Green Arrow: Rebirth #1
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Otto Schmidt
Lettering by Nate Piekos
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
"Rebirth" is finally here. And if it seems like a little bit like an awkward mishmash of DC continuity, that’s because that’s basically what it is. But in trying to get their publishing line back to square one, DC is really trying to put their best foot forward and give back the things that people used to love. For Green Arrow, that’s a return to swashbuckling, his goatee and his relationship with Black Canary. But it’s not all wine and roses. Writer Benjamin Percy has to reintroduce this character to us and it’s a bit of a bumpy road. But artist Otto Schmidt really does the heavy lifting, and brings a lot of optimism to the title’s future.
Percy’s narrative is fairly standard, but a big departure that previous writers’ work on the character. Rather than horror or mystery as a means of attempting to give the story an edge, Percy is unabashed in creating a story that works as a fun adventure. Unfortunately, it does little more than that, potentially leaving readers a little bit underserved despite essentially giving them what they want. While the action feels welcome if a bit well-trodden, Percy suffers a bit when he has to shoehorn in the star-crossed nature of Green Arrow’s romance with Black Canary. These characters have no idea why they’re drawn to each other, and it doesn’t feel like Percy has any idea either. So for all the moments of “classic” Green Arrow action, there’s a whole half of the narrative that is a touch disingenuous.
But artist Otto Schmidt is the real star of the book. His style is simple and straightforward but there’s a buoyancy to it that works really well for the Emerald Archer. While their styles aren’t totally similar, Schmidt’s energy has is similar to Humberto Ramos’ work on Spider-Man. The world that Schmidt creates feels real and lived in. Rather than the dour, gloomy work of the "New 52," there’s a lot of life in these pages. Schmidt’s character designs also really pop. Green Arrow and Black Canary looks as you’d expect them to but their body language and expressions make them seem that much more real. This is the world of Green Arrow as it's supposed to appear, unfettered by ultra-seriousness and dark storytelling.
This is as good a start as any of the "Rebirth" titles have had so far. Percy and Schmidt looks to be a formidable team, and Schmidt in particular is the kind of artist that DC needs to find more of. Geoff Johns called for hope and optimism in DC’s work moving forward across all mediums, and it’s books like this one that put those ideas at the forefront. Percy isn’t flawless in terms of getting us back to the status quo that many readers were looking forward to, but now that we’re here, I can forget any missteps in this new beginning. This is work that can be built upon, and other creators would do well to see what’s working in this title and figure out how they can make that happen for the rest of DC stable.