By Judd Winick, Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens (DC Comics)
The wonderfully flawed and ever so human Green Arrow reaches new heights and depths in this trade paperback collection of his monthly exploits culled from issues #60-65 of his eponymous comic adventures (which are technically from volume 2, in 2006). Set in the One Year Later continuity zone, it sees the ultimate social and political rebel as the crusading Mayor of his beloved, beleaguered Star City on the anniversary of the cataclysmic bloodbath that nearly destroyed it.
Despite the appallingly unsatisfactory deus ex machina contrivance that apparently reset everything at the end of the last volume (Heading into the Light: ISBN 1-84576-344-0) the city is still recovering from devastating damage and loss of life. The most troubled parts of the metropolis have been enclosed behind a gigantic wall and left to rot. In this no-go area the Gangsta super-villain Brick runs things as a dystopic private kingdom, but on the outside unscrupulous Big Money Interests are making plans to take over, and they’ve hired relentless assassin Deathstroke to make sure things proceed smoothly.
Determined not to abandon the helpless, Oliver Queen fights to free these disenfranchised under-folk, rebuild the lives and prosperity of the citizens on the healthy side of the Wall, and prevent the city becoming a bought-and-paid-for asset of corporate raiders. And in his spare time Green Arrow will root out corruption and abuse in the Reconstruction and find out just who is supplying mutagenic medical supplies to the poor, desperate S.O.B.’s trapped in Brick’s kingdom.
This rousing thriller has lots of added bite in the post-New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina world and the portrayal of the hero as social activist has never been better expressed. There’s plenty of high-octane action to counterbalance the realpolitik message and corporate intrigue, and the revelation that costumed adventuring produces even stranger bedfellows than politics is handled with style, aplomb and great big explosions. Magic Stuff!
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