After a fantastic Rebirth introduction to Green Arrow's new solo series, Issue 1 dives headfirst into the action as Ollie and Dinah team up again to track down the Underground Men. There's a lot going on in this issue, what with the introduction of Emika Queen (Ollie's half sister), and the web of conspiracy connecting Queen Industries to human traffiking. But the story doesn't feel crowded — the dialogue sizzles, the plot is taken at a good pace, and the art is glorious.
There's some really interesting moral questions posed by Issue 1, which is fitting for bleeding heart liberal Oliver Queen.
As desperate as he is to convince Dinah of his good deeds, Ollie discovers corruption at the heart of his own company.
This is an interesting commentary on corporate culture, which is a hot topic right now. Writer Benjamin Percy already revealed to Newsarama that this new comic series will be tackling a lot of current social politics, just as the old Green Arrow comics did back in the Silver Age.
"We're channeling the zeitgeist. If you've been reading the newspapers over the past few months, you've encountered headlines that we have considered filtering into — slanted versions of — into the series."
But as much as Oliver wants to believe in his own philanthropy, and fight the corruption within Queen Industries, he's still engaging in his own, benevolent kind of corruption — bribing cops for "good behavior" and claiming this is his way to combat high arrest rates and police brutality.
It all goes back to Black Canary's criticism of Green Arrow's hypocrisy last issue, pointing out that it's difficult for him to fight the Man if he is the Man. It looks like Oliver's about to learn a harsh lesson about the shady world of corporate capitalism, as his company seems to be controlling the Underground Men themselves.
Interestingly enough, this is setting up a crucial moment in Oliver's history, echoing the Silver Age comics in a really neat way.
Losing A Fortune, Finding A Purpose
Back in the late 1960s, DC felt they needed to give Oliver Queen a bit of a shock, so he lost his fortune after his former partner committed a spot of corporate fraud. This sent Oliver spinning into a full blown identity crisis, which naturally resulted in his inner self literally leaving his body in because hey, this was the Sixties.
We already seen the beginnings of this Oliver's identity crisis last issue, as he commented on how he feels removed from his billionaire persona. That was causing him existential angst before he knew that his company was committing some pretty huge crimes, and it seems certain that Ollie's primed to spiral down a dark path after Issue 1. This is something Percy commented on to Newsarama:
"Green Arrow has lost his fortune before, but this will be the first time that he's complicit in that loss."
The parallels between this story and what's come before are palpable, and it's nice to know that Percy's hitting all the essential parts of Oliver Queen's character development.
Back in the Silver Age, the loss of his fortune caused Oliver to become more reflective about how he fought crime, getting more in touch with the people. It's nice to see this mirrored in the new series, but there might be dark consequences down the road — in the Silver Age, Ollie accidentally ended up killing a criminal in the aftermath of losing his riches.
Of course, Oliver's got plenty of other things to worry about to. There's the fact that his half sister Emiko has teamed up with her mother Shado to assassinate Ollie. Emi was a misguided but ultimately good hearted figure before Rebirth, so we have to hope that she's not beyond redemption. How's Oliver going to get out of this one? And how are the Underground Men planning on painting him as a despot? There's a lot of exciting threads set up in Issue 1, and we can't wait to see how it all plays out.
Who do you think the man behind the mask is?