Hey, hey! Matt Ross, here. If you don’t know me, I cover Arrow for the #DCTV Couch Club. A few months ago, I wrote a readthrough that looked at GREEN ARROW VOL. 1, so when I heard Vol. 2 was out, I was excited to jump into the new trade!
After opening, I did what I think most of us do and immediately flipped through the book as a way to get a feel for what I was about to read.
It passed the flip-through test—the art and color looked great. Plus, I spotted a giant bear and dragon on some of the pages, so that had me interested to know how those elements fit into the story.
But would it pass the actual reading test?
I’ll break down each issue in the trade and give my overall thoughts at the end…
Grean Arrow #6: Sins of the Mother
This issue is very Emi-heavy; jumping back and forth between the past (one year ago) and the present.
In the present, she travels on a helicopter with her mother, Shado, to a destination that’s unknown to us at the time. While en route, Emi reflects on her past and the training she did with Ollie. She focuses on a moment in time when she infiltrated a group of kids at her school—connected by their strange matching watches—and the odd death of a 16-year old whose heart seized up after being stopped by Ollie and Emi when they saw him rob a woman at gunpoint.
Back in the present, Shado and Emi reach their destination—the Yakuza headquarters in Tokyo. Shado explains that they report to the Yakuza and are basically property of Oyabun—a being believed to be over two centuries old. When The Inferno sank, the Yakuza lost a massive investment somewhere in the billions and Shado and Emi would need to pay for that loss. The two get into an argument, ending with Emi running away.
The issue jumps back to the past—showing Emi follow the other students to a watch shop called “The Clock King.” Inside, she speaks to the storeowner and buys the same watch that the other students have. It’s clear that there’s something strange about them…
While in Tokyo (back to the present), Emi enters a seedy underground fighting circle—where she challenges the reigning champ.
The creators then take us back to the past one last time to show us Ollie and Emi taking out a group of bank robbers who are wearing the mysterious watches. During the fight, Emi becomes sick. She goes back to the The Clock King and we learn that the watches act as a pacemaker, regulating your heart, and if you don’t go back and pay him to get “wound,” your heart will stop. In exchange for her life, Emi agrees to put a watch on Ollie, who has no idea of the threat attached to his wrist.
Back in Tokyo, Emi beats the fighter and draws the attention of Oyabun—who wishes to meet with her after seeing her fighting performance.
Green Arrow #7: The Killing Time
The time-hopping continues into this issue—opening with Ollie and Emi fighting a group of disgruntled lumberjacks who have started cutting down protected trees at the Department of Natural Resources.
During the fight, Ollie’s watch receives a message from the watch shop owner explaining that he had been fired by Oliver’s dad and soon after Queen Industries went on to make millions from the research he had done while employed there. He blackmails Ollie by demanding regular payments in order to keep the watch from killing him. It’s also here that we learn the storeowner (if you didn’t figure it out in the last issue) is William Tockman aka the Clock King—a B-villain who has appeared in the DCU—and on Arrow—throughout its history.
Back in the present, Emi meets with Oyabun. She demands her mother’s freedom from his and the Yakuza’s control. The two agree that if Emi can defeat another great champion in a fight, then Shado will be granted freedom.
Jumping back to the past, Oliver (now dying from complications due to the watch) visits the Clock King—who takes advantage of Ollie’s weakened state, capturing him and hooking him up to a pendulum. As the blade begins to cut dangerously close into Ollie, Emi enters the room with explosives attached to her chest. She explains that if her heart stops beating, the explosives go off. The Clock King agrees to give her the wind-up key and release Oliver from the pendulum. Once freed, Ollie and Emi overpower the Clock King and he’s taken to custody.
In the Tokyo fighting circle (in the present), Oyabun explains that Emi’s opponent will be him and he then transforms into a huge dragon. Shado joins the fight and saves Emi by planting explosives throughout the arena, which upon detonation collapse the roof on Oyabun.
Shado explains that she must go into hiding now and sends Emi on her way back to Ollie in order for the two to continue working together.
I loved the transformation of Oyabun into the dragon. It was very cool looking and had an “Animality” from Mortal Kombat or Altered Beast feel to it—well done.
Green Arrow #8: Island of Scars, Part One
This is the issue that really started to draw me into the book. I felt it flowed the best in terms of pacing and set up the remaining issues really nicely.
It picks up where the first trade left off. Ollie is exploring the island he washed up on after The Inferno sank.
After narrowly escaping a huge bear that attacked him, Ollie bumps into Dinah, who also washed up on the island. The two are more than happy to see each another.
As night falls, we see that John Diggle has found his way to the island too. While cooking a fish on the beach, he’s stalked and attacked by the same bear that went after Ollie. As he fights with the beast, John learns that it’s made of metal. It picks him up and takes him to a hidden lab that’s headed by a mysterious woman.
As Ollie and Dinah explore the island, they are unknowingly being tracked by a shadowy figure. In their exploration, the tandem comes across the fire John had going when he was cooking his fish. Ollie deduces that John must have washed up on the island too and he sets out with Dinah to find him.
