On the trail of the Ninth Circle to get his life back in order, Green Arrow Oliver Queen runs up into another hero who’s not so happy to see him, leading to a collaboration with The Flash.
Green Arrow 26
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Stephen Byrne
He’s on the run and leaving his home – the former Seattle, but now known as Star City – and in the middle of nowhere, but Oliver Queen still knows how to attract trouble. The vigilante ends up riding his motorcycle into a area of a forest that had been infected with the Speed Force. We see a wolf eat a deer in no time, birds hatching from their shells fully formed! It’s chaos, but it’s also a set-up for The Flash.
Turns out the Ninth Circle – the evil faction that has taken over Ollie’s life – is tied to Black Hole, the evil scientific group that caused citizens of Central City to have superspeed. Reluctantly the two heroes agree to team up for the greater good.
Regular viewers of the CW’s DC TV universe are used to seeing Flash and Arrow team up over the last three or four years, but it’s not a regular team-up within the comics universe. In fact, I’m having trouble recalling a time when they’ve worked together since Barry Allen was brought back to life in 2009. This team-up definitely isn’t reminiscent of their TV show counterparts, as The Flash is the one to take the lead and doesn’t trust Oliver to be up to the job.
Having watched both Arrow and The Flash on the CW religiously, seeing the switch in the team dynamic is weird, since I’ve gotten used to Ollie taking the lead and everyone deferring to him. But the delineation between the comic and the TV show is pretty clear. Ollie is the screw-up now, a loudmouth that no one trusts with their lives. And just in case you forgot, Oliver can be a pretty far left wing loudmouth, too…
While it’s good we’re getting something new with the book – the hero team-ups will continue as Ollie hits the road in the next few issues – I’m wondering how long the “Ollie is on the run from the law” theme is going to stick, because I feel like it permeated through the New 52, as well, and it feels somewhat played out. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ollie get back to heroing instead of trying to clear his name.
One little thread I’m definitely enjoying is Oliver’s lawyer in his ordeal – Kate Spencer. Fans of Arrow recognize her as the DA who was prosecuting Ollie and was later killed by Deathstroke in season 2. But that’s not where the name originated. Spencer, as a district attorney in California, was also the vigilante known as Manhunter… well, the latest of about six people to be called Manhunter. The 2004 series starring Spencer – created by Marc Andreyko and Jesus Saiz – was a highlight of that decade, and if the appearances in this arc lead to the character rebirth during… uh… Rebirth, then it’s definitely a win.