I remember this issue of GREEN LANTERN AND GREEN ARROW being noteworthy to me for a couple of reasons, none of them immediately apparent. But as summarized nicely by this cover, the plot calls for Green Arrow to assassinate the President of the United States, then Jimmy Carter. And I can recall, many months later, as the Iran Hostage Crisis began and sentiment was turning against Carter, bringing this issue to school to show off to classmates who were all in the tank with the idea that this would be a good thing to do to our peanut-farming President. Wonder who those kids all ended up voting for when they were able to.
For these two issues, in what appears to be a trial balloon for a more permanent change, Green Arrow has shaved off his trademark facial hair. That change wouldn’t last–he’d be furry-faced again by the following issue. But it’s always interesting to see DC’s editors experimenting during this period. Along those same lines, this two-parter brought back John Stewart, the substitute GL sometimes referred to in these less-enlightened days as Black Lantern.John went on to much bigger and better things from here, but this was early in his time as a recurring character.
So, where were we? Last time, a radical right-wing organization run by Colonel Krisp wanted to procure the services of Green Arrow in assassinating the President, whom they consider a traitor to the nation (”like all his recent predecessors” in case you were worried about party politics) for offering aid to less affluent nations. The President’s security is airtight against firearms–but he might be killed by an arrow. To facilitate GA’s agreement, the Colonel has captured Black Canary and bound her to a pair of gears that will tear her apart if he doesn’t go along with the plan.
Meanwhile, in deep space, John Stewart is trying to ferry the deathly ill Hal Jordan to OA, where the Guardians can hopefully cure him. But the pair have run afoul of a Black Hole so powerful that John’s will-power can’t get them free. Assistance comes in the form of a passing starship, one whose engines can do what an improperly-fortified Power Ring cannot. Inside, the helpful aliens diagnose Hal, and determine that he’s suffering from a malady that attacks his psyche. In order to beat it, the stricken GL will need to face and overcome his fears made manifest. Unfortunately, as John points out, as a Green Lantern, Hal is without fear…
Back on Earth, Green Arrow’s attempts to fight his way to Black Canary’s side and get her free have hit a deadly snag, and he winds up having to agree to kill the President in order to save her life. But he also stalls, telling Colonel Krisp that he’s going to need to have specialized equipment made up in order to make such a distant shot.
Back in space, Hal is subjected to treatment for his illness–and his fears are made manifest in the person of his alter ego, Hal Jordan–embodying all of his self-doubt about the role he plays and how successful he’s been at it, and at life. The Power Ring is useless to Green Lantern in this psychic environment, so instead, in true Gil Kane fashion, he and his alter ego battle it out with fists. As expected, the Lantern comes out victorious and emerges from the treatment chamber drained but cured. And the helpful aliens offer to take both him and John Stewart back to Earth.
Back on Earth, Colonel Krisp is seeing to the security for the President’s secret meeting on World Peace, with Green Arrow secreted some two-hundred yards away to make the fatal shot. But Ollie has pulled a fake-out–the arrow he launches releases a gas that, when inhaled, produces a state of temporary paralysis, thus preventing Krisp’s finger from coming off of the trigger to the dead man’s switch that would kill Black Canary (And I imagine it wasn’t at all awkward for Krisp to having been walking around with the thing in his pocket, thumb on the release, for all these many hours and days…)
With Dinah out of danger, Ollie polishes off the one henchman left to guard him–but he’s ready to meet his fate as the military swarms the meeting place in response to teh assassination attempt. Fortunately for him, Hal and John have returned from space, and are able to Power Ring him a life-saving defense. Everything is thereafter wrapped up in three perfunctory pages–Black Canary’s rescue, exonerating Green Arrow and arresting Krisp and his men, and the final reunion. It’s too facile by far, but par for the course for a story in this era.