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DC Retroactive: Green Lantern - The '70s Review

Written by zombielovepony on Thursday, July 28 2011 and posted in Reviews

ZombieLovePony faces off against nostalgia, dated references, and a certain celebrated color in this week's review!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

DC Retroactive: Green Lantern - The '70s
Story by Denny O Neil
Art by Mike Grell
DC Comics


"I might have to jump around, and for that my funny suit's better than street gear." - Green Arrow

During the 70s at DC Comics, writer Denny O Neil was responsible for not only bringing Batman back to his darker, noir-like roots, but also establishing the Green Lantern/Green Arrow team up book, which was one of the first comic series in the industry to target themes towards an adult audience. O Neil's subject matter was edgy and mature, dealing with poverty, drug abuse, racism, and other various social and political issues. Naturally, when DC announced the retroactive line, readers of the past stories became enthralled in the possibility of O Neil reprising his monumental series, as he did once with Neal Adams in the 70s. What is presented, however, is a messy, uncoordinated, and archaic story, devoid of message or theme.

The story is told through both perspectives of Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen (Green Lantern and Green Arrow respectively), as they are thrust into adventures uninvolved with one another; Ollie seeks to find a murderous archer, and Hal finds an alien who looks very familiar to another he is acquainted with. While it seems at first as though their paths will intertwine somewhere within their respective quests, and aid one another as O Neil first wrote them back in the 70s, but this never comes to pass. They are two separate stories, having nothing to do with each other, and the only on the very last page do they see one another, to essentially briefly recap what they had done in the pages beforehand. It begs the question as to why this wasn't divvied up into one Green Arrow story, and another Green Lantern story. They were edited to be interconnected with one another, but with absolutely no payoff at the end. It is akin to if there were a story in which Green Hornet and Kato were acting independent of one another, but never get together at any point to team up, as they typically do, and simply resolve their conflicts on their own. How incredibly odd and off putting would that make long time Green Hornet fans? The same effect applies here.

However, Mike Grell on the other hand completely knocks the art out of the park. It's astonishing that Grell can combine both his style, as well as the style of Neal Adams back in the 70s. It might even top that of Adams' current comics work, which is an incredible feat for even a legend like Grell to achieve. This book looks exactly the way it should, with the paper being of a rougher, older texture, it literally looks to be a lost story, pulled from the back of a dusty long box. This is easily the selling point of this book.

Overall, the book falls flat. Hal Jordan's storyline especially loses an interest to a reader, as he is simply written without personality. It isn't clear what his motivations are, other than that he's a Green Lantern and he needs to be a "good guy." Arrow's storyline is a bit more compelling, as Ollie has a definitive voice and character, but it still leaves much to be desired. There isn't even any real resolution, or, as harsh as it is to say, point, to this book, it simply just ends with the two talking their respective adventures with one another. It really feels a lot like the finale to a bad 80s sitcom, with a lot of exposition on lessons learned and such. With the exception of Mike Grell's phenomenal art, there is little that this book offers, but at least readers will always have the original, classic series, to read, enjoy and reflect upon.

Score: 3.5 out of 10.

Review by: zombielovepony

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