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Green Arrow #33

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By Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino & Marcelo Maiolo

The Broken storyline continues in Green Arrow #33, and the creative team on this series somehow manage to keep upping their game with each new installment in what is arguably one of the absolute best titles currently being published by DC.

Jeff Lemire has taken this character and really branched out a lot further into new territory than many readers might’ve initially anticipated, but everything has fit in perfectly and made this series even more interesting. The pacing in this issue and the overall sense of urgency and excitement gradually increased throughout the book until reaching its final crescendo. This was perfectly matched with the mix of both flashback story and present day conflict. Green Arrow #33 constantly switches back and forth between four years in the past and Ollie and crew in the present day. However, as the issue progresses, so too do the parallels between these two sides of the book. The cuts between stories also become more frequent over time until their final convergence at the end of issue #33. This was not only just brilliant storytelling and plotting, but it definitely intensified a lot of the more subtle emotional dimensions of the book and the general tone of suspense. The story itself keeps giving readers new things to get excited about and continues moving the series forward at a clear and steady pace. It’s also a lot of fun to see the new dynamic emerging between Ollie and Emiko as she attempts to emulate her half-brother. The blend of crime drama, action, and suspense is executed with masterful precision, making this one of the best issues Lemire and company have given us yet.

Of course, we’ve all come to realize that Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo are one of the best art teams in the business. Their work on Green Arrow has been nothing short of groundbreaking, and this certainly remains the case for issue #33. The subtle but clear realism in Sorrentino’s illustrations is quite pervasive in this book, and this overall unique style really brings the world of Green Arrow to life in an incredibly exciting and dramatic way. The action is dynamic and very cinematic throughout, and the incredible attention to detail adds a ton of depth to each image. Facial expressions, character movements, even the backgrounds, everything that Sorrentino does helps to convey the underlying emotion of each scene and bring the story to life. The dark and mysterious visual edge of the series is also quite clear in this particular issue.

However, the same praise for the artwork is also due to colorist Marcelo Maiolo. This guy works so well with Sorrentino’s style, it’s just crazy. Each major scene has a dominant color tone that works perfectly with the underlying nature of the story, but all of the really interesting and unique coloring that has become associated with this series is also present, including the sharp red, black, and white panels to exemplify certain elements of the action.

Again, the panelling itself is a testament to the design chops of the art team, and the trademark action highlights are used with excellent effect as the artists place a subpanel around particularly important parts of each image, with a slightly altered coloring within. One of the most visceral strokes of design brilliance in Green Arrow #33 cropped up at the end of the book as the protagonist gets within range of Count Vertigo: rather than doing the artwork in a distorted way to emphasize the vertigo-inducing effects of the Count’s powers, small rectangular sections of each panel appear to remove themselves from the overall image leaving negative space in their wake. These dislocated pieces of the picture become more abundant as Ollie gets closer and closer to his enemy.

Overall, this was a phenomenal piece of creative brilliance, both in terms of plot development and story pacing, as well as the visual aspects of the book. This creative team has demonstrated time and time again what others working with established major character properties should aspire to. Everything about this series feels fresh and unique, while still retaining appropriately subtle connections to the story background of crime, mystery, and superheroes.

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