Lemire, Sorrentino, and Maiolo are back this month with another stunning issue of Green Arrow. As I mentioned last month in my review of issue #29, since the team took over the creative duties of this book back on issue #17, it has consistently been one of the best written and best looking books in the New 52. This issue is no different.
One of the things I truly enjoy about Green Arrow is the panel layouts by Sorrentino. He makes really interesting choices with non-standard panel shapes that expertly move your eye through the story. Combined with the eye-popping colors of Maiolo, who mixes between standard “realistic” coloring and a sort of pop-art style that uses just black-and-white with a single accent color, the art in Green Arrow is worth the price alone. There are some fantastic two-page spreads in this issue, full of insane amounts of action as the Outsiders War heats up toward its conclusion.
This amazing art is matched by the engaging plot of the story. Things were left a little uncertain at the end of the last issue, but without giving too much away, that cliff-hanger ending was nothing compared to everything that happens this issue. There’s much more character growth and development in issue #30, as well as a short cameo appearance by another member of the various Outsider Clans who, until recently, had her own monthly DC title. We get to see a lot of interaction between Oliver, his father, and Shado, as well as Oliver’s half-sister Emiko, all within the backdrop of almost non-stop action as the various clans square off against each other. The story of the Outsiders War has been one of the most fun and most intense arcs happening in DC right now. I’d actually put it ahead of the recent Forever Evil mini-series in terms of how engaging, interesting, and creative it’s been.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t once more address the coloring by Marcelo Maiolo. I mentioned his imaginative use of single-colored “focus” panels up above, wherein a particular panel in a layout, or even just a specific part of that panel, is colored only in black-and-white with one eye-catching highlight color in order to draw attention to it. It reminds me a bit of a mixture of old post-war Italian pop-art, as I mentioned in my last review, but the more I think about it, it’s also reminiscent of old 1970s action movie opening credits montages, or even an homage to old James Bond film intros. In addition to that style in this issue, I noticed for the first time how the coloring on the cover ends up being a color “thread” throughout the issue. This month’s cover is yellow, and many of the interior pages have a yellow-hued background to them. After noticing this, I went to my collection and pulled out last month’s issue, which featured a purple cover, and noticed that many of the interior pages in that issue have a purple hue to the backgrounds. I’m considering going back through all three other issues of the Outsiders War run to see if he’s been doing that all along. It’s one of those clever things that just adds to my enjoyment of the book.
Green Arrow is “superhero comics done right,” and is a perfect book for people who think they don’t like so-called “capes-and-tights” comics.