Green Arrow #9: Island of Scars, Part Two: Tracks
Ollie and Dinah’s search for John takes them to a hidden poppy field where they come face-to-face with Ata—the person who has been following them. His leg is severely injured in their meeting, but he explains that the island belongs to him, his wife and their tribe. Ollie and Dinah help get him back to his place.
We find out that the mysterious woman who holds John captive is Ana—Ata’s wife. She explains to John that her tribe develops advanced elemental technologies from the island that The Ninth Circle then takes and pays the tribe for. But The Ninth Circle has changed the operation and now has the tribe farming mass amounts of poppy seeds for the production of a powerful strain of heroin which they export through a massive train tunnel that runs under the ocean connecting the continents—an innovation that was originally conceived by Robert Queen to benefit mankind, but has since been perverted by Broderick to be used for drug trafficking. John explains that Dante and The Ninth Circle perished in the sinking of The Inferno, but Ana insists that The Ninth Circle’s reach stretches far beyond Dante.
In Ata’s hidden laboratory, we learn that he has developed not only robotic bears, but also many green technologies to help aid human existence. He further explains that he and his wife are actually at odds because of her involvement with The Ninth Circle.
Ollie, Dinah, Ata and a robotic bear raid and destroy the poppy fields before turning their sights on the train station and freeing John. Ata and Ana hop on the bear and Ata tells Ollie and crew to leave and never come back because outsiders have ruined the island.
The only problem I have with this issue was that I was hoping there would be more of the robotic bears. I was so curious to know more about Ata’s design for the bears and what kind of damage they could do!
Green Arrow #10: Murder on the Empire Express
This is a hot issue because the action starts to really pick up.
Ollie, Dinah and John scramble to hop onto the undersea train as Ollie makes sure no heroin makes it on.
The team gets split up in separate cars on the massive train. Ollie finds himself in a section of the train that houses luxury cars—one with a forced open trunk that contains deadly liquids. Dinah comes across a car filled with dignitaries from all over the world and John enters a car where the mercenary, Eddie Fyers, is posing as a bartender.
Dinah slips out of her Black Canary costume and into a dress as a means to infiltrate the gathering. When a security guard questions her for ID, a man steps up and covers for her, saying she is with him. We come to know this man as Amin Mustafa—an Arab diplomat whose presence is in an effort to unite the East and the West.
Fearing that someone has something planned with the deadly liquids, Ollie travels through the train cars. He comes across John, who is in bad shape—lying on the floor in blood after a scrap with Fyers. He tells Ollie that he needs to find and stop Fyers.
As Dinah, Amin and others chat, Fyers serves glasses of poisoned champagne to the guests. Amin takes a sip and is killed. Dinah uses her sonic scream to shatter the other patron’s glasses before they can drink.
Things go really south after Ollie confronts Fyers. Before he can take him out, Fyers blacks out the lights on the train and when they come back on, he’s gone and now Ollie and Dinah are surrounded by security—who believe they’re the assassins that killed Amin.
Green Arrow #11: Murder Incorporated
Ollie learns that Fyers was hired by Queen Industries to kill Amin. This realization both angers and saddens him.
The mustachioed Fyers makes his way to the cockpit of the train, where he kills one of the captains and throws the brakes on.
Working their way through the security detail that misinterprets them as killers, Ollie and Dinah press towards the engine. Fyers takes to the top of the train, where he battles with Ollie, using the Emerald Archer’s own bow to shoot an explosive watch into the underwater tunnel’s ceiling. When the watch detonates, water starts pouring in.
Diggle gets the train’s engines back up and running just as Dinah helps to unhook the damaged and empty train cars, allowing the train to start moving.
Fyers takes off up the tunnel in one of the muscle cars shown in a previous issue with Ollie and Dinah in close pursuit on one of the motorcycles.
Guests, high ranking political figures and businessmen (including Broderick) crowd around Trans-Pacific Railway Station in Seattle, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the train’s maiden voyage. They’re in for a surprise when Diggle is unable to get the brakes to work and the train comes surging out of the tunnel before coming to a halt in an explosive crash.
Fyers escapes, but Ollie and Dinah make their return to Seattle in dramatic fashion—triumphantly emerging from the tunnel before the ocean submerges it.
In all, I enjoyed the book. Issues #6 and #7 were interesting because they bounced around so much between the past and the present and are really more of a small Emi story arc, since they don’t tie into the rest of the issues.
I really feel the story hits its stride in issue #8, though. This is the arc that makes up the majority of the book, as it runs from issues #8-#11. I was particularly impressed with the amount of double-page spreads artist Juan Ferreyra was able to do—they flowed so well!
I would say that this book is a good popcorn ride. You don’t get the sort of deep-thinking story and dialogue that we’ve come to sort of expect with a Green Arrow title, and that’s okay. It’s a refreshing read as it relies more on a lot of action with sprinkles of some good Ollie righteousness.
Until next time!