Review: Green Arrow Vol. 5: Hard-Traveling Hero (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

In his penultimate Rebirth volume, Green Arrow Vol. 5: Hard-Traveling Hero, Benjamin Percy takes Oliver Queen on something of an apology tour across the DC Universe. The book serves to re-establish some old relationships -- and moreover, to re-contextualize some of these relationships in the Rebirth era, not in the least the friendship between Oliver and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. That's pleasant, though there's a queasy push and pull in that the resurrection of some of these friendships underscores how different this Green Arrow is from Green Arrow depictions past.

But even so, for the story that this is, there's nary a false note, and Percy's good character insights are buffeted further by the artwork of Otto Schmidt, Juan Ferreyra, and others. This remains a fine-looking book, finely told, and though it's a shame that Benjamin Percy is leaving, I'm eager for his next volume in December.

[Review contains spoilers]

In past continuities, by virtue of an intrinsic part of Green Arrow's character under Mike Grell and others being that he's an older man, Oliver Queen held a certain role as elder statement among his compatriots, and someone for instance that Batman often trusts implicitly. While it's good to see Oliver and Superman palling around here, Superman praising Green Arrow for how he's changed rings false; it's not the "classic" Superman/Green Arrow relationship for Superman to treat Green Arrow like a neophyte hero.

All of this is of course true to this particular Green Arrow character as a through line from his New 52 depiction, though at this point it becomes labored. The New 52 Oliver was billionaire playboy-as-hero perhaps to reflect the Arrow TV show (though that Oliver was done with such shenanigans by the time he put on the hood), and now that there's considerably distance between these two Olivers, almost Percy's entire run has been about getting Green Arrow back to where he was before from a point to which he never should have been lowered in the first place. We end up with a Green Arrow with this pseudo-classic standing, but not quite, and that "not quite" is unfortunate. If any hero needs DC to wave a magic Dr. Manhattan wand and put him exactly back where he was before (just prior to Justice League: Cry for Justice, let's say), it's Green Arrow.

That said, Percy does write this character especially strongly this go-round. Even as the Superman conversation didn't quite work for me, Percy's interactions between Green Arrow and Lex Luthor are dynamite, not in the least how Lex "reads" Green Arrow's condition and then also Oliver's assessment of the tenuousness of Lex's empire. Taking this Oliver Queen for who he is, he does indeed have more in common with Lex Luthor or Bruce Wayne than Superman, and Percy represents that well here.

The book's most important team up, however -- especially in a volume called "Hard-Traveling Hero" -- is that of Green Arrow and Green Lantern, where fittingly series star artist Otto Schmidt returns. In the weird, fuzzy continuity of Rebirth, Percy neither acknowledges nor dismisses the possibility of Oliver and Hal's classic adventures, and instead toes the prospect with Oliver referencing Hal's one-time gray-haired look before having the characters formally reintroduce themselves to one another (and then take off in their classic truck). As Percy acknowledges, there's a lot less chance of these characters meeting with Green Lantern almost permanently space-locked these days (a grand mistake, I think, on DC's part), but at least they're now considered buddies if some other writer can do something with it.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Green Arrow Vol. 5: Hard-Traveling Hero

Benjamin Percy ends Green Arrow Vol. 5: Hard-Traveling Hero with another tease of Green Arrow's role in Dark Nights: Metal. So many titles have been so oblique about Metal either because of their lack of role or not wanting to step on the crossover's toes (the silence of the Batman title itself, for instance), so I'm glad to see Percy address it head-on. It does not seem, with a quick glance at some of those comics, that Percy will tie the Metal story into Green Arrow's battle against the Ninth Circle, which is a shame since we did get a Metal reference to that effect in Green Arrow Vol. 4: The Rise of Star City. More's the pity but at least Percy shows where the crossover fits into Green Arrow continuity at least to a small extent. Again, I'm eager for what comes next in this title.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Green Arrow Vol. 5: Hard-Traveling Hero
Author Rating
4 (scale of 1 to 5)


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