Green Lantern and Green Arrow share one of the most enduring friendships in the DC Universe, with now the perfect time for a new road trip examining America.
Of all the superhero friendships to define the DC Universe, from Superman and Batman as the widely reputed World’s Finest to the camaraderie between the Titans, one friendly dynamic that has largely fallen to the sidelines is Green Arrow and Green Lantern. Longtime team members on the Justice League, Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen have formed a notably tight rapport beyond their usual superhero derring-do. Despite being such a notable friendship in the DCU, Hal and Ollie haven’t really had much time to quietly catch up together, even with the current zeitgeist being especially ripe for a revisit of the hard-traveling heroes.
Comic book creators Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams paired Green Lantern and Green Arrow together in 1970’s Green Lantern #70 (vol. 2), with a road trip story spanning twelve issues. As the two drove a pickup truck cross-country, the heroes sought to define what the United States had become as they addressed a myriad of social issues prevalent at the time. The two friends had polemically different political views and approach to improving society, with Ollie favoring radical, widespread change while Hal preferred to initiate change within established systems and institutions. Though these differences often resulted in arguments between the two men, their friendship remained constant as they continued down the road on their nation-defining odyssey together.
Following their road trip, Hal and Ollie remained close friends though this would be tested on several occasions. When Hal was secretly possessed by Parallax and decimated the Green Lantern Corps before attempting to rewrite reality during the 1994 crossover event Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! (by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway), Ollie initially couldn’t believe his old friend had fallen so far from grace. Later, when Hal sacrificed his life to reignite the sun during the 1996 crossover event The Final Night (by Karl Kesel and Stuart Immonen), Hal used his omnipotent powers as Parallax to resurrect Ollie in his last dying act of friendship as Green Arrow had died sometime before disposing of a bomb.
Following Hal’s resurrection and the purging of Parallax, Green Lantern and Green Arrow have rekindled their friendship, with Ollie being Hal’s biggest advocate among the superhero community that his friend had been a victim instead of a supervillain all along. The two heroes would even briefly form their own splinter faction of the Justice League when they felt the core team was too ineffective, taking on a more proactive agenda as they clashed against various nefarious supervillains. However, after Green Arrow crossed the line by killing Prometheus when the criminal mastermind destroyed Star City, this team would be disbanded for good. Though Hal and Ollie’s friendship would endure in the face of Green Arrow brazenly killing a supervillain.
What makes Green Arrow and Green Lantern have such an enduring, effective friendship — beyond their mutual choice in taking on a verdant superhero theme — is that, despite their differing stances on sociopolitical issues, the two have longstanding respect that extends beyond being heroes and teammates. The two men can and have spoken to each other honestly in all manners of their lives but there is an undercurrent of brotherly rapport between them. The two have literally gone through life and death together as a testament to the resilience of their friendship. In a world where people with differing views regard each other with distrust and contempt, Hal and Ollie have enough mutual respect that they may not see eye to eye but accept these differences of opinion.
And yet, the two heroes have largely been separate for much of their current adventures in the DCU, apart from an all-too-brief team-up during Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s celebrated Green Lantern run. John Stewart is more of a constant presence as the Justice League’s resident Green Lantern alongside Green Arrow while Hal has been kept more to the sidelines. Hal is confirmed to play a role in the upcoming crossover event Dark Crisis (by Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere) but a reunion might not be in the cards. Green Arrow may be among the heroes killed in Justice League #75, featuring the death of the team. And if Green Arrow is indeed among the dead, you can bet Green Lantern will lead the charge to avenge his fallen friend.
With so many changes in the world and politics much more vitriolic and polemical, a new road trip between Green Arrow and Green Lantern wouldn’t just give the two heroes the chance to catch up but view the state of the country through their eyes. O’Neil and Adams’ story was revolutionary in using the comic book medium to present timely issues and DC would do well to take note of this precedent. The advent of DC’s mature reader-oriented, out-of-continuity publishing imprint DC Black Label, also means a new installment of the hard-traveling heroes could push the envelope even more than its predecessor in regards to more mature content.
A prolonged team-up between Green Arrow and Green Lantern is long overdue, with the fan-favorite friendship on the wayside as both heroes have endured a tumultuous set of changes that have led to their respective focuses being placed elsewhere. Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen really do compliment each other perfectly and their joint dynamic brings such a unique, celebrated perspective to the DCU while drawing from contemporary parallels taking place in the real world. As a new team-up book is launching starring Superman and Batman, a comic revisiting Hal and Ollie’s longstanding dynamic would spotlight the other enduring and all too often overlooked friendship would serve as the perfect companion piece, pun wholly intended.
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