Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski are setting Oliver Queen in a new direction -- one which is more than obviously inspired by his CW show. As a fan of the previous work by Lemire and Sorrentino, I will say it's very disappointing to see their developments apparently end with them, but what's done is done and it's time to move forward.
Firstly, Kreisberg and Sokolowski use their debut issue to tease a lot of developments. It's unclear whether there will be follow-up with two members of the Justice League (one would hope so, right?), but there's a new villain and at least two new characters have entered the picture. One is someone you probably wouldn't expect and the other is someone you most absolutely expect -- especially if you watch Arrow or keep up with news regarding this run. Oliver even has a new love interest and it has me wondering if that means they'll force a love triangle into the story. I'm hoping not, but maybe -- just maybe -- it'll be handled well if they do add it to the picture. Anyway, after I put down the issue, I didn't feel a sense of excitement or emotional attachment to these developments. Instead, I'm left feeling curious about how they'll all be handled. There's a good amount of potential with these different plot points, so now it's just a matter of seeing what happens next. Considering the book's only $2.99, I'll give them another 2 issues so I can see what unfolds and hopefully they'll win me over.
Even though new characters are brought into the picture and plot points are established, the most engaging part for me was the opening action sequence. This is where artist Daniel Sampere, inker Jonathan Glapion, and colorist Gabe Eltaeb impressed the most. None of the other pages are necessarily "bad" (although, I do have one gripe which you'll read about in "The Bad"), but they just aren't as immersive as this sequence. The birds in the splash page didn't seem required (maybe they're big John Woo fans?), but it was thrilling way to open the story. The motion is conveyed well, the city feels alive, and Oliver looks great as he's leaping around, firing arrows, and kicking his opponents. And, depending on how you feel about Oliver's show, the handling of the first bit of dialogue will either make you happy or cringe.
While the cliffhanger wasn't nearly as impactful as it should have been (see below!), I like that they're at least beginning with a different approach with the character. Now, just like the other plot points, it's a matter of seeing where it goes next. Fingers crossed they do something new and exciting with the character instead of making it feel like a familiar experience.
Based on everything that has been released, it's obvious the only supporting character that's moving forward from the previous team is John Diggle. Still, after all of the work Lemire and Sorrentino put into giving Ollie a great cast, I hoped there would be a good excuse for their absence. Unfortunately, they're cast aside with just two sentences. The potential for their return is there, but considering how that's handled, it doesn't seem likely. If you've been loving this series, that's sure to be disappointing. If you're jumping on with this issue, the two sentences will make you wonder who they're briefly talking about before moving on. Honestly, I have no idea why Emiko would train with anyone else but Oliver after that cliffhanger. Maybe the implication is she's with Shado, but that would imply she'd return at some point, yes? Fingers crossed.
Two A-listers make a cameo, and the illustration of the hero's face feels off to me. It's all in the eyes, really. Everything else is fine, but the eyes and surrounding region seems different and that was pretty distracting. Additionally, I couldn't help but feel like there were a few petty comments in the issue (Oliver being upset over stating the fact that Wayne and Luthor are two of the smartest people on the planet) and it felt slightly out of character. I was also surprised the two are seemingly unaware that Oliver is Green Arrow. Maybe they're just not letting him know that they know? But hey, crazier things have happened in the universe, yes? Lastly, there's a sense of danger in the ending which felt unwarranted. Diggle gave Oliver the address but then expected him not to go in? You'd think he'd know Ollie better than that by now, right?
I'm left feeling very down the middle with the beginning of this new run. It's great that they're already taking big steps to bring in new faces and expand Oliver's world, but the attempts to draw parallels to the CW show feels a tad forced and the cliffhanger lacks any oomph. Maybe if it wasn't heavily promoted that a certain character would join the mix, it would have been a more exciting way to end the issue. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case at all. GREEN ARROW #35 doesn't feel like a brilliant new direction for the character, but there's certainly some potential in there. Here's hoping the new creative team capitalizes on that instead of making this come off as just an okay adventure for the Emerald Archer.