Pick of the Week

February 6, 2013 – Green Arrow #17

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.4
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 33.6%
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Colors by Andrea Sorrentino
Letters by Rob Leigh
Cover by Andrea Sorrentino, Hi-Fi, & David Finch

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

When DC’s audacious reboot known as The New 52 launched way back in late 2011 I never thought that one day I’d be writing a Pick of the Week review for Green Arrow. It was, quite, simply, one of the worst books of the line and subsequent creative team changes didn’t do anything to help. With sales tanking alongside critical and fan reaction, the best possible thing could have happened for fans of the Oliver Queen: he got himself a hit (by today’s standards; by The CW’s standards) television show. Once Arrow firmly entrenched itself with a strong core audience I knew that it was only a matter of time until DC Comics took major steps to solve its Green Arrow Problem.

Welcome to Green Arrow #17, the book that should have launched 17 months ago at the top of The New 52, courtesy of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino.

Other than the first issue of this volume and then the first two issues after the creative tam change, I have not been reading this volume of Green Arrow. I am not familiar with the story, the supporting cast, or anything that has come before. I just know that rich party boy Oliver Queen was stranded on a deserted island and came back to Star City as Green Arrow, the avenging hero of the people. Even if you don’t know that much about the character, Green Arrow #17 is designed to get you up to speed quickly and it does so using a rather smart storytelling device. Just about everything in Oliver Queen’s life leading up until this issue is wiped away in a coordinated attack. His company? Victim of a hostile take-over. His supporting cast? Victims of a giant bomb. Everything that a reader might worry about getting hung up on is gone and what is left is a man alone and on the run from mysterious forces armed only with a bow and some arrows and an unsettling new ally with no eyes.

Not only is the water fine for you to jump right into, but Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have gone ahead and blown up anything in the water that might make you uncomfortable or remind you of the past year and a half.

So where does that leave us?

As Green Arrow #17 opens (after a brief flash forward to three weeks in the future in which our hero stumbles through the desert in Arizona seemingly on the edge of dying) with Oliver discovering that while he has been off galavanting around town as Green Arrow, Queen Industries has been mismanaged and taken over by another company. His birthright and his money are gone. But that’s not the worst of it: the CEO of Queen Industries is murdered before he can reveal secrets about Oliver’s past and Oliver has been framed for said murder. Already, this would rank as a really bad Monday. But to top everything off, after beating up some Queen Industry security goons and racing off to a secret cache of weapons and Green Arrow costumes, the Queen Industry building—including apparently Oliver’s co-workers and Green Arrow’s secret tech support people—gets blown up. And now there’s another archer out to kill him using Oliver’s own supplies.

Oliver is having a bad day.

Writer Jeff Lemire did two great things in this, his first issue. After the initial inciting incident—the murder of the CEO—the rest of the issue played out at a breakneck pace of “Oh god, what is going to happen to this poor guy next?” You barely had a chance to catch your breath over one catastrophe before the next one occurred. The next smart thing that he did, which is something that does not happen nearly enough in ongoing superhero comics, is that he stripped the main character down to basically nothing. Oliver Queen has to basically start over now and hey look! All these new readers get to go along with him. Forget the past, let’s move forward.

(Sure it’s possible that the story is going to circle back around to the events of the past 16 issues, but it really doesn’t feel like that’s what Lemire is setting up.)

A stripped down, more gritty Green Arrow really fits new artist Andrea Sorrentino’s down and dirty art style which is so wonderfully suited for this book. Sorrentino’s style is of the noir-ish street level school — there are lots of heavy blacks and shadows setting the mood. I did not make it more than one issue past I, Vampire so I am not totally familiar with Sorrentino’s style so I do not know if the heavy use of black and white panels for emphasis is a new device or something that he has utilized in the past but it’s a wonderful touch here. Looking at Green Arrow #17 it is clear right away that this is not the same book that came out last month.

Green Arrow’s world just got a whole lot darker and more moody and that’s a wonderful thing.

Conor Kilpatrick
I kind of kept hoping Diggle would show up…


  1. Very deserving! Great issue… best Lemire work since Animal Man #1.

  2. I gave this book five stars, it’s a great book. I agree with you about Sorrentino’s style here with the black and white panels, it’s great stuff. This issue alone has elevated Sorrentino to my “must watch” artist list.

    That being said though, New Avengers #3 is far and away my pick of the week. Everything about this book is absolute top tier for me. I believe it is essential reading if you are picking up the main Avengers book, and it’s quite a bit better (which is saying something because Avengers is amazing too). This is a book that I believe deserves the PotW numbers on a weekly basis that Batman or Saga gets.

    Overall this was a great week. New Avengers was a classic issue. Avengers, All-New X-Men and Green Arrow were all great. This is was the kind of Wednesday that reminds me why I read comics.

  3. I had forgotten this was coming up until you made it the pick and the 2 stores I tried were already sold out. There were definitely folks waiting for this and boy did they deserve #17 after everything they’ve been through lately…

  4. Did not like the art on this. This style works well in I, Vampire’s darkness and shadows but in this it looked unfinished and sloppy.

