I know a lot of people say this is a must read for the social issues, but I found O'Neils writing to be very ham-fisted, even for the time. We can learn these lessons without being beat over the head with the message. Don't get me wrong the first half isn't all silly or downer material, there are some nice moments, but I did enjoy the first 4 volumes a lot more. Yes, we're back up to the 500 (or, so) page count, thankfully! That helped. I actually preferred the short tales in the second half of this volume (also written by O'Neil) that were culled from the pages of Flash! There we get back into the adventure side of comics and the debut of the Floronic Man as we know him today. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here is a question you should ask yourself before reading, "Do I really want our main hero to constantly be made a fool by almost every character he meets and especially his "friend," Green Arrow?" For me the answer is no. I found GA to be really annoying in this book. On the bright side, Black Canary's appearances are refreshing. It seems between volumes, GL has become a joke to the masses and nobody, I mean nobody, has any respect for the guy. The villains don't even seem to fear him (and I'm talking street thugs and teenagers.) He's even down on himself half the time.
I was looking forward to the debut of John Stewart, but the Blacksploitaion-like feel ruined that story for me. I also found the Speedy story to be almost laughable for reasons I can't get into without spoiling the story. What saves this book for me, besides the short form stories, is the excellent artwork. Yes, Neal Adams is the standout - and the best artist to work on GL up to this point, but the others in this volume are no slouches either.
It may sound as if I don't recommend this book, but I do. I just want give others a word of note before reading. This is an excellent series and with the next volume I should start seeing the comics I had rolled up in my back pocket as a boy, yay! For more views on the stories in this volume, check out Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection - Volume 1 and Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection - Volume 2.
For people new to DC's Showcase Presents, or for that matter, Marvel's Essential line, these are in black and white. True, this may seem a disadvantage (especially to a hero who's super-power is the color green, LOL) but I feel for those who are actually drawn (no pun intended) to the artwork and not just bright colors are actually getting a better deal. In a sense you are closer to the artist in this format. Sometimes with color you lose detail and depth. Besides quicker volumes and lower cost, we have a much better probability of seeing an entire series printed. I'm still waiting for Golden Age Green Lantern Archives Volume 3.