The tortured existence of Roy Harper continues on in this second issue. Krul exposes the character's feelings for us in the raw, brash outbursts between Roy and his friends and allies. Roy Harper lashes out at everyone and regrets none of it. He returns to his addictions with fervor, knocking back pain pills and submitting to visions.
Krul does a good job of exposing Harper's soul to us, but does very little to make Harper a sympathetic character. As much as Harper pushes away his allies and teammates, he also pushes the reader away. I'm at a point now where I'm not too interested in what happens to Roy. Krul has perched Harper at a point where the character will either rebound heroically or he could easily be swayed to become a dastardly villain at this point.
There are no pretenses that this was going to be a happy book, and it is far from such.
The art on this book is a journeyman effort, compounded by three different visions and interpretations of the characters and the story. Mayhew's dream sequence is just that: dreamy and ethereal. All too quickly, however, it gets ripped apart and the remainder of the book struggles to hold up to the standard established in those first few pages. Borges goes out of his way to brand the splash pages -- the funeral scene, the first instance where Roy takes aim with his new arm -- which adds to the fact that there are parts of this issue where the effort doesn't show through enough for me.
There's no doubt this issue marks a change in the character of Roy Harper, but the change isn't limited to him alone. Roy is quickly alienating those around him, yet another embodiment of the mistakes made by his mentor, Green Arrow. His comments and actions are sure to have repercussions –- or should have repercussions -- for how Roy is viewed, as well as who surrounds him.
It has been made painfully clear that Roy Harper will never be the same, but a new "same old Roy" is starting to manifest in the form of this lashing out and self-pitying Roy Harper. I'm not expecting Lian to be forgotten and Harper to move on as though nothing happened, but the development of Harper into an ass has taken two full issues so far. With the confrontation set up at the end of this issue, we get another go-round between Harper and Cheshire (no, I'm not spoiling that, it's on the cover). Next issue is where the rubber meets the road. Hopefully.