Green Arrow:
Bold Archer

When Green Arrow
Met Robin Hood
Part 5: Adventures in the Bronze Age of Comics

by Allen W. Wright

Green Arrow reflects on Robin Hood, by Neal Adams from Green Lantern #77


In Part One anf Part Two we looked at more Green Arrow stories from the 1940s and 1950s that had a Robin Hood theme or featured Robin Hood himself. In Part Three and Part Four we explored the Robin Hood-related Green Arrow stories of the late 1950s. From 1941 - 1968, there was little change in Green Arrow. His adventures became a bit less violent and his origin was updated, but little difference.

However, in 1969, Green Arrow was reshaped. He got a new costume, grew a beard, and developed a new attitude. Now Green Arrow was an argumentative social crusader -- a bit more like Robin Hood. 

And that's one of the Green Arrows we meet in the stories from the 1970s, although the original version of the character also stops by for a visit.

Cover of Justice League of America #101, 1972, art by Nick Cardy

"The Hand that Shook the World"

Justice League of Ameirca #101 (September 1972)

Written by Len Wein
Pencilled by Dick Dillin

Inked by Joe Giella

The Robin Hood content in this issue appears in only chapter of the comic book, which itself is the middle chapter of a three-part tale that began in the JLA's 100th anniversary issue.

First we should step back a bit and see how we got here.

The DC Multiverse and Crisis

Superman first appeared in 1938. Many superheroes were introduced in the years that followed, including Green Arrow in 1941. Various heroes under the DC imprint gathered together in All-Star Comics as the Justice Society of America. Green Arrow had to make do with the second-tier team The Seven Soldiers of Victory aka The Law's Legionnaires over in Leading Comics

After World War II ended, the reading public's craze for superhero comics diminished. They still read comic books, but now romance comics, crime comics and westerns were outselling most superheroes. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman continued being published. Green Arrow and Aquaman survived largely unchanged as back-up features in Superman-related comic books. But the Seven Soldiers of Victory last appeared in Leading Comics #14 in Spring 1945 turning into a humour comic the following issue. The Justice Society lasted longer, appearing up All-Star Comics #57 in February-March 1951. All-Star Western #58 appeared with a cover-date of April-May 1951. Capes were out and stetsons were in.

But in the mid-1950s, comics came under increased scrutiny and sales were slumping. Superman was a popular TV star at the time, Perhaps that inspired editor Julius Schwartz to take a chance on reviving the 1940s Justice Society member the Flash -- sort of. Showcase #4 in 1956 saw the debut of a new Flash. The Flash still had super-speed, but he had a new costume, origin and secret identity than his 1940s predecessor. The original Flash was a college student turned research scientist Jay Garrick. The new Flash was police scientist Barry Allen. The new Flash was a big success, leading to further similar but different revivals of Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom. Even the super-team was reinvented although this time they were the Justice League of America. League sounded like young baseball teams, whereas Society sounded like a club of older gents.

It was established that Barry Allen was a fan of the fictional, comic book adventures of Jay Garrick's Flash. This proved a continuity conundrum when it was decided the two Flashes should meet in 1961.

Barry Allen Flash and Jay Garrick chat, art by Carmine Infantino

Editor Julius Schwartz brought in Gardner Fox -- co-creator of the 1940s Flash and current writer of the Justice League comics -- to based on the scientific concept of parallel Earths. Barry's Flash vibrates into a dimension where Jay Garrick's Flash was real and living in retirement. The team-up was a hit, and Jay Garrick came out of retirement for many further cross-dimensional adventures. [I expect fans of Green Arrow on television should be familiar with the concept of parallel earths as its covered in crossovers with Arrow's sister show The Flash. If not, perhaps you're familiar with some of the more recent Spider-Man movies which borrowed from DC's old concept.)

In the summer of 1963, DC extended the concept as the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America teamed up in a two-issue adventure. Two-part crossovers between the two super-teams became an annual summer tradition for decades.

