It's always a good day when there's a new issue of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's GREEN ARROW, but with this chapter, they're taking a break from the war that's brewing in Seattle and diving into 'Zero Year.' Yes, Oliver isn't usually in Gotham, but the reason Lemire provides for moving the character there makes sense and what stems from it is a great looking dose of fun.
The issue's back-up expands upon Oliver's partnership with Diggle and why he was chosen, but the core of this story is basically one big action scene with Killer Moth and, you guessed it, Batman. The choreography isn't anything particularly jaw-dropping, but what makes it truly special is the artwork by Sorrentino and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. These two can simply do no wrong on this book. There's some wonderfully detailed and engrossing panels to be found in this issue and, as always, some creative use of onomatopoeias and vivid coloring. There may not be anything as mind-blowing as the work with Count Vertigo (it'll be seriously hard to top that), but it's consistently great looking and more than worthy of praise. They also do an excellent job with the force and impact behind each and every hit that goes down. This is especially noticeable when Lemire has an interesting and rather vicious way of presenting an argument between Oliver and Bruce. Poor Killer Moth... All in all, it should come as no surprise that this is yet another stellar looking issue.
There isn't much development in the primary story for Oliver's supporting cast, but just enough goes down with Diggle to justify why the hero seeks him out to stand by his side and help him clean up the city. The back-up's significantly different art style (by Denys Cowan and Matt Hollingsworth) is jarring after being treated to Sorrentino/Maiolo's work, but to some degree, the grittier tone compliments Diggle's mentality before he's approached by Oliver, and in that sense, it helps further immerse us in Diggle's emotions. Just enough is presented by Lemire to show us the history these two share and why they likely parted ways on a rocky note. Hopefully we'll see him once again play a big role in Oliver's life, but that has yet to be revealed.
Some of the action didn't feel very fluid. For example, Batman is just standing around after each punch he throws at Killer Moth. I understand he's new to the game, but to punch a guy in the face and then just stand there -- especially when he's holding a projectile weapon -- doesn't seem like the way he'd act.
The art team changes in the backup and the difference is night and day. The style's a lot sketchier and rougher, and it's certainly not bad, but the transition between the two styles is incredibly jarring. Also, in some panels there's a lack of outlines and this makes different colors mesh together.
I know it's an unfair criticism, but I can't help but miss what's going on in the modern era with Oliver. Lemire teased big things in issue #24 and I can't wait for the next story to get rolling. This is a fun departure from what's going on in the modern timeline and covers the bare basics of his return, but ultimately, it doesn't feel essential. If anything, the back-up about Diggle's history could have been implemented in another story or even meshed into the core of an issue. Like I said, it's a minor and somewhat unfair complaint, but I'm sure others will feel the same, especially since the book teases the Outsiders War.
Oliver's 'Zero Year' tie-in doesn't shed much light on his past or his return the to United States, but it's still hugely entertaining thanks to Lemire once again providing a tight yet fun script and the brilliant visuals by Sorrentino/Maiolo. Ultimately, this issue serves to do two things: offer an exciting fight with a novice Green Arrow and give us the basics of Diggle's connection to Queen. It accomplishes both of those and it's absolutely worth picking up if you've been following along or looking to jump onboard. #24 is the better jumping on point, but this is totally serviceable for new readers as well.