CW’s Arrow has begun to find its groove in its new third season, and it has also started casting the net really wide when it comes to characters and events, with the most recent episode last week going back in time to a rather key moment in season 1. But of course, some of the more burning questions are related to what has happened in between the second season finale and the third season premiere, which is where Arrow Season 2.5 from writers Marc Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu comes in. Up until now we’ve seen some pretty nifty stuff with the Church of Blood and it looks like things are finally drawing to a close on that front.
The latest issue of Arrow Season 2.5 pits Oliver and Diggle directly against the Church of Blood as they finally learn more about it and have a location to match. Being as short a comic as it is, things move a little too quickly for my tastes, but it addresses some really key things such as Clinton Hogue recognizing Diggle and Felicity from when they kidnapped him last season to find out Sebastian Blood’s whereabouts and also what is going on with Officer Lance. Plus the Kahndaq backup, while altogether brief once again, is pretty cool and really sets the stage for the return of the Suicide Squad.
The previous issue, while it told a good story, was nevertheless also disappointing in that it was largely a flashback to a season 2 episode that covered who Clinton Hogue was and how he came to have the mask of Brother Blood. Origins of supervillains are all well and good but thing is that given the length of this comic, and the fact that DC’s digital-first titles are usually about a third of a regular comic, this was a step back from what the series was doing already. Quite a shock too, in some ways. But now, in the new issue, we see some fresh stuff that moves the story forward and takes it toward what I hope would be a really good showdown between Team Arrow and the Church of Blood.
And that’s the thing. In season 2 Sebastian Blood wasn’t focused so much on creating a church out of his beliefs as he was in creating a mirakuru-powered army for Slade Wilson. This is where Clinton Hogue steps from what his former boss did and I think it is a good move forward for both the show and the characters, since it brings an element of organized cultism and paranoia to the series. Certainly, given everything that happens with Diggle and Oliver in this issue, all of this bears out.
But that’s not everything of course because we find out some rather startling things about Clinton Hogue’s brand of Blood nonsense. He is interested in creating an army too, an army that can deliver Starling City to him and in this issue we see how he plans to do that. It comes as quite the shock and also makes me apprehensive in that a little too much of the second season is being reused here instead of the series forging ahead with brand-new material.
It kind of works as it is right now, but I think that I’m quite ready for some more things to happen. The final two-three pages of he issue bear that out as Oliver finally confronts the new Brother Blood. Drama, tension, character development, it is all here in this issue.
If there’s anything I didn’t like, it was that Laurel is quite passive so far in this series, and so is Felicity, kind of, though she still cracks some good jokes and has an appreciable habit of cutting right to the heart of the matter and getting that Arrow glare directed at her.
Oh and we got to see what is happening with Thea and Malcolm in Corto Maltese and, indeed, what is happening in Kahndaq right now. The writers drop in a great reference to one of DC’s stalwart supervillains in the backup, and I’m all the more excited to see what is going to happen there once Amanda Waller deploys the Suicide Squad. Fun stuff.
Joe Bennett’s pencils felt a little off in this issue as some of the characters were a bit too bulky with wide faces, such as Oliver and Diggle, and Thea and Malcolm didn’t exactly look like I expected them too. But thankfully, that’s really all the complaints I have against this one where the art is concerned, because the rest of the issue is damn good. I really loved how the scenes in Starling were contrasted against the scenes in Corto Maltese and how the whole vibe changed once we stepped into Kahndaq and witnessed a fanatic doing his thing. Good stuff.
Things are really heating up on all fronts now!