Current Reviews


Green Arrow: Year One #5

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2007
By: Chris Murman / Martijn Form

Chris Murman:
Martijn Form:

Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Jock

Publisher: DC Comics

Chris Murman: Iím really on the fence about this whole series at this point, Martijn. There has been so much to like about how the story has played out. We got our first two trick arrows, a double-arrow shot, and some really heartfelt emotion from Ollie about the woman who nursed him back to lifeÖ

Martijn Form: Sorry to interrupt your monologue Murm, but I want to state it more boldly. Green Arrow feels more vibrant here than he has been in ages. Even the Kevin Smith run canít match what Diggle and Jock provide here.

But please go on.

Murman: Ahem, as I was saying (never argue with a man living in Amsterdam). On the other hand, this series is just too long for me. As I wrote in an earlier review of this series, when itís all said and done, everything could have fit nicely into four or five issues. Writers, of course, are sometimes asked to fill space requirements they werenít originally planning on. The beauty of comics, however, is that in the end you can do any number of issues you desire. World War Hulk is a great example of a mini-series that fits its writerís vision. It it were seven issues long (like Civil War, Identity and Infinite Crisis), it would probably have seemed too much.

Form: The pace of six issuesí feels right to me; itís a perfect example of the standard mainstream comic story arc. If this weren't a mini-series but instead a regular monthly, would you still feel the same? Diggleís previous work, The Losers, has a similar pacing which I liked very much.

Murman: Sure, the six issue trade has become more a part of the comic culture than many would care for, but that doesnít make it a necessity for a mini-series. None of my earlier examples are six-issue minis. My argument is that nothing should be standard at this point in comics.

Form: Well, the only standard comics should have is good quality! Green Arrow: Year One is just that. Diggle not only knows how to build a story arc, but I also love his story structure for this issue. He starts out full speed with a great action scene, then slows it down to explore Ollie's feelings of turmoil in his new role as a hero, and then he builds it up again. This issue doesnít feel like a fill in story just to bridge to issue #6 to bring us to the climax.

For example: when Brian Michael Bendis writes a six part story-arc, there is always one or two unnecessary issues of that arc that you can remove without having the over-all story be compromised. With Mr. Diggle, my reading experience is saved.

Murman Jockís easily making a name for himself with the mainstream readers in this series. His writing is simple, clean, and everything Iíve gushed about in previous reviews. What makes the art such a complement to Diggleís script is just as I said: This is a straight-forward, coming-of-age tale, maybe thatís why this team works well together.

Form: Well, I donít think Jockís art is simple and clear. I would use the term gritty. His ink lines are very expressive and harsh without any subtlety. The action is right in your face as if Jock wants to say to the reader: "Blood and violence! Deal with it!"

Murman: So are you saying you arenít a fan of the art? What I mean by simple and clean is that there isnít a ton of detail added to every blood splatter, water splash or background. While Iím at it, I think Jock uses onomatopoeia better than many artists Iíve seen in recent years. Take page four for example: four different words were used and combined with the solid colored backgrounds and simple body position. The page is excellently laid out. Smell what Iím cooking Mart?

Form: Holy #*@& Chris, onomatopoeia? Are you trying to fry my Dutch brain with difficult words? But, to make one point clear: Iím a big fan of Jockís sequential art. He really understands the medium and what composition and different camera angles can do for a comic page, without showing off. In the page you mention the last two panels are indeed a great example of what dynamic lettering can do. I think we should credit letterer Jared K. Fletcher for that.

Murman: The major bummer for me in this installment was how it closed. Weíve already seen Ollie ďcome back from the deadĒ twice in this series so far. How many times do you cry wolf before the reader gets tired of it? Plus, the cover teased the final page so much to the point where it wasnít a huge shock (pardon the pun) to see Queen electrified. After all, the action that weíve seen so far, we better be getting quite the ending fight between Green Arrow and China Whiteís army.

Form: I can see that the last page wasnít to your liking, but how many times have Spider-Man or Batman supposedly died? There is no death in comics. Once this mini series ends, it will make for a terrific trade, and one of the better Green Arrow stories. So you think the end fight will be between Queen and Whiteís army? Well, Iím hoping the climax will oppose Ollie and Hackett. I hate that guy.

Murman: Of course Iím cutting this book some slack because Iíve always been fascinated by Ollie as a character. A new origin tale is just what I needed to deal with what happened in the Wedding Craptacular. I wonít be as forgiving with all of the coming DC Year One minis, but this book has gotten them off to a great start. My rating isnít as high as it could be on this issue, but I canít wait to see how it ends.

Form: I hope DC is paying attention to this creative team because I like to see Diggle and Jock continue with Green Arrow in one way or another. Their take on this character is more up to date than ever.

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