Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 5

greenlantern5First Published: April 2011

Contents: Green Lantern #76 (April 1970) to #87 (December 1971-January 1972) and #89 (April-May 1972); and Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories from The Flash #217 (August-September 1972) to #221 (April-May 1973), #223 (September-October 1973), #224 (November-December 1973), #226 (March-April 1974) to #228 (July-August 1974), #230 (November-December 1974), #231 (January-February 1975), #233 (May 1975), #234 (June 1975), #237 (November 1975), #238 (December 1975), #240 (March 1976) to #243 (August 1976), #245 (November 1976), and #246 (January 1977)

Key Creator Credits: Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Dick Dillin, Dick Giordano, Mike Grell, and others

Key First Appearances: Appa Ali Apsa, John Stewart, Itty, Jason Woodrue/Floronic Man

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 4 and Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1

Overview: In early 1970, the Green Lantern title was given over to the next generation of comic book creators: Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. O’Neal had been writing comics for a few years and was already the writer for Justice League of America and Detective Comics. Adams had been doing a lot of work in the Superman titles and had just recently finished a memorable run with Roy Thomas on the Uncanny X-Men. Together, the two joined together on what has become one of the most important story arcs in the history of comics. This is Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 5.

The first move made was to bring in Green Arrow as a partner, providing a voice for social commentary within the title. Green Lantern finds himself in the doghouse with the Guardians for not heeding orders. Green Arrow challenges the Guardians, as they are losing sight of who or what they need to be doing in their role. The Guardians send one of their own, Appa Ali Apsa, to join Hal and Ollie on Earth. The three load up into a beat-up pickup truck, and head out on the road to discover America, starting off the “Hard-Travelin’ Heroes’ storyline. Along the way, Black Canary joins the guys on their adventures.

Along their journey, the heroes find a lot about America that they don’t like. The stories in this run deal with race relations, pollution, overpopulation, drugs, big government and more. While O’Neil was doing some similar type stories in the Justice League book, he was able to get into the details of the issues, using Green Lantern and Green Arrow to take opposing sides of the various arguments.

The most memorable story in this era is a two-part arc in issues #85 and #86. The heroes are discovering that drugs are becoming an epidemic across the country. They take a rather noble stand, viewing themselves as above the problem, only to discover that Green Arrow’s former sidekick, Speedy, has become a junkie. The heroes are able to get Speedy the help he needs, and they realize that the problem with drugs is not limited to one’s race, gender, or income.

The next issue features the introduction of John Stewart into the Green Lantern mythos. Hal Jordan’s backup on Earth, Guy Gardner, is severely injured, and Appa uses his powers to find a new backup. The ring takes them to Stewart, a young black architect who has a different view on the world. He agrees to serve as a backup but is rarely used again until the mid-1980s, when Hal Jordan stepped away from the Corps prior to Crisis.

Sadly, the sales for Green Lantern were struggling, and the book came to an end. The final parts of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow story were finished up as a backup in The Flash. Beginning with the story in The Flash #220, Green Lantern goes back to being a solo act and officially rejoins the Green Lantern Corps with the full use of his ring.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Do I really need to tell you why these stories should be showcased? If there is any question in your mind, you should just go lay down for awhile and let that feeling pass. The O’Neil-Adams run collected here are some of the most powerful stories ever told, and they highlight the potential for comics to be tools for social change. I honestly believe that Neal Adams work shines brighter in black and white, giving you the opportunity to really study his art. This is a must-own arc that should be in every collection. I would not fault you in the least if you prefer to have this in color, or in a hardcover or absolute collection. Just make sure you have this in some form in your library.

Footnotes: Green Lantern #88 is a reprint issue, although it does contain a previously unpublished Alan Scott story.

Due to declining sales, the Green Lantern title came to an end with issue #89, and the Green Lantern/Green Arrow storyline became a backup feature in The Flash. However, DC brought back the Green Lantern title during the DC Explosion of the mid-1970s, picking up the numbering with #90. There was a brief four-month window where Green Lantern was featured in both the Green Lantern title and as a backup in The Flash.