Justice League of America #100 came out just in time for the summer crossover. And so, it was decided to expand the story from two issues to three issues. Writer Len Wein decided to add a third super-team to the mix -- the Seven Soldiers of Victory. 

Cover to Justice League of America #101, art by Nick Cardy

Anniversary Crossover

During the celebrations for the JLA's 100th meeting, the heroes of Earth-One (as the reality of the then-current comics was called) are teleported to the home of the Justice Society. The JSA's Earth-Two is being held in the grip of villain called the Iron Hand who threatens to destroy the world. 

JSA member Doctor Fate senses it might have something to do with a gravestone he's found for The Unknown Soldier of Victory. To gather more information, the mystics of both worlds summon forth a magical being called Oracle. Oracle reveals that the answer rests with the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The only problem is that none of the heroes can remember any such team.

The Green Arrow of Earth-One demands to know "Who are the Seven Soldiers of Victory?" The being replies "Curious you should ask, Green Arrow -- for you, of all who stand here, have the greatest affinity for said group!"

Oracle describes these forgotten heroes of Earth-Two - the Vigilante, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, the Crimson Avenger, the Shining Knight, and other versions of Green Arrow and Speedy.

The Seven Soldiers of Victory from JLA #100, art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella

The modern-day Green Arrow is unimpressed by the news that he has a counterpart on Earth-Two, just like Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and others. 

That knowledge doesn't answer who these now forgotten soldiers were.

Green Arrow argues with the Oracle, art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella

Oracle explains that the Seven Soldiers of Victory were lost and scattered through time and space after their final battle with the Nebula Man. Oracle also says the Soldiers defeated a less-powerful version of the Iron Hand on their first case together.

The 21 assembled heroes of the JLA, JSA and some friends of the JLA split into seven teams of three, to travel through time and fight the lost heroes.

This divided quest structure is an homage to the structure of the 1940s adventures of the Justice Society and the Seven Soldiers as well as the early 1960s adventures of the JLA. Those past tales featured the team splitting off into either solo adventures or smaller teams to handle separate aspects of a case before reuniting for the finale.

The first issue ends with the JLA's Atom, the JSA's Doctor Fate and guest-star the Elongated Man rescuing a delusional Crimson Avenger from Aztec-era Mexico. One soldier saved -- six more to go.

When issue #101 opens, Justice Society latecomers the Earth-Two Green Lantern, the grown-up ex-Boy-Wonder Robin and Mr. Terrific join Earth-One's then-depowered Wonder Woman at JSA HQ. Meanwhile, the JLA's Superman, the JSA's Sandman and JLA-ally Metaphoro travel to medieval China where they find the Seven Soldier's Shining Knight at the head of Genghis Khan's army. 

Another team of heroes arrives in a similar time period -- but in medieval England.

Hawkman, Wonder Woman and Dr. Mid-Nite arrive in Sherwood Forest, art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella

Trouble in Medieval Sherwood Forest

The JLA's Hawkman and the JSA's Wonder Woman and Dr. Mid-Nite land in a fertile forest. Space police officer Hawkman notes the air is free of pollution -- cleaner than any air he's breathed since leaving his homeworld of Thanagar. A volley of arrows interrupts the heroes' appreciation of their verdant surroundings.

They guess they've found the person they were searching for -- the Earth-Two Green Arrow of the Seven Soldier of Victory. But they look beyond the trees and see an army of men dressed similarly to Green Arrow. But it's not Green Arrow these archers are taking their fashion sense from.

Wonder Woman charges into battle, deflecting their arrows with her magical bracelets. Hawkman beats his wings to cause a hurricane to brush the foliage away from the "bloodthirsty bowmen". Wonder Woman traps several of the archers with her magic lasso while Dr. Mid-Nite uses martial arts to subdue another attacker.

When the bowmen's leader offers to surrender, all becomes clear. He believes the superheroes are agents of the Sheriff of Nottingham. 

Little John surrenders to Wonder Woman, Hawkman and Dr. Mid-Nite, art by Dick Dillin

The heroes explain that they're not agents of the sheriff, and that they are seeking a man named Green Arrow. The very tall bowman has never heard of Green Arrow.

