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Green Lantern #163

Posted: Friday, May 9, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Charlie Adlard

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with several alien thugs gathered around Green Arrow who was struck down by a energy beam that has left him paralyzed. After they drag him inside, we see a debate erupts among the group, as the leader orders Green Arrow's immediate death, while one of his underlings wants to question the hero in a bid to discover just how much he knows. While the leader wins this argument, we see that Green Arrow was able to use the time to slip away, but after making a dramatic escape from the warehouse, he finds himself surrounded by an angry mob of alien attackers. As Oliver rushes forward into battle, the book looks in on Green Lantern who managed to shield himself & Amon Sur from the alien ship attack, and they speed back to Earth in a bid to locate the alien ship before it can pick up its drug shipment. Needless to say the energy trail that Kyle had locked on to ends in Star City, and Kyle arrives in time to give Oliver a hand in his fight against the alien thugs. While they are far from being best friends, we see the battle does allow the two heroes set aside their differences, and while the alien ship is able to get away with its drug shipment, the two do make a fairly formidable fighting duo. We then see the alien ship is destroyed by a second ship, and this second vessel is making its way back to Earth.

Comments:
If the chapters leading up to this one had been as strong as this issue, I do believe I'd have been proclaiming this crossover a shining example of the crossover formula. I mean the book has almost been following a play book up to this point, as we've had both heroes stumble across the drug smuggling ring, and their initial encounters have been crafted solely to show us these two don't like each other, and it's an effort for them to even be in the same room with each other, let alone working together to save the world. Now we've reached the point of the story where our two heroes have realized that the crisis demands that they work together, so aside from the back & forth sniping that they're engaging in, the two work together to form a pretty formidable fighting force. I do have to give Judd Winick full marks for playing up the humor of the plot, as the lead villain is able to recognize the pitfalls that most villains normally tumble into, but he stumbles into them just the same thanks to his underlings, who aren't exactly the brightest bulbs in the box. Then there's the interaction between Kyle & Oliver, as the book has finally managed to transform the tension between these two into some truly amusing banter, such as Oliver's exchange with Kyle about the insight his power ring was providing.

I'll also give the book credit for giving us a scene where Green Arrow's never say die attitude is on full display, as his escape from the warehouse is a nice, harrowing bit of action, and the scene where he leaps into the fray against a small army of heavily armed aliens is a delightful tough guy moment. Now this sequence doesn't exactly afford him the opportunity to display his fighting prowess with his bow & arrow, but it was still a very impressive display of the character's ability to hold his own in a fight in which the odds are heavily stacked against him. In fact, of the two heroes, Green Arrow is coming across as the more impressive when it comes to providing entertainment, as Kyle doesn't really have to even break a sweat to accomplish his various tasks, while almost everything Oliver accomplishes is the result of some fairly extensive effort. Still, this difference in power levels does create some cute moments, as Kyle has some fun with his power ring, and if nothing else it's fun to see Oliver annoyed by Kyle's attempts to inject some levity into the fight. The issue also lets Oliver deliver a couple jokes to show that he's not a complete sourpuss, and in the end I walked away rather liking the idea that these two would be interacting with each other for two more chapters. What a difference a single issue can make.

Charlie Adlard has provided the art for every chapter of this crossover, and I rather like this idea, as much like Alan Davis' recent visit to the Avengers books, I hope that this is the beginning of a trend that has a single artist coming forward to provide the art for a single story arc, even if it crosses over from one book to the next. An artist brings a certain mood to a story, and as such having a different artist handle each respective chapter is a bit jarring. Charlie Adlard's heavily shadowed work is a closer match to the style that we had been seeing on Green Arrow, so I don't imagine fans of his book will be overly upset, and the tone of the material has a more down in the gutters, getting their hands dirty feel to it, so I can't imagine Green Lantern readers finding the new art style that's taken over their book for three issues to be completely out of place. The art certainly knows how to deliver an impressive bit of action as Green Arrow's escape from the warehouse was a very exciting display, and his one man fighting machine exchange is also worth a mention. The art also has some fun with the more comedic aspects of the material, as when the alien boss is questioning one of his underlings, the art does a wonderful job conveying his growing frustration. Kyle's various ring constructs also made me smile.

Final Word:
Some of the book is a too obvious at times. So much so, that I found myself wishing the book rated the intellect of its readers a little higher, as Amon Sur is clearly being set up as the true villain of this arc, and it's going to be a little difficult to even pretend to be surprised, thanks to this issues' rather hard to miss sign posts. Still, this issue was a very entertaining display of Judd Winick's humorous dialogue skills, as the interaction between Oliver & Kyle alone makes this issue worth reading. The issue also opens with a fairly exciting action sequence, as the book takes full advantage of the idea that Oliver is far from being the most powerful hero in the DCU, but he's certainly one of the more tenacious fighters when he's backed into a corner. In the end this chapter was able to overcome the weak issues that preceded it, and most importantly it left me wanting more when it ended, which is a remarkable turnaround for what had been a very tepid crossover.



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