Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Phil Hester (p), Ande Parks (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
As Green Arrow pieces together the clues of the mysterious wave of rampaging monsters that have been emerging in his city, we see his mind isn't fully on the task at hand, as he's also dealing with the conflicting feelings that have emerged in the aftermath of his one-night stand with Joanna. However, while the mystery of the creatures is resolved, the situation with Joanna takes a tragic turn.
This issue delivers a completely unexpected, and rather shocking final page caught me completely off guard. In fact this ending is sure to make the final battle between Oliver and the hired killer Drakon far more interesting, as up to this point the writing has largely avoided the idea that Oliver has shown in the past he's perfectly willing to kill his opponents, and the little surprise that Oliver is treated to on the final page provides more than enough motivation for his wanting to break his current no killing temperament. This development also nicely plays off the guilt complex that has been dogging Oliver for the past couple issues, as this now makes two people that have died as the result of this case, and Oliver's got to be feeling even more responsible for this latest death, as he was already feeling bad about his own treatment of this character. Now the idea that the rampaging monsters where the result of a genetic side effect from an experimental tuberculosis inoculation that were given to these people more the a year previous, is an explanation that a bit too steeped in comic science for me to take as seriously as Judd Winick seems to want readers to, and the arrival of Superman to handle the crisis in-between panels was a bit of a cheat, but I will concede that the brief bit of interaction between the two heroes was rather cute.
As for the art, I have to say I'm rather impressed by the level of commitment Phil Hester has shown, as this issue marks two and a half years on this title, and his work has really established a visual style for this book. The art is able to deliver the big action, as well as the quieter moments, and the shocking reveal on the final page is also exceptionally well done. There's also some cute visual touches like the fact that Drakon's solution to the injuries he suffered last issue are simply to plaster Band-Aids on his face. We also get a nice, throwaway guest-appearance by the Calculator.
The surprise on the last page served to temper my disappointment that Green Arrow was cheated out of his opportunity to come up with a way of containing that army of the rampaging creatures, as the final chapter now has the required impact that one would hope to find in such a story. I certainly have to give the book credit for not avoiding the idea that there are moments when Oliver can be his own worst enemy, as there's a wonderful little exchange where Connor comes right out and asks why does Oliver continue to make those huge missteps when it comes to his relationships with others. Drakon also remains a very effective villain, as this issue he does something that is sure to get him on Oliver's bad side, though I guess ramming arrows through both his hands in a previous issue was probably enough to secure this position. Still, this issue offers up a surprisingly effective ending that is sure to give the final chapter a wonderful sense of urgency, as I can't imagine Oliver will be anything less that just this side of a murderous rage.
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