He suggests Robin Hood might know. 

Little John has never heard of Green Arrow, art by Dick Dillin

The problem is that Robin Hood's not there. He's being held in Nottingham Castle and they plan to hang him tomorrow.

It's a familiar problem for Robin Hood. Little John uses disguises and trickery to save a captured Robin Hood In one of the earliest ballads, Robin Hood and the Monk, circa AD 1460. In the 1938 movie The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, it's Maid Marian who devises the plan to save Robin from hanging. Green Arrow and Speedy needed to save Robin Hood from execution in the 1942 meeting between Green Arrow and Robin Hood.

This time, the Merry Men have three superheroes on their side.

Dr. Mid-Nite promises to help Little John save Robin Hood, art by Dick Dillin

The Siege of Nottingham Castle

Castle sieges have been a part of the Robin Hood narrative since at least Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe, where Locksley and his outlaw band provide support when attacking Torquilstone Castle.

Pulling down the drawbridge is easy, thanks to Wonder Woman's magic lasso.

Wonder Woman pulls down the drawbridge of Nottingham Castle with her magic lasso, art by Dick Dillin

One of the best known Robin Hood ballads is the first meeting between Robin Hood and Little John. The quarterstaff duel between the outlaws is legendary, and has been incorporated into many film and TV versions, including when time travellers come to Sherwood. 

There's no duel between Robin Hood's band this time. Here Hawkman borrows Little John's quarterstaff to clear a path through the guards.

On his home planet of Thanagar, Hawkman is an officer of the law. His conservative, establishment ways are often a source of conflict between him and the left-wing, anti-authoritarian Green Arrow of the 1970s. But here, Hawkman uses a weapon from Robin Hood's band to beat up the medieval officers of the law. (Not that the sheriff's legal status is truly mentioned in this story.) The Earth-One Green Arrow would be proud if he were on this mission.

Hawkman beats up the Sheriff of Nottingham's guards, art by Dick Dillin

It's Dr. Mid-Nite who reaches the dungeons first. Doctor Charles McNider is legally blind in full-light, using special infra-lenses to help him see in the day. But he can see perfectly in the dark. He uses the blackout bomb to cause the dungeon's corridor into darkness. The guards cannot see in the dark, and Dr. Mid-Nite easily defeats them.

And last, he reaches the object of their quest. The hero thrusts open the cell door to find ... not the archer he was expecting.

Green Arrow in Robin Hood's place, art by Dick Dillin

This Green Arrow from Earth-Two’s Seven Soldiers of Victory is the clean-shaven do-gooder of days gone by, not the bearded, argumentative and left-wing version of the character usually appearing with the JLA. Unlike some of the other Seven Soldiers, Green Arrow recognizes his rescuer. He clearly has all his faculties.

Green Arrow says that he'll explain later why he's there after they escape.

Green Arrow takes out the Nottingham guards with his net arrow, art by Dick Dillin

Green Arrow says the guards shouldn't have left bow and quiver where he could retrieve them so quickly. All his fabulous trick arrows are still in place, and the ace archer subdues the guards with a net arrow.

They escape the castle and make it back to the forest for explanations.

Little John is disappointed to find their castle raid was all to rescue the wrong man.

The Earth-Two Green Arrow explains where Robin Hood is, art by Dick Dillin

Green Arrow assures Little John that things are fine. Robin Hood is wounded but is being treated by a "friendly friar". I suspect most readers can guess the friar's name is likely Tuck. Robin asked Green Arrow to take his place, but he was captured.

As Little John doesn't recognize Green Arrow, it seems like none of their past encounters are in continuity. However, the encounter with a wounded Robin Hood sounds something like the start of the 1959 story "The Green Arrow Robin Hood" which we explore in the Silver Age section. However, the substitution of Green Arrow for Robin Hood didn't go quite as successful as it did in the earlier tale.

