In this issue of Green Arrow, Ollie takes a trip to Gotham City!

 

If you haven’t been keeping up with Green Arrow, you might find yourself intrigued by this week’s issue if you’re a Batman fan. The current arc, “Hard Traveling Hero” has Ollie trekking the U.S. in pursuit of the 9th Circle – an evil investment group that deals and dabbles in profitable ventures, often by creating incidents that will make those ventures successful. This group has been present since the beginning of Green Arrow Rebirth, and actually managed to take over Ollie’s company, while also completely removing him and any “mainstream” power he has… or had.

This arc reveals just how far the 9th Circle’s reach is, after Ollie follows clues that lead him all over the global U.S., and into a number of high-society cultures. Strictly regarding this aspect alone, the story is fascinating. There’s so much that can be explored here, and considering the slow build over the past year, the concept feels satisfying and natural. Unfortunately, there’s a large piece of this arc that I’ve left out, and that’s the Justice League.

With each city Ollie follows the 9th Circle to, he also encounters a specific League member. Now, had the League been included as a group due to the reveal of the extent of the 9th Circle, I would have no complaints… But that’s not the reality here. The “League” never appears. Not as a group anyway… Only specific members appear based on Ollie’s location. Again, this shouldn’t be too bad in theory, but it is. Instead of focusing on the story and how it crosses paths with these other heroes, every issue up to this point has felt forced. Extremely forced.

So far, Green Arrow has teamed up with Flash in Seattle after discovering a breach within the speed force, then Wonder Woman in Washing DC, where it was revealed the 9th Circle infiltrated political parties, then, finally, Metropolis in an attempt to overtake Lexcorp. Three cities, three different League members, and with each issue, the story feels less involved with the 9th Circle’s reach, and more involved in how Ollie can prove his worth to each League member so he can hopefully become a League member… It’s cheesy. There are only so many “I don’t trust you, but since you did a good with this one mission, I’ve changed my mind” stories.

This week, we have the pleasure of heading to Gotham! On one hand, I’m really excited because it involves Batman. On the other hand, none of the preceding issues have contained much of a plot or story. There is a really strong plot lingering in the background, but we’re barely skimming the surface of it. Instead, this feels like a cheap sweeps-week airing that only intends to highlight the more-famous guest star.

Surprisingly, there are some incredible moments found in this issue… Thanks to Juan Ferreyra. I’ve been a fan of his art since I discovered his work in Gotham by Midnight, and it sure is a pleasure to see him in the city again. There’s a darkness and intensity to Ferreyra’s art that captures Gotham City beautifully and gives it a voice – a voice that greatly enhances the story. I wish I could say the same about Percy’s script, but mirroring previous attempts, the story and characterization fall flat. The script feels as though it’s battling itself to determine whether to tell the story of Ollie chasing the 9th Circle to Gotham, or the story of Ollie winning Batman’s trust. Unfortunately, in the end, all Batman is, is a means to an end… And that’s the last thing any Bat-fan really wants to see.

All of the moments with Batman feel forced. It feels like a staged encounter to justify a potential induction of Green Arrow into the Justice League in the near future. Beyond that, Percy has a heavy hand concerning his political commentary with this title. I mean, I get that a majority of the country is going to lean left – especially considering Trump’s run so far – but sometimes I feel bludgeoned by Percy’s stance. I’m fine with people leaning one way or another politically, but if you’re writing a book, be ambiguous at times. Don’t go to the extremes every chance you get. It’s uninteresting. As much as I want to like the core plot of Ollie following all of the leads of the 9th Circle, all of the other distractions greatly diminish the impact of that narrative… which sucks.

 

The Art: I can’t praise Juan Ferreyra’s art enough! It really is the shining aspect of this issue. Particularly, it’s his representation of Gotham, and the tone he’s able to create within the city itself. He just gets it. The grit. The darkness. The desperation. Gotham City is a rough city, and you know that based on Ferreyra’s work. Beyond that, you get a better idea of Batman’s identity from Ferreyra’s art than you do from Percy’s script… That should say something about this man’s talent! If I’m ever blessed to have script illustrated by Ferreyra, I’ll be one, incredibly lucky guy!

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

Juan Ferreyra. Seriously… I can’t praise this guy enough. Just look at some of his work, and you’ll understand why I feel he’s the main reason to pick up this chapter if you’re just in it for Batman!

 

Court of the Owls. I’ve grown weary of the Court, but only because they’ve become a “cannon fodder villain.” Percy manages to make them feel menacing and lethal again… Initially anyway. Plus, this reveal of Ollie was kind of awesome.

 

The Bad:

The politics. As I stated earlier, I could really go for an approach that isn’t so heavy handed. I’m all for taking a political stance, but just lay off the force in which you present it.

Talons are dead. So why in the hell is this Talon saying “It hurts!”? I was on board with Percy’s presentation of the Court of Owls until this…

Recommended if:

  • You’re a fan of Juan Ferreyra’s art.
  • You like the idea of Green Arrow and Batman crossing paths.

 

Overall: Gotham shines in Green Arrow #29 thanks to Ferreyra’s art, but Percy misses the mark with Batman as a character. Unless you want a heavy-handed political commentary wrapped up in an arc that feels so forced it’s unnatural, I recommend skipping this issue.

SCORE: 6/10