Green Arrow, Vol. 2 – Island of Scars

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Green Arrow, Volume 2: Island of Scars is a collection of books that don’t run together and are instead more in the mode of a collection of individual tales and not all where Green Arrow is the main focus. In this volume is also an appearance by The Black Canary, not the kiddie pop version we are currently seeing wander in and out of Batgirl comics, but the real Canary. Here, she is not Barbara Gordon’s singing sidekick, no here, she is a sensuous and deadly woman. This is the real Black Canary, a member of the Justice League, a superhero who is quite capable of handling herself and doesn’t need saving. In fact, quite strong enough to be the one doing the saving.
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This volume also tells the tales of the Green Arrow’s new apprentice, Emiko Queen. Ollie’s half sister, this teenage girl has the fighting skills of a ninja and the angst of anyone who is ready to battle but finds herself constantly held in check. A collaboration between Emiko Queen and Damian Wayne would be a fun and bloody comic.

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I have never really been a Green Arrow fan and have never seen a single episode of the television show. I have always seen him as more of a throwaway character. A supporting cast member to the relationship between Batman and Superman. But there are glimpses of a true superhero here. One whose idealogy conflicts with his actions. Ollie, unlike Bruce Wayne, is as much a part of his Superhero persona in and out of the costume. The emergence of new characters that are as different from him as could be is a true risk, as it has the Green Arrow questioning himself.

I enjoyed this collection and think I’m very likely to start following this comic line as we are seeing actual growth in the character which is rare in one that has been around for so long.

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Wraithborn by Joe Benitez

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Wraithborn by Joe Benitez is a pleasure to read and view. The artwork is stunning and the storyline is sure to capture a following. This is Benitez’s own creation prior to his taking over the very popular, steampunk comic, Lady Mechanika. As the comic book world rushes back to catch Benitez’s earlier work, they are sure to find Wraithborn.

The young warrior Valin was next to receive the powers of the Wraithborn, but before the transfer could take place a young student, Melanie gets in the way as receives the power instead. The Wraithborn bonds for life and now shy, timid, high school student Melanie contains the power. The forces of evil that battle the Wraithborn see this as their opportunity to attack. Valin knows he must protect Melanie as she struggles to learn how to use the Wraithborn.

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There is tons of monsters and demons and swords and in the midst of it all, Melanie still has to deal with fitting in with the lunch crowd at high school. With her good friend Zoe, she begins to learn about the world outside of her school and what the world at large sees. Valin is something of the good soldier and as such, can come across very stiff and wooden. But the team of Valin and Melanie and their friends work very well together.
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The artwork is stunning, very reminiscent of Tony Daniel and his work on the Tenth. Which brings me to the only whine about Wraithborn. Its not original. Young girl gets mystical or supernatural powers and now the forces of evil target her before she can learn to use them. Strong and silent type warrior comes to defend her and together they battle the bad guys.

What separates Wraithborn from the other books in this lot is that Benitez has taken the time to develop his characters and in doing so has made them someone to care about. Melanie’s time in school as she tries to avoid the bullying of the popular crowd shows how much she doesn’t want to be the hero type. If she could spend her day not being noticed, she would be so much happier. But the fates have different ideas and thankfully so.

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Wraithborn is very well written and the artwork leaps off the page. This is one to find and enjoy!

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