Little John thanks Green Arrow for the news, just as the heroes are whisked away back to their home time of 1972.

The Rest of the Quest

The next segment features the Justice League's Batman and the Justice Society's Starman and Hourman materializing in ancient Egypt where they rescue Pat Dugan aka Stripesy, the adult sidekick of the Star-Spangled Kid.

Issue 102 opens with the Justice League's bearded version of Green Arrow, the Justice Society's Johnny Thunder, and Black Canary who has been a member of both the JSA and JLA landing in the past. Black Canary first appeared as a supporting member of Johnny Thunder's stories in 1947, later gaining a solo feature and joining the JSA. During the 1969 crossover, Black Canary decided to move from Earth-Two to Earth-One and join the League. She soon began a romance with Green Arrow. And the archer is none too happy at Johnny Thunder's suggestion that Canary accompany him.

Black Canary has had enough of Green Arrow and Johnny Thunder's chauvinistic nonsense, art by Dick Dillin

Black Canary tells both of her chauvinistic colleagues off. The three of them, along with Johnny's magic Thunderbolt genie, rescue the cowboy-themed member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the Vigilante from an agry mob of Indigenous Peoples. It suffers from cowboy and Indian cliches that were even becoming dated back in 1972.

The Justice League's Aquaman and Green Lantern, along with the JSA's Wildcat travel back to Cro-Magnon times to find the Star-Spangled Kid hiding in a cave. The time-lost member of the Seven Soldiers has a flu and cannot risk giving it to humanity's ancestors. They all return to the present.

The final retrieval mission is a Mediterranean island in classical times. Speedy's been turned into a centaur by sorceress Circe,, straight out of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.

Speedy as a centaur, art by Dick Dillin

Circe uses her magic to transform the JlA's Flash, the JSA's Red Tornado and JLA-ally Zatanna into creatures as well. But they break free, and restore themselves and Speedy.

All the groups have returned to the present, having rescued all seven of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. So, that leaves one question -- who is in the tomb of the unknown soldier.

The Justice League, Justice Society and the Seven Soldiers of Victory, art by Dick Dillin

The Earth-Two Green Lantern, Robin and Mr. Terrific arrive to provide the answer, but the Crimson Avenger says it first. It was his Chinese sidekick Wing, often an unofficial eighth member of the team who gave his life.

With that mystery solved, the Iron Hand shows up, but the de-powered Earth-One Wonder Woman defeats him easily with her judo skills. The Soldiers reassemble their Nebula-rod, and the android Red Tornado sacrifices himself to deliver it and stop the energy hand that was threatening Earth-Two.

What to Make of This?

The three issue tale is a lot larger than anything else we've covered, but the Robin Hood-related aspect of it is only six pages. That's the length of a really short Green Arrow story from the late 1950s or early 1960s.

There is little to say here, except that while Green Arrow had become very political in the 1970s, this segment of the story was apolitical. Earlier in the issue, superhero Metamorpho calls Superman an “establishment-type” and Sandman leaves a note against tyrants pinned to Genghis Khan’s chest. Nothing of the kind appeared in the Robin Hood segment, and no discussions of the law as had occurred in the 1942 story. As Green Arrow had become dangerous, Robin Hood had become safe.

'There isn't a lot of time for the exploration of the Robin Hood legend. Intriguing moments such as the meeting between Robin Hood and the Earth-Two Green Arrow happen off-stage. The Merry Men aren't presented as robbers, and their outlaw status is neither fully confirmed nor is it denied. If anything, the Merry Men come off as a rebel army.

But they do seem to be a lethal army. Hawkman refers to them as "bloodthirsty bowmen", and that appears to be accurate as well as alliterative.

From a Green Arrow' fans perspective, there's a lot of missed opportunities. The Earth-Two Green Arrow is pretty much the same character who appears in all those previous Robin Hood-related tales. But the newly-transformed Earth-One Green Arrow -- the one who strongly identifies with political rebellion and Robin Hood, he doesn't even get to meet Robin Hood or the Merry Men.

