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Green Arrow #25

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Ben Raab
Artist: Charlie Adlard

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
The book opens with Green Arrow questioning an alien thug about the drug smuggling ring that has set up shop on Earth, and we see Kyle is afforded an opportunity to show Oliver up, as he's able to use his power ring to retrieve the answers that Oliver was unable to get. We then see the two proceed to follow up on this information, and while the two heroes look to have put aside their differences, their ally Amor Sur is starting to display a darker side. We then join Connor Hawke & the Black Canary as they've managed to stumble across more alien drug runners, and when they are joined by Oliver & Kyle, we see the situation takes an ugly turn when Amor Sur kills one of the aliens in cold blood. We then get a very real suggestion that Amor Sur is not an intergalactic police officer who tracked this drug smuggling ring to Earth, but rather he's an active part of this band of criminals, and when this secret comes out, he teleports back to his waiting ship. As Kyle's attempt to catch the departing vessel is cut short by a barrage of weapons fire, we see he manages to activate a transportation beam, than sends Oliver & himself up to the ship. The two heroes are then promptly captured, and Amor Sur steps out of the shadows to grab the power ring off the unconscious Kyle's finger, and place it upon his own.

Comments:
The one nice thing about getting this adventure on a weekly basis is that it keep the action moving along at a nice brisk pace, and while it does increase the review workload there is something to be said for the pulling the Band-Aid off quickly approach, when it comes to this story. I mean I would've hated to wait the extra week to learn that Amor Sur was a back-stabbing weasel, as I had pretty much clued into this idea two chapters back, and the previous chapter had already spelled it out in such a hard to miss style that this issue's big surprise ending was a given occurrence in my book. The other thing this crossover has done is make me more appreciative of Judd Winick's solid conversation skills, as while there's nothing terribly wrong with Ben Raab's work, it does lack the spark that had me enjoying the previous chapter so much. I mean the interaction between Kyle & Oliver in this issue is rather flat & uninspired, and the big scene where the two decide they're going to call an end to this partnership has a contrived feel to it that had me wishing the scene had been held over into the next chapter, or had been dropped completely. I realize these two don't exactly get along but this little fight does arrive out of the blue, and it's almost like it was inserted into the book to kill time until our feuding heroes could be ambushed.

I will give the book credit for playing up the idea that Amor Sur does have a reason to be a little ticked off, as the idea that he was cheated out of his legacy does work quite nicely, and while DC has been making moves to sweep Hal's little murder spree under the carpet, it is nice to see writers are still allowed to drag it out for everyone to see. I mean in spite of the sheer scope of what Hal did, I do believe this is the first time Kyle's actually gone up against someone whose primary motivation directly stems from the actions of Hal. This issue also brings Connor Hawke & the Black Canary back into play, and I have to say that it's nice to see these characters playing an active role in this crossover, though it would've been nice to see Jade put in an appearance as well, so we could effectively have the complete set. I do have to make mention of a couple odd details though, as this issue has Kyle use his power ring to open a transporter gateway, and I honestly can't see him using his power ring to accomplish this little trick. There's also an odd little moment where Kyle's power ring looks like it's still active when it's placed on the hand of Amor Sur, and this seems to conflict with the idea that Kyle's ring isn't interchangeable. I might be wrong on this but I honestly feel that it's been stated previously that his ring is wearer specific, and even if it isn't this seems like a security feature that one would really want to incorporate into the design.

Charlie Adlard's work has become a fairly welcome part of this crossover, as his heavily shadowed style does lend a darker mood to the material, and when the writing does play to this mood (e.g. the final page), the art really sells the material. The art is quite good at detailing the story, as one can't help but feel Amor Sur is one evil bugger after getting a look at his face on page three, and the double-page shot of the aftermath of the police encounter with the drug runners made for a powerful visual. The art is also pretty solid on the action scenes, as the arrival scenes of Connor Hawke & the Black Canary are nicely done, as is the page where Kyle gets himself blown out of the sky when he attempts to charge the alien ship. The alien ship itself is also a wonderful bit of work, as our first look at it on page fifteen does a nice job conveying the sheer size of the craft, and the amount of detail is really quite impressive. I also enjoyed the cover to this issue, as the coloring scheme really catches the eye, and the Black Canary's appearance makes for a nice teaser image to make one want to read the issue, even if her role inside isn't much to write home about. Now I still think his version of Kyle's costume is absolutely hideous, but again I never cared much for the design so I forgive Charlie Adlard's inability to make it work.

Final Word:
After a very enjoyable chapter over in Green Lantern, this issue was a huge disappointment, as I had hoped that after the weak opening, this crossover had finally kicked itself into gear, and the final chapters would make up for the slow start. However this chapter is very much a step backwards, as the dialogue is stiff & unimaginative, and the big moment where Amor Sur reveals himself to be a traitor was telegraphed so strongly in the previous chapters that I found it lacked the sense of surprise & betrayal that it needed to have. In fact Kyle's reaction to Amor Sur's actions make him out to be extremely slow on the uptake. This issue also has Kyle's ring performing some feats that didn't really sit right with me, as using it to read minds, and open teleportation gateways felt a bit too convenient, and while I'm not an expert on what the power rings capable of, this is the first time I've ever seen the ring display these abilities in the almost ten years I've been following Kyle's adventures.



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