Green Arrow, Vol. 4: The Kill Machine was my first sampling of this New 52 Green Arrow, and honestly, I was a bit hesitant to try it, because I’ve always been a fan of Oliver Queen (especially Kevin Smith’s amazing take on Green Arrow years ago) and was worried I might not appreciate this re-imagined/re-booted version. However, after reading this collection in one sitting, all I can say is wow! Jeff Lemire (story) and Andrea Sorrentino (illustrations) have absolutely nailed it and made this - by far - my favorite New 52 character.
There are lots of things to like about the story that Lemire gifts a reader with in this collection. We have Oliver Queen exhibiting the determination, pride, and loud mouth tendencies that have always been his trademarks. There is a whole, new mythos added to Green Arrow’s history and even a new back story; both of which make the whole Green Arrow story so much more "epic" than it has ever been in the past. We have old, familiar villains that are now updated with stellar back stories and believable super powers. There are also new, mysterious characters who instantly become favorites. Through it all, Lemire uses each new revelation or idea to drive forward his mesmerizing plot; subtly crafting an action/adventure story that reads more like an award winning crime novel than a superhero comic.
Any praise of Green Arrow: The Kill Machine would not be complete without highlighting the absolutely original artwork of Andrea Sorrentino. It is no secret that an action-packed story has to have the correct artwork to compliment it, or it just becomes another ho-hum affair, and Lemire’s story (as compelling as it was) would have fallen flat if not for Sorrentino’s brilliance. In this collection, Sorrentino’s mastery of his craft is on full display, as he puts on an art clinic of how to do action right with just enough originality to set it apart from the crowd yet still be assessable to the most casual reader. When Arrow is fighting, the art shows a fluidity of action. When he is in emotional turmoil, the anguish is clearly seen in his face and in his posture. When Oliver is in excruciating pain, his howls and grimaces radiate off the page. Quite simply, as good as the story was here, the artwork was even better. It was simply amazing.
Now, some of you might be concerned about picking up volume four of a comic series. No doubt, you imagine that there are all these interwoven plots that have been going on for years and that you must have all that back story memorized so as to enjoy a fourth act of Green Arrow’s tale. While I can understand your concern, I am here to tell you it is baseless, because if you’ve never read Green Arrow before - either the old version or the New 52 version - it is not a problem. This collection reads very much like a standalone novel. Sure, you know things have happened in the past, but all the back story you need to appreciate The Kill Machine is quickly and succinctly provided by Lemire without it ever interrupting the flow of the overall tale.
In summation, if you appreciate silky smooth action stories, you need to give Green Arrow: The Kill Machine a try. This one will draw you in so quickly and so completely that soon you will find yourself trailing along behind Lemire and Sorrentino like a kid chasing the ice cream truck, desperate to taste the new flavor that this new Green Arrow has in store for you next. It exceeded my expectations, and I can honestly say it turned me into a fan of this New 52 Green Arrow, and he and I will definitely be visiting each other again soon.
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank the publisher for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.