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Comic Of The Week

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciler: Phil Hester
Inker: Ande Parks
Colors: Guy Major
Letterer: Clem Robins
Asst. Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Bob Schreck

Green Arrow #38 July 2004

This is part 5 of the City Walls story arc where a crazy wizard surrounds Star City with a barrier and summons nine foot tall red flaming demons to keep the peace.  Law enforcement is binary, "Peace or Perish!" Abide by the laws and live in peace, steal a candy bar or stab your enemy, a horny demon appears and chops you up with a scimitar.  At the end of the last issue Green Arrow finds where the wizard is hiding out and discovers that it's guarded by a thousand of the demons.  This issue, Ollie and Conner need to build an army to assault the stronghold by convincing the Star City police officers and the various mobsters to play nice and team up with him.  Meanwhile Green Arrow has to deal with the eager Mia, the runaway he's become a father figure to, who wants to join them on their deadly mission.
There are three reasons why I made this my pick of the week.  First and foremost, the art is great.  Except for a couple issues in the middle, Phil Hester and Ande Parks have been with this volume Green Arrow from issue one.  Since that first series with Kevin Smith, the writers have changed three times.  But it has been Hester and Parks who have kept the look and feel of the comic the same throughout the different story arcs and characterizations.  I don't know how long they're going to stay on the book, but when they go... the next artist will have a big quiver to fill.  I fear that the same thing will happen when Cameron Stewart left Catwoman and was replaced with Paul Gulacy.  Even though the writer and the story arc stayed the same, my interest in the series and character dive-bombed.  So, I treat each new issue of Green Arrow with Hester and Parks like it's the last I'll ever see and it makes me appreciate each panel.
The second and third things I like about this issue have to do with the interaction between Ollie and Mia at the end of the issue.  Mia wants to be a super hero like him and Ollie forbids it.  Mia attacks him and he calmly analyzes each punch, kick, and throw attempt before turning her off like a light switch.  Phil and Ande show Oliver's sheer size as a person and his skill in hand to hand combat in a way that illustrates his super-hero status.  Oliver is just a man, but like Batman, is still a badass who can hang out with the Supermen of the DC Universe.  And that's without ever picking up his bow! But this isn't the first time that Mia has posed this request to Ollie, but finally... finally she gets the answer she's looking for. After he kicks her butt and shows her how much she has left to learn, he tells Conner, "Get her a mask!" Awesome!  So now I'm totally craving next issue which should be the debut of Mia as a super-hero... something that I've been waiting for since her appearance in Kevin Smith's Quiver arc over two years ago.