TITLE: Green Arrow: Into The Woods
AUTHOR: J.T. Krul
PENCILLER: Diogenes Neves, Vincente Cifuentes. Cover by Mauro Cascioli
COLLECTS: Green Arrow #1-6
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE DATE: July 6, 2011
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
I always understood the motivation behind DC Comics breaking up Green Arrow’s marriage to Black Canary and making him a forest-dwelling loner. It puts the character in touch with his Robin Hood-esque roots. But that doesn’t mean it was a good decision.
After murdering the villain Prometheus in Justice League: Cry For Justice, Green Arrow’s identity as Oliver Queen has been made public, his marriage to Black Canary is over, and a large portion of Star City lays in ruins. G.A. now lives in the forest that suddenly sprouted in the middle of the city at the beginning of Brightest Day. As Oliver continues to serve Star City as best he can, a mysterious woman calling herself The Queen has taken over Oliver’s company, Queen Industries. Her motivations are questionable, to say the least. But Green Arrow will soon discover this woman is linked to the father he barely knew.
This book was a disappointment for me. After reading some of J.T. Krul’s previous work, I was hoping he’d be able to really knock this one out of the park. He doesn’t. It’s not that putting Ollie in the forest was a bad move, per se. It was an interesting attempt at shaking up his status quo, and the fact that the forest seems to be the center of the white entity from Brightest Day adds a bit of intrigue. But the creators either don’t play the forest element up in a way that’s interesting enough, or they push the Robin Hood thing so far it becomes silly.
For instance, in this book Ollie gains a new sidekick/confidant in Galahad, a man who claims to be a knight from King Arthur’s Round Table. This character, in my opinion, was a ridiculous and feeble attempt to make Green Arrow more akin to Robin Hood by pairing him with someone with a medieval vibe. Apparently being a bow and arrow wielding, forest dwelling outlaw wasn’t enough. It’s one thing to be reminiscent of a classic character, it’s another thing to rip that character off. This book pushes Green Arrow a bit too close to the latter for my tastes. Personally, I’d rather have seen him find a civilian to bounce dialogue off of. Oddly, we almost get that in a reporter who Ollie gets information from. The reporter would have been a much better choice than some dude who thinks he’s a knight.
When I picked up this book, I was hoping to see Ollie really use the forest to his advantage in battle. I figured we’d see him eying targets from treetops, setting up clever traps, and really using the environment to his advantage. We really don’t see much of that. He and Hal Jordan have a battle scene with some of The Queen’s “Royal Guard,” and there’s a moment where he uses such a trap on an out of control Martian Manhunter. But that’s the best stuff we get in that regard, which obviously left me wanting more. I was hoping to see the forest really become a part of Green Arrow’s persona. Instead, it really just acts as a new setting that happens to act weirdly sometimes.
What I did enjoy about Into The Woods was the look at Oliver Queen’s parents. It was interesting to see how their influence made Ollie the character he is, and their relationship to The Queen does make for an interesting dynamic.
Though it’s all very well drawn by Diogenes Neves, everything else this book offered fell into “meh” territory. That’s a shame, as this book could have been much better. It likely isn’t a coincidence that the Green Arrow we’ll meet in September via the DCU reboot is essentially placed in the exact opposite circumstances as this version of the character. Instead of being a forest-dwelling outlaw with little use for technology, Green Arrow will be flying around the world apprehending criminals, using illegally gained intel to his advantage. In short, Ollie will be out of the woods very soon.
I can’t say I’m sad about that.
Green Arrow and Galahad image from comicvine.com.