As promised in an earlier post, on my trip to the comic shop this past Wednesday, I picked up copies of Green Arrow #17 and Earth 2 #9 and now sit before my keyboard in order to share with you my thoughts upon them.
One thing that you get from reading monthly comics that you don't get from waiting for the inevitable trade paperback collection is the thrill of anticipation that you get when you come to the last page of a really good issue and can't wait to know what happens next. Earth 2 has, more often than not, been providing that sensation throughout its run. The pleasant surprise for me this week was to find myself looking forward to a new Green Arrow comic for the first time in about a decade.
As advertised, the latest issue of Earth 2 introduces the new Dr. Fate, although he apparently has not yet adopted that name. He is not, as I sort of expected, Kent Nelson, the alter ego of the Golden Age (and pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-Two) Fate, but a young man named Khalid Ben-Hassin. Since the story of Dr. Fate has always been rooted in a sort of pseudo-Egyptian mythology, it certainly makes sense to have the new Fate be, I presume, Egyptian. Although I assume that the name Kent Nelson, either as a separate character or perhaps as a pseudonym for Khalid, will pop up eventually.
Anyway, we first meet him at his home when Hawkgirl pops in for a visit and it is revealed that they both received their powers at the same time. Again, not all that surprising, as the Golden Age Hawkman was a reincarnated Egyptian prince, thus linking the two origins now makes perfect sense. Hawkgirl persuades Khalid to teleport over to Michigan and keep an eye on Jay Garrick, the Flash, as he goes home to visit his mother. Needless to say, chaos ensues as Atom Smasher and Wesley Dodds and his Sandmen show up to apprehend Jay. With Khalid's help, Jay and his mom escape, but they're really jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire as they find themselves confronted by an even greater menace.
As I said, I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this story plays out over the coming months.
As for Green Arrow #17, I can boil down my review to just one sentence: This is the best issue of any Green Arrow series that I've read since Mike Grell left the character's first ongoing series.
Yes, I enjoyed the Kevin Smith written issues, but I think that your enjoyment of those really depends on how much you like Kevin Smith. Jeff Lemire has crafted a story that can be enjoyed by any fan of the character, weaving together echoes of the character's pre-Flashpoint continuity with plot points from the Arrow TV series while taking the story in an exciting new direction.
I picked up this issue with expectations so low as to be nonexistent, but found myself really liking it. If Lemire can sustain the level of quality storytelling on display in this issue, I won't be surprised in the future to see "The Kill Machine" ranked alongside The Longbow Hunters as one of the great Green Arrow stories.