I’ll be completely honest, what I’ve read on Green Arrow is pretty limited; a couple trades and some various issues of runs from Grell, Smith, etc that I come across in comic shops. Most of my knowledge and enthusiasm for Green Arrow comes from the Arrow televisual radio program and what I’ve read on wikipedia. So I am by no means an expert on, or concerned with what is, canon. I was simply walking through Denver Comic Con 2015, checking out a 50% off trades vendor when I saw this book. Just looking at the cover it looked hella awesome. I’ve been wanting to read more on GA and plus, it’s part of Brightest Day, the storyline after Darkest Night, another series I’ve been wanting to read. So I obviously picked it up.
First of all, the art. FANTASTIC. Part of why I never got into comics at a younger age was that I didn’t like the art. With the exception of most covers, it all seemed so very simple on the inside. Very cookie cutter… everything looked the same to me. The modern age of comics has certainly upped the ante on the artwork with just absolutely stunning, almost photorealism quality, work. And this book is another great example of some of the best artwork you will see.
JT Krul does a great job of setting a tone throughout the book. One that stresses GA’s status as an outlaw hero & and Oliver’s feeling of being a self loathing screw up loner. He did a great job of tying Oliver’s past into the current story, along with the past of his father, and making it a cohesive story that fits into the GA mythos. Into the Woods introduced me to several characters I was unfamiliar with and hinted at previous story-lines and happenings that I was also unfamiliar with, but still functions great as a stand-alone story. So if you have little to no GA knowledge you would still be alright understanding this book. In all actuality, you would probably need more knowledge of the Blackest Night/ Lantern Corps story-lines than anything GA associated. So reading Blackest Night is suggested before reading Into the Woods, although I didn’t and still enjoyed the book.
The new characters (or maybe they were just new to me) do well to act as antagonist, foil, ally & moral compass to Ollie, creating great new spins in what might otherwise be a tired story-line. In addition to the new characters Into the Woods also brings in some guest appearances by other familiar DC heroes from the Blackest Night storyline. I won’t drop any spoilers, but I’m guessing anyone with even a cursory knowledge of comics would be excited at who comes and goes throughout the story.
While the story does SORT OF wrap up at the end, just about all the major mysteries are still lingering as there is still more to be covered in the next book, Salvation. But Into the Woods left me wanting answers, and interested enough to want to go out and find them in the next book. Which isn’t that what good literature is meant to do?