After the lack-luster first volume, I had given up on Green Arrow, especially with how many good New 52 comics were flying around. But I was assured that after this latest team change, including Jeff Lemire, it has improved substantially. And it certainly delivered on that assurance. It rebooted his lame sidekicks, included some proper villains, and restyled Green Arrow with a more mysterious, driven nature, and not just as a lesser batman. The excellent art also greatly aided the comic’s return to my good graces.
The first issue of this volume was incredibly disjointed from everything else. I was thrust into what I assume was a crossover story with some other series, with characters I was clearly supposed to know flying around left and right. Then it randomly killed off a character the writer just didn’t want any more and then it was over without actual resolution. After that, Jeff Lemire picked up the series and the writing got significantly better. But it would still be much more cohesive as a Constantine book without all the forced team ups. This resulted in lots of bland fights against minion hordes, etc. I do, however, enjoy all the obscure (and do I mean obscure) characters finding resurgence and the dark corner of the DC universe does deserve delving. And Lemire is an apt choice as sherpa.
The introduction aptly points out that the story feels like a Twilight Zone episode. Initially, this is true. But it’s the mind-bending originality that made Twilight Zone so great and that bold imagination is unfortunately absent in Underwater Welder. The titular character’s journey is competently written if a little boring. I enjoy Lemire’s style, but by leaving it black and white I think he may have missed out on some potential beautiful pages.
The characters continue their slow development and some answers are given, invoking more intrigue than resolution of course. I feel like Lemire has an understanding of the genre, but just wants to recreate it, with animal kids. It’s a good genre for comics, but with this arc’s ending, I’m not terribly excited about where it’s going, but a bit of curiosity does still linger.
While the central mystery slowly begins to unravel, it’s a bit too slow to remain compelling. The first volume was the bait, tempting you with the interesting premise, while this volume is more of the hook, expanding the world-building so that you’ll stay interested. So far, I’m nibbling the worm but the barb hasn’t sunk in. Maybe volume three will be the yank it needs to drive the hook in.
After loving Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man, I was eager to see what non-superhero stuff he could do. Sweet Tooth didn’t quite meet the bar I set for him, but I’ll still look for more of his work. Apocalypses are getting a little too commonplace, so it’s hard to wow with them any more. This one’s central mystery is intriguing, but completely unexplored in any meaningful way. It progresses slowly but entertainingly, though it doesn’t quite pique enough interest to convince me to look for the rest of what is a fairly long series. It’s like The Road, (the book anyway, haven’t seen the film), though not quite that bleak. But still pretty bleak.
I’m loving the new direction Animal Man is going. His rebirth works well, and The Rot continues to be an interesting adversary. Though there was an artist change, it still looks great. It all seems to be ramping up to an epic showdown that hopefully wont take too many more trades to realize.
This is what the DC universe needs. More folklore and mystery. More pulp. It reminds me of one of my (and many many others) favorite series, The Sandman. The art is weird but wonderful, most notably the monster design. I’m looking forward to more and it seems rare these days that I say that about a DC ongoing series.