We’re up to number 79, wherein Green is the Colour (little Floyd reference there). The only color.
The three amigos star once again, with a small cameo from a recovering Canary. If you don’t know what they look like by now, shame on you.
The bad guys this time are twofold, and in cahoots; Theodore Pudd (what a great name!), leader of the local logger’s union, and Pierre O’Rourke, who claims to own the rights to the trees on the Indian Reservation (same place as last time). They care for nothing but work and profits, rights be damned.
There’s a lot to cover, so bear with me. Lantern and Arrow come across Pudd and O’Rourke about to kill an Indian trespassing on “their land.” After stopping them from completing their dastardly deed, the Green team splits apart. Lantern wants to work within the system; Arrow knows the system is corrupt, man, and will fight for the Indians, law be damned. Hal returns to Evergreen City, looking for Abe, the long lost son of Indian chief Ulysses Star. According to local history, Abe has a copy of the Government’s promise to the tribe in regards to timber rights. Of course, a fire claims what paperwork may exist, but Lantern is able to save Abe. Arrow is frustrated and saddened by Black Canary’s report that the tribe has lost faith in themselves; hoping to fight off the lumberers (doesn’t that sound more appropriate than bad lumberjacks?) and inspire the tribe, he takes on the role of the ghost of Ulysses Star. When the conflict between the tribe and the timber industry is about to reach a head, Lantern returns and fights Arrow (still in Ulysses garb). Both get knocked out by a log. Evidence comes to light of Pudd and O’Rourke hiring an arsonist to set the fire that destroyed Abe’s home and papers; all’s well that ends well.
As you can see, this issue is very, very plot heavy. I don’t want to give the impression that this isn’t good, but the exposition serves the plot, with little in the way of quips or memorable lines. The art is subordinate as well; gone are the three-panel reveals and other touches that made the last issue memorable. I mentioned the color green earlier, and here’s the reason:
That’s the first four pages of the story. 23 panels. 19 of which feature primarily green or teal backgrounds (or large green swathes therein). If your titular heroes are both “The Green” accessory, you cannot, as a colorist, do this. It crushes the book; though the backgrounds only touch that palate again three or four times, it seems overwhelming. I do like that fourth page though; apparently, a levitating Guardian generates Steranko-style Pop Art effects.
Neal Adams tries hard, and succeeds now and again. These next panels tell us something of Ollie and Dinah. By just tilting his cap back a bit he softens his facade; by crouching, hands down and open, his body language adds meaning. He doesn’t hold anything against her (despite his less than kind speech at the end of the last issue), and isn’t lording it over her, either emotionally or physically. If he says those same words, but with arms crossed and knees locked, hat thrust forward and down, he’s imposing as opposed to reassuring.
I figure I owe you a picture of Green Arrow’s Ulysses Starr disguise, plus it allows me to comment on comic book writing and symbolism. Ulysses? For a long lost hero, returning home, bow in hand, to drive away those who would claim his land and people? Ulysses Starr? U.S.? I can’t believe Denny O’Neil went there.
By the way, no information is given as to how he made the get-up, what makes it luminescent, nothing. He just shows up in full regalia, and even though Scooby and company could figure out who it must be, we don’t get a reveal before the Lantern/Arrow fight. Speaking of which, the simultaneous reveal:
Once again, it is the Guardian who learns of Earth’s ways, and in turn, teaches Hal and Ollie what they should have learned from the whole episode:
It’s a hard issue to discuss or break-down. Last issue was two plots, this one just too much of one. It reads better than I make it out; hopefully, on future issues I’ll find a way to disassemble and engage better than I have here.