Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Oliver Queen returns in the Star City Finale

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I’m so glad that I only ended up being half-right when I spoke about the feeling that the last issue of Green Arrow gave me. Yet this only fills me with a bittersweet mentality; on one hand I can be glad that the run isn’t ending, on the other, we are seeing the end of one of the best Green Arrow stories I’ve ever read. Granted it’s not like the story itself is over, and especially not after that ending I’m sure the next arc will be picking up exactly where it left off. But sadly I will miss the mystery and intrigue, the emotional turmoil, frightening revelations, and nonstop action of this great title. Benjamin Percy is at the top of his game now and I only want to see him move far above this already amazing storytelling.

In the previous comic, Oliver and his team were still reeling from being so overwhelmed by the Four Horsemen’s constant barrage of attacks aimed toward crippling Seattle from its very infrastructure. With politicians being paid off by the Cyrus Broderick and the Four Horseman springing new attacks in no time after being foiled from another, hopelessness and despair begin to grip the Green Arrow.

While Dinah investigates the inner workings of the Ninth Circles plans and the rest of the team were to keep Seattle afloat, Ollie is drawn back to the destruction of their main base of operations, sadly thinking that Henry was a victim to the Horseman of Death. The truth about Henry however, if Ollie ever finds out will break him worse than thinking that a good friend is dead. By the end of the book we realize that the real blow would come from the destruction of Seattle’s greatest symbol, the deathblow to a dying city.

Friends and Enemies

Before I get into the main story of this comic, it’s worth taking note of how equally distributed the content is among Oliver as the Green Arrow and what is going on in the world around him, specifically among his friends and enemies. Firstly, it still hurts that Henry is betraying Ollie, though we really can’t be all that surprised. Earlier in the first few issues of the run, Henry had brought up several times to Oliver that he needed money, that he couldn’t risk his life helping the Green Arrow for free. This proved problematic when Oliver Queen “died” and lost control of Queen Industries. That, on top of being targeted by an extremely wealthy and powerful crime group…well that decision would all depend on how fierce your loyalty is. Clearly Henry is not, or maybe he’ll redeem himself in the coming comics.

While on the flip side, Dinah, Emi, and Roy take the fight to the Four Horseman as they buy Ollie some time to find what he’s looking for deep in an underground system of ley lines that connect the major areas of Seattle into a five pointed star. The battle is long, drawn out and awesome. We see each fighter up to their peak and Ferreyra takes this opportunity to show us just how talented he is. The dialogue and the transition amidst the heavy fighting the pages of this issue move so fluidly through the story that you wish they had more pages to add even more to this great plot. What is most cryptic about these moments is that Diana does begin by saying that “the ruin or renewal of the city would depend on a Queen”.

The bigger they are…

The Return of Oliver Queen

As Ollie sneaks in the Shadows of the network of Underground tunnels, followed by Broderick in a ceremonial outfits with some lackeys, we get a dark and twisted tale of the history of Seattle. Ollie learns that every heir to the Queen fortune had been a member of the Ninth Circle, going back to the city’s founding. Apparently the symbol of the bow has always been the mark of a Queen and the ushering of financial wealth and change among the city going all the way back to Robin Queen, the man who discovered Seattle and its ley lines and manipulated the metal until it would would become the great city that it is.

Clearly the story isn’t just meant to try and convince Oliver to finally take his place as the Queen in the Ninth Circle. But as they speak, Mayor Domini is giving a press conference to address the destruction of the space needle as well as the new symbol for Star City. Now Oliver is racing against the clock as Cyrus tries to trap him in the tomb of his ancestor forever, to corrupt the minds of the future generation of Queens, Emiko. The fight ends in one of the darkest moments thus far for the Green Arrow as he engulfs Cyrus in flames. It is not known whether he perishes or not, though he utters a single statement that will break the Green Arrow.

See you in hell

Oliver decides that he is right. The Green Arrow cannot save Seattle anymore, not while he’s fighting in the dark. He returns to Star City and confronts Mayor Domini in front of the entire city…not as the Green Arrow but as Oliver Queen. He says as much as he can to proclaim his innocence and reclaim Queen Industries. The day night may have belonged to the Green Arrow, but day belongs to Oliver Queen, even as he is led away in handcuffs.

The Art

It is one of the bigger treasures of these books to see Juan Ferreyra at work. His use of thematic color in order to express times of light and dark, of political evil and great victory are astounding and should give those working on the DCEU something to learn when it comes to how color effects the minds of its viewers. While for the most part this comic is quite sad and demoralizing, certain color schemes on many panels give us hope for our favorite heroes. Also the cover was wow, definitely among my top favorite. The duality of Ollie and the Arrow give a point to the duality of his fight, and of course at the bottom the end of the trend following this series with all the enemies and heroes taking each other on.

Final Thoughts

Such a great end to such a great story. Classic themes of light and dark while mixing corruption of mind and soul and finding redemption for those who feel that they don’t deserve. No doubt Oliver will be tried by the experience, considering the next issue will be called “Broken Arrow”. With Cyrus Wether dead, dying, or horribly disfigured, we don’t know what the fate of the Ninth Circle will be. Seattle is far from saved but with Ollie choosing now to fight its malady in the light of day, who knows where the next story will take us.

I have to say this was a pain to see finished, but I want to thank Benjamin Percy for giving us such a great story and Juan Ferreyra for bringing it visually to life and Nate Piekos for stringing it all together. Amazing job guys!

Oh, Ollie…

Final Score:10/10

Green Arrow Rebirth #24 Credits
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art & Colors: Juan Ferreyra
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Images Courtesy Of DC Comics

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