Over the past year, the writer of Green Arrow, Benjamin Percy, has created an underground criminal organization, called the Ninth Circle. Recently, they destroyed Seattle, framed Oliver Queen for murder, and created Star City, taking away Green Arrow’s home. However, they have bigger ambitions than just Seattle. The Ninth Circle has begun to dip their claws into crime across the nation. The most recent Green Arrow story arc has followed Oliver Queen across the United States in an attempt to keep the Ninth Circle from spreading.
The best part about this story arc is Ollie teaming up with different members of the Justice League to stop this operation. So far, Green Arrow has teamed up with Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. The most recent issue brought two best friends back together. Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Green Arrow Oliver Queen. These two have been teaming up to travel together since the 1970’s, as a buddy cop sort of pair with contrasting political views.
Bringing a team and a friendship back together can be a difficult thing when writing comics. Characters in comics grow and change, and yet they stay the same. Percy handles the interactions between these two characters masterfully. As these characters come back together, they naturally crack jokes at each other’s expense. Definitely something these cocky best friends would do. This gives the reader an instant feel of familiarity. We understand the relationship, as soon as they are reintroduced. These best friends come back together, and it seems as if nothing has changed.
However, things have changed, and this should be addressed. Hal points out that Ollie has never needed anyone’s help in the past, but Ollie explains how that needed to change to stop the Ninth Circle. All in one page Percy has addressed how these characters remain familiar, and yet they have grown. On top of all this, Percy gives a little Easter egg when Hal goes on to point out that Oliver is on another “soul searching quest across the country.” This specifically references Green Lantern and Green Arrow’s original team up in the 1970’s. Ultimately, these best friends are finally back together on another journey to stop the bad guys.
The story continues as Green Lantern creates a suit out of green light for Oliver, so he can breathe and survive in outer space to hunt down a satellite that the Ninth Circle has stolen from Queen Industries. I think my favorite thing about this issue is how Percy and the artist, Otto Schmidt, depict the idea that space is vast and foreign to Oliver. It makes this issue feel especially human, considering this is a Green Arrow title. When I am reading Green Lantern, I don’t often find the author and artist touching on the idea of uneasiness or fear due to traveling through space. This makes sense for a Green Lantern title. It is from a Lantern’s perspective, and they deal with space almost every issue. Green Arrow, on the other hand, is just a man fighting crime on the streets of his city. Coming to space should feel huge. This is not something he does every day.
The author shows this by explaining how difficult it will be to track a satellite orbiting the Earth. Hal Jordan explains that thousands of satellites orbit the Earth, they will have to find it among large amounts of debris, and the satellites and debris are all moving over 17,000 miles per hour. The artist takes part in this by drawing Hal and Ollie leaving Earth, when they get into the debris to begin their search, and finally the next panel zooms out to show Earth from a distance with tons of satellites and debris in orbit. Green Arrow realizes this is going to be a lot more than he bargained for.
After all this great stuff, I do need to talk about some bad before I get to the end of the story and my final score for the issue. This issue feels pretty much perfect for what any fan of these two characters would want from a team up. However, Black Canary and Emiko Queen (now Red Arrow) feel out of place in this issue. Dinah and Emi have been going undercover to learn more about the Ninth Circle, in order to protect Star City and help Ollie, while he is away. The last issue built up to discovering that Wendy, the person that Ollie was framed for murdering, is actually alive and being held captive by the Ninth Circle.
Unfortunately, this issue has a short two pages to show Dinah and Emi finding Wendy being held captive by the Auctioneer, a member of the Ninth Circle. These two pages seemingly come out of nowhere, as we randomly cut from the beautiful image of the Earth by Schmidt to Emi and Dinah in the sewers looking for Wendy. They immediately find her in chains with the Auctioneer, and it cuts back to Ollie and Hal. I feel this bit of the issue should have been cut entirely or expanded on. These two pages basically give us no new information. We knew Dinah and Emi would find Wendy. Couldn’t this happen in the next issue, or even cut directly to finding her to have an interesting battle with the villain? If they cut this, we could be enjoying more banter between Hal and Ollie. If they expanded on it, we would at least have a Black Canary and Red Arrow story that holds interest when standing up against Ollie and Hal. Did anyone else notice this review goes on a side tangent much like Green Arrow Issue #30?
Back to the main plot, Hal and Ollie find the satellite for the Ninth Circle on the dark side of the moon. They are busted by one of the members of the Ninth Circle, as they try to break into the villain’s evil space lair. Green Lantern is knocked into space, causing the space suit construct that Ollie is wearing to shatter off of him. Percy ends the issue with a classic comic book cliff hanger, which is always interesting to wonder how the hero will survive.
Overall, I thought this issue was fantastic, and I give it an 8.5 out of 10. The banter between Ollie and Hal was a lot of fun, the art was beautiful, and the unique character perspective brought intrigue and highlighted differences between our heroes. The issue has a recap at the beginning for new readers to get caught up on what is happening. While Dinah and Emi’s plot in this issue seemed rather pointless, I expected their story to continue here, and their dialogue together was still fun and enjoyable. This is not only a great read for Green Arrow and Green Lantern fans, but also a great introduction to their friendship.