Legendary comic author Dennis O’Neill passed away leaving a legacy behind that I am glad I have sitting on my shelf. This volume marks the reinvention of Green Arrow, making him the socially conscious, Errol Flynn-esque modern-day Robin Hood much loved the world over as recreated by O’Neill and artist Neil Adams. It is largely an anthology, marking a roundtrip of the emerald-clad pairing across America in a search of the true heart of America. Although I must admit I found it rather tiring to read – the heavy use on narrative boxes certainly showing it is a product of its time – this does not detract in any way from its true quality. What makes it work in particular is the miraculous achievement that it is; first, being an anthology book, one would not expect it to be as resoundingly successful as it was. Secondly, and most importantly I find, is the crowning achievement in how progressive it was in representing the American landscape of its time – be it political, social, as well as ideological. This does not make it irrelevant for nowadays, however, as it is a clear indication that most things which we have marked as “progress” for today are simply aesthetic change – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Also of note, I find it particularly enviable that two characters as politically opposing as Green Lantern and Green Arrow – as well as the writer and artist themselves, not many people know – managed to create such a work that still sparks conversation to this day, showing that ideology can be something that unites, rather than divides.
Dennis O’Neill’s Green Arrow and Green Lantern review by Raphael Borg