Every so often, a title like Green Arrow gets one great run in a series of runs ranging from mediocre to just plain horrendous. It seems like one of those titles they will give to literally anyone who can write 20 pages of short fiction in a timely manner. Yet every once in a while, you get a guy like Dennis O’ Neil or Mike Grell to come along and do something unique with the book that stands the test of time, no matter how much it ages. From Dennis and Neil’s hyper-leftism slant on the character to Grell’s TDKR-esque take on the character, Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow title have gone through a small number of significant evolutions. Even Kevin Smith managed to do something memorable with the character.
Almost everything post-Smith involving the titular character has been slop though. Cry for Justice was the last nail in the coffin of good Green Arrow comics. Except for Jeff Lemire’s most recent take on the character. I hold a lot of reservations with it (the lack of major characterization for Ollie for most of the run, the extremely fast pacing that doesn’t slow down ever) but it encompasses a grand story that’s positively rich in uniqueness of tone. It’s DC’s Immortal Iron Fist, a comic built on equal parts eastern mysticism and gritty noir focusing on a character who wears a lot of green. Also, clans. Lots and lots of clans.
While Green Arrow #34 was really the last issue of the run by Lemire and Sorrentino, Green Arrow: Futures End #1 caps everything off nicely by tying back in to key core components of the run and bringing them to the future. It also earns bonus points for not being just a one-shot and tying in to the main Futures End weekly. It feels primarily like a continuation of what they were doing, rather than being completely out of place. Of course, this issue’s central focus is on the new GA, Emiko Queen, and in many ways she’s just like Oliver: hot-headed, brash, and extremely opinionated. Connor Hawke be damned.
It also reveals key elements of the Futures End weekly, making it an absolute necessity. Other than that, Sorrentino does an amazing job with the art this time around. I bashed much of the Outsiders War arc for having rushed, practically static art brushed up with a few tricks. Not here though. It looks like Sorrentino took the time to perfect his craft. It draws quite a bit from both the schools of Jae Lee and David Aja, and also carries some influence from manga. The grit and the bleak dystopia of Futures End get mixed with brighter pages that carry a warmth about them that effectively creates a two-toned schematic of storytelling here. It ends on a strong optimistic note, which could be foreshadowing for the rest of Futures End as a whole. There are other things about the issue that look stylish, like inset panel and Maiolo’s shade-heavy, singular coloring.
It’s about as strong of an epilogue to a run that one could have given the parameters of the five years later event, and although there were some major and minor missteps throughout, I believe that Lemire and Sorrentino’s run on Green Arrow is going to be looked at as one of the great runs on the title, up there with Dennis O’ Neil Adams and Mike Grell. If anything, at least it wasn’t synergized with the Arrow TV show.
My rating: 4.5/5