Sunday, August 14, 2011

Green Arrow #14: Manhunt

Cover by Joshua Middleton
Green Arrow #14: Manhunt (July 27, 2011)
Writer: James Patrick
Penciller: Agustin Padilla
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

I’ve been really looking forward to this issue as I so enjoyed the previous one. I was terribly curious to see what happened next after being thoroughly impressed with Patrick’s solid storytelling and characterization of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow as a deeply conflicted and complicated man. It was also in this arc that I was introduced to Federal Marshall Haley Donovan, a female character I was completely rooting for and loved.

So I was very excited to pick up Green Arrow #14 and quickly devoured it. When I was  finished, I felt… basically nothing. While this was still a better than average single issue, it was definitely weaker than the fabulous lead-in by #13. In fact, the entire plot seemed to go nowhere and just sort of seemed like a waste of time for Queen and the reader.

I don’t know what happened, but Patrick’s rendition of Queen seemed a lot more one-dimensional here. I really love Oliver Queen (like… a lot) and #13 made me rediscover how awesome he can be but here, Green Arrow was so terribly basic. He was just a run-of-a-mill comic book hero with a vague vendetta against an even vaguer villain. The terrorist Billy Miggs escaped while under Green Arrow’s watch in the previous issue so this time it’s personal for our hero. Nothing new here. Green Arrow’s personal vow to capture Miggs just didn’t seem genuine or all that interesting.

Along with Queen’s rather blank personality, Donovan also seemed to be a shell of what made her so awesome previously. She was essentially a cardboard cutout, along with Miggs and the silly dues ex machina scene featuring Batman. There was one pretty gripping scene in which the reader witnesses the exact nature and extent of Miggs’ deadly power over his brainwashed followers. I also enjoyed Batman’s admonishment of Green Arrow’s reference to the followers as lunatics rather than misguided people.

Padilla’s art was very strong, however and most likely the best aspect of the entire issue. Clean, straightforward and still very minutely detailed, it was everything I enjoy in comic book illustrations. It just seemed a shame to have such vivid art illustrating such as blah storyline. I sincerely hope that the series improves as I was such a fan.

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