  5. Terrific, I was hoping this would make POTW. It feels good to have Ollie back on my pull list.

  6. I pre-ordered this back when I first read about it in Previews.

    I’ve been buying monthly comics for 26 years and this is the first time I’ve ever added Green Arrow to my pull list. I’m probably not alone either-67 people pulled Green Arrow #16 compared to the 602 who are giving #17 a try.

    Looking forward to picking my copy up-my expectations were already high even before reading Connor’s pick of the week review.

  7. Hrmm… may have to give this a try.

  8. Alright. I’ll try it.

    But I’m a longtime GA fan who’s been burned a few too many times in recent years, so I really hope this doesn’t disappoint. I just don’t know if my heart could take another break.

    But I believe in Oliver Queen. And I trust Conor Kilpartrick.

    So here goes nothin’.

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our Star City dead.

  9. I hope my shop has one come next week so I can try it out cause it sounds like it might be worth my while.

  10. My pick was superior Spiderman 3 im loving this book

  11. I knew, with Lemire and Sorrentino, that this book would be good. I was pleasantly surprised when it was terrific. The gritty art played well with the story and reminded me of Jock’s work on Year One while also having a crisp feel to it that Ana brings to Hawkeye.

    “I kind of kept hoping Diggle would show up…”

    Me too Conor. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

  12. Never read Green Arrow. Tomorrow, my first Oliver Queen issue will be purchased!

  13. I was so excited for this, I torrented it and read it at work, because I knew I wouldn’t get the chance till right about now, 1:20 AM to read it otherwise. I bought two copies to make up for it, hah.

    Green Arrow is one of my favorite DC characters, and I have been none too pleased with the direction they’ve taken him in recent years. This was such a fantastic change. This was almost Batman level stuff. Had this been the path DC took initially, the only thing keeping this from being a top tier book for DC would be that Ollie, honestly, is a second stringer, as much as I like the guy.

    Hopefully this is a sign of the ship starting to right itself. Now, if DC can un-screw up Booster Gold and bring Ted Kord back…

  14. OK I must be the only guy who did not understand what was happening here?

    There was other Archer dude, explosions and a blind guy…

  15. I’m looking forward to checking this out. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it so I pre-ordered it at my shop. I love Lemire, but dropped Animal Man in the middle of Rot World with the inconsistent art and pointless guest appearances. Hoping this will fill the void.

  16. Nice!

  17. I’m glad to hear so much praise for the book. I’ve liked Green arrow as a character, but really didn’t dig the new 52 version. However, with Lemire’s proven track record (at least with me), I asked my LCS to add the book to my pulls as of this issue.

    Sounds like I made the right call!

  18. I’m glad they made a Green Arrow book worth reading. I’d quit reading it somewhere on the Mike Grell run. Not that those were at all bad, just that I had to narrow down my reading list at the time. I never read the Kevin Smith Green Arrow, but with the CW show, had been wanting to read some Green Arrows and had thought about digging out some back issues to do so. Unfortunately, I’m pretty underwhelmed by the CW’s Arrow program. Something is direly missing, and I guess it all stems from poor writing, as it is just too mundane and banal for my taste. It needs something, although, I’m not sure what that would be to pick up the action on it. Here’s hoping the CW will do so.

    • My feeling about Arrow is that they’ve tried too hard to banish any semblance of a comic book, with the upshot that characters like Count Vertigo become a simple drug dealer. Blah. This “need” that Hollyweird has to “ground” comic book characters and make them “gritty” and “dark” usually means “no super powers, no flying, nothing to upset the muggles.” This leaves many comic book properties lacking something, the pizazz that comic readers are used to.

  19. You’ve convinced me to give it a whirl.

  20. I’ll get the trade. The reviews have been solid so far, one thing that has been pointed out on another site is that everything seems on solid ground except for the character of Oliver Queen. I guess we’ll see if he becomes more developed, and with some luck a bit of the old Ollie emerges.

    In those dark and gritty Grell issues Ollie was fun even when confronting danger.

  21. Hmmm… Flat coloring style, interesting page layouts (with monochromatic inserts), street level non-super heroics, archery… reminds me of something… can’t quite place my finger on what though!

    OH WELL.

  22. Fine choice. I picked it, too.

  23. Was looking forward to this issue coming out and using it as a jumping on spot. The small bits I’ve seen of Green Arrow from cross-overs and of course, the Arrow series, has made me want to read about this guy more.

  24. I enjoyed Lemire’s story but I’m still not sure I like Sorrentino’s art yet. I found his style a bit difficult to “read.” It wasn’t immediately clear to me what some of the smaller panels were until I got further in, then had to backtrack to understand what I was looking at. The colors were a bit bland as well. I’ll give it a couple more issues, especially if the story is worth it. I can’t tell where Lemire is going yet, and that leaves me wanting more.

    I was picking up GA issues 1-12 and the 0 issue, then gave up as I could see it wasn’t going anywhere and the writers just didn’t have a handle on Ollie’s character. I read an interview with Lemire recently where he mentioned “Ollie’s social consciousness” and it made me happy. I’m glad there’s a writer left that “gets” Ollie! He’s a 99%-er if there ever was one.

    Now if we can get his beard back, I’ll be happy. I asked Lemire on Twitter about it and he said that every time someone asks, he puts off bringing back the beard by another issue. He said so far he’s at 86 issues, LOL.

  25. Green Arrow 17 was definitely a clean the plate issue.