While I am a fan of the Arrow TV show I have never been able to get into the Green Arrow comic books. For one reason or another DC has never been able to hook me into this franchise though I’ve tried multiple times to read Green Arrow. That is something that changed with DC Rebirth. In a quick manner Benjamin Percy has been able to deliver a Green Arrow comic book that I’ve been able to sink my teeth into.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the recent side arc featuring Emiko Queen, it was still an engaging read that gave me more information on a character I’m not familiar with. But now that Percy has that Emiko storyline out of the way we are returning to where he left us with in the opening arc as Green Arrow, Black Canary and John Diggle are stranded on an island. How will this familiar setting work out for Team Arrow? Let’s find out with Green Arrow #8.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On a mysterious island Green Arrow is hunting for food. As he sneaks up on and kills a deer Green Arrow thinks about how he is somewhere without a home, family or friends, which makes him think that Oliver Queen is dead.
Green Arrow is soon attacked by a wild bear. Green Arrow does his best fend the bear off. While doing his best to defend himself Green Arrow thinks of how he had a game with Emiko called the “Bright Side.” As he is able to get away from the bear Green Arrow yells that there is no bright side to his situation. Just as he says this he runs into Black Canary on a beach.
At first Oliver thinks that Dinah is a mirage but she changes his mind by pinning him down and getting on top of him. While flirting on the beach Dinah mentions how Oliver needs a bath which gives him an idea.
The two then take of their gear and go skinny dipping. While in the water Oliver asks Dinah if he smells better and she says that he needs to come closer. The two then proceed to have sex in the ocean.
Later that night at another part of the island John Diggle has found another beach where he is cooking some dinner. He suddenly hears a sound coming from the forest nearby.
During his search John runs into the bear that attacked Oliver earlier in the day. John tries to fend off the bear but is eventually pinned down. Instead of eating him the bear grabs John. Getting a closer look at the bear while restrained John figures out the bear is actually a robot.
The robot bear takes John to a facility on an island where scientists are making drugs. A woman with a half scarred face approaches John and tells him to calm down. This mysterious woman tells John he should calm down since he isn’t leaving the island alive.
The next day Oliver wakes up refreshed and feeling like he can think clearly again thanks to being with Dinah. Oliver uses this new sense of clarity to create a list on the sand of everything he needs to do next, including kill Broderick. Dinah quickly grabs Oliver’s arrow and crosses out the “Kill” part of his plan. Dinah tells Oliver that they are getting off the island but that Oliver won’t do so just to become a murderer. She tells Oliver that his big heart is the best part of him and not to lose it.
As the two decide to enjoy their time on the island someone from the shadows watches them from afar.
While walking along a water stream Oliver says that he wants to add something else to his list. Dinah wonders what that is and he responds by saying that it is to cook her chili. After some joking about his cooking Dinah playfully pushes Oliver into the water.
Oliver shows Dinah the finger she injured and she starts kissing him to make it feel better. Oliver decides to reciprocate by kissing one of Dinah’s injuries. As they beginning kissing each other’s body’s Oliver reaches one of Dinah’s scars that causes her to break away Oliver.
Oliver wonders what that scar is from but Dinah just tells him to drop it. Oliver tries to apologize, mentioning that his father taught him that each of his scar hold a memory of a person’s strength. Dinah does not agree with that sentiment and goes over her time as an orphan and living on the streets. She says that she has a lot of scars just like Oliver but it is not something she brags about like he does.
Later that day Oliver and Dinah find another beach, where they clean themselves up. Dinah notices a burning fire nearby. Oliver tries to apologize but Dinah tells him to drop it so they can check to see who is on the island with them.
They go to check on the fire and Oliver notices John’s footprints and figures out that his dinner must’ve been interrupted. Oliver and Dinah suit up and go looking for John in the woods. End of issue.
The Good: Green Arrow and Black Canary have always been an interesting pairing within comics. These are two comic book characters that come from very different backgrounds and each carry different weights on their shoulders. And that is something that makes this pairing so intriguing to see play out as they both bring out the best in each other in the end. This is the exact thing the Percy plays with throughout Green Arrow #8.
While the island setting has become an all too familiar setting for writers to place Oliver Queen back in Percy is able to add an interesting layer to the story with Dinah Lance’s addition. By having Dinah on the island with him Oliver was able to have someone to call him out on his bullshit. It’s a dynamic that puts Dinah in a light as a character that this series needs.
Percy cleverly shows this by starting this issue with an Oliver that is about to give up to the darkness. But instead he flips it by not just adding Dinah to the issue. Also by having the first appearance of Dinah be with the sun shining brightly behind her Percy immediately showed us this wasn’t going to be a depressing story. Playing up the physical attraction between the two gave this issue a much lighter tone compared to the previous two arcs.
At the same time while the physical attraction was played up heavily in Green Arrow #8 Percy was able to transition Oliver and Dinah’s relationship to be more emotional by the end. This is smart as now we can start seeing more layers added to the relationship. Because up until now their relationship has been all physical with very little time to develop an emotional tie.
By using the scars that each character has Percy was able to start building these emotional threads for the pair. The reaction Oliver and Dinah each have to what their individual scars mean also gave us further insight at where they are in life. For Oliver his scars are something that represents the strength he has to overcome every obstacle. The same does not apply to Dinah who didn’t grow up in a privilege lifestyle. For Dinah her scars hold deep emotional ties that she would rather forget while moving forward with her life.
This difference in what they each think of their respective scars is a good representation to how they are different characters. Percy drives this home with how by the end of the issue Dinah was focused on finding out who else is on the island while Oliver still wanted to apologize. While we may not see this further developed in this arc as Dinah and Oliver switch their attention to saving John Diggle it is something to build for future arcs once they get back to Seattle.
With the lighter tone that the story ended up taking it was great to have Otto Schmidt back to draw Green Arrow #8. Schmidt is by far the best artist on rotation for Green Arrow. His smooth lines and coloring adds to the amount of personality shown in each panel of this issue. I especially love how he draws Black Canary as she has a wide array of depth in how she reacts to things. Those reactions are made to pop of each panel thanks to Schmidt’s artwork.
The Bad: As much as Percy does to make Oliver and Dinah’s relationship interesting the same can’t be said to the rest of this issue. While we don’t spend a lot of time with John Diggle’s side of the story it is unfortunate that his part of the story is how the villain is introduced. Because instead of showing us how John is doing his own thing in order to survive on the island he gets to be played as someone that is not as good as his buddy Green Arrow.
The villain reveal is also not particularly powerful, especially coming of an arc with Shado being such a deadly adversary. This woman that is presented as a bad person running a drug ring doesn’t have any presence in the one appearance she makes. It would’ve been a much more powerful image if we had someone that is at least recognizable to DC fans running things. Instead the character just comes off as a generic villain that is just there because the story needs someone for Green Arrow to shot with his arrows.
Overall: Green Arrow #8 is a compelling look into the developing relationship of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance. Benjamin Percy furthered the relationship by showing us the emotional aspect of the pairing and how they differ from one another. This is an element that has been missing from the two and I am glad that we are going to have it as something to be explored further down the line. It’s just unfortunate that the villain of this particular arc couldn’t be as compelling. Luckily we had Otto Schmidt returning to Green Arrow art duties to lessen the pain of the generic villain. Hopefully the villains plot is fleshed out more to match the character development we saw on the hero side in the next issue.