Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book of the Week 1/9/08 Green Arrow and Black Canary #4

Written by Judd Winick
Art by Cliff Chiang
Colors by Trish Mulvihill
Letters by Pat Brosseau

This was another hard week to pick just one book. As I bemoaned several weeks ago, I wasn't thrilled with anything coming out. That has greatly changed. Almost every book I read this week could have made the list...almost (I'm looking at you Brand New Day). In the end, I'm a sucker for an emotional story and Green Arrow and Black Canary delivered that in spades.

This issue picks up just after Conner had been struck down in the last issue. What this chapter centers around is Olivers frantic reaction to get his son help and then reflection on what kind of father he's been over the years. There was an intense feeling at the beginning of this book as Oliver shouts out orders to get the boat they're on to shore even though he's not really helping, culminating in his frantic screaming for Clark to come help. The intensity gave way to uncertainty. Winnick writes the hospital waiting room scene so well that anyone who is unfortunate enough to have had to sit through those kind of tense moments will greatly identify with Oliver in this scene. Several other great moments punctuated this book such as Hal yelling back at Ollie after being pushed into the O.R. and Bruce telling Diana that reassuring words don't mean much when you lose a son. This comic is a testament to dramatic superhero books that I would give to anyone curious about the medium of comics.

Judd Winnick has always excelled at comics like these. From his days of writing Green Lantern, to the resurrection of Jason Todd (who no one has written as well as Winnick), and his run on Green Arrow, a dramatic flare has always been present. That's not to say that Winnick can't right great action scenes but there is something special about how he writes the bonds between certain characters. You get the feeling that you really know these characters even if you haven't read anything they've been in in years. To compound that, you feel like you've been punched in the gut when something happens to them. I remember feeling that way several times with Kyle Rayner during Winnick's Green Lantern series.

I love Chiang's art. It is a thing of pure beauty. It's not animated but not quite realistic either. It's like a hybrid of the two styles that so greatly fits this book. Expressions on the faces of Chiang's characters are a strong part of this issue. It should also be noted that Trish Mulvihill's colors make a great addition.

This book was strong out of the gate and doesn't feel like its slowed even a bit. It's intense, fun, fast, and emotional. This is one that is not to be missed!