Green Arrow #40 “Kingdom”
Story by Andrew Kreisberg & Ben Sokolowski
Script by Ben Sokolowski
Pencils by Daniel Sampere
Inks by Daniel Henriques
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb

Alright! We’re covering Green Arrow on Batman News! How about that? Clearly this isn’t a book we typically cover, but this issue features Batman, so we wanted to bring it to your attention! Now, I’m sure 80% of you just want to know how much of a badass Batman is here, so let’s get right to it! Batman is in the book for a total of one page! ONE PAGE! So if this was your only interest, then I’ve kindly provided that ONE PAGE below in the spoiler tag!

Spoiler

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But perhaps you were excited that Katana was getting more exposure in Green Arrow, and that’s why you picked up the issue. I mean, let’s face it, Katana was one of the best things about the New 52 launch, got mishandled by Nocenti, was tied to Justice League of America only for it to go nowhere, and finally gained decent footing within Green Arrow during Jeff Lemire’s run. And she gets a whopping panel here! So for those of you who are interested in this book because of either of these characters, then you should pass on picking it up.

Now, believe it or not, there is still a book here, even if Batman and Katana are only featured for a second or two. Before I get into a brief review of this issue though, I want to provide a short recap. I wasn’t originally reading this title because I had heard terrible things about it for roughly the first three volumes. Then Jeff Lemire came on board, and all I could ever find were rave reviews, and how amazing his approach was. So I finally decided to check it out and loved every page that he turned out! If you haven’t read it, I recommend that you go pick up his run (Volumes 4 & 5) right now!

The current arc is the arc that, unfortunately, follows Lemire’s impeccable story… and it just fails in comparison. I wouldn’t say that “Kingdom” is bad, but I wouldn’t say it’s good either. It’s average and fun… But that’s it. The narrative doesn’t flow well from where Lemire left off, and it honestly feels like the creative team did everything they could to “forget” that story so they could tell a story they already had in mind… If they wanted to tell this story so badly, I wish they would’ve treated it like a flashback instead of trying to sweep the past year under the rug. And if I’m being honest, this team’s arc feels like a story that was rejected for their TV show, Arrow. Yep, that’s right… these guys were pulled straight from Stephen Amell duty, to test their abilities in this medium. But instead of delivering some great season two or three quality, we get what feels like a script from season one that was thrown out.

Everything about “Kingdom” feels selfish. The antagonist here is a guy named John King. He’s a public figure with a great reputation and an even stronger following that are backing him to become Seattle’s mayor, but he’s super corrupt. What does this remind me of? Why I’m so glad you asked! Mr. King feels like version 2.0 of Arrow’s interpretation of Blood. Lame. On top of that, this team essentially booted out Fyff and Naomi – two great characters that serve as Ollie’s IT support – only to bring in a “new” supporting character that excels in IT… Felicity Smoak. This is clearly another attempt to selfishly impose their world on this world, and I find it really irritating. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Felicity, but not at the cost of two other characters that were really stepping into their own.

Anyway, King has spent the past five issues winning over Seattle while orchestrating his plan to eliminate everyone that is essentially less than his ideal of the human race – including sick or injured people. According to his mindset, these people will only hinder the human race… its very Hitler-esque. Somehow he’s managed to convert a large percent of the city into backing and believing him by using cheap scare tactics, but I still find it hard that not one person held on to their humanity. One of these people he reached was Oliver’s business partner and love interest for this arc, but this was ultimately a story that fell flat. What was remotely interesting, was that one of King’s targets and focuses was his teenage daughter, Mia Dearden – who has been living on the streets, selling drugs and her body to get by while staying under the radar of her father.

By this issue, King has found and kidnapped Mia, despite Ollie’s efforts to protect her. With the city standing between Oliver and King, Felicity and Diggle have called in a little help from some friends – Batman, Lex Luther, Katana, Arsenal, Emiko, Naomi, and Cupid. I’m sure you’re wondering why Batman and Lex are there, so I’ll just let you know that Bruce and Lex were featured in the first issue of this arc that was ultimately more impactful than their presence here. And if you’re thinking that you’re going to get some great teamwork and action from all of these characters, then I would like to remind you that Batman himself only had one page in this issue… which is essentially all the other characters get.

This book focuses on Oliver and Felicity as they work together to stop King and save Mia. I won’t give the ending away, but it’s pretty much what you would expect. There is a nice moment concerning Mia that surprised me, but other than that, this whole issue was a let-down. The other characters are just a cheap device to try and create hype for the issue, while the creative team desperately forces Felicity into team Green Arrow.

The Art: Sampere’s art is incredibly inconsistent, so he’s hard to judge. There are moments where his art is really good, and then he follows it with some less than stellar panels. Because of that, I would consider it average… it’s definitely better than the awful excuse for art that’s been in New Suicide Squad lately.

Be sure to check out some internal art in the spoiler tag below!

Spoiler

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Recommended if:

  • You like Felicity Smoak
  • You’re a fan of Arrow circa Season 1
  • You’re easily impressed with character cameos just for the sake of saying they were part of the story.

 

Overall:  While average at best, this book is fun. That being said, I can’t recommend that you spend your money on this issue or story arc. Instead, spend your money on Lemire’s two volumes (Vol. 4: The Kill Machine and Vol. 5: The Outsiders War), and wait to check out Ben Percy’s (Detective Comics “Terminal”) when it launches in June!

SCORE: 5.5/ 10