Thursday, September 1, 2011

Green Arrow #15: Endgame

Cover by R.B. Silva

Green Arrow #15: Endgame (August 24, 2011)
Writer: James Patrick
Penciller: Agustin Padilla
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh

It truly pains me to say this but after genuinely loving this Green Arrow story arc, I was incredibly disappointed by the concluding issue. I don’t know what happened, but each consecutive issue I read seemed weaker and weaker than the previous one. Maybe I was just lucky to catch an extremely strong issue with #13 but it was a flash in the pan sort of thing. I would like to imagine that that is not normally the case: that comic book arcs can stay consistently well written and illustrated, especially when the same team is working on each new issue. But maybe, mediocrity really just is the norm.

No, I refuse to believe that! I believe in the comic book industry and the value of contemporary issues. Just not this particular one.

Green Arrow #15 was essentially an overblown action sequence in which Green Arrow is finally able to battle the escaped terrorist, Billy Miggs. While I am completely fine with the idea of jumping right into the action in a single issue and not dealing too much with backstory, it felt very sloppy and rushed here. The issue followed no concise narrative but simply explosion after explosion. It also didn’t help that the explosions were decidedly unrealistic (and I know it’s a comic book and I’m not there for the realism but when you have a scene in which there are several massive explosions in the same exact area and yet NONE of the good guys are killed, I had to at least raise an eyebrow in contempt).

Furthermore, by this point, the reader has lost any reasoning behind Green Arrow’s weird, personal vendetta against Miggs. The most we can gather from Green Arrow is that he wants to kill Miggs…badly. That’s it. We don’t really know a why or a how. If anything, Federal Marshall Haley Donovan was much more three-dimensional and substantial than Green Arrow. She had articulate reasons for wanting Miggs dead and what’s more, she had an exact plan and goals in mind. She was just not mindlessly blowing things up like Green Arrow. So there’s a positive point.

I also haven’t been so overwhelmed by the art in a comic like this in a long time. I had always enjoyed Padilla’s art in this arc but here, I could not focus on any one panel. It almost felt that he got super lazy by this conclusion and just filled the panels up with huge explosions so as to avoid drawing characters and backdrops. The art was very often dizzying and unpleasant to look at; so much so that by the time I finished the comic, I could barely remember any one particular panel.

I’m really disappointed at how this series ended but I suppose the positive spin is that the re-launch can only improve. I hope.

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