Green Lantern retains his bullet image, but loses the cover and the lead spot to Johnny Thunder, a new western hero, created by Kanigher and Toth, who debuts in this issue. Despite sharing his name with a hero who had only recently stopped appearing, there is no connection between the two Johnny Thunders.
The series is set in the old west town of Mesa, and deals with the son of Sheriff Tane, a schoolteacher named Johnny.
The Sheriff is very displeased that his son has chosen such a meek profession, and frequently insults and upbraids him in public. Even in front of Kathy, the girl he clearly likes, and her younger brother Kit.
The horse is also central to this series. Named Black Lightning, despite being white, the horse will let no one ride him, except for Johnny (although no one realizes this).
The story in this issue deals with rustlers who keep preying on the ranchers herds. John Tane convinces them to band together to move their cattle. He waits until everyone leaves, puts some black dye in his hair, and gets on Black Lightning to keep watch. Sure enough the rustlers hit the herd, and he rides in to save the day.
It’s Sheriff Tane who gives him the nickname Johnny Thunder. His eyesight, as well as that of the rest of the townspeople, must be just awful, as they see him close up, but no one realizes that John Tane is Johnny Thunder.
The story also leaves it unclear as to exactly why Tane chooses to adopt a secret identity, rather than just acting as himself, though an explanation does come eventually.
Green Lantern’s strip moves to the back of the book as he has his third and final encounter with Knodar, the villain from the future, in a story by Broome and Hasen. Knodar’s first two appearances had occurred in Green Lantern’s own book.
Knodar escapes from his prison in the future, and comes back in time to try once again to defeat Green Lantern, this time planning to work with the “Black-Eyed Bandit” that he had read about. He mistakes a woman for this, and she goes along with it, in hopes of stopping him. No actual person using that name appears in the story.
Knodar has his main weapon, a metal-producer, with which he can transform and create various objects. His suit, covered with the letter P, is prison gear from his era. Doiby Dickles and Streak both have small roles in the story, but it’s Green Lantern vs Knodar for the bulk of it.
Ironically, the one who actually captures Knodar is the woman he has been dragging around with him, who turns his metal-producer against him, while Green Lantern and Doiby are being held captive.
This is Knodar’s final appearance until the 80s, when he returns in an issue of Infinity, Inc.
Tagged: Alex Toth, All-American Comics, Black Lightning, DC Comics, Doiby Dickles, Green Lantern, Irwin Hasen, John Broome, John Tane, Johnny Thunder, Kathy, Kit, Knodar, Robert Kanigher, Sheriff Tane, Streak