The two Green Arrows are even denied a true meeting. We can see them next to each other in one group shot, but there's no conversation. What would the Green Arrow of the 1940s and 1950s make of the angrier, more political modern incarnation? As for the 1870s Ollie Queen who was much like his Earth-Two counterpart in the Justice League's early years, what would he make of looking into the metaphorical mirror at his pre-enlightened self.

Fortunately, we do get a sense of how the 1970s Green Arrow would react if thrust into Robin Hood's role with the next story.

Splash page for The Legend of Green Arrow, art by Mike Grell and Robert Smith

"The Legend of the Green Arrow!"

Green Lantern / Green Arrow #92 (Dec. 1976 - Jan. 1977)

Bard: [Written by] Denny O'Neil
Minstrels: [Art by] Mike Grell (penciller) and Robert Smith (inker)

Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, formerly a test pilot who was drafted into an interstellar police force the Green Lantern Corps. He wields a "power ring" which gives him the ability to form solid objects out of green glowing energy, among other things. Like Green Arrow, he's a member of the Justice League. In 1970, Green Arrow was added as a co-star to Green Lantern's comic to shape things up. One's a space-cop, the other's a Robin Hood-like rebel. You can probably imagine the "buddy cop" dynamic between Hal and Ollie. Together they explored the problems of contemporary America, and sometimes space. Their adventures were political, critically acclaimed ... and low-selling. The comic was cancelled with issue 89 in April-May 1972.

In 1976, DC brought the team back but with a few differences. Dennis "Denny" O'Neil was still the writer, but artist Neal Adams had moved on and was replaced by Mike Grell. Even more significantly, the earthbound politics had been replaced by sci-fi, superheroic action and adventure.

A lot of the early 1970s stories had Robin Hood themes in them, but a faux-medieval Robin Hood tale like this, just wouldn't have happened in the earlier Green Lantern/Green Arrow issues.

What Came Before

Part of Green Arrow's transformation into more of a Robin Hood was the loss of his fortune. Oliver Queen was no longer a millionaire. And in the previous issue, (issue 91), Green Arrow received an invitation to compete in the archery contest at the Grand Duchy of Shan. The prize money? Enough for a month's rent..

Green Arrow visits a poor country, art by Mike Grell

Green Arrow discovers that the peasants are impoverished. He goes to complain at the palace, and fights with a guard who strikes a peasant. The archer is locked in his room for the night. But he receives word from the his escort, the scantily-clad maiden Yolanda that the ruler of the land is an impostor. He's truly a "monster from the beyond the stars".

The next day he meets his opponent Abraxis. And Green Arrow refuses to bow to the sultan.

The contest's prize is 190 pounds of silver, and the hand of Yolanda.

Green Arrow in an archery contest, art by Mike Grell

Oliver isn't going to have Yolanda forced into a relationship. As for the prize money he travelled the globe to win? Green Arrow declares "it'll fee a lot of starving kids." That's some Robin Hood altruism showing.

After some preliminary target shooting, the contestants start shooting each other's arrows. Green Arrow is declared the winner, but he's knocked unconscious for his trouble.

The emerald archer is placed in a trap - giant gold scales over a vat of boiling oil. Green Arrow is chained on one scale, and on the other are the pounds of silver -- enough to feed the starving people. The sultan calls forth his oppressed people. They apologize Green Arrow, but they need the money to survive and each peasant takes a bar from the scale. This causes the archer to dip ever closer to the acid.

But it turns out this was not a trap for Green Arrow, but for his friend and partner Green Lantern. The sultan reveals himself.

Sinestro has Green Arrow in a deathtrap, art by Mike Grell

And the phony sultan turns out to be Sinestro, Green Lantern's magenta-hued arch-enemy. Sinestro was once a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Unlike the law-abiding Hal Jordan, Sinestro didn't serve merely as the protector of his sector of space, but as its dictator. As a result he was expelled from the Green Lanterns and has sought revenge ever since.

