Bill Loebs is a hero. Though he was born with only one arm, you would never know it from the two-fisted action and adventure of the comics he’s created. Whether it was his wonderful runs on Wonder Woman and The Flash at DC, or his more personal work on Epicurus the Sage and Journey, Loebs always excelled at presenting thoughtful and interesting comic books. That helped
him to earn a consistent living working for Marvel and DC for many years. Unfortunately, Loebs’s work seemed to pass out of style sometime around the mid-’90s, as the next wave of comics writers started working for the Big Two, and Loebs has found it increasingly hard to find work.
Green Arrow #53 shows what a mistake it is for Marvel and DC to not provide him with writing jobs, as he presents an intelligent and witty story in this comic. Green Arrow has been asked by Dr. Chrissie Cavendish, the great-great granddaughter of the monster Solomon Grundy, to help find the monster and hopefully cure him of the horrible existence he’s trapped in. The pair find more than they bargained for, though, as Grundy turns out to be far more vicious than expected. Added to that, the great-great granddaughter has something else up her sleeve to complicate matters…
Loebs turns in a witty and fun script. There are many humorous moments, such as Arrow’s funny reaction when Chrissie hits on him, or the crush that Chrissie has on her ancestor. I don’t totally buy her master plan, and I have trouble seeing such a flighty character as a scientist, but the relationship between Chrissie and Arrow feels right, and the plot zips along.
The art by Battle and Purcell is less impressive. It looks a lot like the work Todd McFarlane did when he worked on The Hulk. In fact, a couple of scenes look like direct copying of McFarlane. The team just isn’t up to the task of such a character-driven story. Their depictions of characters’ reactions don’t feel right and seem awkward. Then again, their action scenes seem a bit flat, too. The Cliff Chiang cover, however, is really attractive and well-done. The more I look at it, the more impressive it seems.
But the real star of this comic is Bill Messner-Loebs, back from his forced retirement and still doing interesting work. I hope he can find more work. He’s a one-of-a-kind talent and a class act.