Friday, July 6, 2012

Pull List Review: Green Arrow #11

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the hell Ann Nocenti is trying to do. With this issue, this story, and this entire series. If I didn't already know that the creative team would once again be switching in the next few months, I think Green Arrow #11 would've clinched it for me, and I'd cut this from my pull list all together. I'm not necessarily stoked about Judd Winick coming aboard, because I've never read his previous work with the character, but almost anything would be better than the disjointed, breakneck storytelling Nocenti employs.

The first half of the issue has Green Arrow fighting against the Dark Arrows, a pair of generic villains who are trying to combine the Occupy Movement with Robin Hood. Why they are doing it and how they even teamed up remains unclear, though we do learn that Trailer Park Girl (worst name ever?) is secretly rich herself. But she is the worst kind of stereotype: stuck up rich girl who wants nothing to do with her family's wealth even though without it she'd probably be pretty miserable. Not exactly someone I look forward to spending any more time with. And I may not have to, as the second half of the issue suddenly switches gears and becomes about Oliver Queen traveling to China so he can insult a businessman there who wants to buy his company. I am assuming these two seemingly disconnected plotlines will eventually have something to do with each other, but it's a baseless assumption since the issue itself gives no clues that that's the case.

But then, Nocenti's Green Arrow doesn't often have clues of any kind, choosing instead to have characters just flat out tell the audience whatever we need to know. We're told through unnatural dialogue Oliver Queen's life story to this point, and then later two weirdly intelligent kids on the street tell us who the Dark Arrows are. It's a jarring strategy, and it never works or feels right. Ditto Queen's one and only narrative caption in the issue, which comes in the final panel and makes less than zero sense. Cover to cover, this script is a mess, trying to deal with too many real-world issues and too many comicbook-world characters to ever do any of them justice.

Harvey Tolibao's artwork is sub par this month as well, switching from its usual fluidity to a rougher, sketchier style. There are often too many lines, particularly in his characters' faces, and it makes the whole thing look and feel even more jittery than the script would have on its own. He handles the action deftly, and there's a decent amount of it, so all of that worked on a visual level, at least. But every other scene seemed as though it was rushed through carelessly.

The New 52 Green Arrow seems to be an inescapable disaster. My love for and belief in the potential of the character keeps me around, at least until the current creative team is replaced, but...I have a powerful feeling I'll regret that decision down the line.

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