Well, this was an exciting turn of events! With Ollie having left Star City to save the whole country from the Ninth Circle’s influence he’s taken to the road to cut at their weeds before they have the chance to grow. With the last arc, we saw Oliver grow as a person, learning the difference between loss and sacrifice, and duty and family. Growing pains, of course, set him on a road that he knew he must travel alone, leaving behind everything in order to clear his name and save the country. It’s a fresh start for a great plot that seems to be built around the entire series as a whole, with the added bonus of every issue including a team up with a member of the Justice League, which is pretty awesome! This time around we get none other than Barry Allen, aka the Flash.
The last time we saw Ollie, he was spending time in prison for being arrested for the murder of his assistant. While the severance between Ollie and Dinah has grown larger, she is taking up his cause and keeping the poorer areas of Star City safe from the mass abductions being committed by the Ninth Circle. On the surface, Mayor Domini is assuring the city that it is as prosperous as it has ever been, despite many citizens seeing the truth. Ollie’s case is taken on pro bono by a Lawyer who thinks clearing his name and getting his family business back to him will earn her lots of money that she needs to support her son. Ollie does make his really high bail from an unknown source but by the end of the issue he says his goodbyes to all his friends and family, breaks his parole, and leaves on a motorcycle to take on the Ninth Circle wherever they may be rooting themselves. Never again will he let what happened to Seattle happen to any other major city.
Arrow/Flash Team Up
As the comic opens, we see the Cascade Range in Washington State, a highway that Ollie is traveling on while almost being killed by deer running as though it is affected by the speed force, because it is. This leads to a multi-vehicle accident that luckily is prevented from becoming worse by the timely intervention of the Flash, who just so happens to be in the area. The friendly animosity between the two heroes is quite funny but also hides some unsaid unease they share for another. As Oliver gathers, it is not an accident that the Flash is here at the same time as other speed force affected animals are. Based on information that Oliver recently discovered, he suspects the Ninth Circle is up to no good around here, puts two and two together, and you can easily guess that Barry is after the same thing. However, when Oliver suggests a team up, Flash says “no” barely a breath later. Apparently, the Green Arrow has a past habit of making a royal mess of things.
One thing Oliver will never learn is to control his stubbornness, so he ends up following the leads anyway. When he encounters men with rifles who went out and bought this land after it was auctioned by the Government, it is obvious that they’re here for something. In a stick fight, Flash once again comes to the rescue and reluctantly joins Ollie after he explains that even though this organization calls themselves the Black Hole, their insignia is that of the Ninth Circle.
After a harrowing fight in which Flash and Ollie use their powers together as one, the two discover that the Ninth Circle dispatched one of their stronger “burned” men to watch over as a scientist used the speed force that was seeping out a tear in space-time continuum caused by a massive release of energy to create a weapon. A speed bomb that when used, would cause the rapid aging of anyone caught in its blast radius. We see just how fast when the scientist who was working on it is affected before they get away, in merely a few seconds he aged and entire lifetime. What’s more is they figure out where the bomb was meant to go off, Washington D.C. Both realize what is at stake and temporary partnership becomes a permanent one as they ride off together.
Star City’s Last Light
Some would have to say that Ollie was both selfish and wrong for leaving Start City to its current fate, but luckily it still has the Black Canary to watch over her. While this book is almost exclusively tailored to the Flash and Green Arrow, we do get a couple of panels going back to see what the current state of things in Star City. Dinah is keeping a watchful eye over the homeless population after the events of the last issue, and Emi is trying her hardest to keep Kate Spencer (Oliver’s Lawyer) up to date on why he broke his parole by leaving. She discusses the current details of the case while also restraining herself from strangling Emi who choose to wait this long to tell her that Oliver is gone.
Dinah does finally meet up with Emi to discuss how they’re going to track down a man known as the Auctioneer, the source of the dozens of kidnapping going on in the poorer districts of Star City. Seems that while Ollie is away, the story will remain multilayered and that is extremely promising. Is it too much to stop the Diggle teasing though and bring him back?
Stephen Byrne returns to do the art for this 26th issue of the series after being absent for quite a while. While working in the shadow of great artists like Juan Ferreyra and Otto Schmidt, he does bring his own signature style to the table, using a stunning variety of pastel like colors that work brilliantly for a thematically centered comic like this. His imagery for the speed force—especially the scenes where Flash and Ollie fight as one—are particularly exquisite to look at and really set the tone for the future team-ups this series will have to offer in the near future.
This was an amazing start to a run that is going to include most if not all of the Justice League. Based on the previews we will be seeing Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Hal Jordan and the entire League at once in the coming issues. This I think is important because Oliver was always the odd man out when it came to the DC universe heroes teaming up. Sure, he has been included from time to time, but never exclusively like say, his counterpart Batman. I want him to show them up, show them what he can do.
Of course, also I’d like to see his character grow in response to adversity and maybe even conflict with the League. Oliver deserves respect from DC fans and heroes alike, and I for one want to see him earn it.
Final Score: 9/10
Green Arrow Rebirth #26: Hard Traveling Hero Credits
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Stephen Byrne
Letters: Nate Piekos