The final page of this week's Green Arrow #17 has confirmed that the series is bringing back Star City - as fans suspected when DC announced an upcoming storyline titled "The Rise of Star City"- but it looks like the "star" might be right there in Seattle.
During the "New 52," DC rebooted Green Arrow and Queen Industries' history to be set in Seattle, leaving behind his classic hometown in the fictional Star City. The Seattle setting continued into "Rebirth," although Percy has been reintroducing many classic elements that had disappeared with the "New 52," including Ollie's goatee and his relationship with Black Canary.
Discussing spoilers for this week's issue, Percy also confirmed that Green Arrow's upcoming "Reunion" storyline (that retells some of Ollie's history with Roy Harper - see our last interview with Percy for more on that) will feature a nod toward DC's Young Animal line.
Newsarama talked to Percy to find out more about the Young Animal appearance, what might happen to Seattle in order to make way for Star City, and what else readers can expect from upcoming issues of Green Arrow.
Newsarama: Ben, the last page of this week's issue hints about the return of Star City to Green Arrow. He's been working out of Seattle, but you've got a storyline coming up in April called "The Rise of Star City." So is the final page of Green Arrow #17 about the return of Star City?
Benjamin Percy: When Geoff Johns and I were putting ideas up on the white board [months before "Rebirth" began], one of the ideas was Star City.
Nrama: So you guys thought of that city as part of what's great about Green Arrow? No love for Seattle, huh?
Percy: I like Seattle as a backdrop. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I like what a dramatic stage it is for storytelling. You have this urban and wilderness environment entangled. You have the ocean crashing up against the shores of the city. There are all sorts of complicated cultural and political things going on there, and that can be utilized with our idea of Green Arrow as a social justice warrior.
I love Seattle, too, because Green Arrow is one of the more grounded heroes in the DCU - he's not metahuman, and he's not entangled in the central DCU events, generally speaking, because he's out in Seattle.
So it feels appropriate to have him in this actual city.
But… "Rebirth" is about bringing back some of those classic elements.
Nrama: And Star City is a classic element.
Percy: Exactly. So I wanted to reconcile the two.
I figured out a way for both to exist.
Nrama: That's what the end of #17 seems to be hinting, without spelling it out.
Percy: Yes, I don't want to give too much away. But the end of issue #17 we see this reporter, Victoria, uncover some old documents, some street plans from early Seattle. And the final words of the issue are that Queen Industries appears to have been built at the center of a star - a "star city."
Nrama: And that ties into this approach you've figured out that allows both Seattle and Star City to exist in Green Arrow?
Percy: Yes, that is your teaser for months to come. We're going to learn about the Queen family history and about Seattle's history, and how there is something ancient and potentially evil at work here.
Nrama: Nothing else you can tell us about how these two cities might co-exist?
Percy: Well… if you look at what's happening in cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan, these are abandoned urban environments. And we already know from the "Emerald Outlaw" storyline that Queen Industries has made the mayor of Seattle - the newly-elected mayor of Seattle - into a puppet. And there are political and economic machinations going on, through which the city of Seattle will be ruined and bankrupted.
We'll see a corporate takeover. Queen Industries will make a move to be both a "savior" of this bankrupted city and to possess it at the same time.
It's another one of those ripped-from-the-headlines, politically charged angles.
Nrama: So in DC Comics, Seattle may not be exactly like the Seattle of this world?
Percy: Exactly, right. Seattle is Seattle. But that doesn't negate the possibility of Seattle becoming something else.
Nrama: There are also hints that we'll be seeing characters from the Young Animal books? Or am I interpreting that right?
Percy: Yeah, we've got the first connection between Young Animal and the DCU. Wild Dog makes an appearance - no, I should say that a militia of Wild Dogs makes an appearance. But they view this as a sort of mascot for what they're up to, and they're falling in line after him.
Nrama: Any other hints about what's coming up?
Percy: The honeymoon phase between Green Arrow and Black Canary might be ending, and their relationship might be headed for a rough patch.
And I can't say anything else about it, but after the Star City storyline, we're going to have an event that channels probably the most famous Green Arrow storyline.