Green Arrow:
Sounds of Violence

by Kevin Smith
& Phil Hester
(DC Comics, 2003)

Still fresh from resurrection and newly ensconced with his family -- estranged son Connor, who also goes by the name Green Arrow, and homeless orphan Mia, who has crime-fighting ambitions of her own -- Oliver "Green Arrow" Queen is having the time of his life back on patrol. Of course, he still hasn't let former/future(?) flame Dinah "Black Canary" Lance know he's back among the living, and their "first" date together is a rollicking treat -- as are the first and second meetings between the liberal Queen and the ultraconservative hero Hawkman.

But the meat and potatoes of Sounds of Violence, Kevin Smith's second story arc on the Green Arrow series, is a new villain, Onomatopoeia, a hero-killer who mimics the sounds surrounding each death. A random TV broadcast sets his course for Team Arrow -- and this new bad guy is certainly no pushover.

When a member of Oliver's extended family falls to Onomatopoeia's assault, it's up to the elder Green Arrow to save a life and stave off further attacks by this new masked assassin.

Sounds of Violence is a taut, thrilling superhero drama, the kind that keeps you turning pages as fast as you can. It's the kind of story that makes you wish Smith was a more frequent (and more reliable) writer in the comics field.

Penciller Phil Hester isn't the man I'd have chosen to illustrate the adventures of Green Arrow, but his art does tend to grow on you. His characters are a bit more cartoony than I'd prefer -- blocky, angular, high-browed, long-limbed and sparse of detail. Annoying at first, the art by my second read through the book seemed a natural look for Queen & Co.

Bottom line, Sounds of Violence is an excellent story, with strong character development and gripping action from start to end. I'd been longing for Green Arrow's return to the DC Universe after his fiery death a few years before, and it's gratifying to see him back on track.

by Tom Knapp
6 January 2006

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