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Still no Diggle!? Why you do this to me Benjamin Percy, why? In all serious I’m kidding, kind of.
With the start of new arc, it’s obvious we can’t get exactly everything we want. But I do appreciate that it was actually acknowledged that a lot of readers are waiting for this, so my thanks. Yet, I digress.
This new arc starts slowly, but with perfect pacing for a buildup that gives us a really suspenseful take into the current going-ons in Seattle (now dubbed by the Ninth Circle as Star City) and a look into Ollie’s past. With the start of this new storyline there are three things that I’m really looking forward to with Green Arrow: The Rise of Star City. Sorry Benjamin; I expect nothing but the best from you. The first being the most obvious: is Diggle working with or for the Ninth Circle and what happened to Merlyn? Second, what is their endgame? What is the ultimate goal? And lastly is what relevance will Roy’s return bring to this arc, Diggle obviously had his and Canary hers. I really have high hopes for this one.
For those just tuning in, the last arc saw Ollie leave Seattle in the midst of a heavy conflict on his person, being framed for murder of police chief as the Green Arrow, and declared dead and disgraced as Oliver Queen. All of these acts were orchestrated by a shadow organization known as the Ninth Circle who uses their money and influence to finance crime and terrorism all over the world. After both their plans to ruin Oliver succeeded Ollie went to seek out an old ally, Roy Harper to help his fight against Queen Industries in building of an oil pipeline that would threaten a Native American reserve and by the end of the conflict Ollie reconciled with Roy and look towards taking Seattle back.
Specters from the Past
While compared to most comics, this one was on the short side (21 pages with ads), but it still managed to follow two different stories in a balance that worked well to give what we’ll be expecting from this story. On Ollie’s end we have him taking a really long walk through a mausoleum and reminiscing on days past. Mostly his first kill (an animal) and memories with his father. While we don’t know much about Ollie’s relationship, considering he barely knew him either, we do learn a few things piece by over the run of Green Arrow in its entirety.
Though not too much actually happens with this portion of the comic, we are shown a possible conflict of interest. As he delves deeper into the mausoleum he comes across various weapons and trophies along the way, showing us one or two things about his personality and why Ollie was given a bow at such an early age. But more to the point, it’s what Ollie finds at the end of this road. A mask that looks oddly familiar to the one Cyrus Broderick (current CEO of Queen Industries) wears when meeting with the Ninth Circle.
The Four Horsemen
Rather than three horsemen and one horsewoman, this was a really interesting approach to what would come from the current story. Upon Ollie’s return to Stark City we get four glimpses of sabotage in four different areas of the city. Of course, death ensues in each of these attacks. While there wasn’t really a pattern in why these locations were significant (but they may have been an attack on Seattle’s infrastructure), we’ll learn next issue that these were meant to kill important persons. Whatever the reason, a lot of people died in the cross fire.
However, the Four Horsemen aren’t the only ones wreaking havoc. In keeping up with Green Arrows political themes, Cyrus is pushing to the mayor to convince Seattle’s councilmen to vote for a bill that would ease zoning restrictions in order to make the market a free for all, allowing things like a strip club to be built next to a school, only an example of course. We didn’t have an overall great opinion of Mayor Domini after we last saw him with Ollie, but we can feel for the man once we learn that he’s being bullied into the Ninth Circles pockets by way of the death of his son.
In the final panel of the book all is connected when Cyrus under the mask reveals his true motives and they spell bad things for Seattle but good story telling, as has been the case for Green Arrow Rebirth.
This was the most bittersweet part of getting anew arc. I loved Eleonara Carlini on the previous issues but wow was I blown away with the art in this. Eleonara was replaced with Juan Ferreya who also did the amazing cover for this issue as well. His style is very heavy in penciling with a similar use of color. He brings a slight grittiness and gloom with the use of darker and more realistic coloring, whereas Eleonara was more, I don’t want to say cartoonish, but much more animated. Like I said, I love her art, they’re both well done but I can feel that Ferreyra’s depiction will set a tone for the story to come. He even has some gory moments in there that translate well into what he’s trying to portray.
This was a really, really great start for an arc that looks like it will be quite promising. The length was a little off putting but in the end didn’t hinder what the story was trying to get across. We got to see Ollie and the Ninth Circle in a new light, so to speak, with a whole new artist. I asked myself a lot of questions about where to story could end up and like the fact that I have so many scenarios playing around in my head. I can’t wait for the next one!
Final Score: 9.5/10
Green Arrow Rebirth #21
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art & Colors: Juan Ferreyra
Lettering: Nate Piekos