By Judd Winick, Phil Hester & Tom Fowler (DC Comics)
This big compilation collects almost a year’s worth of adventures featuring mainstream comic’s most libertarian vigilante and his crime-busting family, reprinting issues # 40 –50 of the Green Arrow monthly magazine. The setting is the immediate aftermath of a colossal battle that united superheroes, cops and criminals in a last-ditch attempt to free their city from the clutches of an army of demons (see Green Arrow: City Walls ISBN 1-84576-039-5). As the dust settles the various factions go back to work and a new and particularly ruthless gang-boss known as Brick not only rises to the forefront but succeeds in taking over the slowly recovering city.
The eventual confrontation between hero and mobster only leads to further catastrophe as Brick, who refuses to play by any of those old-fashioned clichéd rules that inexplicably infest these kinds of conflicts, declares total war on the Archers’ nearest and dearest and even hires in other heroes’ villains to perform the dirty work, leading to an all-out battle with guest-stars galore.
If you’re a fan of out-and-out super-hero action this series should be at the top of your reading list. Witty, stylish writing, genuine warmth between the leading characters, strong emotional resonances among the cast and guests and superb breakneck action in an always fresh and challenging attempt to shake up and shake off the accepted conventions is the Standard Operating Procedure. It’s not often you can read a comic book and truly feel that no character is actually safe. You should give it a shot.
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