Well, that was unexpected. Not in the “oh my gosh what a twist ending” sort of way. Rather in the “well that was kind of cliché compared to the rest of this trilogy” sort of way.
This isn’t a severe criticism, but still: compared to how good the previous entries in this trilogy were, the conclusion to Green Arrow: The Return of Roy Harper was slightly anti-climatic. It ended up borrowing themes commonly seen in moments of serenity in damaged characters that have to make a choice between vengeance and justice. Nine out of ten times they end up picking the latter, just like in this issue.
Again, I’m not judging the entire comic or arc based on this. Both were extremely well done and kept my interest peaked and my attention wrapped in the more than par storytelling and visuals; I just expected a little more from the end. But hey, they can technically still continue it in the next story arc which I am very much looking forward to.
The last time we saw Ollie, the team was recovering from a major defeat after a peaceful protest became all-out war over a pipeline that would threaten lands owned by a Native American tribe. While mourning their losses and healing the wounded we get a continued glimpse into the past of Roy Harper in his early days as speedy and the partnership with a younger Ollie that was destroyed by drug abuse and poor life choices. The memories faded with Ollie giving up on him and throwing him out while back in the present they begin another assault on the Wild Dogs headed by a militia Police officer
who is the very embodiment of a Trump voter. It seemed that Ollie and Roy were to set apart their differences for a chance at mending their relationship, even if only to tackle this threat.
The Coming Storm
Like the previous installment in this trilogy, the main bulk of the story takes place in the past while continuing to draw its significance from the present. Yet, we still need to take a deep look at what’s going in the present in order to see what the overall message of this past is.
As the team prepares for the final showdown at the pipeline, emotions begin to swirl as we begin to notice that even though Ollie and Roy are working together; Roy has a much baser agenda at mind. Early on the obvious is stated and we confirm that the Wild Dogs are indeed are on Broderick’s payroll. For those of who don’t remember the Ninth Circle arc from the inception of the series, Broderick is the now CEO and owner of Queen Industries and gained the title by stealing it from under Ollie’s feet for the Ninth Circle.
On both fronts of this emotional issue, the action fills up a lot of the art. Which is great; this conclusion needed to go out with a bang. It delivered fully on this final battle, the scenes flowed as a battle would on page or on film and it was quite the pleasure to look over again and again. Now as I mentioned before, the ending decision is kind of what bugged me at the end. I’ll leave this as spoiler free as I can: at the end of the conflict Roy is confronted with the man truly responsible for the death of his father. For those of you who don’t remember, Roy believes he was the one who did under the influence of alcohol. The reveal is far more of a satisfying surprise than what the outcome of this revelation is.
One Big Bad Decision
In the previous issue we saw Roy leave Ollie’s apartment in anger only to comfort himself with poor friends and drug induced stupor. Sadly it didn’t get much better from that; Ollie does try to reach out Roy after their argument and it’s clear that he still cares. Yet, what comes from his mouth is probably one of the more hurtful thing’s he’s ever said. For those who have ever had to care for family or friends who are overcome by substance abuse, this is not the way to handle it. It hurts to read, but even more so if you know the feeling.
It seemed that the subtitle for this issue was misleading when mentioning Count Vertigo. With the little we saw of him in the previous issues, I figured that maybe he had a hand in what was happening on the reservation. I was wrong but he was still pretty vital to the plot, in the flashbacks that is. I was actually pretty okay with this, especially how his relationship to corrupting his victims mind would be especially effective on someone like Roy.
From then on it’s a fight for Roy’s mind as the Count convinces him to help in his plans to use everyone’s electronics against them(hint, hint: spend some time looking elsewhere than your cellphone),but in the end it’s Ollie’s intervention that would save Roy from himself. Of course this is where the two tales intersect for the finale which again. I will not spoil. But with the end of this arc we move forward and back to Seattle, with hopefully those answers from the previous arc that I’m still waiting to see!
It’s really hard to top the explosive pieces we saw in the last issue of Green Arrow. Carlini and Andolfo keep up with the demand and expectations that I’ve come to place on them ever since they started working on Green Arrow. Among my favorites in this issue are the almost seamless and abstract ways in which the panels fuse from past to present, some even in the same exact panel. As much praise as I have for the action even the down time is great. I’d like to see more emotion though. Not that what they show is bad, it’s not, it’s great. Yet, I’d like to see much more of it; not just to balance out the issues as whole but to bring these already well loved characters to new heights. Keep it going strong!
This was an exciting issue and a very good conclusion to an emotional, but short arc. I’m sad to see it end but at the same time I’m happy to see another one of my favorite Green Arrow team members return to the fold after the major betrayal of the last arc. The ending was adequate albeit very cliché, and yet doesn’t hamper the conclusion as much as you think. The vehement plot and volatile fights made this one to be remembered for, it’s entire trilogy.
I’m truly excited for the next arc for the story art and the inclusion in one of the best teams I’ve ever seen producing Green Arrow.
Final Score: 9/10
Green Arrow Rebirth #20
Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Eleonora Carlini and Mirka Andolfo
Colors: Arif Prianto
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Images courtesy of DC Comics