The previous issue of Arrow Season 2.5 was a pretty rough one for Oliver. It turned out that during his escape from the Church of Blood, the new Count Vertigo (played in the season 3 premiere by the amazing Peter Stormare) had dosed him with a dangerous hallucinagen and that made him fight his friends, and the memories of his family. As an exploration of Oliver’s damaged and tortured psyche, it was a fairly good installment and though it was a surprise to see Count Vertigo debut in the comic, it also made for a rather thrilling read toward the end so no complaints there.
In this week’s Arrow Season 2.5 #8, we see the consequences and lead-off from Oliver’s big fight against his memories and friends while dosed up on the drug from the new Count. It turns out actually that Sara is indeed in town on some assignment and she helps the team get back on its feet and beat-off the after-effects of a rather terrible night, a mission gone totally wrong. And on the other side, we have Waller continue to position her pieces with the Suicide Squad, preparing them to go to Kahndaq on a mission to kill a local warlord.
As before, the main story here deals with Team Arrow dealing with the fallout of recent events. With Sara aka Canary in the picture, things ramp up pretty quick and we see how her entry into the series really brightens everything up and gives it a sense of urgency that it seemed to be lacking in the previous issues, not that there wasn’t some urgency in there before. It is kinda weird to have Sara in the series though, since it plays up the same kind of thing that happened in the season 3 premiere, to disastrous results, but at the same time, I enjoyed her getting in on the action. She is my favourite character of Arrow supporting cast and to see her kicking ass and taking names in this issue was extremely gratifying.
Of course, aside from Sara and her quips, we also get to see just what is going on with the Church of Blood and their captive mirakuru-hyped soldier, captured during the night of the Siege and incarcerated since then. It seems that Clinton Hogue, the new Brother Blood who is intent on becoming a much more intense Brother Blood than his predecessor, has some big plans for Starling City, and that he does plan to create a new army of mirakuru-hyped soldiers. That certainly spells troubles for the heroes since the Siege was an absolute nightmare for everyone involved and no ones wants to repeat that again.
So the main story here is good. It has some strong pacing, some urgency, some revelations, some standard stuff to push the narrative along, but it doesn’t lack for excitement or thrills either.
The substory with the Suicide Squad isn’t so exciting this time, but it does feature Deadshot and Bronze Tiger in a training exercise, so that has some value on its own. Seeing these two in action together can give you quite the thrill, as I believe the intention for the writers was, and the 2-page sequence certainly delivers. Though, I’m ready for the team to take the big step and just get to Kahndaq already. The wait for this has been quite long, almost 4 months now, and I think the story is getting dragged out a bit too long. But at the same time, I suppose the length of time also reflects the writers wanting to ease any fresh readers into the characters, so from that perspective it does make some sense.
As before, we have Joe Bennett, Craig Yeung, Jim Charalampidis and Deron Bennett on the main story art with Szymon Kudranski doing the honours on the sub-story. There were a few scenes where Joe Bennett didn’t deliver as much as I wanted him to, such as the scenes where Sara fights Ollie with the characters being drawn in weird poses, but past that, this was still another solid issue from the team. And however Sara might have been drawn, there’s still a certain confidence radiating off from her that can get you excited about what’s coming. The backup with Szymon was a bit light this week, and Floyd Lawton’s face looked really off too, but him and Bronze Tiger fighting against ARGUS soldiers in a training exercise was fun to watch nonetheless.
Like I said, a good solid issue all around.