One of the more pleasant surprises of DC Comics’ initial batch of Rebirth titles was Green Arrow Rebirth #1. The Benjamin Percy-penned story returned Oliver Queen to his roots as a liberal-minded, socially conscious superhero, rekindled his relationship with Dinah Lance aka Black Canary and even brought back his iconic facial hair. The well received one-shot raised expectations for the first issue of the new Green Arrow series from Percy and artist Otto Schmidt.
Green Arrow #1 picks up shortly after the events of the one-shot, as Green Arrow, his archery-trained younger sister Emiko and Black Canary hunt down the mysterious villain whose been selling Seattle’s homeless population into slavery. They’re able to break up a transport of captives, but find no evidence other than the crate they’re inning being marked with the logo of Oliver’s family company Queen Industries. A frustrated Oliver bribes a dock worker and several police officers to keep him informed of any more suspicious activity, much to Canary’s chagrin.
Despite spending the night with Oliver, Dinah is still shaken by his actions the next morning. Her feelings boil over when he attempts to show off the various charitable contributions Queen Industries has made to the city. In turn, she cooly tells him to stop focusing so much on money and instead worry about why the prisoners were in a company marked crate. Oliver begins investigating Queen industries, including a general conversation with the CEO. His investigations strike a nerve, as the issue ends with, not one, but two shocking betrayals that leave the hero in a very vulnerable state.
Green Arrow #1 successfully takes what made the Rebirth special and expands upon it even further, creating a very satisfying read. It continues re-emphasizing Ollie as a leftist, self-proclaimed social justice warrior. He displays his affection for the common man and true desire to help those he feels society has wronged. Personally, I love this iteration of Oliver Queen. I’ve always been a big fan of Green Arrow as the social conscience of the DC Universe and am happy to see him return to that characterization five years after it was stripped away as part of the New 52. At the same time, I liked that Dinah threw cold water over some of his more SJW ideas by pointing out that he accomplishes all his goals and bases nearly all his relationships around money.
Speaking of Dinah, I’m overjoyed that the Green Arrow/Black Canary relationship is back in full-swing. While I can see some questioning Dinah spending the night with Ollie so soon after their “first” meeting, it really didn’t bother me. For starters, it’s been established in the initial Rebirth one-shot that they actually had met before but those years had been “removed” from time. Beyond that, it fits with the current characterizations of both Green Arrow and Black Canary. It also helps that Percy seems to have a very clear handle on what makes the Arrow/Canary relationship work.
The art from Schmidt, who handles inking and coloring himself, is really well done. The characters all have a gritty quality to them that befits the store-level story being told. I also throughly enjoyed the use of color during scenes where Ollie and Dinah are spending time together outside of their costumes. Schmidt imbues these scenes with bright, sunny colors that emotionally juxtapose the dark, harsh tones found in the rest of the book.
Green Arrow #1 shows that the successful Green Arrow Rebirth one-shot was not a fluke, but rather the start of brand new era for the Emerald Archer. I definitely recommend this highly to Green Arrow fans, Black Canary fans, or anyone who’s looking for the best books in DC’s relaunched line.