Story by Denny O’Neil
Art by Mike Grell
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Clem Robins
In April of 1970, DC Comics would publish Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76, an issue titled “No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!”. The issue marked the beginning of the short but brilliant collaboration on the series by writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams. Together, these two iconic creators changed the entire trajectory of the DC Universe by pulling the publisher into the realm of socially relevant commentary, something that had long existed in comics but was typically not an arena the DC characters entered. With both feet, Green Lantern and Green Arrow plunged into the waters and the rest, of course, is history.
Denny O’Neil passed away on June 11, 2020 but not before he managed to create one final Green Lantern/Green Arrow story for the Green Lantern 80th Anniversary anthology. “Time Alone,” illustrated by Green Arrow icon Mike Grell, beautifully bookends a journey started just over fifty years ago. In “No Evil,” we open with Hal being rough on a youth only to be interrupted by Ollie who points out that Hal has no idea what life in this particular neighborhood is like and that Hal’s black and white, “law and order” rhetoric is a significant failing. The journey to making Hal into the rebel leader he would one day become started in that moment. “Time Alone” flips the journey, showing Ollie savagely beating on Clock King and having Hal intervene.
Hal goes on to explain that his two month (and two day) absence was to go read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden in isolation on a distant planet and think. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” quotes the book, going on to say “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it has to teach.” If you’ve followed my work over the years, you’ll be familiar with some of my views of Hal Jordan’s rise and fall as a “space cop” and the relationship to social discourse. “Emerald Twilight,” the corruption of Hal Jordan, was released just after the complete and utter failure of the justice system in the case of the brutal beating of Rodney King at the hands of LAPD officers. Is this coincidence? Perhaps, but that isn’t how mythology works, is it? We get the stories we need, usually when we need them. I like to think, reading his work over the years, that Denny felt that. He lived that. He was a consummate storyteller.
Here we are in 2020, and the same problems from 1992… the same problems from 1970… the same problems from 1863… persist. Denny took this moment to have Hal introspect and ask those closest to him to do the same. “Things do not change” he closes. “We change.” And as Denny rode off into the night, he left us with one final myth, one last lesson, one last love song.
"Things Do Not change; We Change:" A Final Farewell to Denny O'Neil
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