I'm afraid to say that Keath Lewin, our regular Green Arrow reviewer, has been unexpectedly detained by other matters, which is why I'm now going to have to take over reviewing the last four issues. So stand back, take a deep breath, and pray to God that I don't mess this up. It's July, 2017, and it's time for Green Arrow in quadruple review.

TO QUOTE John B. Larson: 'Globalization is not a monolithic force but an evolving set of consequences: Some good, some bad, and some unintended. It is the new reality'.

Over the last couple of months Green Arrow and his team have been to hell and back in order to save Seattle from the nefarious Ninth Circle! This includes them being shot at, attacked, beaten senseless, talked to rudely, set on fire, bombed, and worst still, put in prison for a crime they didn't commit.

Fortunately not all of them got thrown into the slammer! Only Oliver Queen, as he was singled out because his ancestors have a deep rooted connection to this bunch of cave dwelling cretins.

But don't worry; he doesn't stay inside for very long. Eventually he manages to find a way to escape and is now trying to prove his innocence by travelling across the United States, to the chagrin of his newly appointed lawyer, Kate Spencer.

You see, the Ninth Circle have set up a number of secret cells scattered throughout the country, with each cell concealing pieces of evidence for Oliver to find and then use to the best of his ability. 

Obviously they're not going to make this very easy for him, especially since they have a number of global operatives who are more than willing to pervert justice in the name of money, commerce, and absolute power. After all, the Ninth Circle are a devious group, and they intend to stamp their brand of right wing propaganda wherever they see fit. Be it all over Seattle, as seen in the Rise of Star City story-line, or be it all over Washington, as seen at the start of the Hard-Travelling Hero saga.

Coincidentally, when Oliver first arrives in Washington, he meets up with a member of the Justice League, the Flash, real name Barry Allen, and together they investigate a strange speed force phenomenon that has an inadvertent connection to the Ninth Circle. A connection, I hasten to add, which has given each hero the opportunity to settle any unspoken scores, while putting to bed a bizarre case that will lead onto other adventures further down the line.

So there you have it, folks. My loose retelling, very-very loose retelling, of the events that played out between issues 23 and 26 of the Green Arrow comic book! Issue 23 mainly dealt with Oliver and his team trying to take down Broderick and his so-called Four Horsemen. Issue 24 firmly established the Ninth Circle's stronghold over Seattle, now re-christened Star City after the destruction of the Space Needle. Issue 25 re-defined the status quo among Oliver and his team, specifically, what their roles will be now he's broken out of prison and ventures to parts unknown. And finally, issue 26 features him teaming up with the Flash so they can both start the ball rolling with their battle against the Ninth Circle.

All in all, a great collection of issues that compel me to congratulate Benjamin Percy for being able to compose a rather complex set of plot-lines! Essentially his adventures involve a group of Liberals fighting against a group of extreme Conservatives, doing so with punches and kicks rather than highfalutin rhetoric and policy. Not an easy thing to do, especially when one of the team has a familial bond with the aforementioned villains. 

I also liked the way Ben's writing was able to evenly distribute the dramatic sequences among the fighting sequences, each time not allowing one component to detract from the other. Again, not an easy thing to do, and in retrospect shows that he has the ability to juggle numerous plot-threads at exactly the same time without any of them climaxing too soon.

Nice one, Ben, as I always appreciate your re-tweets and the effort you put into your work. Although, where it comes down to how you define each of the characters, sometimes this seems to be an ongoing process that's constantly evolving. 

Take Green Arrow for instance. As much as I am happy with how far he's progressed since Benjamin has taken over the series, in the same breath I feel that sometimes he's a bit too poetic and a bit too hot-headed. He wasn't always like this, especially during the Mike Grell or Chuck Dixon days. Yet having said all that, it's good to know that GA is back on track again, partnering up with Black Canary (well, kind of), still having his family around him (see previous comment), and finally embracing his more liberal leanings (no comment). As for the rest of the cast, yeah, more or less they all seem pretty on point. Emi is the smart aleck kid. Roy is the roguish 20 something successor. Dinah is starting to embrace her more maternal side. Henry is the tech head. Kate is doing well at hiding her Manhunter persona. Whereas Broderick is basically your cardboard cutout of a super villain, frigid, yet clearly defined. 

Now where the artwork was concerned, the art duties for each of these issues were divided among three different artists: namely, Juan Ferreyra (for issues 23 & 24); Otto Schmid (for issue 25); and Stephen Byrne (for issue 26), with each man doing a splendid job illustrating their respective chapters. Juan's style of artwork has a rather bold yet translucent touch to it, and occasionally some of his panel layouts sport an art deco brand of design. Otto's artwork, on the other hand, is much more manga inspired, plus it looks like he prefers clean lines and sharp angles when it comes down to composing each page. Stephen does a similar thing with his style of art, too, although in his case it seems fairly obvious that he leans more towards the bolder and more atmospheric brand of character composition and pacing. 

So yeah, on the whole these issues of Green Arrow were a fairly good read and I wasn't let down by anything major! All except for the bad guys being so mean; tut-tut-tut, naughty-naughty-naughty! 

Now the one thing all of these episodes have in common is that they're all about stars. In the case of issues 23 to 25, everything seems to be focused towards the rise of Star City, where as in the case of issue 26, it guest stars The Flash. 

Hey! Don't yelp! Kiki Dee wouldn't. And she should know about yelping after singing this...

In many ways Green Arrow is on a quest to take down the past while embracing the future. So with that said, how could I not compare these stories with Marty McFly? After all, Marty, like Ollie, knows a thing or two about ancestry and an adventure that takes him places.

How was that for a quick recap, dear reader? Was it any good? Did you think I did a good enough job in explaining the what, the why, and the where of these issues? Now if you think you can do better -- as I'm sure I missed out on quite a few things -- please don't hesitate to get in touch, ok? In the meantime, though, let's see if you can guess what Ollie says to Barry at the end of issue 26. Could he have said to him…

  • I think I love you.
  • Hey, it isn't easy growing a beard!
  • How come I've never seen you go to the bathroom?
  • Can you smell eggs?
  • Try to keep up.
  • Have you heard the old saying, red and green should never be seen?
  • I think she's a man?
  • Why don't you try taking the drug speed?
Nuff said.

GREEN ARROW #23 TO #26 GREEN ARROW #23 TO #26 Reviewed by David Andrews on July 27, 2017 Rating: 5

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