It’s been a while since I’ve read a Green Arrow comic. With how much is going on with Batman, Flash, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the Justice League comics Green Arrow is one of those comics that has been lost in the shuffle. Before I knew it I was very behind in how the current DCU continuity was treating Green Arrow. To fix that I figure that with Julie and Shawna Benson coming on board to take over Green Arrow that this could be a good jumping on point. I enjoyed the Benson sisters run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, a comic that was overlooked by many, so them getting a shot at Green Arrow is exciting. So with that said let’s see how things start with Green Arrow #43
Writers: Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colorist: John Kalisz
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Seattle a bunch of protesters gather to show there hatred for Jubal Slade, who is about to demolish their apartment. Jubal does not care and blows up the building even as the protesters are dangerously close.
Green Arrow and Arsenal act quickly to save the protesters inside the apartment complex and get them out before the building is blown up.
As Green Arrow comforts everyone that he’ll bring him to justice, Jubal escapes in the chaos.
Arsenal wonders why Green Arrow is being so nice. Green Arrow says he is nervous because Black Canary is moving in with him today. They both realize they need to catch up and go off to do so.
At Queen Industries Oliver Queen is having casual conversations with some of his employees. Kate Spencer comes in to reprimand him for spending so much of the company’s money and ignoring the lawsuits against Queen Industries.
They walk into the hall alone together. Oliver says that while he agreed that they would cover the expenses of the QPhone and QPad’s exploding that it was Amanda Waller’s fault for hacking their satellites. Kate says she knows Oliver is doing the right thing morally but legally they are in a lot of trouble.
As they keep walking Kate wonders where Oliver is going. Oliver says that Kate does not need him since she has everything under control.
Oliver gets back to his place and heads into his Arrow bunker. As he is getting comfortable he hears something coming from the other room. When he goes to check on the noise he finds Dinah Lance practicing her Canary Cry.
Dinah says she is expanding the house. Oliver asks her if she is hungry. Dinah says she is so he invites her to join him and Roy for lunch. Disappointed it is not a date, Dinah sarcastically says she is going to build them separate rooms.
Oliver and Dinah meet up with Roy, who is already eating since they were late. Oliver tells Roy that he doesn’t want to keep secrets from him anymore. Roy admits that he wants to tell Oliver about Sanctuary. Oliver wonders what Sanctuary is.
Dinah interrupts the conversation to say something has gone viral online that they should look into.
On a livestream a person going by the name of The Citizen says they are done with the one-percenters doing whatever they want and judgement day is coming for them all, starting with Jubal Slade. The Citizen shows footage of Jubal almost killing people in the demolishing of an apartment complex with Green Arrow and Arsenal saving those people inside. The Citizen says that they should all tune into Citizen Watch to see how Jubal pays for his crimes.
Roy tells Oliver than he can’t join as he has some stuff to take of tonight. Oliver and Roy hug with Roy telling Oliver not to worry as he will be fine.
In his bunker Oliver writes a letter to Roy with details of where his “Box” is located that could stop the Justice League in case something happens to him.
Dinah calls Oliver upstairs and shows him the livestream of Citizen’s Watch about to execute Jubal. Citizen’s Watch gives the viewers five minutes to vote if Jubal should be beheaded or not. Oliver and Dinah rush to stop what is going on.
Green Arrow and Black Canary make it to the location of the livestream and quickly head up to the specific room. They are mortified to find that they are to late as Jubal has already been beheaded.
The Citizen sees Green Arrow and Black Canary there through his camera. He tells his audience that they are just angry because those watching did what Green Arrow and Black Canary could not.
The Citizen then announces that their next target will be Oliver Queen. End of issue.
The Good: Julie and Shawna Benson begin their run on Green Arrow on a strong note. From the beginning the Benson sisters show that they understand who Green Arrow is and what makes him different from other heroes. That showing along with some intriguing world building that extends to the rest of the DC Universe make Green Arrow #43 act as a good starting point into the franchise.
Opening Green Arrow #43 with greedy businessman Jubal Slade showing his lack of sympathy for the public gave Green Arrow the opportunity to show how he is the hero to the people. Even with how Oliver Queen is part of the 1% like Bruce Wayne, at his core he is a hero of the people on the streets. The Benson sisters show this as we see Green Arrow, along with Arsenal, quickly save everyone from the apartment complex and help calm them down after their building got demolished.
