Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Green Lantern #79

Green Lantern #79 (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

The "Search for America" continues in one of the more forgettable issue of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow in "Ulysses Star is Still Alive!" by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dan Adkins. Some of lackluster feelings this issue brings forth has to be Adkins' fault. Though Dan was a fine, and sometimes exceptional, inker, he seemed pretty lost in what to do with Neal's dynamic pencils. This might be the reason this is, I think, the only time Adkins inked Adams.

This is also Dan Adkins' first artwork for DC, which makes me think Neal maybe got him the gig, as he was always trying to get new blood established at DC. Dan would only ink a few stories at DC at this time, he was very busy at Marvel, where around the time this story came out Dan was inking a little thing called Conan the Barbarian #1 over Barry Smith's pencils. It would be seven years before Dan would really start to work at DC in earnest when he would come back to ink his good friend Don Newton's DC premiere on an Aquaman story in DC Special #28.

We begin with Green Lantern, Green Arrow and the Guardian resting by their campfire when they hear a noise. Rushing to investigate they discover two men ready to execute a native American. The two heroes disarm the men and asses the situation. They learn that the two would be assassins, Theodore Pudd and Pierre O'Rourke, claim to own the local land and trees. However, the native American states that his tribe's ancient chief brokered a deal with the government for exclusive rights to the lumber a hundred years prior. But, the government and local records all conveniently disappeared.

Feeling that there is not much case with out the contract, the two heroes learn that one more copy is reputed to exist and it resides with a man no one has seen for twenty years, Abraham Star. Green Arrow decides that they must stay and fight. Green Lantern disagrees and decides to help by trying to find Abraham Star. Hal heads to Evergreen City, where he used to work as an insurance investigator, and searches records until he finds a lead to Abraham's location. Hal arrives on the scene to find the building burning. He rushes in to save Abe and the two escape just in time.

Abe, a victim of smoke-inhalation, is taken off to the hospital, but not before he reveals to Green Lantern that all the legal records he had were just destroyed by the fire. Hal won't give up and flies off, trying to think of another way to help the tribe and deciding to go to Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Green Arrow has headed back to the nearby native American town where he finds Black Canary trying to help the local townspeople. Black Canary tells Ollie that she has noticed the townspeople are very dejected. A few hours later, a couple of white-men try to steal some food from the reservation. They are scared off by the spirit of Ulysses Star! The two men rush to a nearby lumberjack bar and report their story. No one belives it until the spirit shows up in person, with arrows flying! Theodore Pudd convinces the lumberjacks that it is just a hoax though, and the men agree to continue cutting down trees.

Ulysses then appears to the tribes-people and convinces them that they must fight to protect what is theirs. A few hours later, dawn breaks and the lumberjacks arrive. The tribes-men stand ready to fight though, alongside Black Canary.

A fight breaks out, and the spirit of Ulysses joins in as well, but it is quickly ended when Green Lantern arrives with U.S. Representative Sullivan. Sullivan has promised to look into the matter, so Lantern suggests that everyone goes home until then. The spirit of Ulysses takes offense to this suggestion of inaction and calls-out Green Lantern.

Ulysses, now clearly Green Arrow in costume (with a facemask straight out of Deadman), points out that his costume is yellow and that they should duke it out without ring or bow. The two duke it out until an errant log hits them and knocks them both out cold.

Later, at the reservation cafe, they discuss their opposing tactics, as do the locals, who have lost hope. Luckily, Sullivan arrives just in time to break the news that a man has confessed to the arson in Evergreen City and has implicated Pudd and O'Rourke.

Later, at a campfire, the two reflect on their dispute and its lack of a resolution. The Guardian points out that although it was not resolved, they at least learned that hitting and killing leads to bloodshed and humanity must stop doing this before it is too late.

I don't know if it is the lack of a resolution, or the over-the-top heavy-handedness of this issue that makes it so forgettable. Or, like I first suggested, maybe it is Adkin's inks. Still, 15 cents for 22 pages of Neal Adams is worth the money every time.

This story was reprinted in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #2, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection Vol. 1 TPB, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection HC, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol. 1 TPB, Showcase Presents:Green Lantern Vol. 5 TPB and Green Lantern/Green Arrow TPB (2012).

Edited by Julius Swartz.

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