If you’ve been keeping up with Green Arrow, there’s no way you didn’t see this one coming. “Hard Traveling Hero” has driven Ollie Queen out of his comfort zone, forcing him to take a lengthy leave from Seattle (now rebranded as the familiar Star City) for the first time in Rebirth. Now, he’s set to get some face time in with some friends. So far, the Emerald Archer has teamed up with Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, leaving just one essential component missing from the mix.
That’s right, it’s time for this arc to finally earn its title: It’s time for Ollie Queen to come face to face with Hal Jordan for the first time… again.
Two Guys and a Truck
The significance of Ollie and Hal’s partnership reaches all the way back to the dawn of the Bronze Age of comics where the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series where had the two heroes famously team up to travel the country in a beat up pick-up truck, solving problems for middle Americans as they ping-ponged from state to state.
The series, written by Denny O’Neill and illustrated by Neal Adams, gained recognition for its direct and decidedly non-allegorical approach to topical social and political issues like drug abuse, racism and classism, as well as its down-to-earth approach for two of DC’s B-list heroes. Both Green Lantern and Green Arrow were struggling to shrug off the camp and confusion brought about by their inconsistent Silver Age stories, making a “soft reboot” the best (and maybe even the last) chance at rescuing them both from relative obscurity.
In what became known as the “Hard Traveling Heroes” arc, Ollie and Hal butted heads thanks to Ollie’s self righteous liberalism and Hal’s staunch by-the-book cop attitude, until they were both able to meet (or…well, occasionally meet) in the middle to do some real good.
Their time together forged a bond that would link the two heroes for decades to come, well after their team-up book officially ended. The friendship wove in and out of shared Justice League plots (usually played for comedy), but also served to bolster some of their heavier narratives. Both Hal and Ollie wound up playing key parts in the other’s resurrection storylines (yes, both of them died, no, not at the same time.) For Ollie, Hal’s memory (and, specifically, the truck they’d traveled in together) was a key part of his post-death memory recovery. For Hal, Ollie played a very hands on role in retrieving Hal’s spirit during Green Lantern: Rebirth.
The important thing to understand here is that “Hard Traveling Heroes” served to not only lay a foundation for our understanding of both Green Lantern and Green Arrow, it was a story that continued to stay relevant well into the modern age. It’s easy to see just how hobbling it was — especially for Green Arrow, who tended to be the one learning the brunt of the “lessons” and getting the majority of the development in the form of his supporting characters like Roy Harper and Dinah Lance — for the New 52 to unceremoniously strip that connection and history away.
So you can see just how weighty the green dream team’s Rebirth return actually is.
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