TITLE: Green Lantern Green Arrow Issue #6
YEAR: March 1984
COMPANY: DC Comics
Written by Denny O’Neil
Artists: Neal Adams
Editor: Julius Schwartz
I wrote about the controversial issue #85 of “Green Lantern Green Arrow” and how issues #84 and #85 were reprinted in 1984 ala “Green Lantern Green Arrow” issue #5.
And how the naive Olly and also Hal Jordan were totally oblivious as Speedy was trying to get their attention of how he became a heroin junkie, but the two men were thinking that Speedy was probably doing undercover work to stop drug dealers.
As the two men stepped out to say their goodbyes, Olly walked back into the room to find Speedy shooting up.
“Green Lantern Green Arrow” issue #5 features issues #86-87.
With issue #86, Olly is so pissed off at Speedy that he kicks him out of his apartment. So upset at the drug dealers that made him a heroin addict, he leaves to find them.
Meanwhile, the two thugs that were with Speedy early that night, see that Olly is leaving the apartment and break into his apartment and find Speedy’s heroin packs on the ground.
The two thugs decide to get high on the drugs and one of them wants to shoot up and when he does, he has a heart attack and dies of heroin overdose.
As the dead man is left in Olly’s room, the other one runs away scared that his friend is dead.
Meanwhile, Hal Jordan can’t sleep because he is starting to realize that what if Speedy was talking about himself when discussing how people get addicted to drugs. Hal gets back into costume and decides to visit Olly late in the night and instead, he finds one of the thugs dead. Making Hal wonder where could have Olly and Speedy have gone?
As Green Arrow revisits the hangar where he came across the drug dealers, Hal finds Speedy having heroin withdrawal and flies him to Dinah’s home.
Meanwhile, Green Lantern is once again beaten by thugs (since he can’t fight with just one arm) and revealing himself as the drug kingpin is Saloman, who man who owns a major pharmaceutical company.
Meanwhile, the thugs tie an anchor on Green Arrow and drop him into the ocean to die. Fortunately, Olly has an acetylene arrow to burn the chain and releasing him in time. While, Green Lantern arrives in time to take on the drug pushers.
Hal told him that if it wasn’t for Speedy, he wouldn’t have been there in time. Meanwhile, Dinah does all she can to help Speedy going through major withdrawals.
Green Arrow and Hal Jordan know this all has to stop and they must go after the owner of Hooper Pharmaceuticals and end their drug pushing business.
While one would expect the heroes from stopping Hooper, it’s the end that was a bit of shocking as Speedy lays it on Green Arrow (yes, he punches him) and tells him off of how Dinah and Hal were there for him, but he wasn’t and leaves. Leaving Olly in tears.
The message was no doubt strong with this second part of how people should recognize one who desperately needs help from narcotics and while the message is quite strong today, back in 1971, during the drug-fueled years, the hippy generation and so forth, there was not enough being done for drug prevention. So, it was a major story that DC Comics overtook. No matter how controversial, it was a message so strong for its time.
Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams did a fantastic job! And so powerful a story that even New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay was featured in issue #86 (not on the reprint) with an important message.
As for issue #87, this was an important issue as it is the first appearance of Green Lantern John Stewart.
As an earthquake hits Southern California, Green Lantern tries to rescue many lives, including Guy Gardner, the alternate choice for Green Lantern, who is badly injured trying to rescue a little girl. The guardians witnessed Guy’s injury and so they designated another substitute to help Hal Jordan.
Hal is at first questioning the Guardian’s choice as he doesn’t like John’s chip on his shoulder. But Hal trains John, who forgoes the mask and learns from Hal quickly.
But when trouble takes place at the nearby airport where Senator Jeremiah Clutcher (who is running for President) is arriving, an oil truck goes out of control and as the two Green Lanterns are able to stop it, John intentionally has the oil shooting towards the face of the Senator, giving him black face.
Green Lantern Hal is pissed off that John abused his power but John tells him that he’s not supporting a man who is racist running for president and is climbing onto the White House on the backs of his people.
Hal said that despite him being racist, he has to learn a lesson and Hal makes John Stewart the bodyguard of Senator Clutcher.
And when both men listen to Clutcher speak and Clutcher telling his audience during a speech that “darkies” have brains smaller than normal and have limited intelligence, a Black man in the audience shoots Senator Clutcher.
Hal tells John that they must go down there to stop the assassin but John is not interested.
Needless to say, Hal busts the assassin but is angry at John for not doing anything, but John explains that it was all a setup. When they check on the gun, the bullets are blanks and it was Senator Clutcher trying to start a race war by trying to show that Black people are on a rampage and the Senator is trying to rip the country apart into a Civil War.
And sure enough, Hal learns a lesson from the new Green Lantern and from here on in, John Stewart becomes an integral part to the Green Lantern series.