This issue continues the frenetic pace of the previous pair of issues, charging forward and revealing clues about the mysterious Star City forest without really revealing, well, anything. This issue feels more like an overflow basin for “Brightest Day” concepts. We see what happens to the healing pond of the mystery forest when a deceased person is placed within it, are treated to another Black Lantern encounter, learn more about the White Lantern tree, and get a peek into the mission of the Black Lantern Firestorm.
The issue begins with a typical hero-rescuing-damsel-in-distress episode, wherein Green Arrow makes an incredibly dumb, amazingly out of character mistake. Topping that mistake, he makes a rash heroic move and does nothing to ensure his lady friend makes her way to safety. From there the rest of the issue is scattered around the forest, without much depth.
The new big bad, Nix, is presented as a “master of disguise” wearing a blank kabuki-style mask that would make the Phantom of the Opera green with envy, and a skin-tight black bodysuit. Not a whole lot of disguising there and not a whole of competition if she’s considered a “master.”
Diogenes Neves and Vicente Cifuentes roll out some startling inconsistency in this issue. Some panels are keenly detailed and smartly put together while others are unfortunately composed and filled. Their inconsistency is magnified by Ulises Arreola’s wildly odd coloring choices. As Nix shoves Green Arrow out a window, the color emanating from their exit appears more appropriate for an explosion than a tumble through a window. Further contributing to my displeasure of the art in this issue is the fact that Nix appears to have no neck throughout her appearance in this issue, and I won’t even start about where her shape-shifting knives came from or went.
While this title has been hit or miss with me since it started up, one thing that has been consistent has been the high level of DC shock-value gore. In this issue, a stabbing victim is gutted like a fish with explosive skin that radiates gore and blood and then proceeds to bleed from his eyes, nose, and mouth as he fades away in Ollie’s arms. When the action shifts to the forest, we’re treated to Black Lanterns spewing blood from contact with Ollie’s bow, at least the ones that aren’t shorn in two by Galahad’s blade. Although it is Halloween week, I’m near capacity on gore and blood for the sake of shock value. Enough already I say. This title has shown promise of adventure, excitement, and intrigue, but moments like those in this issue cause me to want to just walk away from it altogether, forsaking the good ideas and potential that have appeared in this version of “Green Arrow.” The story potential – for really great, fun, unusual stories – is here, but for now it is buried under shock and awe.