Writers: Geoff Johns & James Robinson
Artists: Rags Morales (p), Michael Bair (i)
The book opens with Green Arrow having a tough go of it with the Spider, a hired mercenary who has a vested interest in seeing that several of St. Roch's more prominent citizens die. We also see Oliver soon discovers that the Spider is more than his equal when it comes to the use of a bow, and we see these two archers engage in a furious battle that soon becomes a stalemate. However when Hawkman erupts on the scene we see the Spider is able to effectively clip the winged warrior's wings, and Carter crashes through a nearby window, taking Oliver with him. As the two men plummet toward the street far below we see Hawkgirl arrives in time for a last second rescue, but when they return to the sight of the battle they find the Spider has vanished. However before his tumble out the window Oliver was able to get off one final shot that grazed the man's left eye, which Oliver believes will effectively end the man's career as an archer. However, the final pages reveal that in spite of his injury the Spider is still able to score multiple bull-eyes, before putting an arrow through a passing hawk.
This issue offers up a battle that I've been eagerly awaiting since I was first exposed to the archer characters, as while I've seen about half-a-dozen battles that pitted Green Arrow & Hawkeye against a fellow archer, this issue marks the first time that one of these encounters has equaled the potential that I expect from such a meeting. Now this is Hawkman's book, and he makes an impressive arrival about halfway in, but the real star of this show is Green Arrow, as he squares off against the Spider. I mean this issue long tussle makes great use of strategy as these two archers face each other, as Oliver make use of his trick arrows, while the Spider uses a cleverly placed shot to exhaust his opponent's supply of arrows to use against him. The Spider also gets a nice little moment where he sends Hawkman & Green Arrow plummeting to their deaths with a single arrow. We then get an equally impressive shot by Oliver on the next page as he disarms & seriously injures the Spider with a single arrow. In the end, this duel of archers has set the new benchmark, and here's hoping Kurt Busiek has something equally impressive lined up when the JLA meet the Avengers.
The cover to this issue is a bit misleading as Hawkman & Green Arrow are far too busy fighting the Spider to go after each other, but we do get a cute exchange between the two men as they are busy falling to their deaths, and page seventeen is perhaps that best realized moment of interaction that these two have ever shared, as it perfectly captures the relationship these two have with each other. Green Arrow has never been my favorite character, but when he gets together with Hawkman, I can't get enough of him. This issue also continues to present Hawkman as a true blue warrior, as his arrival on page ten quickly establishes him as a force to be reckoned with, and one has to love his solution when the Spider fires an arrow at a pinned Hawkgirl. I also enjoyed the confidence that he places in Hawkgirl, as he is completely secure in the idea that she'll arrive before the street does. Speaking of establishing characters as credible threats, this issue also does a great job developing the Spider into a fighting machine, with the final three pages being a particularly effective presentation of just how capable he truly is.
Rags Morales turns in a great looking issue, as he's handed the ideal showcase material for an artist to show off their ability to deliver action, and he shows us that this book is in the right hands. The opening nine pages are a wonderful display of how one should deliver a battle that involves archers, as we get a series of two panels, one which shows the archer releasing the arrow, and a second to show it's impact. The art also nicely establishes the rather bizarre set-piece that is created by the Spider's webbing arrows, as we see the room becomes a labyrinth of webs. We also get a powerful one-page shot of Hawkman arriving at the battle, and the scene where Hawkgirl rescues them has a nice sense of speed. The final three pages also are quite impressive as they manage to present the idea that the Spider is not only able to overcoming the debilitating effects of his injury, but the final panels do a nice job conveying the idea that he'll be back (though I don't quite understand why he's gunning for Hawkman, as Green Arrow is the one that did all the damage). Great looking cover to this issue as well, even if the scene doesn't play out inside.
The best issue of Green Arrow I have ever read! Now sure this is Hawkman's book and I should be a bit annoyed that Hawkman takes a back-seat to his guest-star. In fact, this issue almost thumbs it's nose at Hawkman as after he makes his impressive arrival, our mighty hero is the very definition of useless. Still, while dyed in the wool Hawkman fans might be a bit annoyed by this issue, I found it to be a wonderfully entertaining bout between two highly skilled archers, and Green Arrow fans would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn't add this issue to their collections. The issue also follows up on the fine work that James Robinson delivered over on his much missed "Starman" series, as the Spider comes across as a very capable, and highly dangerous threat, that I'm eager to see again. We also get a very nice, if somewhat brief exchange between Hawkman & Green Arrow that nicely conveys the animosity that exists between the two.
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