It’s kind of funny that the big mystery posited by this GREEN LANTERN cover is why Green Arrow is appearing here without his trademark beard. I mean, presumably he shaved it off, you know, no big mystery. But in this era in which such changes of costume and appearance were much more rare, I suppose this was potentially a big deal thing. No matter–I know that I’m spoiling things somewhat, but by the end of this two-parter, Ollie’s beard would miraculously be restored going forward.
GREEN LANTERN was a very schizophrenic comic book during this particular era. Clearly it had been brought back due to the reputation of its previous run (and potentially the belief that affidavit returns were responsible for its premature cancellation.) By that same token, it seemed like nobody involved was very anxious to dive back into the very heavy issue-of-the-issue style storytelling of that celebrated run. So what you were left with was two super hero friends whose natural spheres of operation were completely incompatible with one another.
And so you ended up with stories like this one, which was mostly a Green Arrow solo caper with Green Lantern in it slightly but then incapacitated. And no particular social issue being dissected at all. In this particular issue, Green Arrow is performing at Carol Ferris’s Thanksgiving party when government agents burst in and accosted him, carrying him off. Green Lantern, returning from space, intercedes, but then he immediately passes out, stricken with some unknown malady.
Figuring that the Lantern may have come down with some manner of space-plague, Green Arrow reaches out to John Stewart, Earth’s back-up Green Lantern, asking him to convey Hal to Oa and the Guardians, who will presumably know how to treat his illness. In the meantime, Ollie intends to track down the Colonel Krisp who was behind the attack on himself–and he’s in luck as one of the agents dropped a handily-labeled route map that he can follow. Ollie says goodbye to Dinah Lance, turning down her offer of help–but undaunted, she is determined to follow him as Black Canary.
Green Arrow makes his way to the compound, and with the unseen aid of Black Canary kicks his way through the outer ring of security guards. In order to sneak into the place, Ollie decides to shave off his beard so he’ll look more like one of the guards. This gambit works for all of zero panels, as the Colonel sees him sneaking in and recognize him immediately despite his lack of chin-whiskers. He also spies the Black Canary, and ambushes her.
Discovered, Green Arrow continues to run a gantlet of attackers, and the mysterious Colonel Krisp is confident in his choice of Green Arrow for “the mission”. Meanwhile, off in space, en route to Oa, John and Hal run afoul of a neutron star, which threatens to suck them into its gravity well and to oblivion. For all that he struggles, John doesn’t have enough will-power to pull them clear of it.
Back at the compound, Green Arrow finds himself face-to-face with Colonel Krisp, who tells him that all of this has been arranged for Green Arrow’s benefit, to test him–that map that he followed was deliberately planted, of course (Stupid Ollie!) Krisp’s got a mission that only Green Arrow can accomplish: he wants Ollie to assassinate the President of the United States. And he’s holding the Black Canary as leverage to get Green Arrow to go along with it–thus leading us back to our cover scene as the issue closes, something I hated when the Marvel books did it and didn’t really like any better here. Anyway, To Be Continued!