“You crazy son of a bitch!”
Green Lantern and Green Arrow, two characters who share a friendship that has spanned decades and whose relevancy based team up series is often pointed to as the start of the Bronze Age of comics. Despite the rich history that these two characters have together it seems that DC hasn’t saw fit to give them too much panel time together in recent times. But with the recent release of the first part of a two-part team up on the pages of Green Arrow’s series Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen are reunited once again even though it seems like they hardly know each other at all.
True confession time – as much as I like Ollie and Hal together I can’t say I’m a fan of the legendary Dennis O’Neil / Neal Adams run at all. There, I said it. For all the importance placed on social relevancy I think that O’Neil, in his need to play point/counterpoint with the two, painted Hal Jordan rather unfairly as this guy who sticks to the rules and follows orders without question. That’s not Hal Jordan and unfortunately the characterization of him during that run painted him in a bad light that people still recall today. So, that said, how does this new “together again for the first time” team-up fair?
I have to say that I really enjoyed the banter that Benjamin Percy put in this issue. Hal and Ollie trade friendly banter which I found myself often grinning over. I have felt that DC hasn’t figured out how to handle Green Arrow very well in a very long time, and I still don’t find myself liking the DC Rebirth incarnation nearly as much as I do good old pre-Crisis Ollie. I know that a lot of that has to do with nostalgia on my part, but I find myself feeling that there isn’t as much character there as there used to be. That aside I think that from a character standpoint Percy does a fine job in capturing the spirit of their friendship in a way that seems fresh to newer readers but hits the right notes for veteran fans.
I admittedly found myself not particularly liking the story and felt that Percy’s narrative falls into the same trap that a lot of team-ups do when they feature two characters of a very different power set. The search for the Ninth Circle satellite and its destruction should be a walk in the park for nearly any Green Lantern let alone one with Hal Jordan’s pedigree. So the story’s sense of danger seems very overplayed and Hal is essentially powered down in order to make the narrative work from the point of actually needing Hal and Ollie to work together on this. Like the O’Neil/Adams stories the writer neuters Green Lantern to create a false sense of jeopardy and downgrading him in order to elevate Green Arrow’s stature in the partnership. So while I do enjoy seeing Hal and Ollie together again I don’t find the issue itself particularly well written beyond the character interactions.
I also wasn’t a big fan of Percy’s on the sleeve politics on the first page. I get that most people in the industry are left leaning, but if you’re going to showcase why people feel fear let’s at least try to not make a political statement. Regardless of what your opinion of our current sitting President I find that the woman’s comment about fearing the President to be borderline offensive.
Artistically I can’t talk about this book without raving over the Mike Grell variant cover that pays homage to his cover to Green Lantern volume 2 issue 90. That issue was significant as it marked the return of the Green Lantern monthly comics after a four year absence following the book’s cancellation at the end of the O’Neil/Adams “Hard Travelling Heroes” run. The interiors, on the other hand, aren’t something I found appealing. Hal is drawn too young looking and the pencil work is too loose for my tastes. There’s also some inconsistency with regards to the back of Hal’s costume that I found distracting. That aside I really loved the truck construct that Hal created for he and Ollie to fly into space with, an obvious nostalgic nod to the past.
Green Arrow #30 reunites the classic Green Lantern / Green Arrow team for today’s readers, but in the end it falls prey to some of the tropes from the “Hard Travelling Heroes” days. Fortunately it also succeeds in capturing the dynamic between Hal and Ollie as well through some good dialogue, which is almost enough of a treat to overlook some of the issue’s shortcomings. Seven out of ten lanterns.