3754_400x600Dennis (Denny) O’Neil (writer) and Neal Adams (penciler) don’t tread lightly when it comes to tackling issues of the day in their early 1970’s run on DC’s Green Lantern (vol. 2) (commonly referred to today as Green Lantern/Green Arrow). During their time on the title they address the issues of racism, drug use, child abuse, cult followings, and more. Seems simple enough today, but back in the 70’s the industry had never seen this type of raw expression before in comics! This segment of The One Hitter reviews Green Lantern (vol. 2) a.k.a. Green Lantern/Green Arrow #83-#87.

gl0831#83 In this issue, a controlling old man who goes by the name of Grandy, uses a little girl for her powers of mind control. With her powers, Grandy attacks people, commanding the little girl to “Make them sorry!” Our heroes, along with Black Canary (who gets a topless shot, oh yeah!) are determined to get to the bottom of the situation…

                                                           4/5 stars

4e16bd0d-90de-47d3-b525-40cfa2ba4668#84  O’Neil and Adams take on the problem of cults/corporate power and the brainwashing that is connected to both. Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) must use his power ring to save an island community from certain disaster while Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) hangs out in his new pad… reading. Anyway, the island’s populace is being mind controlled by someone evil and Hal doesn’t realize this until it’s too late…

4/5 stars

3da1cd04-da04-43d6-881f-412ff627e17f#85 As the cover suggests, our heroes get involved in the war on drugs. Green Arrow gets a taste of his own medicine and Green Lantern keeps on learning that the world has it’s dark side. Hal Jordan’s drug trip, a one page scene between an Asian-American and an African-American, and the last page make this issue worth your dollar! True to the time, O’Neil even includes some corny dialogue: “I’ll use the installment plan… a leg down and a toe a week!” – Green Arrow… I don’t even know what that means. Regardless, this issue kicks ass.

5/5 stars

#86 This issue picks up where #85 left off with Green Arrow delivering a backhand to his doped out ward, Speedy. While this issue mainly deals with drug use and the negative consequences of using, it also touches on the father and son 6b35f627-51c6-4157-9b22-54392e1b9edf2relationship between Ollie and Roy (Speedy). This relationship comes across as very real and human as the two characters can’t reconcile over Speedy’s addiction. Ollie decides to find the people responsible for supplying the drugs and make them pay…

While the writing of O’Neil is top notch, a good amount of the story telling in this issue is done by the art work of Neal Adams. It works well, specifically the scenes where two junkies take heroin, and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) helps Roy overcome his addiction. These are some of the most powerful scenes in comics, especially back in 1971. Happily, there isn’t much corny dialogue, which compliments the serious overtone of the story. What’s even cooler? How about the fact that this issue was endorsed by the Mayor of New York City at the time, John V. Lindsay! Rock on!

5/5 stars

#87 This issue kicks off with disaster as an earthquake results in a bus taking out Guy Gardner, the reserve Green Lantern. When Hal learns that Guy will be hospitalized for at least six months, the Guardians inform him their selection for Gardner’s  replacement has been made; enter the first appearance of John Stewart! After stating why he won’t wear a mask, Stewart is trained by Hal who assigns him his first mission: to serve as body guard to prejudiced senator, Jeremiah Clutcher! 5435e51d-48f7-4e53-bfb3-b027a9ff1c781

Denny O’Neil’s theme shifts from drug use to racism and prejudice. He is very liberal with his writing and to some sensitive individuals, this issue may offend as certain words and topics are no longer acceptable in our censored society. For instance, the aforementioned prejudiced senator gets covered in oil and John Stewart remarks, “Hey, baby… haven’t I seen you picking cotton someplace?”, and that’s only the first example. Regardless of how one perceives it, O’Neil’s writing is reflective of 70’s society in America, and that’s just fact.

This is the first time in the O’Neil/Adams run where both Green Lantern and Green Arrow get their own, separate, stories. Although dealing with different subject matter, Green Arrow’s story is equally intense as he does some serious introspection. Ollie tries to figure out who he is as person by evaluating his past, and in doing so, he gets disgusted with his present. Meanwhile, the mayor of the city decides he wants out, and important people think that Ollie should replace him…

5/5 stars

Sure, this comic is complete with cheesey 70’s slang and campy dialogue, but for a late Silver Age comic, this chunk of the series is bad ass. O’Neil’s fearlessness in presenting real world issues in a comic book, and Adams’ detailed and realistic art work combine for a reading experience that excites, entertains, and depresses… even 30+ years later.

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