Review: Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road trade paperback (DC Comics)

March 8, 2020

 ·  1 comment

Given the option of DC collecting the entirety of a title, including what may be an inventory or guest-team story, or leaving just a handful of issues from a run uncollected, I'd as soon they collect everything. Which makes Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road a well-intentioned trade and I don't fault it for being somewhat tertiary in nature; I'd rather it exist than not exist. Also, that almost half the stories collected here were also collected in Heroes in Crisis: The Price and Other Stories is not this book's fault, having the greater claim to those issues even if the Price collection was released first. So for some, End of the Road is essentially just a four-issue collection, but it reflects exactly the right way for DC to collect their books.

[Review contains spoilers]

Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road collects issues #39-42 and #48-50, while Green Arrow Vol. 7: Citizen's Arrest collected issues #43-47 and the Annual #2. I imagine what might seem like a backward collecting schema here has to with #39-42 being inventory stories (so the real "meat" here is #43-47 in Vol. 7 and #48-50 in Vol. 8), and #43-47 and the annual (Vol. 7) being entirely written by Julie and Shawna Benson while #39-40 and #48-50 (Vol. 8) are written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, as well as Vol. 7 being released in close proximity to the Heroes in Crisis: The Price and Other Stories collection. For the most part this works for me; were #48-50 (the end of the series) collected before #43-47, I might feel things were out of order, but given that #39-42 really are "side stories," it works.

Of those initial issues, #39-40, "The Children of Vakhar," are written by Lanzing and Kelly, while #41-42, "Better Than," are by Mairghread Scott. "Vakhar," interestingly, picks up from the New 52 Deathstroke Annual #2, two years and a continuity prior — while the story references recent events in the Green Arrow title, one wonders if this isn't a rejiggered story written earlier (or else Lanzing and Kelly's interest in a relatively obscure Deathstroke story is notable). Green Arrow's particular feelings of responsibility over Deathstroke's actions in a foreign country don't entirely make sense (except for purposes of launching the story), but the writers' Justice League antecedents in the titular children of Vakhar are fun. Marcio Tamara draws gritty, dynamic art throughout.

Mairghread Scott's two-parter is the most "inventory" of inventory stories here, the one DC could be least faulted for not collecting, but then we'd be wondering about them incessantly. Scott pits Green Arrow against the Parasite, both in exploring the non-powered Green Arrow's ability against a  metahuman opponent and also in setting Arrow against the failings of the prison system. It's apt that we get at least one political story here, as befits Green Arrow, but Scott's story is somewhat plain overall; on the whole, this doesn't feel particularly like a Green Arrow story so much as that might have starred one of the Bat-family or a similar "human" hero.

When all is said and done, Lanzing and Kelly's final three issues, containing the real forward movement of the book, are good, perhaps the best I've read so far from this duo. Initially, interviews tell, the writers believed this to be the beginning of their Green Arrow run and not the end. I'm not sure how much changed when this indeed became the end, but I'd have been curious to read more about the writers' Oliver-Queen-on-the-run; as I mentioned in my review of The Price, it seems in issue #50 that the writers were heading in a Mike Grell, non-costumed Oliver Queen kind of way, which I think I'd enjoy. (I think Green Arrow's off-the-cuff appearance in The Green Lantern Vol. 2: The Day the Stars Fell made me forget that in actuality, Oliver is still on the run and hasn't, as far as I know, been heard from in a while.)

Issues #48 and #49 see Arrow up against Count Vertigo, with both hero and villain mourning Arsenal Roy Harper as the backdrop. The story is well-done, particularly with Javier Fernandez depicting Vertigo's topsy-turvey illusions. But appreciating the story involves taking for granted the bizarre notion that Roy met Vertigo in a "flophouse," that Vertigo somehow or another helped Roy with his drug addiction, but then Roy still turned Vertigo over to the authorities anyway. I've a million questions about how or when this could have actually taken place, letting alone that it totally contradicts what ought still be Vertigo's valid New 52 origin. I've got to knock off a couple points for that (it's almost as though the writers conflate Roy's relationship with Vertigo for his New 52 friendship with Killer Croc), but past that confusion, the story is still effective.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road

Clearly, there wasn't a whole lot to the Rebirth Green Arrow series after Benjamin Percy left. The series went on for 12 more issues, not particularly notably and not particularly because it needed to, though I guess a Green Arrow-centric response to Heroes in Crisis was apropos. With Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road, Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly bring Green Arrow to a good enough second finale, though it's somewhat as strange not to have a Green Arrow title in the DCU as it is soon to be not to have a Supergirl title. And I don't have to point out the irony of each of these being popular television properties with now no related comic. Not that I think either will be gone too long, but still — it's unusual.

[Includes original and variant covers, line art]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road
Author Rating
3.5 (scale of 1 to 5)

Comments ( 1 )

  1. I would almost rather have this than The Price, which for me is marred by mediocre Flash material. The Green Arrow stuff was phenomenal. I don't know what the rest of this collection reads like, but I would very easily recommend the stuff I already know to anyone wanting to read excellent Green Arrow, or superhero in general, comics.

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