I believe I picked up this issue of GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW during that same trip to Heroes World with my father after work. This was the first issue released since the DC Explosion, and much to my approval, a back-up series had been added featuring the original Green Lantern of Earth-2. I was a huge fan of the Earth-2 Justice Society heroes, and so I welcomed this development for certain. Less successful, to my eyes, was the continued use of Green Arrow and his cast as regular co-stars in the series. The strip had pivoted away from the kinds of issues-oriented storytelling for which the earthbound Green Arrow had been added, in order to provide a contrast of perspective. nd so without that context, he was often at loose ends in the more cosmic Green Lantern adventures, while Hal Jordan had to either be dopily clouted on the head or otherwise absent when the threats were more earthbound. I know that many people love this combination, but I wasn’t a big fan of it outside of its original intended purpose. I was a Green Lantern fan, and my attachment for the character grew when he was headlining by himself as a back-up feature in THE FLASH. I didn’t need for GL to have an ever-present partner.
But one gets the sense that writer Denny O’Neil felt the exact opposite. He seemed a lot more comfortable with the earthbound adventures of Green Arrow and Black Canary than he was with the more space-faring exploits of Green Lantern. And so, Denny typically would lean the stories more in the Arrow’s direction–which often made the Lantern come off as something of a klutz, being stymied or taken out of action in situations where he should have dominated the proceedings with his Power Ring and his unbreakable will. Eventually, eighteen months or so from now, Green Arrow would be written out of the series and Green Lantern would become a solo player once again. But it’d be a long time to get there (with some ho-hum stories along the way.)
This story is one of those that tries its best to have things both ways. It begins when a disembodied alien presence called Xum comes to be ensnared in a Ferris Aircraft asteroid probe, which carries it back to Earth. As it passes the Justice League satellite, Xum has the opportunity to observe Batman, the Flash and Wonder Woman, and mimics their appearances while taking on corporeal form. Green Lantern prevents the now-malfunctioning probe from crashing into the Earth, but Carol Ferris indicates that it’ll need to be taken to a lab in Star City, Green Arrow’s home, to analyze what went wrong with it. But before that can happen, Xum appears and knocks the stuffing out of Green Lantern before taking off. Not sure whatis going on, GL volunteers to accompany the probe on its trip to Star City.
In Star City, Dinah Lance’s florist shop is broken into by a trio of punks operating a small-scale protection racket. Unfortunately for them, Ollie and Dinah are both there, and so they’re trounced by Green Arrow and Black Canary. But then Xum appears for some reason, haltingly calling himself Replikon. He attacks the duo, duplicating the moves that they just made. Even the arrival of Green Lantern seconds later isn’t enough to bring Replikon to ground. But realizing that Replikon is mimicking them, the trio of heroes all attack at once, confusing Replikon and causing him to discorporate and disappear. It’s still unclear what the strange alien is after.
Unable to follow Replikon and having botched his attempts to corral him twice at this point, a sullen Hal Jordan sulks away. But his evening is about to get worse. Because when he gets back to his hotel, he discovers that his on-again/off-again girlfriend Carol Ferris is dining with a good looking man that she met occupying the hotel room across from hers, Andre. Not needed as Green Lantern or as Hal Jordan, Hal heads off into the evening to be depressed. But it turns out that Andre is actually Xum/Replikon, who has added this third impersonation as part of whatever his mysterious plan is. And that’s about all we’re going to find out this month, as this story is To Be Continued. It’s kind of a badly-paced and badly-structured story as these things go, without enough meat to it to hook my interest and get me to what to come back next month and find out what happens. It feels almost as though O’Neil plotted it on the fly in the manner of Robert Kanigher, though it has a bit more internal logic than that. Either way, though, it wasn’t a wonderful outing for the two Emerald Warriors.
The back-up story, focusing on original Green Lantern Alan Scott, was a bit better. It also had decent artwork by Mike Vosburg, a penciler whose work I wasn’t sold on all the time. But here, as inked by Bob Smith, his pages look pretty good. The story opens with Green Lantern, who is now staying with the Earth-2 Flash in Keystone City, returning to his old Gotham City haunts. His Power Ring has been acting weirdly, and he’s attempting to figure out why. Suddenly, a nearby building explodes in a torrent of green flame, and as GL picks himself up, he spies looters within the building and moves to intercept them. However, his ring malfunctions, almost killing one of the men, and thereafter he doesn’t dare to use it against them again. Instead, he needs to whump them physically, despite his advancing age.
More concerned about his powers than ever before, Alan Scott returns to Keystone City, where Jay Garrick sees him sulking and encourages him to investigate what happened further. Recharging his Power Ring, GL flies back to Gotham City once again, and is able to trace the source of the green flame that immolated it. The trail leads him to Chinatown–and the energy he’s following is identical to that produced by his own Power Ring. Entering the pagoda, Green Lantern is attacked by a group of Tong men, whom he’s mostly able to fend off. But their master shows up, acknowledges Alan as the Champion of the Green Flame, then causes the Power Ring to stop working so that his men can clobber Green Lantern. And that’s where this story also goes To Be Continued, with one of the Green Dragon Tong men reaching to take Alan’s Power Ring for his own.