Friday, March 24, 2017


Script: Denny O’Neil (story A) & Elliot Maggin (story B)
Art: Neal Adams | Inks: Dick Giordano (#87) | Editor: Julie Schwartz


Well, you learn something new every day, and for me today, it's this: until the very instant I looked at this issue’s cover before reading the stories inside, I never had any idea that John Stewart was created by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. For whatever reason, I thought he came along later and was perhaps the brainchild of Steve Englehart during his GREEN LANTERN CORPS run from the eighties.

Anyway – GREEN LANTERN (co-starring Green Arrow) #87 splits the title heroes into two separate solo stories. In the first, Earth’s backup Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, is injured during an earthquake and the Guardians choose architect John Stewart as his replacement. Hal Jordan spends the story training Stewart and even forces him to protect a bigoted senator at a presidential rally in order to test his devotion to the GL uniform. Stewart comes through, protecting the senator from an assassination attempt (which turns out to be a publicity stunt) and earning Hal’s respect.

I like John Stewart, though pretty much everything I know about the character comes from the JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon series. Here, in his original incarnation, he's a bit rougher and more quippy than his animated counterpart, but he's still an entertaining character.

And hey, speaking of original incarnations, who knew that the pre-CRISIS Guy Gardner was a selfless schoolteacher? Certainly not me! The only version of the character I've ever known is the arrogant loudmouth from the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMarreis JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL.

Lastly, check out the story’s splash page at right. Whoever put together the table of contents for the GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW trade paperback thought the story title was “Earthquake Beware My Power”. Now, I can see how a really quick glance might make someone believe that was the title, considering that all the words are colored in the same shade of pink, but shouldn't a little common sense say that the phrase “Earthquake Beware My Power” makes no sense? And shouldn't a quick perusal of the story itself easily illustrate that the earthquake only fills up the first few pages before things move along to a completely earthquake-free adventure?

This is just one example among many of why Marvel’s collected editions department is so far ahead of DC’s in terms of quality: they actually care about the stories in their books!

The issue’s second tale is a spotlight on Green Arrow as, in his civilian guise of Oliver Queen, he's asked to run for mayor of Star City. Arrow seeks advice from a number of his super friends and all tell him it's a bad idea – with Clark Kent’s reasoning being the funniest in my opinion. Dinah Lance, Bruce Wayne, and Hal Jordan all tell Oliver that the job will be too much for him, while Clark’s concern is simply that two blond public figures in Star City with Green Arrow’s distinctive facial hair would blow his secret identity.

Incidentally, during the above scene, as Oliver speaks with Hal over the phone, the latter is dressed in a suit and appears to be seated in an office. It suddenly occurs to me that throughout this entire O’Neil/Adams run, at no point has Green Lantern’s secret identity “day job” been addressed. He's spent all his civilian time “off duty” with Oliver. He mentioned at one point that he used to be an insurance adjuster, and I know he was originally a test pilot, but what's his job at this point? It's never come up!

Also of note in the scene is that Hal mentions his brother is a district attorney, and Oliver states that, at least in pre-CRISIS continuity, Bruce Wayne was once a senator! (I know Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon was a senator pre-CRISIS, but I had no idea about Bruce.)

Anyway – to clear his head, Green Arrow heads out in costume, runs afoul of a riot, and, in a scene apparently ripped from today’s headlines, sees a young black man gunned down from behind (though the story doesn't state whether police are responsible). Following this incident, Oliver decides to accept the mayoral candidacy.

Which brings to mind something interesting about pre-CRISIS DC, especially in the seventies: they liked their heroes to have high profile secret identities. Bruce Wayne, of course, is a millionaire playboy and philanthropist. Oliver Queen was once the same and is now about to throw his hat into the political arena. Barbara Gordon, as noted above, would soon become a senator. Clark Kent, at this point in time, was the anchor on a nationally televised news broadcast – and so on.

Mind you, I'm not sure what, if anything, this says – I just find it interesting.


  1. "...while Clark’s concern is simply that two blond public figures in Star City with Green Arrow’s distinctive facial hair would blow his secret identity."

    This was played up to nice effect in Mike Grell's Green Arrow run when he had Travis Morgan A.K.A. The Warlord visit Seattle and be immediately mistaken for Oliver Queen.

    1. Warlord could easily be mistaken for Green Arrow in the right lighting, I suppose. That's pretty funny!

  2. Superman knows his stuff around keeping a secret identity.

  3. Oliver's obvious reply to Clark should've been "They won't be able to tell if I wear glasses!"

    Isn't this pretty much Maggin's first story at DC? I know he mentions it as such in the introduction to the original Kingdom Come trade paperback (as well as admitting he got the idea for "Must There Be A Superman" from a young Jeph Loeb), but if it actually is, what a story to start with.

    1. The Comicbook Database lists it as his first story, period:

      I have always had Peted David as my own personal "coming in all cylinders firing" guy, going for the broke with Death of Jean DeWolff by his sixth issue and certain other fun romps before that. It obviously helps that they were published for us during my formative first two years of readership.

    2. I had no idea this was Elliot Maggin's first comic book story. Pretty impressive for a debut job!


  4. Bruce Wayne served as interim Senator while a friend convalesced after being shot. It happened in The Brave and the Bold #85, written by Bob Haney — the very issue that introduced Green Arrow’s new, Adams-designed look — although much of Haney’s run on the title was of dubious continuity. Barbara Gordon was elected to the House of Representatives, not the Senate, a few years later.

    Clark Kent as the anchor of a TV news broadcast will never not be stupid to me, even though it was the status quo of the (new) comics when I started reading them.

    I don’t think much was done with John Stewart before the mid-’80s, when he became a more long-term replacement for Hal Jordan at the hands of Len Wein & Dave Gibbons — leading into the Steve Englehart & Joe Staton run you mention during which Green Lantern morphed into The Green Lantern Corps. The latter period, which preceded and then ran concurrent to Crisis on Infinite Earths, also found Guy Gardner emerging from a coma with the personality you know from Justice League International due to brain damage that stemmed from some combination of physical and mental stressors after an accident with a damaged power battery left him in the Phantom Zone at the mercy of General Zod.

    1. Thanks, Blam. Now that you mention it, I actually own that "Bruce-as-senator" issue; it's in the BATMAN ILLUSTRATED BY NEAL ADAMS books, which I've had for several years! I'm sure I read it; I guess I just forgot.

      I like the idea of Clark as a new anchor if you don't factor Superman into the equation. It's a fine career move for Clark. But Superman is a very public hero, so that makes Clark appearing on TV a pretty dumb idea.

      Thanks for the GL history as well! One of my favorite things about posting on DC stuff is when people respond to answer my many questions. I know most all of the DC basics, but the finer continuity points usually elude me.