Green Arrow
The Sounds of Violence

Author: Kevin Smith
Artist: Phil Hester
Titan Books
RRP: £19.99
ISBN 1 84023 703 1
Available now

Oliver Queen (aka the Green Arrow) is back in Star City, looking to get his life back in order. His relationship with the Black Canary is in tatters, and his 'family' want his undivided attention, something he's not able to give, thanks to a mysterious killer who is systematically taking out vigilantes and the Green Arrow is next on his list...

The Sounds of Violence is the second of Kevin Smith's Green Arrow collections to be released into the UK through Titan Publishing. You've got to hand it to the man - he knows what he's doing.

This collection tackles issues that fans have questioned for years (like why do old male vigilantes feel the need to have boy sidekicks that wear tight little shorts?) But what I really liked was that the main story (bad guy-offing vigilantes) played second fiddle to the character relationships. It felt, and this is not a criticism, as though the main story had been tacked on to fill out space while the characterisation was the main thrust. This was particularly refreshing when you consider that most comic books do this the other way around.

Ollie Queen is an old fashioned character, with out of date ideals and the worst excuse for a disguise that you have ever seen. But in the hands of Smith he is a hero to rank alongside the likes of Batman and Superman (Okay, maybe better than dull old Redneck Sups, but you get the idea).

Phil Hester's art wonderfully compliments Smith's vision - I dare you not to wince as Green Arrow pierces his enemy's foot with an arrow and try not to look around the balls that cover the naked Black Canary.

The presentation of this collection is also first rate. Hardcover with a felt like feel to it and, one of the best grade paper stocks for the interior, make this an essential purchase for any true comic fan. There are also a couple of neat inclusions to get the fan boys sweaty including a neat reference to Ben Affleck and an illustration of Kevin Smith as Green Arrow.

Yet again Smith proves he is on at least an equal footing with the likes of Frank Miller, Garth Ennis and Alan Moore.

Darren Rea

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