Green Arrow: Futures End #1 review

I dropped off Green Arrow shortly after the team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino came on the book. Their work was impressive, their direction assured, but not really my cup of tea. Still, new Green Arrow Emiko Queen’s involvement in the Futures End series – co-written by Lemire – intrigued me enough to pick up this ‘five years later’ tie-in.

That, and a rather nifty lenticular cover. Dig that crumbling gravestone!

Lemire and Sorrentino are still around, and still impressing. They make it easy to jump back in, explaining things as we go along and ‘colouring in’ the characters, meaning that by the time the clever ending came it meant something to me.

Futures End #1 featured the five-years-later funeral of Green Arrow Oliver Queen. This issue, set a little before that, shows how he meets his end. Ollie persuades his frenemies in the Outsiders to help him take down the scientists of Cadmus Island, who are experimenting with refugee super-beings from Earth 2. To improve the odds, he wants to add the element of surprise, setting up the story’s twist.

Lemire’s X-Men-style jokey intro captions take away from the drama a tad – I never want to see ‘Nuff said’ in a DC comics again – but overall the script is a winner.

The Ollie in this issue is unrecognisable as the callow youth we met at the New 52 relaunch. Never mind five years, he seems at least 15 years older, like the Green Arrow of the Mike Grell series. And, truly unforgivable haircut aside, that’s fine by me, I prefer my GA a world weary crusader rather than a swashbuckling one. I also like this kid Emiko – Ollie’s half-sister, daughter of Shado, I learn – and Ollie’s tech pal Naomi has become a hero of the streets, Dart. The villain of the piece is the inevitable Deathstroke – all DC creators have a hard-on for this guy, even those nice Tiny Titans fellows – but Lemire writes him well, making him a bitter Republican to Ollie’s liberal.

And Sorrentino draws Deathstroke superbly, presenting him as a ghostly figure, a seemingly unstoppable force. The whole book looks very, very good, with Sorrentino’s control of mood to the fore. And colouring partner Marcelo Maiolo adds to the intensity, trademark duo-hue panels and all.

Even if you’re not a Green Arrow fan, I recommend this issue purely from a craft point of view; it shows how excellent creators can put a new spin on the well-worn superhero tale. It’s especially worth getting if you’re following Futures End, with the direct tie-in some of this week’s other gimmick issues doesn’t have. It’s sharp, it’s fun – buy it.

12 thoughts on “Green Arrow: Futures End #1 review

  1. As a guy who has been following Lemire's run from beginning to sadly now the end (his and Sorrentino's last issue), this was a great issue. It's very much rewarding and enjoyable as a fan seeing how everyone is still doing after five years and such.

    Still, the best of the week in Futures End comics I thought were Swamp Thing and Phantom Stranger. Both incredibly well written and beautiful in their own way. Both easily accessible due to not being really connected all that much to Futures End and just telling their own story of the characters five years from now.


  2. I've equally heard and read positive reviews about the Swamp Thing: Future's end special. Looks good from the previews as well. He's got to be talking to Moore's Swamp Thing, since his ST is blue, and the captions are blue. Right? That;s the theory anyways.

    Very decent art. Moody as you said, but very appropriate considering the story's endgame.
    Who's taking over again?


  3. Hmmm, my previous comment disappeared when I published it… anyhow, I just wanted to say, I'm glad you enjoyed this issue and I might try to pick it up (if budget allows) as well… I picked up the Action Comics sand superman on your recommendation too!

    I don't have a history with Green Arrow and wasn't really interested in the character until the TV show hit and Lemire took over the book (it took me awhile to try Lemire's run, though). Lemire and Sorrentino are doing a bang up job with Green arrow, and it's (another) one of DC's most overlooked titles. While everybody's going goo-goo gaga over Waid's Daredevil and Fraction's Hawkeye, this Green Arrow run is also solidy keeping pace all with nary a mention anywhere. I can see how this run wouldn't work for you though, Martin, But I'm glad you picked up this issue.


  4. Hi Arvin, I just got quickly bored with the gloomy tone, and once the Outsiders business began, with a rainbow GL-style organisation of weapons folk, ah, it's just not me. I was raised on Elliot S Maggin Ollie – I need Black Canary and chili. Did you see the recent Black Canary/Zatanna book, that's what I like.


  5. Oh yes! I have that book, that was a lot of fun! I do like Elliot S Maggin! Maybe I'll see if I can hunt down that run and take a look. Lemire's GA run is very close in tone to the TV show (believe it or not it actually a little lighter since Ollie's not so brooding liek the show), and I don't think it'll change anytime soon since the TV show writers are coming on board. Do you like how GA is handled in Justice League United?


  6. I've seen no announcement to that effect, but even if DC did say it was canon, they would change their mind. They would be mad to tie themselves down to one story conclusion for years. Just enjoy it as a possible future storyline.


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