Green Arrow: Stranded
Writer: Brendan Deneen
Artist: Bell Hosalla
Letterer DC Hopkins of AndWorld Design
Review by Tony Farina
Thank you to Net Galley and DC Comics for an ARC
DC Comics strikes again with a re-imagined origin story for a young generation of readers. This time, they put the Emerald Archer in the center of the bullseye.
Writing a story like this can be difficult. If one is writing for younger kids, the path is laid out. When one is writing for Young Adults, it is a bit easier to follow as well. Writing for middle-readers is tricky. How does the writer talk to them and not down to them? How can the writer keep them intrigued without them thinking it is “for babies?”
While I don’t have the answers, Brendan Deneen does. In this story, we meet a young Ollie Queen whose parents are getting divorced, who was just embarrassed in front of one of his peers and who is being asked to do something he’s never done before. These are all things a middle reader can relate to. However, in an effort not to get bogged down in the message and the After School Special-ness that often happens in stories like this, Deneen has Ollie’s plane drop from the sky so he has to do all of this while trying to keep himself and his father alive.
The pacing is pitch-perfect. Deneen knows just when to stop and let the reader breathe and he knows when to push the limits and force the reader to stay up for just a few more minutes to get to the next chapter.
The star of the piece is Bell Hosalla. They immerse readers into Ollie’s world. Because they color their own art, they play with light and shadow in an immersive way. I think Hosalla shines the brightest when they draw Ollie’s reactions. Readers of any age will be able to know exactly what is going through Ollie’s mind and which emotion he is feeling. Look out for Hosalla, they are an artist on the come and you will be pleased to see what they do next.
Adult readers may feel that this book is a bit beneath them. It is supposed to be. Deneen and Hosalla wanted to write for a specific audience. If I had a middle-reader in my life, I would buy this book tomorrow.
If you do have one, you should do just that.