Green Arrow Black Canary #6

The covers for these books lately have just been so good I just had to sit and write about them. I mean what is better than a hail of laser fire being jumped through by the Black Canary, her face thrown back in rapturous glee, along with her boy toy, the Green Arrow, perched on the back with arrow nocked back and ready to fire in mid air? Beyond the cover though, this book has really been a treat the last couple of issues. The Green Arrow is put through the emotional ringer with the shooting of his son by an unknown assailant. Dinah, the Canary, on the other hand, has been standing by her man and keeping Oliver’s well known temper in check with calm emotional support as well as putting him in his place, quite literally when it comes to her superior stunt cycle driving abilities, among other things. Issue #6 starts off with Mr. Arrow and the sultry Black Canary sporting Eastern European big money hustler styled costumes that are so well drawn that their identities are concealed to even the reader. This is one thing that comics really have the advantage of silence over for example as a cartoon, as voice actors would be dead giveaways. Of course using accented dialogue to really conceal the characters helps as well, but the point is, once they burst out of their costumes, it really acts as not only as a genuine surprise, but also of a method bringing the reader into the knowledge of being in medias res as opposed to what seemed like an action packed intro of perhaps some sort of as yet unconnected plot.

The big plot of course though is that Oliver and Dinah are looking for who shot Connor, and their theory is that he was shot using a helocopter with cloaking invisibilty. Through a bit of verbal sparring that leads to actual physical sparring, the gangsters they meet reveal the existance of the chopper, which they later come in contact with in the issue that just like an invisible helocopter would, suddenly hit out of nowhere. This leads to the chase scene that the cover art comes from and the final twist in a full page scene that does what any good comic book should, and that is leave you wondering what is going to happen next.

The action really is cranked up in this issue compared to the angst ridden hospital scenes of the last issue, which really provides a counter weight. In that issue, the presense of the clock is particularly heavily felt as it is repeated with small changes in its hands and is seen hanging over Oliver like the angst and dread that he has for his son. There is also the excellent use of flashbacks to give even more emotional weight as he deals with the fact that he was never really there for his son and now in the time where he is finally able to connect with him, he is taken away and now reduced to a vegetative state. With the weight of the past issue’s darma and flashbacks hanging over this issue, it almost seems as if having the helicopter magically appear and the action romp that follows in which the Green Arrow and Black Canary shoot it down seems of course a bit too convenient. The art kind of falters a bit too when Arrow and Canary switch drivers in mid air on the motorcycle that really fails in bringing to life what could have been an operatic moment of movement. Back to the simplicity of taking down the chopper though, the simplicity just further sets up the real scene of impact, which is also the big finish, and that is the revealing of who they find flying the chopper. Again, the simplicity is simply to set up the reveal, but in true classic comic cliffhanger fashion, that only serves as a teasing glimpse. In other words, there be a mystery to solve, and I am interested to see how it unfolds in later issues as well as the anticipation of the well crafted visual and narrative complexities that are being bought to each issue, even if you can probably consider them action comic cliches, they are still done quite well, which elevates it to a really good read.

Other than that, if you have not picked up Warren Ellis’ Gravel #1 that came out a couple of weeks ago, I suggest you give it a look. It’s twisted horror theatrics along with the great no-nonsense hard ass lead, makes for a great read. It reminded me of Sandman in parts in terms of its use of classic horror comic visuals that are shockingly engrossing.