As regular readers on here might have guessed, I don't buy too many new books. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Oliver Queen, though - so I've been keeping up with this new series via trades. Overall, I think that it's been a pretty strong ride from the earliest Kevin Smith issues to the more recent Judd Winnick stuff. It's not perfect - as I feel that the plot is often rushed along (I read the previous trade "Crawling Through the Wreckage" during on 25 minute streetcar ride home from work), but the whole Arrow Family is pretty well fleshed out making for believable relationships.
With this edition, we are smack dab in the middle of a power play for the mayor's office as Ollie is facing a recall election. This is nicely contrasted to some flashbacks to the training sessions that went on during his 'year off'. Some of it may be a bit over the top, but at least we get to see a new seriousness in Ollie that he ultimately takes into political life. Like any 'Family' book, there's the danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth, but Mia and Connor are used effectively and Roy and Dinah only show up for support near the end. Winnick doesn't go overboard with the guest stars as we only really have Batman showing up for an extended visit. What I really like most about what Winnick has done is to bring some gravitas to certain villians. Deathstroke, Merlyn and Drakon all bring some serious sinister to the table, and Brick's uneasy alliance with Oliver comes to a messy end. This was my first exposure to Jason Todd/Red Hood and he seems like a decent villain. The interchange between Ollie and Batman about who screwed up their sidekicks the most was pretty priceless.
I like Winnick - he does go a bit over the top at times, but he knows how to write a superhero book and the political stuff is pretty solid. The McDaniel/Owens team is decent - but I'd really love it if Hester and Parks returned - they provided a better mixture of elegance and intensity. In the end, it was an enjoyable ride and I'll continue to stick with this series (via trades) as it is a consisitently good read. Overall Grade: B+