BHOC: GREEN LANTERN #97

The “Now Monthly” blurb on the cover of this issue of GREEN LANTERN (co-starring Green Arrow!) was welcome news to me, as the Emerald Crusader was then my second-favorite super hero, just behind my beloved Flash. So, picking up this issue, I was pleased to learn that I’d be getting to experience his adventures more frequently in the weeks ahead. That’s a pretty nice Mike Grell cover, too, channeling the spirit of Neal Adams’ first cover for GL&GA.

This was the second installment in what would turn out to be a four-part opus, one that featured not only Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen, but also alien Green Lantern Katma Tui and the ever-present Black Canary. In the prior installment, Green Lantern had faced the ensorceled Guardians of the Universe on their homeworld of Oa, breaking the spell when one of their number was killed–something that should have been impossible given that the Guardians were immortal. It is, indeed, a mystery.

Suddenly, peals of mocking laughter ring out, and everybody’s attention is focused upon a fleeing starship taking off from OA. Hal and his fellow Green Lanterns give chase, but he very clouds above OA twist themselves into an attacking creature to cover the spaceship’s retreat, killing at least one Lantern (which was a rare occurrence in these days.) Hal is able to catch up with the ship and penetrate its defenses–all but one, a sudden spray of gas that renders him unconscious.

Back on Earth, Green Arrow and Black Canary have summoned medical help for the comatose Katma Tui, who had flown there in a daze to warn Hal about what was going on with the Guardians. The doctor they’ve summoned recommends moving Katma to a hospital, but as green Arrow moves to do that, the would-be terrorists that Ollie drove off from abducting Katma last issue return in force. Sadly, they fare no better against Green Arrow and Black Canary this time out than they did then. But in the commotion, Katma Tui disappears, and so the heroes spread out to locate her.

Back in space, the aliens have docked with a mother ship and convey the unconscious Hal Jordan to a mind-probe, to try to work out how their disguised Guardian was discovered. But surprise! Hal is just playing possum–he shielded himself from the knock-out vapors with his ring, and now he opens up on the aliens. But when he asks them how they penetrated OA’s security, they’re surprised–they encountered no security to penetrate. The irate leader of the aliens signals another ship to bombard OA with Cobalt Bombs, causing Hal to fly to the rescue.

Hal catches up to the second craft in the shadow of the enormous space station that he passed by last issue, and incapacitates it. But he misses the vaporous entity that flies from the wreckage of the destroyed ship towards the station. Oops. Returning to OA, Hal recharges his power ring at the central power battery–and out of it, just like on the cover, steps the glow-in-the-dark figure of Green Arrow, who looses a fatally-aimed shaft at his friend.

But the arrow turns out to e insubstantial–Hal is being mocked by an entity that is now inhabiting the central power battery (and which speaks in a bad caricature of a British accent. In an ending that smacks of writer Denny O’Neil running out of pages, the insubstantial mocking creature zaps green lantern through a space warp, one that deposits him back on Earth right in front of his friends. A confused Hal ends the issue by grabbing Green Arrow’s shoulders and asking hi, “Are…you…real??” Even on his best day, I don’t know how real I find Ollie. But we’ll get to read his response when this strange story is To Be Continued next issue!

The letters page this time out includes a missive written by Craig Boldman, who’d go on to do some work for DC in later years, and to have a long career at Archie as well as an involvement with several Nickelodeon series. The Daily Planet hype page for the week included news of the Superman Spectacular, stated to be the longest single Superman story ever produced. I never found a copy of this issue back in the day, but it was another book that I was very much interested in.

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