Posted by: Graeme McMillan on October 10, 2007
The first thing you notice about GREEN ARROW AND BLACK CANARY #1 is how pretty it is. Cliff Chiang’s artwork has a weird quality to it; it’s very easy on the eye, with the characters acting well despite some awkward anatomy (occasionally the characters seem too thick, if that makes sense), but the simple linework of the whole thing somehow seems very solid, as if the drawings were originally a mass of ’90s-Image-style crosshatching and papercut muscles that have been massively cleaned up before making it to the page. Nonetheless, the team of Chiang and Trish Mulvihill on colors makes this a book that’s lovely to look at from the get-go. Which, really, is probably a good thing considering the story.
Actually, that’s not completely fair; if you’re the kind of reader who’s completely up-to-date with their current DC Universe, then this isn’t really that bad – In particular, the surprisingly fast wrap-up of the cliffhanger to the Wedding Special (Has Dinah really killed Ollie? Was that really Ollie at all? What the hell was going on?) is both unexpected and welcome, and the way in which we get there feels true to the characters involved; I particularly liked the way in which Black Canary is being played up as the most capable character in the book right now (She’s the one who refuses to believe that things are as simple as they seem, the one who kicks ass the most, and in the last scene of the book, the one being portrayed as a cavalry who’s coming to save the day)… which, hopefully, is not something that’ll be dropped when the equilibrium of the title is more concrete. Judd Winick’s script is pretty good, considering what he’s given to work with, and that’s the problem I have with the story here: You can feel the hand of DC editorial at work.
On the one hand, I don’t really have that much of a problem with that; the book was launched with a semi-crossover including the majority of the DCU, after all, so why shouldn’t the resolution of the storyline include lots of other characters? But at the same time, when your plot unfolds and suddenly requires you to have read 52, Amazons Attack and Countdown to really understand what’s going on (while also arguably contradicting the end of Amazons Attack, unless I somehow misunderstood it) – and, more importantly, you don’t really make much of an attempt to explain the importance of these new plot developments to a new reader – then that feels like a bit of a cheat, and something that’s more likely to chase readers away than pull them into part 2.
I may be overreacting, of course; these reviewin’ chops of mine are rusty after two weeks of not only no reviewing but no reading of the comic books, after all. There’s every possibility that everything’ll get reintroduced and explained in the next few issues for a reading experience that’s complete within itself, but considering the cross-title-fever that’s happening these days, I’m not holding my breath. For now, this is a pretty, pretty-Okay opener to a series that has the potential and creative team for better things.