By Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
Green Arrow is a character that suffers from a lack of recognizable rouges. In Green Arrow #23.1 steps are taken to drastically alter that problem. Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino have clearly made it their mission to revamp Count Vertigo so that he is not only a threat to the Green Arrow but could be one to the entire DC Universe.
Count Vertigo is a tragic villain. He was a boy that was meant for royalty but instead was raised in poverty by a mother that blamed him for their predicament. Lemire manages to not only have readers sympathizing for the way the Count was treated as a boy and teen but also understand why he is doing what he is doing.
Lemire writes the abuse that young Werner Zytle suffered with brutal accuracy. From the blame Werner receives from his mother to the juvenile name calling the kids at Crius call him, Lemire knows just what strings to pull so that when the Count finally pushes back the reader is right there with him willing him on. That being said, the tragic villain who was raised an orphan has been played out before and while there are a few twists thrown into the mix there isn’t a lot of new ground being broke.
What is there to say about the art in Green Arrow that hasn’t been said a hundred times? Sorrentino and colorist Marcelo Maiolo have come together for a book that is consistently one of the best ones on the stand month in and month out. Maiolo’s colors give the book a feel that few superhero comics, and comics in general, can rarely top. Sorrentino is a master storyteller, and man, when he goes for a splash page he makes damn sure you remember it long after you close the book.
Sorrentino’s choice to have panels and focus areas that were void of color in the first arc of his run was questionable at times, but in the context of using it to show Vertigo’s powers it works extremely well. Vertigo’s quieter moments of reflection as he wanders the mental institute are portrayed great as well, showing that Sorrentino can handle both the bombastic and the subdued.
Before Lemire, Sorrentino and company got their hands on Count Vertigo he was a B-lister at best. Thanks to this creative team it’s pretty safe to say that Vertigo will soon be joining the ranks of the recognizable A-list villains. Buy this book. You would be wise not to disrespect the Count.