Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Phil Hester
Inker: Ande Parks
Straight Shooter collects Judd Winick’s first storyline after taking over writing duties for the Emerald Archer. Now that Green Arrow has successfully been brought back to life, this volume puts Ollie right back into the thick of action, with him attacking corporate corruption as both Oliver Queen and Green Arrow. As ever though nothing goes smoothly, with the case soon affecting his personal life…
Does Winick effortlessly follow the great work of the previous volumes, or is this a disappointment? Read on to find out.
This volume opens with a news report, revealing that a somewhat stereotypical corporation called Elevast have purchased land in Star City and plan on demolishing 30 buildings in a housing district to make way for a new superstructure which holds shops, hotels etc. As you can imagine not everyone is overjoyed, and we begin with Green Arrow stopping a group of wreckers from damaging construction equipment. Ollie is interrupted by Black Lighting, who later introduces Ollie to his niece, Dianna Pierce, who is head of a team of lawyers challenging Elevast. The reason for this introduction? They need funding. Of course the old social champion Oliver Queen is happy to provide it.
Being a comic there’s always something else going on behind the scenes. In this volume it is that the construction site and neighbourhood is plagued by a group of monsters, which alert Ollie and Elevast to their presence by butchering three security guards. Elevast bring in a mysterious assassin named Constantine Drakon to deal with the “problem”, whilst Ollie investigates the strange creatures. Over the course of the trade paperback you discover just what these monsters are, and how they are related to Elevast.
This may sound like the set up to a simple Oliver Queen/Green Arrow vs. The ‘evil’ corporation story, but Winick actually manages to craft something far greater than that. Drakon himself is actually a pretty good character. He has no metahuman abilities, but he’s insanely fast and adept at fighting, making him more than a match for both Green Arrows. He easily beats Ollie in their first confrontation and comments that his only reason and single excuse for not killing Ollie is that no one paid him to do it. This sets up a great second battle between the two, which sees Winick reintroduce the trick arrows to Ollie’s arsenal.
I also really like the fact that in this volume, we don’t see Connor or Mia become peripheral figures. Admittedly Mia isn’t in it too much, but she’s used well when she appears. Connor is fairly prominent still, and in the final act we get to see him have a great fight against Drakon, which really is quite tense since Connor realises that he’s against all the odds. The resolution is well thought out and wraps up the threat of Drakon well. The only drawback to Drakon is that he was a stronger character and plot point than the ‘Ollie vs. Elevast’ storyline, which means that Ollie’s clash with Drakon overshadows the main storyline, and even makes it secondary to their conflict.
If you haven’t read the previous material, this is still a good jumping on point as Winick characterises Ollie well. He does this firstly by showcasing his social and political views by pitting him against the corporate fat cats. The humour is there too, making this a fun little read. However it isn’t all fun and games. The previous three volumes have all shown the positive aspects to Ollie’s character, but Straight Shooter really does remind you just how flawed Ollie is. Despite being back with Dinah, Ollie can’t resist Joanna, putting more stress upon his relationships with his family by deeply upsetting Mia and angering Connor. Joanna is far from happy too, since she didn’t know about Dinah.
The veteran art team of Phil Hester and Ande Parks are still on the title in this volume, meaning that Straight Shooter looks just as great as the previous volumes. The fight scenes are just as vibrant as ever, and all the emotional exchanges are drawn excellently. There’s a scene with no dialogue where Ollie is shooting at targets alone, and it wonderfully shows just how torn up he is. Check it out for yourself.
So how does this hold up? I have to admit that it isn’t quite as good as the previous three volumes, but it still is an entertaining read. Winick does a good job of rounding Ollie out further, building on Smith’s and Meltzer’s work and showing just how flawed he is. It admittedly wavers a little bit, but the strong closing act with Drakon means that when you put this down, you feel satisfied.
GO Rating - 3.5/5