Tag Archives: Green Arrow

Superman 236 – Superman among the angels, and the singing flowers of Krypton

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Looks like something supernatural is going on on the cover of Superman 236 (April 1971).

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O’Neil, Swan and Anderson give Batman a cameo at the top of this story, as he and Superman finish rounding up a criminal gang.  Batman is heading home for some sleep, but Superman does not sleep.  He has invented a brainwave machine, and tries it out, but it seems to short out, and Superman finds himself among angels, helping them fend off devils at the gates of Hell.  The angels tell him he has died, and order him to go battle the demons.

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Superman goes along with things for a while, but the demons don’t seem very demonic, and in talking to them, they break through the hypnotic effect that the ‘angels” have subjected him to.  Superman is really in the middle of a war between two alien groups.

The angels try to force him to stay on their side, threatening Batman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, but once Superman knows what is really going on, he helps the good aliens beat the bad ones.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary guest in this issue World of Krypton story, by O’Neil and Giordano.  They are fuming about the pollution destroying the environment, and so Superman shares with them a tale from Krypton.

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A couple of decades before the explosion of the planet, another scientist had figured out what was coming.  But when he tried to warn people, no one would listen.  They were all really into just chilling and listening to singing flowers.  Because the scientist kept ruining their groove, they sealed him up in the middle of a garden, until all he wanted to do was listen to singing flowers as well.  Twenty years later, Krypton blew up.

It’s kind of a dumb story, really.

Superman 199 – the first Superman/Flash race

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An excellent cover for the first Superman/Flash race, by Shooter, Swan and Klein, which rushes through the pages of Superman 199 (Aug. 67).

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The two heroes are asked by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to do a race taking them three times around the world, as a huge charity event.  Both agree, and Clark Kent gets assigned by Perry White to cover the race, as does Iris Allen by her paper.  Iris is the wife of Barry Allen, but unaware that he is the Flash (or so we think).

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Two crime cartels, one American, one European, make a huge bet on the race, and each brings in a criminal scientist to help plot against the other.

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The Justice League show up for the start of the race.  Superman has Batman and Robin, Green Arrow and the Atom on his side, while Aquaman, Hawkman and Green Lantern are pushing for the Flash. The Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman are seen later, but we do not know which hero they are rooting for.  Supergirl is also at the starting line, supporting her cousin.

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The story has some excellent art, and makes the most of its varied locations.  There are some little problems along the way, such as the heroes running into a camel laden with figs, and some greater ones.  The Flash helps Superman when a kryptonite meteor is ejected from a volcano they are passing.

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And later, in a snowy Saskatchewan, Superman switches identities to tend to the Flash after he wipes out on the ice.  Should have had his winter boots on.

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The race has been very close, and as the heroes reach the final stretch through the US, both criminal groups put their plots into action, stopping the heroes and replacing them with impostors.  The ones betting on Superman replace the Flash, and vice versa.

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The impostors are meant to lose the race, but this results in both of them running more and more slowly, until they both come to a complete stop, realizing that neither is the real hero.  It’s a great scene, capped perfectly as the actual heroes race by them after overcoming their traps.

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The race ends in a tie, intentionally, to prevent either gamblers from winning their bets.  This would be a bit of a downer, except the final panel announces the second race, soon to take place in the pages of the Flash.

A really fun story, well-told, and the tie even makes sense in the context.

World’s Finest 300 – Superman, Batman, the Justice League, the Outsiders and the Cosmic Tree

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The Cosmic Tree storyline comes to a conclusion in World’s Finest 300 (Feb. 84), as writers Kraft, Barr and Wolfman are joined by Andru, Amendola and Mark Texeira, Smith, McLaughlin, Rodriguez, Klaus Janson and Rick Magyar, as well as George Perez on the New Teen Titans pages.

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Superman brings in the Justice League, and Batman calls in the Outsiders to help as the heroes each want to stop the Cosmic Tree from wiping out life on Earth.  There is tension between the two groups, reflecting that between Superman and Batman.  And though there are loads of heroes in this story, the Elongated Man, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Red Tornado and Wonder Woman all get at least a brief opportunity to show their stuff.

Overall, though, it’s the newer team, the Outsiders, who are given a bit more attention: Black Lightning, Geo-Force, Halo, Katana and Metamorpho.

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I have little positive to say about the use of the New Teen Titans in this issue.  Dick Grayson is in between identities, but Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Terra and Wonder Girl go into action against Gordanian slavers.  This is the result of the time warps created by the Cosmic Tree.  The New Teen Titans never interact with the other heroes, or the main plotline.