Green Arrow bursts free and with Green Lantern's help, they capture the villain. Which means at the start of issue #92, the green-clad heroes have a prisoner they need to deal with. 

Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan tour the slums, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

An Escaped Prisoner and the Silver Twist

Our heroes leave Sinestro in custody, our heroes visit the slums once again. Hal Jordan is as horrified as Oliver Queen. But while they see the problem, they don't know the solution.

Writer Denny O'Neil used to say he raised questions like this in his Green Lantern / Green Arrow stories in the hopes that his readers would grow up smart enough to solve the problems of the world.

Meanwhile, Sinestro has hidden away a second yellow power ring. (Green Lantern's power ring doesn't work on anything coloured yellow -- so of course his foe's power ring works on yellow energy instead of green.) Sinestro uses his power ring to unravel his bonds and blasts into space.

Green Lantern and Green Arrow follow. But Green Lantern stops to summon his power battery and give his own green power ring another 24-hour charge. With the space-pursuit back on, they all come across a strange object in space.

The Silver Twist, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Green Lantern explains that it's called the Silver Twist -- an immensely powerful object that vanishes and reappears in different places. No one's quite sure who built it or why.

Our heroes warn Sinestro to be careful, but he laughs off their warning and sends yellow energy at Green Lantern and Green Arrow. This activates the Twist, and it transports the three combatants ... elsewhere.

The Silver Twist transports Sinestro, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

The Fight in the Forest

The three travellers land in a forest. Immediately upon arrival, the trio hears the cry of helpful from a damsel in distress. She's being chased by men with medieval armour and helmets. 

Green Arrow uses an arrow to cut the damel's bonds, and then he sets about attack the guards. Sinestro mocks -- as he knew Green Arrow couldn't resist getting involved..

Green Arrow rescues a damsel in distress, written by Denny O'Neil, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Green Lantern joins the fray, but finds his power ring isn't working in this strange dimension. He needs to use his wits and fists instead,

Sinestro does nothing but be amused by the heroes' struggles. "I love watching an old-fashioned fight ... between other people!" But one of the guards attacks Sinestro -- who finds his own power ring isn't working. Now it's Green Lantern and Green Arrow's turn to chuckle at someone's misfortunes.

Once the guards have been drive off, the damsel introduces herself. Her name is Marion. Of course, it is.

Marion talks of evil Prince Yuan and the true rule Richard Stoutarm

Marion continues her explanation with more names that will resonate with anyone familiar with the Robin Hood legend. Marion and others live in the forest to avoid the servitude of Prince Yuan. And they are the servants of the true king -- Rickard Stoutarm. Clearly these are sci-fi stand-ins for evil Prince John and good King Richard the Lionheart of Robin Hood lore.

It's not the first time that writer Denny O'Neil has refashioned the name of a Robin Hood villain to cause trouble for Green Arrow. Green Arrow's change in attitude came about in Justice League of America #75 (November 1969) when Oliver Queen lost his fortune to a corrupt businessman named John Deleon. The first name comes from Prince John, and the surname is a variation on his brother's nickname "Coeur de Lion" or "Lionheart".

As the heroes head into the camp, they discover poverty much like what they saw on Earth. Once again, Green Arrow is outraged by the suffering he sees. They also discover that they are not on a completely medieval world. There are signs of technology such as light bulbs.

The heroes travel through a sci-fi, semi-medieval camp, art by Mike Grell

We learn that the cause of the suffering is Prince Yuan's glowing tower at the centre of town. It's draining all the power and electricity from the surrounding countryside.

Sinestro agrees to a truce with Green Lantern. They need to destroy that tower to get their power rings working again and get out of there. 

Green Arrow guesses that Prince Yuan is sitting in his tower gloating. He's right, of course.

Prince Yuan, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Having Fun Storming the Castle

As Prince Yuan acts out the decadent rule stereotype in his tower, his goons report report on his brother's space fleet which is approaching the planet. Yuan is unconcerned. His brother's ships have been through a war and have been depleted. They are no match for Yuan's forces.

