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Green Arrow #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

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Black Lantern Green Arrow #30 [Review]

Lying to Myself

Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Diogenes Neves
Inks: Ruy Jose, Vicente Cifuentes
Colors: Chuck Pires
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Greg Horn
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Published by: DC Comics

This is yet another issue where we get to see one of the Nekron/Black-Ring-posessed heroes fighting against what their outward body has become. In this case, Green Arrow as a Black Lantern, trapped inside his own body, watching it do and say horrible stuff to those he loves. While Ollie recalls key parts of his life and how certain people were there for him, how much they mean to him…his body is busy trying to kill those people, while he hopes they will have the strength to take him down.

I don’t think I was are of Krul before Blackest Night. What I’ve read of his throughout this event, though, leaves me quite interested in what he has to offer in general. In this case, I enjoyed the one-shot nature of this issue, as its context fills one in on the things they need to know about the character, while presenting some of those “deep” moments as a Black Lantern does horrible stuff to someone with strong emotional ties to the deceased (even if Ollie is something else, not dead but not alive, while possessed by one of the Black Rings). The moments touched on throughout this issue are both familiar and unfamiliar. It was particularly touching to see that a moment I remember being so moving to me back in 1994’s Zero Hour was a key moment to the character even here, 15 years later.

The entire art team did a great job on this issue, really capturing a surreal tone that really enhanced the story. The effect of having what’s at the forefront of Ollie’s perception in normal color, while other things that were going on around his body but not part of the memories he was going through inside lent a great effect to things. The visuals in general were very good here. I’m not familiar offhand with Neves‘ art, but this issue felt familiar, and I think Neves‘ style is similar to Ivan Reis‘; at least, this didn’t feel like something that was all that different from the core Blackest Night series.

Though I haven’t read an issue of Green Arrow since before Infinite Crisis, I didn’t feel lost reading this. There may be subtle stuff I’m not picking up on that’ll mean more to others who have followed the ongoing stuff. But on the whole, this seems quite accessible to those following Blackest Night in general, or who know at least the broad strokes of Green Arrow’s place in the DCU.

The cover is a nice homage to that silver age Neal Adams cover; here, reversing the image, with Ollie “charging” a ring and Hal shattering the lantern, mid-oath. It speaks volumes on its own, conveying a sense of history for those familiar with the history, but still serves as a fairly symbolic image of this issue in itself.

While I’ve been down on a couple other recent issues with this sort of theme/set-up (Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Adventure Comics #7, etc), this one actually works for me in a way those other issues did not. Perhaps it’s because of the way this ends, differently than I expected it to; or that I have more interest and “history” with Green Arrow than I do Wonder Woman…perhaps it’s simply my lack of context with this Green Arrow series, and so enjoying this “random” issue.

Accessible for newer readers, and presumably deeper meaning for longtime readers. This issue is very much rooted within Blackest Night…other than remembered past events for characters, this issue doesn’t seem tied to previous issues, and this issue leads back to Blackest Night itself (as opposed to the characters walking through a Blackest Night tie-in to go back to the normal/continuing story next issue virtually unscathed).

Recommended.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Teen Titans #77 [Review]

A Family Affair

Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Jack Jadson & Ruy Jose
Colors: Rod Reis
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Bennett, Jadson, & Reis
Asst. Editor: Rex Ogle
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics

This seems like another one of those stand-alone stories that–while it takes a couple issues in the actual title could work just as well as its own double-issue mini-series. Come to think of it, this would do better to be Blackest Night: Deathstroke the Terminator moreso than an issue of Teen Titans.

Deathstroke faces his still-living daughter who he has tried to help in his own way, though she still hates him for perceived LACK of caring from her point of view. The two are menaced by Black Lantern versions of Grant and Wintergreen–Deathstroke’s son and former close ally/advisor respectively. Fighting ensues, and someone else shows up at the end who fits quite well into the mix.

Overall, this was a solid issue–the writing worked well, as we’re able to “get” where the various characters are coming from. Though I’m not terribly familiar with them all, there is PLENTY of context to fill one in, making this a very accessible issue even if one has never read the title before (I think the last issue of the title I’d read was the final pre-One-Year-Later issue).

The art is good as well…no real complaint there. The only thing that really jumped out at me was that there were a couple of points where Deathstroke reminded me very much of Deadpool, only with a different costume.

This doesn’t seem to have ongoing threads as if the title were interrupted, so it seems likely that regular readers of Teen Titans could safely skip this if trying to avoid Blackest Night. By the same token, one following Blackest Night ought to be safe picking this up without being mired in the ongoing story.

I don’t think I even knew this issue was going to be a tie-in until I saw it listed as such on Diamond’s list of this week’s comics and again seeing it for myself in the store. It’s a $3.99 book, but seems to have foregone its cofeature to give the Blackest Night stuff more pages. This is well worthwhile overall, but doesn’t seem essential. It plays out the impact of Blackest Night on these characters, but does not itself seem to have anything of influence back to Blackest Night.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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