As writer Benjamin Percy takes Green Arrow toward a confrontation with the Dark Multiverse, the hero is also gaining respect from the Justice League – and might get an offer from the group soon.
Green Arrow will also deal with the break-up of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance (a.k.a. Black Canary) during the series' Metal tie-in, coming in October.
But first, readers will get a new team-up between Green Lantern and Green Arrow as part of the current "Hard Traveling Hero" storyline - a concept and name that harkens back to the legendary Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams story from decades ago.
Newsarama talked to Percy to find out more about his plans for Green Arrow and Black Canary with artists Juan Ferreyra, Eleanora Carlini, Otto Schmidt, and Jamal Campbell, , his title's tie-in with Metal as part of the "Gotham Resistance" story, and what comes next for Oliver Queen.
Newsarama: Ben, we're in the midst of "Hard Traveling Hero," your current storyline that sees Green Arrow teaming up with various heroes from the Justice League. Why did you want to do this team-up-type storyline as you turned the corner on the second year of the title?
Benjamin Percy: It was a turning point, one we've been planning for a long time. If you look back, even into the "New 52," I was setting up Oliver Queen as a troubled man on the outskirts of the DCU. I even kept him out of costume as often as possible in those early issues.
We've taken him from being on the margins to the center of the DCU. This is his chance at transformation. He's reconstructed himself as a result of his relationship with Black Canary, as a result of losing his fortune - if you look at that "Rebirth" issue, such an important question was posed to him by Dinah. She says, how can you fight the man if you are the man?
Now he's become Robin Hood, and has not only battled forces outside himself but within himself.
Now, as he runs up against the Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and finally Green Lantern, in this "Hard Traveling Hero" arc, he's overcoming, suddenly, their misgivings about him. And he's proving that he's a great hero - to them and to himself.
Nrama: You mentioned the name of the arc and the upcoming meeting between Ollie and Hal. I don't know if you've written that issue yet…
Percy: It's all written. The art's even finished.
Nrama: Then can you talk about bringing those two characters together again, this time in "Rebirth:?
Percy: When I first started plotting out "Rebirth," I went in to the DC mothership and sat down with the editors and sat down with Geoff Johns. And one of the things we talked about is, what are the legendary Green Arrow stories? What are the greatest Green Arrow stories ever told? And we wanted to channel them and maybe even top them.
So "Hard Traveling Heroes," by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams - that was one of the first stories that came up.
And I had a plan early on that would recharge this trip across America, that it would be a quest that would explore and challenge what America is, and explore and challenge Oliver and who he is.
We decided to incorporate the Justice League - not just Hal, but the Justice League. It's sort of like Stations of the Cross. He hits all these different locations, and he teams up with all these different Justice League members. And at each of these junctures, not only does the plot move forward in a really essential way, but his character is built up step by step as a result of how these negotiations and friendships are forged.
By the end of it, when he gets together with Hal - and I wanted to make sure this was the final leg of the journey - it's going to be a really moving moment for readers, seeing this bromance rekindled, but also seeing the Justice League reach out to Oliver and offering him something that's maybe been a long time coming.
Nrama: I think we can probably guess what that is. Let's talk about what comes next - you're tying into the Metal event with both Teen Titans and Green Arrow?
Percy: Yeah, the "Gotham Resistance" is a storyline that's taking place within the Metal event. It begins with Teen Titans, moves from there to Nightwing, moves from there to Suicide Squad and ends with Green Arrow.
This isn't a satellite story. It stands on its own. But it is essential to the Metal event.
And what happens in these stories segues directly into the event and has a major impact on the central Metal storyline.
So it was really a thrill to be part of that.
Green Arrow and Robin - Damian Wayne - are the two signature characters of the "Gotham Resistance." Their very difficult team-up is going to have a ripple effect, not just within the Metal event, but within their respective series.
Oliver's going to come back to Green Arrow, and Damian's going to come back to Teen Titans having learned some important lessons.
One of the central pivot points within the "Gotham Resistance" is Oliver and Dinah's reconciliation.
Nrama: Fans will be thrilled to hear that.
Percy: I said from the very beginning that I couldn't imagine writing Green Arrow without Black Canary. And that remains true.
I gave them a rough patch because relationships have to have ups and downs. It's not a very interesting story if everything's heavenly. I wanted them to split apart so that, when they came together again, it would be that much more meaningful.
Dinah has been essential to Oliver's transformation. And she's been worried about his plans to wrest control away from the Ninth Circle and reclaim his company. She's worried about the polluting effect that might have on him. She likes him best in the shadows. She likes him best as just a Robin Hood vigilante - this outlaw without his privilege.
So they're going to have to come to an understanding about what he's going to do with all this money. If he's able to overcome the accusations against him, if he's able to win back Queen Industries, what does that mean to Oliver Queen?
I don't want to give away too many details, but there's going to be some great make-up sex coming, let's put it that way.