named Jefe is up to no good.

TO QUOTE June Carter: “Love is a burning thing / and it makes a fiery ring.”

THE REVIEW:
There's something about Catalina. Ollie was told he was just a plaything by Melanie on Friday. He was barely there for his date with Kyra on Saturday morning. An epic overnight road trip ending in a nightmare of cartel kingpins and ancient Mayan magic later and he's got some very definite feelings about Catalina. If I may spoil the opening page for you, he didn't think he could trust her, but he might just love her.

And then Benjamin Percy gives us the concluding chapter to the Bone Collectors arc, appropriately titled Day of the Dead, where we learn the secret origins of Jefe, the source of his power, and, of course, a thing or two about Oliver Queen that even he didn't know on Halloween. As with Percy's first arc regarding the Panopticons, it feels a little bit like it just… ends. But now that we've gotten a better feel for the pacing and interwoven nature of Percy's storytelling, I'm not marking that down as a bad thing.

I'll be honest; neither the Jefe origins nor the story conclusion was quite what I was expecting when I read last month's issue, and I find that incredibly satisfying. Foreshadowing is all well and good in high literature, but the serial nature of comics makes it far more fun to follow twists and turns that depart from the obvious. Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course we know Oliver would escape somehow, but, well, it's not so much the mechanism of his escape, but there are other parts of that ending that were a great surprise. And of course, all those little questions left hanging…

  • What ever happened to Señora Jefe?
  • Is there anything left of the Jugador Cartel?
  • Is the power inside Oliver related to the thing he got on Halloween?
  • Exactly what bone(s) did Jefe extract from “troubled pop musician Dustin Peeper”? And has young Mister Peeper been found yet?
  • Does Catalina's uncle have powers? Or was he just praying?
  • And perhaps most importantly, does Jefe's collection of powerful bones have enough power to counteract the... ah... results of renouncing Ah Puch?

I'm not sure from the credits on this issue how Fiorentino and Dallocchio split the art duties on this book, as the official DC solicit page still lists Patrick Zircher as the artist, though his wares are not to be found inside. I had assumed that over the past few issues Zircher was doing the pencils and the inking duties were being handed off between Fiorentino and Dallocchio, but now that we've got the two of them without Zircher, I suspect that the artists have just been doling out the pages – or even frames – between them all along. And frankly, I think they did a great job on the consistency front because I'd be hard pressed to tell you which images are done by different artists.

The quality thereof is, of course, a bit of a matter of taste. With Zircher absent on this issue, I'd venture a guess that the epic half page glamour shots in past issues were all him. The boldly inked and brightly colored superhero style images are magnificent, and on one hand they were certainly missed. On the other hand, now that we have an issue without Zircher, Fiorentino and Dallcchio's styles certainly blend together better. On the third hand (aaaah! Three hands!) while I felt that their unified style sometimes felt a little bit flat, the more of it I consumed, the more I liked it -- it feels almost like Gabe Eltaeb just colored the pencils, and the slightly rougher look we get with the finer inkwork has really grown on me. It doesn't have the wild, rough look of Templesmith's Gotham by Midnight or Rossmo's Constantine, but the slightly more “sketchbook” look that they present lends itself well to the same mystical, magical tone of those books, appropriate to the path that Percy has set Oliver Queen upon.

Oh, and once again, a mad home run on all the street scenes of the Día de Muertos parade and revelers in the streets of Juárez. It's pages like these that make me wish that I could step in to the comic book to see what else there is just beyond the edge of the frame. Well, not as a tangible person in the fictional world where crazy undead cartel thugs might want to kill me for my bones, but, you know, as an ethereal observer who can't be harmed by the beautiful artwork. I want that.

When all is said and done, this is certainly another fabulous issue of Green Arrow. It's certainly not a jumping on point for new readers, nor is it a huge climax with a big payoff. It's a conclusion to the arc, but from what we know of the bigger picture, it's more of a cliffhanger. It's not a Republic serial oh-my-god-the-bridge-is-out cliffhanger, but more of a character evolution cliffhanger. Oliver continues his internal gentleman poet monologue, seeing truths about himself in the character of his enemy. He's not quite as frat-boy in his spoken dialog this issue, having swapped Catalina's company for Jefe's, but his smart ass insults to his captor carry on the same vibe, spiced with a little bit of 'Burt Ward flavored Robin'. But it's that little bombshell from the Annual that we know, and Oliver knows, but the other characters in the story presumably don't know, which underscores that final page with a big ol' duhhhn duhhhn duuuuuuuhhhhhhhn.

THE MUSIC:
I'm kind of glad I didn't blow my load on this one and use it on the opening issue of the arc. Yeah, it's kind of obvious, but it works best here at the conclusion of the arc. Because, as I'm sure you've seen by now, Voltaire's Day of the Dead is pretty much a musical first person telling of the same story. Give or take a little detail here and there.




THE COMPARISON:
Is this the part where you try to justify your insanity?” asks Oliver. Jefe ignores him, but, just like any given Bond villain, he proceeds to monologue about his plan and may as well have said “East, west: just points of a compass, each as stupid as each other. I work for SPECTRE, ‘Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion’, the four great cornerstones of power.” Because that's how power mad cartel kingpins who've made supernatural deals with ancient gods roll.

THE CONCLUSION:
Yes, this story is a conclusion. And yes, a lot of it seems very final. But it also plants a lot of seeds that may be part of Percy's future plans, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that he could potentially come back for. On top of that, there's also that little seed planted in the Annual which we know is going to come to a head in January. And, most importantly, of course, Oliver learns an important lesson about what's worth dying for. 

Do you know what's worth dying for?
  • Tickle Me Elmo.
  • Pizza.
  • The latest Dustin Peeper single.
  • The Force Awakens spoilers.
  • Fallout 4 cheat codes.
  • REALLY REALLY GOOD PIZZA.
  • Magical canine spermatozoa.

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