This reference to "the wars" serves as a parallel for King Richard having left England to fight in the Third Crusade. In both real-life and fiction, Prince John made a power-play while his brother was away. 

As for our heroes, it's Green Arrow who emerges as the leader this issue, having cobbled together a plan that seems to hinge on Robin Hood tropes like those found in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe.

Sinestro as a jester, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

The plan calls for Sinestro to distract the townsfolk and guards by dressing up as jester -- complete with coxcomb hat -- and performing stupid tricks. It feels like a tribute to Ivanhoe's jester Wamba. Clearly distraction isn't the only part of the plan. The humiliation that Sinestro feels ("This absolutely freezes my soul!") is quite deliberate. 

It's a callback to Robin Hood humiliating his enemies, such as forcing the Bishop of Hereford to dance in his boots or sending his foes back to Nottingham dressed in rags. Many superheroes have a element of the trickster to them, but in this setting it seems all the more Robin Hood like.

Green Arrow sneaks into the tower, knocking out the few remaining guards with his trick arrows  -- including voltage arrow, as electricity does work in the villain's fortress.

Finally, Green Arrow comes upon Prince Yuan ... and yes, he's gloating.

Green Arrow enters Prince Juan's HQ, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Prince Yuan is delighted by two things -- that his brother's fleet will soon be destroyed and that "without energy, the peasants will never rebel and I will be ruler forever more!" Yes, he's causing suffering solely to suppress rebellion and gain power. 

And that, Green Arrow can't abide. He shoots a yoke arrow at Yuan's neck, pinning the evil ruler to his throne. Then, Oliver hits the henchman with his bow.

In the commotion, a chair flies out the window. Green Arrow shouts down to his companions below to "Quit your clowning and come on up! The fun's just starting!" 

Sinestro is delighted to cast off his jester's costume. As for Green Arrow, he's singing and having a whale of a time smashing the tyrant's equipment.

Green Arrow smashes equipment, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Green Lantern and Sinestro discover their power rings are working, and they use energy beams to smash the equipment. It deprives Green Arrow of more equipment to vandalize and he calls his allies party-poopers.

Prince Juan is worried about what will happen to him. Marion declares that King Rickard will deal with him when he returns. That reminds Green Arrow to tell his colleagues about the space fleet that needs smashing.

Surprisingly, Sinestro is willing to help destroy Yuan's space fleet as he blames the tyrant for everything he's had to endure since landing here.

Sinestro threatens Prince Yuan while Marion has eyes for Green Arrow, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

Sinestro and Green Lantern are ready to do their part, but Marion only has eyes for Green Arrow, who is flattered by her affections.

This is perhaps something he shouldn't mention to his girlfriend fellow superhero Black Canary. Many years later, Green Arrow would develop a reputation as a philanderer. 

Green Arrow kisses Marion farewell

All Heroic Legends Are Different, Yet All Are the Same

In the 1970s, Green Arrow wasn't quite what his later reputation would suggest. He bestows Marion a chaste kiss on the forehead. And with his parting words, perhaps reveals the root of his affection. "Farewell, Maid Marion!" The words Robin Hood may never have appeared in this story, but Green Arrow was more than aware of what role he was playing. This caper gives him a chance to indulge in a little Errol Flynn fantasy play.

Although for her part, the comic's Marion is not as smart and self-assured as Olivia de Havilland's Maid Marian in the 1938 movie. Nor is she the skilled archer or have the wise presence of the Marians in the 1950s TV series. This Marion seems more doting like the vixen in the 1973 Disney cartoon.

When speaking about his early acclaimed Green Lantern / Green Arrow stories, Denny O'Neil would often remark how it took him years to understand women's lib. It's easy to imagine a few years later that Marion or Black Canary might take a more active role in the adventure.

Sinestro slaughters the enemy fleet, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

One difference between Robin Hood and 1970s comic book heroes such as Green Lantern and Green Arrow is that Robin Hood kills his foes. Green Lantern works on disabling Prince Yuan's forces, but Sinestro is unnecessarily slaughtering the enemy. We even see a guard floating in space.

