Previously, in Green Arrow, Vol. 2: Island of Scars
“Emerald Outlaw” continues to explore Oliver Queen now living solely as Green Arrow, having had his “life” and his corporation stolen by Cyrus Broderick, his CFO. With the death of Oliver Queen he fully commits to being the Green Arrow while trying to clear his name and his father’s legacy. He also has to figure out who his enemies are.
Volume two, “Island of Scars”, dealt with villains such as the shapeshifting Yakusa boss, and the obscenely wealthy and powerful as they play political games. “Emerald Outlaw” explores another layer of evil, but instead of monsters and the obscenely rich doing bad things, it’s how the common man, who is just as capable of wreaking havoc in our communities. A macro/micro storytelling approach for the politically and socially conscious Green Arrow.
The story kicks off with a corrupt cop, who’s abusing the very people he swore an oath to protect. I’m sure some readers believe it’s not the place of a comic book to make a statement on social issues; but thats what comics have been doing since their inception and Benjamin Percy is able to strike a balance — not taking a position and simply telling the story he’s here to tell, and he does it well.
This issue tackles police brutality, corrupt politicians, the changing demographic of Seattle, as well as the role of the media as the fifth estate in hyping up the state of affairs. While the big bad Ninth Circle remains in the background.
Said abusive cop goes rogue, gathering a group of goons called the Vice Squad. They believe it’s their job to get rid of the city’s undesirables without due process, and end up taking the idea of vigilantism too far; mass graves too far. We do get a “good” cop to balance out the “bad” cops, by the name of Chief Westberg.
Add in a corrupt egoist running for Mayor, using a law and order type rhetoric against the Green Arrow in the media, and you start to wonder what else could go wrong for Oliver Queen. When you’re just as overwhelmed as Oliver is with all the people against him, we then get Malcolm Merlyn thrown into the mix.
“Emerald Outlaw” is a very fast paced read, but the story takes the time to breathe and have some funny moments throughout. We get a full range of moods from Oliver’s interaction from the cast of characters; even though I do hope as the story continues they become less of an extension of Oliver and more of their own characters.
All of the characters have shades of grey, and we get to see how the little decisions and mistakes they make lead many to their deaths. And although the themes in Green Arrow have already been explored numerous times before, the story being told still stands out. The panels are delightful, well drawn with a fantastic use of color. You feel as if you’re right in there and able to visualize and transport yourself into this world.
End the end, this volume brings in a twist with a character you don’t see coming and sets up where the upcoming issues of Green Arrow may go, as Oliver continues to try and find a way to break his enemies hold on him for good.