Review by C.J. Bunce
We were ecstatic to see the the cover artist on the giveaway comic book at the CW Network booth this summer at San Diego Comic-Con following the panel for the new TV series, Arrow. None other than Mike Grell, who not only worked on the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run from the early 1970s that rebooted Green Arrow into his modern incarnation, but also spent more time with the character as writer and artist than any single person in Oliver Queen’s 71 years as DC Comics superhero. But now Mike Grell is back as artist on the Arrow tie-in comic book, which is being released every Wednesday in digital comic form for 99 cents, and then sold as a combined print comic with the three stories from the month for $3.99. Grell drew Chapter 1 of 3 of Issue #1, released this past week, and will also draw Chapter 6 to be printed in Issue #2 in four weeks.
You can only wish that Grell was returning to Green Arrow permanently. Despite the changes in storyline continuity and modernizing, it’s almost like the old Oliver Queen is back. And it’s great that the guy who didn’t like the title for Oliver’s masked character as Green Arrow never once used it in his stories, other than in the cover masthead, just as the current TV series is doing.
Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg wrote Chapter 1 of Issue #1, titled “Time’s Arrow,” a montage of scenes from the pilot episode with pencils and inks by Grell. Although not required reading to follow the series, it is Grell’s art that really brings out the character Stephen Amell is playing on the series.
Chapter 2, “Prey,” follows one of the men on Oliver Queen’s checklist of criminals, who ends up as part of the shadow conspiracy slowly unfolding week by week with Oliver’s mom, Moira, played on the series by Susanna Thompson, and the unnamed character played by John Barrowman (is he really Tommy Merlyn’s dad, as indicated at imdb.com?). Ben Sokolowski scripted this part with some strong action scenes penciled by Sergio Sandoval and inked by Pol Gas.
Writer Beth Schwartz gives some color to the character China White for readers who don’t know her background, in Chapter 3, “Fear.” Jorge Jimenez provides a nicely appropriate Mai the Psychic Girl-looking younger self for White in a manga-inspired style.
A comic book tie-in is a great way to build on the series and get fans more engaged and invested in these characters, and Issue #1 really does this exceptionally well.
Look for two covers to Issue #1 on newsstands, a standard photo cover and a special version with cover by Mike Grell.