Green_Arrow_KingdomBillionaire philanthropist Oliver Queen returned to his hometown of Seattle with one goal: to protect his city from those who would prey upon the weak. Using the archery and tracking skills he honed while marooned on a deserted islandas well as the best toys that money could buy that could also be put on the end of a pointy stickhe fought for justice as Green Arrow. He also built up a small army of allies who aided him in his war on crime. But now all of them have left him save oneJohn Diggle. His mother’s former bodyguard and the first person to learn of Oliver Queen’s secret identity, “Digg” is the Little John to Oliver’s Robin Hood.

Unfortunately, Oliver’s allies have left him at the worst possible time. Another billionaire philanthropist named John King has set his sights on Seattle. And he doesn’t like sharing the spotlight, nor does he care much for idealistic vigilantes known for targeting rich men with secrets. With a bought-and-paid for army of civil servants and specialists in a variety of positionshis so-called King’s MenKing is determined to destroy both Oliver Queen and Green Arrow in his bid to take over Seattle.

Thankfully, one of King’s former employees, a grey-hat hacker named Felicity Smoak, elected to go rogue and warn Green Arrow of King’s plan. But even Felicity’s considerable talents won’t be enough to let Oliver Queen fight John King on even footing. And when Green Arrow is publicly declared an outlaw by the judges and police in King’s pocket, Oliver will have to call in every favor he’s owed to save his city.

The problem with Green Arrow: Kingdom is that it tries to accomplish too much, too quickly. Writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski (Executive Producer and Producer on Arrow, respectively) seem to have been given a laundry list of goals for this story. In addition to making the series more recognizable to fans of the Arrow television series, they were apparently tasked with bringing back more elements of the pre-New 52 Green Arrow comics and the DC Universe at large.

To their credit, Kreisberg and Sokolowski do try to make this story all things to all readers. But, as the saying goes, you please no one by trying to please everyone. The end result is a story that throws in everything but the kitchen sink and feels extraordinarily cluttered as a result.

There is a team-up with Green Lantern, not because it makes logical sense for Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen to team-up, but because they want the story to appeal to the fans of the Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics. Katana shows up to help out at one point, primarily as a nod to the history between herself and Green Arrow established during Jeff Lemire’s run on the book. Felicity Smoak is here for the Arrow fans, but her motivations in turning on her employer make little sense and Oliver’s support team already had two hackers on it before Felicity showed up!

Perhaps most vexing is the subplot involving John King’s hunt for a homeless girl, Mia Dearden. We find out that Mia is not only King’s long-lost daughter, but the sole witness to him murdering his wife and, apropos of nothing unless you remember the original Mia Dearden, HIV positive. Had the writers been given twelve issues instead of six they might have made something wonderful. As is, the whole story feels rushed.

It’s a shame the story is such a convoluted mess because the artwork is amazing. Daniel Sampere and Jonathan Glapion continue the high-quality work they first produced during their time together on Gail Simone’s Batgirl. Sampere draws fantastic, realistic action sequences and this story gives him ample opportunity to do so. Glapion’s inks give the finished art a mysterious, Film Noir aesthetic without seeming overly heavy. The colors by Gabe Eltaeb also deserve special mention, the palettes being uniquely shaped for each scene depending on the location and time of day.

Green Arrow: Kingdom earns its T-rating. There’s nothing in this volume that would be objectionable for teen audiences or any children considered mature enough to handle watching Arrow. Unfortunately, this comic is only for die-hard Arrow-heads and can be easily skipped by all but the most devout of completists. It isn’t a bad comic but it’s not really representative of the series or the character as a whole. If you’re looking for comics based on Arrow, consider the excellent Arrow and Arrow: Season 2.5 collections based directly on the show instead.

Green Arrow vol. 7: Kingdom
by Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski
Art by Daniel Sampere
ISBN: 9781401257620
DC Comics, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: T (13 and Up)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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