BHOC: GREEN LANTERN #101

I bought this issue of GREEN LANTERN on one of what had become my regular weekly Thursday trips to my local 7-11–Thursday being the day that the new comics came in, a fact that I had worked out over the preceding summer. I was a regular reader of GL’s adventures–he was my second-favorite DC hero behind the Flash–and this cover is representative of the sort of thing DC was doing on their super hero titles at the time: an odd situation, articulated by either the main character or a bystander, designed to get you to wonder how this could ever be happening and to pick up the comic to find out. I have to say that, beyond this, I don’t really remember much of anything more about this book at all. So let’s find out what it was all about together, shall we?

From the looks of things, this story was an inventory job, dropped into the run when regular author Denny O’Neil got sick. I have no idea who Frank McGinty was, and from what I can hastily research, it doesn’t seem like he went on to do much more in comics. Just one of those people who got a chance to try out but somehow failed to really get established in the field, I suppose. The artwork was by relative newcomer Alex Saviuk, who’d have a much longer and more fruitful career, inked in this instance by divisive penmaster Vince Colletta. Vinnie was also DC’s titular art director at this time, so his hand tended to turn up in a lot of different places. (He signed the cover as well, which seems to indicate that he did some extensive reworking of Al Milgrom’s inks.)

The story opens with a perfunctory action sequence, in which Green Arrow and Black Canary put the kibosh on some guys running a protection racket. After trouncing them, Green Arrow takes off to become Oliver Queen again–he’s got to make a flight to Coast City where he’s going to be trying to get the P.R. business of a new firm. Meanwhile, in Coast City, truck driver Hal Jordan notices a piece in the newspaper indicating that his old foe Hector Hammond has been released from prison and is now running a cult. Becoming Green Lantern, Hal heads off to investigate, butting heads with the warden at the prison where Hammond had been held.

Meanwhile, Ollie is dismayed to learn that the contract that e had come to bid upon has already been handed out to a local firm. He loses his temper and has to be physically tossed out of the place by security. Meeting up with Hal, the two compare notes–the firm Ollie was auditioning for, Braintrust, Inc, seems to have been involved with Hammond’s parole. So the two heroes split up, Green Arrow going to investigate Hammond’s cult, and Green Lantern checking out Braintrust, Inc. Breaking into the Braintrust offices–no concerns about due process here–the Lantern finds evidence that Braintrust is funding Hammond’s church. But he’s attacked by the cleaning lady and a security guard, and when he goes to use his power ring on them, it instead turns on him, choking him with an energy noose.

GL’s will power is strong enough to undo the noose, but he’s still gasping for air, and so he makes a strategic withdrawal. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen attends services at the Spark of Divinity Church and sees firsthand how the paralyzed Hector Hammond is wheeled out as a holy figure, and the crowd immediately turns all of its wealth over to the church. Linking back up, the two heroes go to dinner with Hal’s brother Jim Jordan–who turns out to be the person who got the public relations contract from Braintrust, scooping Ollie.

After dinner, Hal and Ollie head back to their hotel, becoming Green Lantern and Green Arrow again. They decided to head back to the Spark of Divinity Church and scout it out, Skulking in the shadows, the two heroes overhear a conversation between Hector Hammond and another old foe of GL’s, Bill Baggett, indicating that the two are working together, using Hammond’s mental abilities to manipulate the stock market, drive business to Braintrust, Inc and to pull in cash from the congregation at the church. That’s all the two emerald-hued heroes need to hear to jump into action. But Hammond has lent Baggett some of his mental energies, enough where he can control GL’s power ring from afar.

With GL momentarily clobbered, Hammond turns his mind-force on Green Arrow–but the Emerald Archer defies his control, slowly pulling his bow and launching a smoke arrow that incapacitates Hammond. Green Lantern too relies on his fists in dealing with Baggett, until the two face off in a will-power showdown over the power ring–one that GL, of course, wins. As the two heroes mop up the bad guys, GL reveals that prior to entering the church, he had shifted most of his ring’s power into Green Arrow, which is what allowed the archer to override Hammond’s mental commands and win out the day. And that’s all she wrote!

The letters page this time out included a missive from Craig Boldman, who would go on to have a solid cartooning career. I’m pretty certain that editor Julie Schwartz gave Boldman some of his earliest work, so that connection was no doubt an outgrowth of the familiarity the two were able to build up as Boldman sent letters of comment in to Julie’s comics.

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