Sunday, October 22, 2017
Home  >  Features  >  ASTRO CITY #1 and GREEN ARROW #21: A MightyVille Double-Shot Review

B.J. Morgan reviews two titles currently turning some heads on the stands: Astro City #1 and Green Arrow #21. The results are a mixed bag. Read on for more!

 

B.J. Morgan reviews two titles currently turning some heads on the stands: Astro City #1 and Green Arrow #21. The results are a mixed bag. Read on for more!

 

Astro City #1

I was just as surprised and excited as anyone when it was announced that Astro City would be returning. I was so excited that I forgot to pre-order the issue and had to go shop-hopping last week to find the issue. I finally found a copy at the fourth shop I visited. Thankfully, it was well worth the hunt.

Astro City returns to printed form via Vertigo. Once a titan indie-like publisher under DC, it’s now just a husk of its former glory, supporting only a slim line-up of titles. Unwritten, Fables, and Fairest (a Fables offshot) are holding the line currently as ongoings for the waning publisher. Vertigo feels less relevant every day, but it desperately needs a quality monthly book like Astro City under its belt.

 



Astro City has always benefited from its large palette of characters, each bringing their own unique flavor to the story. The setup of having a door appear over Astro City gives us a window into some important introductions.  We’re introduced to new faces and shown some old favorites in this first issue. The narrator for the issue a little obnoxious, but the reasons become all too clear by the end.

Astro City also sports a secret weapon, its humanity. The setting may be fantastic and the book is certainly populated with characters with strange and awesome powers, but the real charm of the title has always been it’s human side. [Writer] Kurt Busiek and his collaborators have always taken great care to show us how normal people in Astro City interact and deal with the fantastic world they have created. We are introduced to a father and his two daughters in this first issue. The father is whisked away into adventure. While this sort of thing is fairly common for the title, it never ceases to entertain because of Busiek’s deft hand.

 



It’s a pleasure to have Astro City back. If this first issue is any indication, we are all in for a treat.

 

Green Arrow #21

Several characters benefited from the coat of fresh paint afforded to them by the New 52. Green Arrow was not one of those recipients. After a few fits and stumbles, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino took over with issue 17 and everything has been better since. Sort of.

 

 

Every issue since issue 17 followed a fairly predictable pattern. Green Arrow would be lured into a fight, and after having his butt handed to him solidly by Komodo, he would miraculously find some way to escape the impending death blow. All of this is framed by sequences set in the near future (present?) of Green Arrow stumbling around the desert. With each issue, the latest do-over for Green Arrow seemed less fresh, but still infinitely better than the previous issues released under the New 52 banner. Issue #21 is where that changes.

Sure, we see the familiar lure trap and Green Arrow does have his butt handed to him again. Also, we see Green Arrow wandering around the desert. However, he earns a small victory over Komodo. Oh, and there are answers and clues to his origin. Oliver Queen is stripped to his lowest point, but it’s an exciting low that promises some big stories. A new “weapons totem” is introduced in this issue that seems kind of hokey, but I will reserve judgement on the whole affair until I see how it plays outs.

 

 

There seems to be a bit more direction now. Clearly, Lemire is a great storyteller. His other New 52 work is proof of that. But Green Arrow has been mired in repetitive storytelling. The framing device using desert bookends isn't as effective as he thinks. While the story has sagged,  Sorrentino’s art has been impeachable. It reminds me a lot Alex Maleev's Daredevil work. There are times that it also suffers from the redundancy given to him by the scripts, but that's not the artists' fault. There are only so many ways you can draw Green Arrow getting his ass kicked every which way to Tuesday.

I don't want to seem too down on this title. No matter how repetitive it has been the last couple of issues, it's light-years better than anything tat came before. Lemire obviously has a vision for this title. It's just taking a little while for it to coalesce into something meaningful. We're not quite there yet. There seems to be hope on the horizon for us readers, but payoff is in short supply now.

 

What do you say, readers? Agree or agree to disagree? Let us know!

More Reviews on MightyVille:

KING CONAN: THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON #2 - A MightyVille Advance Review

SUPERWEEK: MAN OF STEEL - The MightyVille Review

HARBINGER WARS #3: The MightyVille Review

 

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