Friday, 19 June 2015

Green Arrow Vol. 5: The Outsiders War (The New 52) Review

Green Arrow Vol. 5: The Outsiders War
In case you weren't sure, the colour
green is a big deal here.

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentio

Collects: Green Arrow #25-31

Background Information:

So, Oliver Queen has been through a rough patch, hasn't he? Turns out that the island that he never stops talking about was the home to the mystic Green Arrow (That's a literal arrow, by the way); the totem weapon of the Arrow Clan. The Arrow Clan is one of the many clans of The Outsiders; a group of weapon-obsessed clans who are set to take over the world if Oliver doesn't stop them.

Oh, Oliver also has a step sister, Shado's daughter Emiko, who is being raised by last volume's big bad, Komodo.

Review:

With the huge success of Arrow, it would have been tempting for Jeff Lemire' Green Arrow to go the same route as it's TV counterpart; make Count Vertigo a drug dealer, have Ollie fight Deathstroke and make Deadshot a major part of the plot. Thankfully, Lemire decided to go the opposite direction and make Green Arrow one of the most interesting DC titles out there, The Outsiders War continues this tradition, delivering a story that is action-heavy and conspiracy-driven.

... Apparently, so are circles.
Now Ollie and pseudo-step-mother Shado (yep, not love interest; take that, CW), have gone back to plot device island where he was stranded for years in search of the famous Green Arrow (like I said before, that's an actual arrow)- the totem weapon of the Arrow Clan. In the meantime, the Outsiders are getting ready to take over the world.
the

Okay, so the real hero of this book isn't Oliver Queen- it's the art by Andrea Sorrentino. Her page designs are nothing short of amazing. In some places it takes less time for me to write this review than it does to fully take in a page-spread. Usually, such busy panels would be a minus, but here, Sorrentino's style takes you by the throat and drags you in. You want to see everything because it all grabs your attention.

The story is hardly a afterthought, the whole thing is paced exceptionally well, and Lemire peppers the whole thing with surprises. I won't spoil them, but Lemire shows here that he's a master of misdirection. I can't say that I'm a fan of all of them, but I appreciated the effort and admittedly did not see the ones I didn't like coming at all.

Action here is also incredible. Lemire has a real flair for making villains threatening; Komodo, last volume's bad dude, look more intimidating than ever minus one eye, and the Shield Clan may just be the most oogah-boogah crazy group of killers in the Outsiders- which I also never expected.

See? Green!
The volume also gets points for bringing Katana into the Green Arrow lore. Lemire cast her as the leader of the Sword Clan, with the Soultaker sword as the Clan's totem weapon. It works; at no point did I feel that it was a stretch for it to happen- something helped, I think, by the fact that Katana is the only Sword-Clanner shown in the volume.

The only part of the story I really wasn't fond of was the Zero Year crossover. This certainly isn't a bad issue; the action here is just as good, and Ollie battling Killer Moth actually makes for a fun story. But it gets so bogged down in John Diggle's backstory that I lost interest halfway through. It's no exaggeration to say that this overdrawn exposition ruined the issue for me.

Thankfully, anything aside from that issue is brilliant and as a whole, The Outsiders War gets a four out of five oogah-boogah shields.

****

+ Art is amazing.
+ Lemire writes near-perfect action.
+ Katana's addition feels natural.
- The Zero Year crossover.

Alternate Option: Green Arrow: The Kill Machine

If you're going to read The Outsiders War, you need to read this one.