This showing was a good way to bring up the trouble Queen Industries is in after their recent disaster with their phones in a way that is new reader friendly. The Benson sisters give us just enough details to understand what happened to put Queen Industries in hot water with multiple lawsuits. At the same time Oliver does not hesitate to cover all the damage and hospital bills to help those hurt by an incident that Amanda Waller caused.
This was also a good way to present Kate Spencer as Oliver’s right hand person at Queen Industries. The dynamic they showed was one of trust, at least on Oliver’s side. This is an important thing to do for newer readers unfamiliar with Kate’s character. It also positions Kate to be more involved in future stories as things get more intense over at Queen Industries.
Helping add depth to the story in Green Arrow #43 the story was how the Benson sisters had Oliver try to repair his relationship with Roy Harper. These two have shared a tense relationship since the New 52 began. This was the one of the rare times that both Oliver and Roy acted like equals. Even when others called Arsenal Green Arrow’s sidekick you could tell Oliver laughed in a friendly way rather than just to beat Roy down on his status.
The Benson sisters added a layer to this sub-plot by having Roy bring up the fact that he is checking himself into Sanctuary. Given that Sanctuary is the main location of Heroes In Crisis, learning that Roy is going to be one of the residents is a major step for him. It was also interesting to learn that Oliver has no idea that Sanctuary exists. This puts into question who knows about Sanctuary and how others learn about it since a hero like Green Arrow is left in the dark about it.
Building off that, it was interesting to see the Benson sisters have Oliver trust Roy with the knowledge of his plans to take down the Justice League. This is something that Batman has been shown to have done in the past. This angle for Green Arrow is an interesting one to take that could be a strong building block for a future storyline involving the greater DCU.
Oliver and Dinah Lance’s continuing their relationship was also well handled. The Benson sisters were able to get over how while this series is called Green Arrow that Black Canary will be one of the stars of this series. Seeing Green Arrow and Black Canary working together as Seattle’s protectors adds a layer to their relationship that does not exist in other comic book couples. Given that they have are now living together it’ll be interesting to see how the Benson sisters balance Oliver and Dinah interactions in and out of their superhero personas.
The set-up with this new villain, The Citizen, was well developed. The Citizen works in well with how Green Arrow is the hero to the people. Now The Citizen through their livestreams and actions to eliminate the business elite has been positioned as challenging who Green Arrow as a hero. Adding in the fact that The Citizen is leaving who lives or dies to those who are watching their livestream makes things even more personal as the public is playing a role in The Citizen’s schemes.
Starting out The Citizen making their presence known by taking out Jubal Slade was a great move. The Benson sisters were able to quickly build up Jubal as a person that you hate. There was no remorse in Jubal’s face when he demolished the apartment complex and quickly rushed off in his limo from the protest. That shadiness made what The Citizen’s mission easy to understand as we are already seeing the public rallying against the big businesses in Seattle.
Javier Fernandez is a great fit for this series. As he showed in his work on Nightwing, Fernandez made Green Arrow #43 have it’s street-level storytelling shine when we see Green Arrow, Black Canary and Arsenal on screen. t was also good to see how we got both day and night scenes to show how this Green Arrow is different from other street-level heroes like Batman and Nightwing.
The Bad: The one minor problem that kept Green Arrow #43 from being a perfect start was Black Canary’s attitude towards Arsenal. The way Dinah reacted to Oliver saying they were grabbing lunch with Roy and then acting distant when they got to the restaurant felt out of character. For a long time Dinah has shared a strong big sister-little brother-like relationship with Roy as she has looked out for him even when Oliver didn’t. Even if the Citizen thing came up it was odd that Dinah did not address the Sanctuary situation given what that means for Roy.
As much as Fernandez artwork shines in most of this issue the lunch between Roy, Oliver and Dinah did look rushed. There was a lack of detail in the character faces that made it look rushed. It did not detract from the story but was something that was noticeable when reading Green Arrow #43 multiple times.
Overall: From beginning to end Julie and Shawna Benson develop multiple storylines in Green Arrow #43 to start their run on this series on a high note. Everything that happens builds interest for both the life of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow. And in one issue Benson have already created a fascinating villain in the form of The Citizen to challenge Green Arrow. That all comes together to make Green Arrow #43 to be a good entry point for those looking to get into Oliver Queen’s ongoing adventures.