If you like this volume, try: the Blackest Night story from 2009. This could very well be Geoff Johns’ best Green Lantern story, and definitely the most impactful story that he oversaw at DC to date. Johns takes the concept of the colored rings wielded by the likes of the Green Lanterns, Sinestro, and Star Sapphire, and develops entire new lines of Lanterns with red, orange, blue, indigo and even black lantern rings. Only those black lantern rings are going out to long-dead heroes and villains, raising them from the grave to seek out and kill the Green Lanterns. This story took over DC Comics throughout that year, with mini-series and crossovers to go along with the main series being told in Green Lantern and the Blackest Night mini-series. This has been collected multiple times, as a trade paperback, hardcover, and absolute. You should have no troubles tracking down this story.

Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1

First Published: January 2006

Contents: Green Arrow stories from Adventure Comics #250 (July 1958) to #269 (February 1960), Green Arrow stories from World’s Finest Comics #95 (July-August 1958) to #134 (June 1963), #136 (September 1963), #138 (October 1963), and #140 (March 1964), Justice League of America #4 (April-May 1961), and The Brave and The Bold #50 (October-November 1963), #71 (April-May 1967), and #85 (August-September 1969),

Key Creator Credits: Jack Schiff, Ed Herron, Gardner Fox, Bob Haney, Jack Kirby, Lee Elias, George Papp, Mike Sekowsky, and Neal Adams

Key First Appearances: William Tockman/Clock King, Bonnie King/Miss Arrowette

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 5

Overview: This Showcase volume collects the Silver Age stories of the Emerald Archer from Star City. Green Arrow was introduced in 1941 in More Fun Comics #73 (Aquaman also debuted in that same issue!). For the next 25 years, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) fought crime in offbeat adventures that are clearly products of their times.

In many ways, Green Arrow was a duplicate version of Batman during this era. Green Arrow was a millionaire playboy who takes on a young ward to share his life fighting crime. Green Arrow had an ArrowCave, an ArrowPlane, and an ArrowCar. The local police would summon Green Arrow by launching a flaming green arrow into the night sky. Green Arrow’s trick arrows, such as the Boxing Glove arrow or the Net Arrow, were the equivalent of Batman’s utility belt. Many stories contained here feel like rewrites of Batman stories. For example, the “Batman of All Nations” story (Detective Comics #215, January 1955) appears to be the inspiration for “The Green Arrows of the World” story (Adventure Comics #250, July 1958).

Also included in this volume is Justice League of America #4, when Green Arrow joins the league, becoming one of the most regular members of the team for the next 25 years. The best highlight of the book is the final issue, The Brave and the Bold #85 when artist Neal Adams redesigned Green Arrow’s costume and introduced Ollie’s trademark goatee.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Green Arrow has always been one of my favorite characters, and I have a certain fondness for his original Silver Age costume. These stories are fun, but not great. Better Green Arrow stories can be found in the Denny O’Neil/Neil Adams run on Green Lantern when Ollie lost his money and found a political voice.

Footnotes: Green Arrow is one of the five DC Comics characters that was continuously published from the Golden Age of Comics to the Silver Age of Comics. The other characters are Superman, Batman (and Robin), Wonder Woman, and Aquaman.

Adventure Comics #250 is considered as the first issue of the “Earth-1” Green Arrow. Anything published before that is considered to be adventures of the “Earth-2” Green Arrow, who served as a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

If you like this volume, try: Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell. Issued in 1987 as a prestige format miniseries, Grell redefined Green Arrow into a more realistic character. The trick arrows were put away, the hooded costume was introduced, and Green Arrow relocated to the Pacific Northwest. While this series gets overshadowed by Moore & Gibbons’ Watchmen or Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, both of those stories took place outside of DC continuity. Longbow Hunters took place in the current DC Universe, and its changes were felt in other books. This miniseries served as a launching pad to give Green Arrow (under the continuing direction of Grell) his own ongoing monthly comic book.