Sinestro continues to gloat, even as the enemy has surrendered.

Before Green Lantern can subdue his arch-enemy, the Silver Twist reappears. It draws Green Lantern and Green Arrow into one side, and Sinestro into the other. 

When Green Lantern and Green Arrow reappear near a planet that resembles Saturn, Sinestro is nowhere to be seen.

The earthly archer has questions, but his more space-faring friend has no answers."Despite our civilizations, we're ignorant creatures at large in a vast, mysterious universe."

Meanwhile, Marion stares wistfully at one of Green Arrow's arrows. The comic ends with the same phrase that appeared on the opening page -- All Heroic Legends are different, yet all are the same.

Marion has fond memories of Green Arrow, art by Mike Grell and Bob Smith

The opening and concluding phrase resembles the monomyth or "Hero's Journey" theories of Joseph Campbell and others. That myths and legends fit a certain recurring pattern. Some of the previous Green Arrow Robin Hood stories like the ones in 1948 and 1959 are built on the premise that Robin Hood and Green Arrow are cut from the same cloth. But it rings false.

Here, Green Arrow only slightly acknowledges the parallel to Robin Hood. And yet, this feels far more like a Robin Hood story than the others. Perhaps the constant comparisons in the other stories shackled them. And perhaps story length has something to do with it. The comic books from the 1930s to the 1960s usually contained multiple stories. By the 1970s, longer full-issue tales were the norm. And so, this story has room to breathe.

But much of the Robin Hood nature of the tale comes from Green Arrow's attitude. O'Neil's Green Arrow is brimming with attitude. We see his anger at suffering. We feel his joy as he fights against a tyrant and smashes equipment. There's an outlaw spirit in Oliver Queen just looking for the reason to burst forth. From the mid-1940s to the 1960s, heroes were too pure to be quite so rebellious.

Of course, this issue is a very particular type of Robin Hood tale -- Robin Hood as rebel and freedom fighter. There's still no trace of robbery in this tale.

This issue was drawn by Mike Grell. A decade later, he'd transition from being the artist of Green Arrow stories to being the writer of Green Arrow tales. And Mike Grell's work on the character is filled with Robin Hood references. We'll look at two of those adventures on the next page.

Sources and Where to Find These Comics

Both of the stories covered here have been reprinted by DC Comics

GREEN LANTERN / GREEN ARROW: SPACE-TRAVELING HEROES Vol.1 The collection includes the Robin Hood-themed story The Legend of the Green Arrow, along with several other issues by writer Denny O'Neil and artist Mike Grell. These are their shared exploits in Green Lantern #90-106. It also features some on the relationship between Green Arrow and Black Canary. Most of these issues had not been reprinted until this volume.
Buy Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Space Traveling Heroes on
Buy Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Space Traveling Heroes on
Buy Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Space Traveling Heroes on

CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS: BOOK @: CRISIS CROSSED (2022 Edition) This collection features team-ups between the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. It includes the Seven Soldiers of Victory team-up from JLA #101 with the Merry Men. Other team-up stories include Crisis on Earth-X which was loosely adapted into the TV story on Arrow and related shows. (Pre-2022 Collections put this story in volume 3.)
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Buy Crisis on Multiple Earths Book 2: Crisis Crossed on
Buy Crisis on Multiple Earths Book 2: Crisis Crossed on

I began writing these Green Arrow pages back in 2013. In the time since then, a book length study of Green Arrow was published which covers much of the same territory..

MOVING TARGET: THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF GREEN ARROW by Richard Gray. Sequart Organization, 2017. A 75th anniversary look at Green Arrow in all his incarnations, including several interviews. Gray provides good coverage of Green Arrow's Robin Hood connections.
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Buy Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow on
Buy Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow on

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Green Arrow and related comics are copyright © DC Comics  and used without permission under fair use for the purpose of criticism and review.
Arrow and Smallville TV shows are copyright @ Warner Brothers and used without permission under fair use for the purpose of criticism and review
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