Green Arrow #7
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Stephen Byrne
Lettering by Nate Piekos
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Benjamin Percy continues his second arc of Green Arrow since “Rebirth,” finding new ways of keeping the titular character sidelined and out of the way. Prior to the reboot, Percy’s approach of keeping Ollie Queen out of costume was frustrating and often confusing, but here his concentration on Emiko shows a sophisticated expansion of the modern Team Arrow. It’s a story that ultimately brings another post-Crisis element back into the mix conclusively, but does so via the path of least resistance.
If Jeff Lemire put Ollie through the ringer bearing the sins of his father, then Percy makes Emiko’s mother the cross that the young archer has to bear. Once again using the dual narratives of the previous issue, Percy wraps up a past case involving the Clock King in a rapid fashion, juxtaposing it with the current dilemma of Emiko going up against a dragon of a foe and rescue her mother. The dichotomy is a simple one, and maybe a way of expanding two thinner stories, but the focus on Emiko allows Percy to play to the character’s strengths in a way that even her creator didn’t get a chance to do.
The social justice elements are still there, of course, with a minor dialogue on the decline of the logging industry in Washington state in the issue’s opener. Yet the issue is a bold one on a number of levels, choosing to focus on a supporting character so early in the run. It’s almost as if Percy has done his job of restoring Green Arrow and Black Canary to the DCU, and now he’s setting about building a world around him. There’s naturally some cogs spinning around that Mike Grell put in place back in the 1980s, but Percy uses them as inspirations rather than having them as stones around his neck. The little twist of Emiko’s true objective in this issue brings us to a rousing conclusion, especially when you blink and realize that Ollie has scarcely made an appearance in the climax.
The art team of Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra, and Stephen Byrne have been excellent accompaniments to Percy’s story to date, with Byrne’s particular talents highlighting the youthful wonder of Emiko. The colors are contrasted between cool blues for the pulse-bending flashback sequences, and literally aflame with reds and oranges of dragons. The final fight sequence is a fluid flurry of flames and arrows, heavily leaning on the Eastern influences of Shado and Emiko’s origins.
This conclusion to the brief interlude following the restoration of Oliver Queen to “life” is a terrific character-based entry that really gives us a flavor of what Percy has in mind for the Green Arrow “universe” as a whole. More than that, by the end of this issue, we can see how a few extra characters from bygone eras of Arrow can be dragged back into the world, and that is incredibly exciting.