Review: Green Arrow Vol. 6: Trial of Two Cities trade paperback (DC Comics)

There feels a change in the wind for DC Comics' Rebirth titles. Aside from stalwarts Tom King on Batman and Joshua Williamson on Flash, we've seen upsets in the Super-titles, Dan Abnett departing Aquaman, Robert Venditti leaving the Green Lantern titles, Rob Williams' run on Suicide Squad scheduled to end, and with Green Arrow Vol. 6: Trial of Two Cities, the end of Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra's run on Green Arrow. To me, Percy's Green Arrow has been one of the best-looking but under-recognized Rebirth titles, and it's a shame it won't be on the stands any more.

We also know now this title only has twelve issues or so to go under other writers before it's cancelled. Trial isn't then the last trade of this iteration, but as the last book by a regular team, it's another way the trade feels like the end of the era. Another Green Arrow book has been promised, but there's big artistic shoes to fill especially for the next time DC gives the Emerald Outlaw a go.

[Review contains spoilers]

Not unlike Aquaman Vol. 6: Kingslayer, there's almost too much having taken place in the last thirty-something issues of Green Arrow to satisfactorily wrap up in six issues. Comparing sixth volume to sixth volume, Percy sticks the landing better than Abnett (but no knock against Abnett, who still has four issues to wrap up the remaining threads). But Trial still feels both foreshortened and lopsided; Green Arrow Oliver Queen both re-meets and is betrayed by his long-lost mother in the span of three issues. Percy spends half an issue on an underwater rescue, leaving only one issue really for the climactic Green Arrow battle and one issue for Oliver Queen to clear his name in court.

I feel I ought effuse over Trial more, given how much I've enjoyed Percy's Green Arrow overall. Again, I didn't feel there were thematic threads left untied in the conclusion nor significant plot holes, but neither was there a lot of suspense. What was interesting in the book, like the intrigue in the Star City Police Department or the alt-continuity Manhunter Kate Spencer's act of violence, seemed ultimately just window-dressing. On the other hand, there was little question whether Black Canary would be able to rescue Green Arrow from the ocean floor or whether Emiko Queen would survive being shot, but both those incidents got more focus. Diggle's partnership with Malcolm Merlyn also comes to nothing in this book, a sign perhaps of the end of Percy's run coming faster than expected.

All that said, there's only been one edict for Green Arrow writers for a while now, and that's been "fix Green Arrow." DC still doesn't quite seem to know how to marry the Green Arrow of their comics continuity with something that would be recognizable to Arrow TV fans, but at the very least Percy (and Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino before him) have repaired the years-long damage from the Cry for Justice and Brightest Day supernatural phases and the New 52 "playboy superhero." By the end of Trial, Percy has Green Arrow a hero, together with Black Canary, friends with Hal Jordan, and in the good graces of the Justice League, and that alone is pretty much the definition of a job well done. And Percy's Green Arrow (especially Vol. 3: Emerald Outlaw and on) has routinely delivered twists and turns.

Juan Ferreyra contributes four issues in his dynamic painterly style. Green Arrow fighting sea monsters would not be my first choice (see also Nightwing vs. an octopus in Nightwing Vol. 6: The Untouchable), but it's nice to get to see Ferreyra play around, and of course the book is chock full of the series' trademark horizontal spreads. I am sorry original series artist Otto Schmidt didn't make an appearance before the end, but Ferreyra has grown with this series and made it his own, and it feels proper in that way that he finishes it. DC ought be trying to get both Schmidt and Ferreyra for other titles.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Green Arrow Vol. 6: Trial of Two Cities

From cartoony and painted art influences to un-bordered word balloons (provided by Deron Bennett this time around), Green Arrow Vol. 6: Trial of Two Cities and Benjamin Percy's Green Arrow overall have been books that look different from what else DC Comics has on the stands. There are any number of other good artists in DC's stable, but I'm liking more and more these ones that just don't look like anyone else, Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra and Riley Rossmo, for another. Green Arrow is no slouch but not DC's highest profile title; I'd like to see more chances be taken like this month-in and month-out on something like Superman or Wonder Woman, or the Titans-family titles, which have often needed an art boost.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Green Arrow Vol. 6: Trial of Two Cities
Author Rating
3.5 (scale of 1 to 5)


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