Written by Ann Nocenti
Illusrated by Harvey Tolibao
Green Arrow’s gone looking for trouble, and he’s found it — in triplicate! Three women who give new meaning to the term “drop dead gorgeous” have our hero outnumbered and outgunned! Collectively, they’re called “Skylark,” and they’ve been sent on a secret mission with Oliver Queen as its focus! Who’s directing them, what is their shadowy goal and will Ollie let his guard down and be gulled by these beautiful and deadly adversaries? Join new creative team Anne Nocenti and Harvey Tolibao as they chart the next chapter in the life of Oliver Queen!
The internet let out a collective groan when it was announced that JT Krul would still be writing the adventures of Oliver Queen in the New 52 – and I was one of the members of the chorus. Krul’s work in the Arrowsphere has been well documented for its terribleness (the three words that make most comics fans recoil in horror are courtesy of Krul: Rise. Of. Arsenal), and adding “young and hip” to the Green Arrow formula seemed to be just another bad idea. Well, it was. The internet let out a collective cry of joy when Ann Nocenti was announced as the new writer as of issue #7 – and I was one of the members of the chorus. Were our cries warranted?
Hit the cut to find out.
I’ve been sitting in front of this computer screen for an hour, trying to find a way to sum up how unbelievably disappointing this comic is, and the sentence above this is all I could come up with. I’m not going to lament how Green Arrow, the character, deserves better than this, nor am I going to talk about the consistent failure to give him a decent ongoing; I won’t even talk about how de-aging him is even dumber than de-aging every other character in the DCnU. All I’ll say is this: this should be better – for so, so many reasons, this should be better.
For starters, there is a permanent creative team in place after Krul dropped out somewhere in between starting and finishing issue #3, and after Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen moved over to “Superman.” And not just any creative team: Ann Nocenti is writing this! She is a great fit in theory, having done a street level book that tackled serious issues(“Daredevil”), handled younger characters on an editorial level(“New Mutants”), and did consistently great work. She even wrote an issue of “Rom” – is there anything this lady can’t do?
Yes, there is – and that is write “Green Arrow.”
Full disclosure: This is the first issue of the relaunched series that I’ve read, but as this is the start of both a new arc and new creative team, I felt this was a natural place to jump in. And it was; there was nothing here that felt over my head or unfamiliar, except for the fact that this didn’t feel like a Nocenti comic in any way, shape or form. For starters, there is a incestuous menage a trois on an airplane, which feels like something 1980’s Ann wouldn’t have stood for, let alone pen. Every move here is telegraphed far in advance, from the lame jokes, to the silly plot points, and none of it feels much different than what was (supposedly) happening under Krul or Jurgens/Giffen (my cohorts David and Matt covered the first issue of each team’s run).
This couldn’t be saved by Alex Ross on interiors, so Harvey Tolibao is doomed. His Ollie looks like he is always about to scream, is screaming, or just screamed, and he has this weird ape-like mouth and borderline werewolf-ish cheekbone beard throughout. The wonderful new characters known collectively as Skylark are presented in a not-quite cheesecake manner, but there is very little modesty to their designs. But beyond that, this just doesn’t look very good. Nothing he does seems clean, nor does the messiness of his work seem intentional – it just seems to be of poor quality. When the nicest thing I can say is “his backgrounds are consistently nice,” you know I have nothing to say. I always felt that Jurgens and Perez were an odd fit for the art, as both as classicists tackling a “fresh new take” on the character. So moving on to someone significantly younger, who probably grew up reading the very books this is supposed to be emulating makes sense, but Tolibao is way out of his league here.Continued below
Just about every comics reader I know either has an affinity for Oliver Queen or Ann Nocenti, and so there was actually a little trash talking when I was able to snag this in the Multiversity Comics review draft this weekend. People were jealous that I got to review this book. How fucking wrong were they?
Final Verdict: 1.8 – Use as kindling for you next fire