It’s about time. With the success of CW’s Arrow television series, DC Comics are set to renew the vigour to the comic book counterpart in Green Arrow. MTV announced this morning that, along with 52 variant covers for Justice League of America, they would be adding Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (I, Vampire) to the roster of the now cornerstone title. Lemire will continue to write for Animal Man and Justice League Dark. The new team will take over from issue #17, with current writer Ann Noncenti planning a Katana series, which will tie into Justice League of America alongside Green Arrow and Andrew Kreisberg’s Vibe.
Lemire later added on Twitter that he has “looooong term plans for Ollie. Big new mythology, new villains. And @And_Sorrentino has raised his game big time. His career best work“. Even the most die-hard fans of the series will be the first to admit that the current run, by Ann Noncenti, has been one of the weakest for the character in its various runs since 1941. In our previous reviews, we have cited its lack of direction as one of the principal failings of the 14 issues to date. Lemire aims to give it the direction it is sorely lacking.
On his personal blog, Lemire added that he would be inspired by some of the great runs of the past for the hero, admitting that Ollie Queen/Green Arrow was not a character he had traditionally given a lot of time to. He cites Mike Grell and Denny O’Neil in particular, two of the strongest writers who have ever touched the character. In fact, he wrote an essay about it:
“How about Green Arrow?”
It was a sunny day in late July, a few days after I’d returned home from San Diego Comicon, and Dan Didio had called me. I had talked to Dan at Comicon about what I would write next. We had bounced a few things around at the Con, but nothing stuck. So when Dan called that afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When he asked me, “How about Green Arrow?” I paused. Oliver Queen was never a character I’d had any particular affection for. I love DC comics and love DC characters, but Green Arrow was never one of the guys I gravitated towards. Yet, for some reason, as soon as Dan said it, something sparked in my head. At that moment, I wasn’t sure why, but something told me this was exactly the kind of book and kind of character I was searching for.
Green Arrow is a character that always has the potential to be a major player in the DCU. When I took on Animal Man, I immediately saw it as a chance to do my version of the classic Vertigo horror/superhero books I loved as a teenager. And, similarly, the first thing I thought of with Green Arrow was a chance to do a really hard hitting, crime/superhero book in the tradition of Mike Grell’s classic run on the character or Denny O’Neil’s The Question comics from the late 80’s early 90’s. Quite simply, I wanted to make Green Arrow a hunter again. A street level hero of the gutters caught up in a world of violence, betrayal and conspiracy.
My ever growing plans for the book will build a huge new mythology around Green Arrow’s legacy and send him across the globe, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a deadly new cast of villains with mysterious ties to his past. And I knew that if I wanted to pull it off, I’d need one hell of an artist, someone who could match the new vision for Green Arrow that I was after.
Andrea Sorrentino’s stark and beautiful artwork on I, Vampire had caught my eye last year when I was looking at preview copies of the New 52 books. And, I’ve continued to follow him ever since. While his work is perfectly suited for the horror vibe of Vampire, I thought that putting him on a character like Green Arrow would create an amazing tension and a really unique take on a DCU superhero. And boy, was I right. His work so far in Green Arrow has been the absolute best of his career. This is one beautiful looking comic book.
It really is a brand new day for The Emerald Archer. I’ve fallen in love with writing this book and this character. I can only hope that a fraction of the excitement that both Andrea are feeling while working on Green Arrow translates onto the page and you’ll give the book a chance come February when our first action-packed arc, THE KILL MACHINE debuts with Issue #17. I intend to hurt Oliver Queen. Strip him down to the bone and force him to rise up and become the hero he was destined to be. I hope you come along for the ride.
So, “How about Green Arrow?”