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Zeta is really the focus of the story, when the army of super-heroes are not being distracted by time warp problems.  Zeta has decided to aid the Cosmic Tree is wiping out life on Earth, as he plans to rule the planet afterwards, as well as the alien world the Tree is linked to.

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Sgt. Rock and Easy Company get to appear in one of the warps, although there is little room for them to do anything except watch the heroes get captured.

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In the end it is left to Superman and Batman to pull out a victory, though not by force. Once again, all it really takes is a good conversation with Zeta to get him to change his mind.  Zeta rips up the Cosmic Tree by its roots, saving the Earth and all its people.

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The conclusion does sort of save the issue.  With both the Justice League and the Outsiders wanting harmony between the heroes, Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to talk some sense into them, and Superman and Batman patch up their problems, becoming friends again.

It was clearly necessary to have some tension between the heroes in this book, to reflect the events that lead to Batman forming the Outsiders.  But if World’s Finest was to continue as a series, those problems had to be overcome.

World’s Finest 286 – Superman and Batman vs Dr. Zodiac and Madam Zodiac

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Burkett, Buckler and DeLaRosa continue with the tale of two Zodiacs in World’s Finest 286 (Dec. 82).

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This issue goes into the backstory of the couple, as we hear how Madam Zodiac sought out her male counterpart, the only person to ever possess the powers of the Zodiac coins.  She used her magical powers to create an illusory double of him, which is still sitting aimlessly in prison, and duplicates of the Zodiac coins, to cover their thefts.

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She is using the Zodiac Wheel and coins to call forth an elder god, a powerful force of evil, and this has effects which spread across Earth. Superman battles a demonic cult that has formed.

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Robin guests as he and Batman deal with a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, who try to make Lucius Fox their next victim.

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In fact, there are a lot of guest stars in this story – many of whom so recently had series in this book.  Zatanna, still in a coma, is brought to Paradise Island by Wonder Woman to be cured.  Green Arrow fights a werewolf, and Hawkman faces a vampire.

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By the end, the riding tide of evil has allowed the dark god to come forth and take a human host – Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

World’s Finest 284 – The Legion vs the Composite Superman, and Green Arrow ends

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Burkett and Tuska conclude the Composite Superman story in World’s Finest 284 (Oct. 82), as the Legion of Super-Heroes join Superman and Batman against this new, and old, enemy.

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Superman explains the situation to the Legion, and a group of them travel back in time with him to confront the foe who has many of their powers.  Wildfire was not around when the original Composite Superman was created, and severely underestimates him.

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Batman has deduced that the new Composite Superman must be Xan, the one who turned Joe Meach into a villain for his second outing.  Xan travelled back in time, to before Superman destroyed the statues that gave Meach his powers, in order to give himself the same abilities.  In perhaps the worst moment of the story, Xan decides to change his look, and name, apparently thinking that Amalagamx sounds better, and that a generic outfit would be more impressive.  It’s not.

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Still, it is fun to see the various Legionnaires contend with someone who has many of their powers.  In the end, it is Princess Projectra who brings the victory, as they con Xan into thinking he has contracted the same fatal plague that killed his father, Projectra creating the illusion of the plague’s markings on his body.  He agrees to submit to the Legion if they will cure him, and they just toss him in prison instead.

Not as good as it could have been, but worth it to see the Composite Superman one last time.

The next time we see a version of the Composite Superman it is a rocket ship, in an early issue of Superman/Batman, shortly after the millenium.

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Green Arrow’s series comes to an end here with a story by Barr and Spiegle.  As much as I loved Trevor Von Eeden’s art on this run, I have to give Speigle credit for this beautifully rendered story.  Even Clock King’s costume looks…well…about as good as it possibly could.

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The story is pretty simple, with an old man who owns a grandfather clock, and believes that he will die when the clock stops.  Clock King and his gang bust in to rob the man, and the clock gets damaged in the fight, and stops.

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The old man keels over, but Green Arrow revives him, before taking down Clock King.

Green Arrow’s series moves to Detective Comics, while Clock King next appears in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

 

World’s Finest 283 – the Composite Superman returns, the Atom guests, and Green Arrow shoots for the mouth

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The Composite Superman returns, decades after the death of Joe Meach, in World’s Finest 283 (Sept. 82), by Burkett, Tuska and McLaughlin.

