Now, everyone expects Green Arrow to get down and dirty with everything that’s wrong today’s society. It’s just a staple of his writing. Even though previous to Rebirth it seemed to lose that touch, this seris has slowly been gaining traction again as we delve farther into Rebirth. We’ve seen a lot thus far, from human trafficking to racism to police brutality. It was only a matter of time before the writers of this great comic choose to turn their sites to what is really pressing issue in the United States today. Of course I’ll elaborate more as we move deeper into the review, but I just want to say it clearly here so nothing gets lost in translation. This book has a very direct criticism to the President of the United States and it’s something we all needed to see. Given the series’ political roots, it was past time.
The last time we saw Ollie, he was returning to Seattle after his conflict alongside Roy Harper. The two butt heads but eventually came together to fight off Queen Industries and their mercenaries from building a pipeline that would desecrate Native American lands. When Ollie finally returns home, it’s to city under siege. Three saboteurs and a fourth hiding in the shadows wreak havoc on Seattle, causing massive amounts of damaging and crippling the cities infrastructure. Yet, while this is going on Ollie discovers that his family’s mausoleum holds a dark and terrifying truth that shatters everything he ever knew about his father. On in sidelines, we found out that Mayor Domini was actually being forcefully bullied into his position. But whether he had nothing to do with it or if he sold his soul to the Ninth Circle, it wasn’t clear.
Four Horsemen Reign over Star City
While the Ninth Circle refers to Seattle as Star City, it’s not verbatim yet. In the previous issue we saw them each take down several places of heavy commerce. The first Horsemen who we learn of during Ollie’s eventual fight with three of them is Cheshire, an assassin who prefers to use poison as her method of choice. She comes to be known as the Horseman of Pestilence. It was her actions that brought down three planes resulting in over 500 deaths, millions of dollars in damage and a complete suspension of all air traffic going in or out of Seattle. This was a genius stroke on Broderick’s end as it isolated Seattle from the rest of the world. It becomes two-fold when Mayor Domini refuses help from the National Guard.
The second Horseman of War is known as Brick, a real estate developer and mob boss. His destruction of key buildings all across Seattle starts a wildfire that threatens to engulf an entire district. The third Horseman, Death, is none other than Eddie Fyres (who you should remember from the train issue). He not only spread horrible bugs into major hotels but also has his sniper scope set at unsuspecting villains. The fourth still remains a mystery.
The ensuing fight between Ollie and these assassins is very drawn out and exciting, showing the limits of the Green Arrows power and his ability to still coordinate even in the face of overwhelming odds. While so many things are going wrong, the Arrow team is spread so thin that it’s a wonder Ollie got out of this alive. With the political drama going on in the midst of this comic, it’s great to still see some heavy action and not misplaced at that. The issue ends with a final attack on one of Ollie’s allies, just as he’s trying to convince Roy to come to Seattle. A very good cliffhanger and a good ending to a suspenseful comic.
Speaking of political drama, amongst the chaos in Seattle another very sinister act is at work. Clearly something of this magnitude would not go unnoticed by the public nor expect a response form the local government. What we get is a mirror of so many statements that swirled around in the latest election. They’re not subtle either. Percy decides to just come flat out and say what needs to be said, and we should all be thankful for it. He addresses a lot of statements like blaming the previous administration and “telling things as they are”. Too bad our situation isn’t not like in this story, where we know someone is pulling strings from behind the curtains.
While the story is pretty grounded, something mystical comes into play in a kind of weird way. I know it is a comic, but Green Arrow tends to steer towards the realistic side. So it was kind of surprising when Ollie and his reporter friend discover a design of ley lines that form a five pointed star with the points being areas of great significance. Whether or not these locations were the places that were attacked by the Four Horsemen is not mentioned, but it is mentioned that Queen Industries is the center. I don’t really understand want this will serve the plot but I guess we will find out next issue.
One of the bigger mysteries I was waiting to be solved from the last issue was what Ollie found in his parents mausoleum. Not only were there lots of guns and weapons but a mask that looked suspiciously like Cyrus Broderick’s. I had my doubts. Maybe it wasn’t related to the Ninth Circle, especially since there wasn’t a lot of context with this in the last issue. However, Ollie does confirm it in this issue. It drives him to the point that he doesn’t know what to believe anymore. He lashes out even when Dinah tries to reassure him of his identity. It’s pretty unforgivable on Ollie’s end, and we can’t really blame the Canary for her reaction. Hopefully Oliver hasn’t burned one of the strongest bridges he has.
It’s really hard to keep talking about the art when it’s getting better every issue. I probably say this a lot, but wow the art in this issue was masterful and breathtaking. From the aftermath of the airport to the burning city, the use of color and the realism of the pencil work is just amazing. The fight scenes are fast paced, especially the battle with the Horsemen; the detail in every movement is particularly placed and not without purpose. Another selling point was the expression used in emotional scenes, especially the ending argument between Dinah and Oliver. Poor, poor, Dinah.
Overall, this was a great one, though slightly flawed in its execution and certain other aspects. The story still moves forward with excellent action and great story telling. The Four Horseman are a little overreaching as villains. Not individually, but it’s a trope that is commonly used, especially with the quasi-mystical bent. The return to Green Arrows true roots in politics is subtle but sends a message that many of us need to hear, and I sincerely hope they keep at it. The artwork was fierce and beautiful. With so much going on at once it’s easy to feel as overwhelmed, as Ollie does. It makes looking forward to the next issue all that more intense.
Final Score: 8/10
Green Arrow Rebirth #22 Credits
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art & Colors: Juan Ferreyra
Lettering: Nate Piekos