Mike W. Barr, Chuck Dixon, Mike Grell, Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer. These are some of the "Green Arrow" writers that spring to my mind right away. J. T. Krul has been working hard lately to try and cement his name into the Green Arrow franchise, having helped with the "Fall of Green Arrow" and the "Rise of Arsenal."
Borrowing bits and pieces from "Robin Hood," "Longbow Hunters," and "Smallville," this new series gives us a Green Arrow who roams the mysterious forest that sprung up amongst the devastation of Star City. Why the forest is mysterious (beyond suddenly springing out of nowhere), and what mysteries it holds are barely touched on here, but teased enough to indicate future story beats.
Krul uses this issue to drop new characters in our laps, but doesn't do much to take these characters past the cardboard cutout stage. Isabel Rochev appears in Star City, laying claim to Queen Industries, but doesn't do much except look cool in a steampunky kind of way, and have secret conversations with the mayor, who is seemingly cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. There's a reporter named Evan who writes for the "Star Gazette," and there's an unnamed lady whom Green Arrow rescues in the forest and then dismisses with a comic book "See you soon" look.
Neves' art, for the most part is very good. His characters are alive and interact with the world around them. There is a great amount of detail in the artwork, which sells the "real world" vibe the Green Arrow character excels in. Sometimes, however, the artwork is stiff and inconsistent, with figures that look cut out and pasted into settings, but in a thirty-one page story, there's more wiggle room for less-than-perfect art. The art is good when it really needs to be, and passably good in between. Arreola's colors could mellow out a bit as there is more than one occasion where the colored background competes with the panel action a little too fiercely.
This first issue of "Green Arrow" is filled with subtleties that will most certainly be lost on readers that are new to the character – or even to comics. A great deal is presumed to be known by the reader, and to that point, I think this book suffers. Anyone who hasn't read "Blackest Night" or "Brightest Day," or even "Justice League: Cry for Justice," won't really have a true sense of what's going on here, from Green Arrow's exile, to the devastation of the city to the forest itself.
This series has gotten off to a bit of a rough start in my opinion, but it seems poised to make everything all better with a guest appearance by Green Lantern next issue. Too bad nothing in this issue makes a compelling enough case to come back next issue.