As DC's "Rebirth" relaunch has reached its sixth month in December, several of the publisher's key titles are also reaching their twelfth issue. For Green Arrow, that means the twice-a-month title has had time to do more than just bring back Oliver Queen's goatee. Since the comic book kicked off with a new #1 in June, Ollie's been betrayed by many of the people he once trusted, lost his status and possessions, and was even marooned on an island yet again.
In our ongoing series marking the 12-issue point of most "Rebirth" titles, Newsarama takes a look at what has happened in Green Arrow and what may be coming next for the Emerald Archer.
The first issue of Green Arrow had a shocking final page revelation - not only was the CFO of Ollie's company part of a criminal organization, but assisting him were Oliver's half-sister Emiko and her mother, the master assassin Shado.
Oliver is drugged and dumped into the ocean, although Emi's betrayal is questionable, because she secretly plants a tracker on Ollie so his tech guru Henry can find him.
After a couple weeks healing, Ollie finds out that his name has been disgraced and everyone thinks he's dead. His former CFO, Cyrus Broderick, has taken over the company, and all of Ollie's possessions have been destroyed or liquidated.
Ollie vows to bring to justice the organization behind the attack - a group called the Ninth Circle that's headquartered in the "Inferno," their floating home base. He tries to infiltrate his own former office building to confront Cyrus, but Ollie ends up in a trap and has not only alerted the organization that he's alive, but Shado is on his trail.
Separately, Ollie's old ally John Diggle and Black Canary are investigating the Ninth Circle on their own. Canary makes her way into the Inferno, but is discovered, while Diggle finds out that the Ninth Circle is a bank that secretly funds crime around the world. He teams up with Green Arrow (after an awkward - and even angry - reunion) to try to free Dinah and take down the Inferno.
It becomes obvious to readers that Emiko's heart just isn't in this "betray all my friends" stuff, because she helps Dinah get free from the Circle. By the end of the Inferno battle, the floating base has exploded and Dinah, Ollie, and Diggle have all escaped onto what appears to be a deserted isle.
Over the course of all these adventures, readers find out that Emi and Shado haven't exactly been freely attacking Ollie and friends as part of the Ninth Circle. Emi is actually acting as a sort of double agent, trying to bring down the Ninth Circle and free Shado from a nasty Yakuza boss named Oyabun, to whom their family owes a blood-debt.
After some cool flashbacks to a story featuring the Clock King - a seemingly new version of the character for "Rebirth" - Emi fights Oyabun for her mother's freedom. Although Oyabun ends up turning into a dragon - no, really - Emiko wins with help from Shado as they blow Oyabun's lair up.
Meanwhile, back on the island (no, this isn't the same island from Ollie's origin, but it's pretty freaky on its own), Diggle, Dinah, and Ollie have to deal with a couple people who've been negatively affected by the Ninth Circle. Ollie realizes that Queen Industries (and its money) played a huge part in setting up the Ninth Circle's network. He's none too happy 'cause the "Rebirth" version of Oliver Queen is a social justice warrior.
Eventually, the three escape on a high speed transatlantic train (called The Empire Empress) that Ollie's father designed. The train carries some nasty chemicals, as well as some political figures, including the aforementioned Cyrus Broderick.
Even though he and his friends are stowaways, Ollie just can't stay hidden. After a villain tries to poison the dignitaries, Oliver and company become embroiled in a battle that concludes with a bomb.
Everyone important escapes the madness alive, but Green Arrow and friends are being blamed by the news media for all the trouble. News reporters in Seattle have acquired security footage from Queen Industries that confirms that Green Arrow broke in there a while back, and the superhero is being connected with the wreck of The Empire Empress, as well as the death of one of the diplomats on board.
With Green Arrow #12, the team of Dinah, Diggle, and Ollie have set up a tree house base of operations outside Seattle and Oliver gets back into the business of saving people's lives. The issue sets up the next storyline, titled "Emerald Outlaw," which involves a politician named Nathan Domini and another nefarious plot by Cyrus Broderick to get rid of Green Arrow.
According to DC's Direct Currents magazine, the next story arc will have Ollie framed as a murderer, and Domini will use the grisly deaths as a campaign issue in his bid for the mayor's office. "As Green Arrow looks further into the murders, he soon realizes that it must be someone he knows," the issue promises.
The nicest thing I can say about all this would be: at least Ollie's not a werewolf. "Everyone important escapes the madness alive," this synopsis says; apparently I'm not important. The only way I have of escaping this madness is by not reading it.
It takes a lot for me to feel sympathy for Green Arrow; well, that (above) sure is a lot. But I feel more sympathy for Green Arrow's readers than for him. Green Arrow writers seems to be stuck in the Daredevil Dilemma: the only time Daredevil ever achieved any popularity was when one writer decided to destroy him and everything around him and make him fight his way back inch by inch from devastation.
This seems to be the default approach to Ollie for some time now, and it's, frankly, quite tedious. Even I, who have negative respect for Green Arrow, acknowledge that THAT'S HIS ORIGIN STORY. The man was SHIPWRECKED for Neptune's sake. Continuing to 'shipwreck' him proves nothing, other than that you can't think of anything else to do with the character.
Who's writing Green Arrow now? Is it still the same guy who thought making him a werewolf was a good idea? Get your act together, DC Comics; if DC Entertainment can give me a version of the Arrowverse I'm interested in, why can't you? I hate Green Arrow and even I could do a better job than this.