ďBeasts of BurdenĒ
Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Phil Hester (p), Ande Park (i)
Green Arrow fights off the monsters terrorizing the Star Center construction site, with a little help from his son. After leaving the body of one of the monsterís in one of Connorís friendís hands, Ollie makes a late night visit to Joanna Pierceís apartment, and ends up staying longer than he should. The elder Green Arrow goes to check on the friend only to meet up with Drakon, the assassin hired last issue by Elevast.
I admit I was more than a bit worried when Judd Winick took over the writing chores of this title. Could he maintain the level of excellence Iíve come to expect? Did he grasp the character of Oliver Queen? Would his run on this title be as hit-or-miss as his run on Green Lantern? So far, the answers are yes, yes, and no, and you can color me relieved for it. Unlike most people, I have no great love for Oliver Queen. I like the character, sure, but I really had no knowledge of him prior to Kevin Smith reviving the title. In the few years since then, Iíve come to care quite a bit about Oliver and his extended family, and Iíd hate to see a writer come in a screw up what is one of DCís best books. Fortunately, that hasnít happened.
I know Green Arrow has a history of womanizing, but Oliver sleeping with Joanna seems to me to be a bit out of character. This is the same guy who was planning on proposing to Dinah ďBlack CanaryĒ Lance a few issues ago, and now heís hopping in the sack with the daughter of his good friend? Not only that, but Winick canít even come up with a creative way for them to get close. How many movies have you seen where the hero gets hurt, has to remove some clothing so the leading lady can attend to him, and they end up smooching? Winick must have watched ďRaiders of the Lost ArkĒ sometime before writing this issue.
Having said that, I must admit Iím really digging Drakon at this point. We know nothing about him (other than he ruthlessly brutal), and that mystery adds to how dangerous we as an audience perceive him to be. His fight seen with Ollie was humorous while at the same time disturbing, and I canít wait for Round 2. I desperately want to know how he can do the things he can do, and thatís the mark of a good character.
I canít imagine this book without Phil Hester and Ande Parks, and quite frankly I might drop the book if they were to leave. They own this character the way Todd McFarlane once owned Spider-Man and John Byrne once owned the Fantastic Four. Their cartoony style took me an issue or two to get used to, and now it just seems wrong for anyone else to try to draw Ollie and his crew. Theyíve been asked to do a lot on this book, from drawing monsters like Solomon Grundy to designing new characters like Onomatopoeia, and theyíve yet to miss a beat, even when asked to do both on the same issue (like in the case of #27). These two are often overlooked when discussions of the best contemporary artists are held, and thatís simply unfair.
This is the kind of solid issue that has the tendency to go unnoticed for how good it is, and thatís too bad. Winick has pulled me into his story three issues into his run, and you canít ask a new writer for much more than that.
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