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After a preliminary scene with a mysterious character escaping a prison in outer space, the story shifts to Earth.  Batman runs into Superman, who tries to kill him, and then Superman faces a Batman armed with kryptonite.

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Angry and confused, the two heroes confront each other.  But any overall plan to turn them against each other is cut short when the Composite Superman phases through the walls to attack them.  They are aware that Meach died, and puzzled as to how the Composite Superman can still be alive.

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Burkett really utilizes the various powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes members that the Composite Superman has – much moreso than in either of the character’s original stories.  A very good first chapter, weakened only by Tuska’s art.  At the end, Superman thinks of running back to his Fortress in fear, knowing that the Composite Superman is reading his mind.  In fact, he heads off to the future to see the Legion.

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This issue also has a short, but fun, Atom tale by Rozakis, Novick and McLaughlin.  It’s kind of a shame that this two pager is on facing pages.  A mugger approaches a man walking down the street, and the kicker is that this is really the Atom, walking around as Ray Palmer.  The wrong man to mug.

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Barr and Kane conclude the devious revenge plot by the mother of a boy Green Arrow killed.  Although it appears that Green Arrow killed Slingshot in the previous issue, in fact he noticed the difference in weight with the arrows, and shot Slingshot in the shoulder.

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Slingshot realizes he was set up by the woman.  Green Arrow follows him as he heads back and takes both her and Black Canary hostage, demanding a one on one fight with Green Arrow.  Arrow agrees, as long as he will let both women go no matter what the outcome.

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But rather than fight Slingshot directly, and take the chance that he will go back on his word, Green Arrow fires his shot at Black Canary, ripping her gag.  She wastes no time in using her cry, taking out Slingshot. The woman who had planned all this winds up feeling very guilty, even moreso as Green Arrow risked his life for hers.

While Green Arrow returns in the next issue, Black Canary ends her tenure in World’s Finest with this issue. Slingshot is done, no more appearances for him.

World’s Finest 282 – Superman and Batman in happier times, Slingshot returns, and Hawkman and Shazam end

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Superman and Batman continue to deal with leftover devices of the Weapons Master in World’s Finest 282 (Aug. 82), by Burkett, Novick and McLaughlin.

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Hoodlums get ahold of one, and shoot Batman with it, sending him back in time.  Superman follows, finding him on Earth long before the evolution of humans.

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They encounter an alien race, whose magic creates harmony and good feelings.  Superman and Batman are both surprised at how happy they feel in this era, but when Superman gets asked to go deal with a volcano, Batman still gets suspicious.

And he is right to, as the volcano is magically induced.  One of the aliens is worried that their people will never head back to their home planet, and is trying to cause problems, so that they will leave.  Although his direct attempt fails, his actions do serve as a wake-up call, and the aliens leave.  Superman and Batman return to the present, and Batman wonders if he will ever be that happy again.  Aw.

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Black Canary gets knocked out and kidnapped as this month’s story opens, by Barr and Gil Kane, who also did the cover for this issue.

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Green Arrow is unaware of the complexity of the plot going on.  He thinks he is just after Slingshot, and a normal street gang, but in fact is dealing with the machinations of the mother of the boy he accidentally killed about ten years earlier, in the pages of the Flash.

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She brags to Black Canary of her plan.  She has had her gang steal a few of Green Arrow’s arrows, and figures out the notched coding he uses to determine which arrow is which.  Changing these, she sets him, and Slingshot, up, so that Green Arrow pulls the “wrong” arrow, and kills Slingshot.

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Hawkman’s story comes to an end, by Rozakis, Infantino and Rodriguez.  I have the feeling that this story was written and drawn before the decision was made to end the series, as it spends ten of its eleven pages having Hawkman fight with an alien.

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Only on the very last page does Hawkwoman show up, pretty much out of nowhere.  A brief mention is made of the fact that she found and saved the Thanagarian fleet, and now suddenly all is well between them.

The Hawks both continue to appear as members of the Justice League of America.

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Two of Kid Eternity’s enemies, Her Highness and Silk, make their only appearance in a DC book in this story, by Bridwell and Kane, teaming up with Captain Marvel villain Aunt Minerva.  Their evil scheme involves getting the Marvel Family to perform at a circus.

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They plan to rob the homes of those attending the circus.  Yup, that’s the big plan.  Kid Eternity, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, Mary Marvel and even Uncle Marvel all get involved, which is overkill to the max.

The Shazam series ends here, but moves over to Adventure Comics Digest.