Arrow Season 2.5 #1 (Comics Review)

Something amazing happened back in 2012. DC Entertainment rolled out its first superhero television show in ages, partnering once again with CW. Starring Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, Arrow quickly went on to become a mainstream hit, and in an age where superheroes are ruling the box office globally, it came in at the right time. In the gap left after the great success of ten seasons of Smallville, Arrow showed that a hero didn’t have to be Batman or Superman on the small screen to be successful. Taking a cue from the realism of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, the show did a lot of things differently, but at its core it remained a comics adaptation, and here we are now, almost two years later, gearing up for a third season of the show, coming in just about a month more.

To tide fans until the new season premiere, DC Comics and have CW are now continuing their hit Arrow digital-first tie-in comics in a new season of the comic. Arrow Season 2.5 is going to cover the time between the explosive end of seasons 2 and 3 of the show, and give fans some of the connecting points to show how the various characters evolve in between that time. The first issue was released a few days ago and it is an explosive opener by far. Marc Guggenheim delivers on a script packed with perfect characterization and action while the art by Joe Bennett is very reminiscent of the show itself, making this a great adaptation.

Arrow - Season 2.5 001

I’ll confess. I haven’t read the Arrow tie-in comics, except for the first issue when it was released back in 2012. That’s really it. I’ve meant to go back and read through the entire series thus far, but time is limited as is, so that hasn’t panned out. Now with my increasing reading every week however, I’m hopeful that I can keep up a regular schedule with this, especially since I’m really invested with what has turned out to be my absolute favourite television show in two years.

Marc Guggenheim, who works on the show itself in all sorts of executive capacities, is the scripter behind this new issue, and what he shows in this issue is something I’ve been wanting to see on the show all of season 2 as Roy Harper finally joined Team Arrow as Speedy. In a comic, Guggenheim isn’t restricted at all by production and special effects cost so his series opener is high-octane from the get-go. Oliver and Roy are trying to stop a drug plane from leaving Starling and they do it in the classic Team Arrow fashion, leaving no room for doubt, only well-timed wisecracks at each other.

Guggenheim’s characterization of both the heroes, and of Diggle and Felicity alike is right on the spot. He blends them together seamlessly and reading through this issue, it is as if I could well be watching an episode from the show itself. The best thing about the show is the interactions between the members of Team Arrow and that’s what Guggenheim delivers here. As awesome as expected, really.

There is an interesting start to this comic in that it shows a scene from six years ago and features a kid called Caleb watching as his father kills his mother and then himself. What the relevance of this entire sequence is, I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to the next couple issues. Guggenheim is a dependable writer, and I expect him to deliver on this in the future. Whatever the connection between Caleb and Oliver ends up being, in the end.

And the cliffhanger? Man, heart-pumping and shocking cliffhanger.

Joe Bennett is the penciller here, with inks by Jack Jadson, colours by Jim Charalampidis and letters by Deron Bennett. For the most part, the art reflects the characters as they are in real life on the show, but occasionally there are panels where that’s not the case. However, it all balances out in the end because Joe has a great sense of action and visual pacing so he moves the reader through the story in short order, all the while presenting one kickass scene after another. The inks by Jack are a bit heavy, but quite appropriate for the most part, and the same goes for Jim, who presents a more generally upbeat tone to Starling than I’d thought to find here.

Bring on the next issue!

Rating: 9/10

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