By Benjamin Percy and Stephen Byrne
What do you do when you’ve been wrongly convicted, but have turned yourself into the authorities anyway? That’s very much the problem that Oliver Queen is facing. Ollie has avoided bail in order to deliver justice, the result of investigating The Ninth Circle, the Court of Owls-esque Green Arrow villains who have put him in a crosshair and left him in a very difficult position. This is made even more problematic by the inclusion of The Flash, who isn’t on the best terms with Oliver right now.
The different dynamic between the sort of mentor and apprentice role that Oliver and Barry have in the Arrowverse on the CW is really striking here; they almost don’t like each other. It’s clear that one day they’ll become good friends, but that is not the case for now with Barry, who’s already a member of the Justice League and doesn’t exactly hold Green Arrow in the best of viewpoints. At the same time, this shouldn’t worry people who are fans of the two characters because Percy has thrown them together to create what could be the start of an interesting superhero buddy-cop story. It really benefits from the lack of having to accommodate as many of the supporting characters and tropes that the series does, which is the show’s biggest weakness. Free of that and budget constraints, Percy can let his imagination run wild like he’s been doing on this series and the way that this plays out will no doubt be very exciting, especially as team-ups are always welcomed between these two particular characters.
The Ninth Circle has been established as a real threat to Oliver and Percy effectively establishes their menace in that they have eyes and ears everywhere. It’s something that can’t easily be defeated and, given what they’ve accomplished so far, the stakes feel higher than ever. Percy bringing different heroes into the equation for each issue is really welcoming as well, especially with Wonder Woman making an appearance in the next issue. From the looks of things, it sounds like Oliver’s battle to join the Justice League will be a trial by fire indeed.
Stephen Bryne’s artwork is excellent. It’s bright, colorful, and vibrant. The dynamic visuals created by Flash and Green Arrow teaming up always feel fresh and exciting, and there’s never a dull page with something always happening to keep you engaged. His take on Black Canary in her small cameo appearance is excellent, with a clear contrast in tone and highlighting the difference between the adventures that take place in Star City and the adventures that take place on the road. Kate Spencer’s inclusion is also welcomed and fans of all of the characters here will find plenty to love about the way they are both written and drawn. The way that Bryne handles Flash’s use of the speedforce is really cool, with a particular panel where he is running past cars and overturned trucks on the mountain road as Oliver watches on being a highlight.
Green Arrow #26 has plenty of fast paced action that suits both The Flash and Green Arrow fans and really delivers in what it sets out to do. It’s enjoyable, fun, and exciting, and far more than just a normal filler team-up issue, helped by the difference in dynamic to what we normally see from both of the characters. A great way to kick-off the events of Hard Travelling Hero indeed. If this book is anything to go by, Green Arrow fans should be in for a treat going forward with this arc.