Why…why?! Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have started it this way so let me elaborate. Concerning the last issue, there was so much going on towards the end that I couldn’t wait for this one. Unfortunately, our hunger was not sated. Not saying that this issue was bad, it was great in fact. But I was really left wondering what happened between this and the last. The last time we saw Ollie, he was mourning over the death Chief Westburg, who lost his life to Malcolm Merlyn after the fight with the Vice Squad. While Ollie is laying low, we see the return of the Ninth Circle, who have been absent for a few issues now, and what they do to people who try to turn their back on them. Namely the current Mayor of Seattle.
While it’s still not known who hired Merlyn to take on Ollie, we can speculate that it’s the Ninth Circle or someone deeper in the pockets of the League of Assassins but what I took most from this is whether there could be a coincidence that the League of Assassins is also present in Detective Comics most recent issues. Moving on, Merlyn attacks Ollie in the woods of the island he and the team are currently hiding in, and we get a grand game of cat and mouse while the Black Arrow dodges traps. That is until he takes a log with sharpened twigs to the chest. Yet the finale is where it all gets weird, as Ollie is about to put an end to Merlyn once and for all, Diggle pistol whips Ollie and takes Merlyn to presumed safety. So many questions rose from this betrayal yet, none of them were answered in this issue. Here’s my review of Green Arrow #18: The Return of Roy Harper (part one).
Roy and the Frontier War
This issue is concerned with both the past and present story of Roy Harper. In the present Roy is driving back to Seattle after a long absence with the Titans. He makes a grand entrance, picking a fight with a local redneck type militia trying to keep more protesters from disrupting the building of a cascade pipeline called the Black Artery. Of course, the only problem is that this pipeline goes through sacred land on the Spokane Indian Reservation. If this sounds familiar, it’s obviously a take on the issue of the Dakota access pipeline protests. For those who aren’t up to speed on the issue, TL;DR: The US government wants to create an access pipeline across the land that belongs to a section of a Native American tribe’s burial grounds. The protesters believe this is a violation of Native culture as well as their rights. It was previously revealed that Roy Harper is Navajo, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he’s returning for this. He contemplates the event surrounding the protests, the abuse from the military, and the sudden withdrawal of the majority of the protesters. An ominous message says to him; war is coming.
What we also know about Roy is that he’s had problems with addiction in the past. He above all people also knows what this has done to his relationships with family and friends. Roy’s motive is clear here; he wants to redeem himself it seems, to his own people. They are also reluctant to listen to him. Especially after an apparent event involving Roy that directly caused his surrogate father’s death.
Of course, before any kind of civil action can be taken, an attack comes from quad driving mercenaries called the Wild Dogs. The following battle that ensues is action packed and exciting. Natives on horseback and gun wielding mercs in quads and trucks? Yes, please. Once Ollie shows up, Roy loses all of his cool. What was most interesting about the ending panel wasn’t just that Roy seems to think Ollie has ruined the fight, but the close-up look we get at the pipe behind him and what it’s labeled: Queen Industries. Clearly, the Ninth Circle is behind this.
The other item on this issue is a look into Roy Harper’s past; specifically his early relationship with the Green Arrow. Most of it we’ve seen before in much older issues, but it’s an excellent recap for those just jumping into the Green Arrow comics. Roy began as a thief until he stole from the wrong person, Ollie. Of course, the two became fast allies; Ollie saw something in the young man that many would be reluctant to see themselves. The entire recollection is full of fun and informative moments from the discovery of Ollie’s alternate persona to helping Roy with his addictive tendencies. Even the action continues with an awesome panel of a fight between Ollie, Roy, and classic villain, Count Vertigo.
The art was perfect for this issue. Especially with the new artists on board; Eleonora Carlini and Arif Prianto. The colors are more vivid and better suited to action and their present themes. As I’ve mentioned before the more issues released, the better the cover art becomes. Whereas they began as slightly lazy looking with not much going on in the background, they now have loads going on. This cover is probably one of my favorites next to issue 16. There’s so much action going on in this issue, that I had to reread panels just to enjoy them all over again. My favorite art, however, has to be the fight with Count Vertigo, especially with the color schemes tending to stay neutral to Roy’s red contrasted with the heavy greens coming from the Count. Even Ollie shimmers like gold when in light of all the green light produced of the Count.
This was a great addition to the series and seems like the start of a great new arc. The action was well placed and not in there just for the sake of it, all of it was purposeful. The return of one of Ollie’s most well-known allies was exciting, as was a look into his troubled past and his turbulent future. While I was still disappointed that this issue didn’t pick up from where the last one did, even with its heavy cliffhanger, it didn’t take away from how good this issue was. Hopefully, Diggle will make his return in the next issue.
Final Score 9/10
Green Arrow Rebirth #18
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Eleonora Carlini
Colors: Arif Prianto
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Images Courtesy Of DC Comics