Issue: Green Lantern vol. 1 #84
Title: "Peril in Plastic"
Cover Date: July, 1971
Credits: Denny O'Neil (scripts) Neal Adams (art)
Synopsis: Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris, newly reunited after last issue, have spent several lazy weeks getting to know one another on the beach. Towards the end of their jaunt, Carol tells Hal she plans to see a revolutionary doctor in the next town by the name of Palm. Hal agrees to let her go on her own and decides to use the time to visit Green Arrow.
Ollie is now shacked up in a disreputable part of town. Without his fortune, he can't exactly afford penthouses anymore. The two chat for a few minutes, until a report comes over the radio about an failing dam in a nearby town...the same one that Carol is in for her doctor visit!
Hal flies off, and using his power ring, manages to patch up the dam. Unfortunately, the fact that the guardians have weakened his ring means that all the activity has left him almost too tired to stand. In the aftermath of the rescue, Dr. Palm, who also happens to be mayor, comes out and insists on throwing GL a party and presenting him with a key to the city. He also attaches a small device to Hal's uniform, which randomly sprays perfume in his face.
After a strange ceremony, attended only by Dr. Palm and on a plastic stage, GL prepares to leave. Dr. Palm isn't too keen on this idea, and has his goons chase GL down. His will sapped by the perfume, GL cannot escape, but does manage to send his ring to Ollie just before passing out.
Unfortunately, Black Canary picks that moment to show up, and distracts Green Arrow just as the ring drops into his apartment. They go out to dinner, but have a fight at the restaurant and split up. Ollie returns and finds the ring, reasoning that Hal wouldn't have sent it away unless it was an emergency. He puts it on, recharges it, and heads for Piper's Dell and Dr. Palm.
Meanwhile, GL awakens, trussed up in a strange chair. Dr. Palm is revealed to be the Black Hand in disguise, who has hooked up with shady financial backers to use brainwashed workers to produce shoddy goods in Piper's Dell. To prove that the population is totally under his control, he lets Hal and Carol go, only to have them face a mob of angry civilians. The mob traps GL and Carol at the edge of the dam, only to have Green Arrow arrive just in time. He gets the power ring back to GL just in time. Hal then uses the ring to contain the mob and trap Black Hand in his own crappy plastic products.
Thoughts: Again, you have to give O'Neil and Adams props for tackling such am important issue (rampant consumerism at the cost of individuality) but again they end up beating you over the head with it. Literally. At one point, Hal and Carol are pummelled with plastic bricks. The Black Hand ends up trapped in a plastic prison of his own making, etc. And to think, credit cards were a fairly new thing back then!
Also: It took me a couple read-throughs to get the Dr. Palm/Black Hand connection. I blame the late hour.
Next Time: The Main Event, the reason this series is famous...Speedy on drugs!