Collecting the first three mini-comics, originally offered digitally, Arrow is a spin-off of the hit CW tv series starring Stephen Amell as a young Oliver Queen. This book seeks to embellish the TV show’s mythology by adding “off-panel” scenes. But it takes a while to get to that. It’s broken up into three chapters, the original weekly mini-comics. The overall story is written by series creators Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, but each chapter has its own scripters and different art teams. The result is a real mixed bag.
The first chapter is pencilled by the legendary Mike Grell, who famously illustrated Green Arrow’s books in the 80s, during what could be considered the character’s high point. Grell’s work is incredibly solid, with some excellent detail work, but it’s a bit sketchy and it doesn’t match his earlier work. But even so, it’s strong. It just doesn’t pop off the page.
Ben Sokolowski draws the second chapter and while his work has a nice style to it, it can be crude and lacking in detail at time.
As for the plot, the first two chapters do not add a single thing to the TV show’s unfolding storyline. The first chapter is practically just vignettes from the show’s pilot… just minus the pretty people. The second is simply a retread of the show’s premise, with a crooked businessman on Ollie’s list getting a chance to come clean. It’s like the plot of every episode, just shorter… and minus the pretty people. It’s also confusingly narrated by the criminal. I didn’t realize this at first, and once I did, I had to go back and reread the earlier pages so they could make sense.
The third chapter is the issue’s high-point, focusing on villain Lady Shiva and revealling her secret origin, illustrated by Jorge Jiminez. Jiminez’s art is excellent! It’s fluid, crackles with energy and just as Grell’s art felt a bit flat, Jiminez’s does indeed pop off the page. And the story actually embellishes the story of the show, deepening the mythology.
The third chapter is fine, but maybe buy the digital copy, which is cheaper. The first two are a throw-away.
Story by Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberger
Scripts by Guggenheim & Kreisberg, Ben Sokolowski, Beth Schwartz
Pencils by Mike Grell, Sergio Sandoval, Jorge Jiminez