In what should have stayed a self-contained, eight-page backup story illustrated by Neal Adams in The Flash #226, Green Lantern found he was incapable of using his power ring effectively. It was eventually revealed that Hal Jordan’s unusual behavior was the result of some bad canned mushrooms that he had added to his “wilderness chili” (following Green Arrow’s secret recipe).
Writer Denny O’Neil decided to expand upon that eight-page story in the next two issues–Flash #227-28 (May-June to July-August, 1974). Both of those concluding chapters were penciled by Dick Dillin, who would illustrate the Emerald Crusader’s exploits for the next few issues.
Picking up from the point where GL rescued a young female hiker in #226 (by using his physical skills because of the bad mushrooms), Hal Jordan suddenly developed an obnoxious, abrasive attitude toward everybody he came in contact with–starting with the female hiker. He even went so far as to physically assault US park rangers.
When he finally got enough of a grip on himself to realize he shouldn’t be using the ring, he learned at the end of #227 that a group of campers had been surrounded by a raging forest fire–and that only he could save them. Towards the end of the final chapter (#228), nasty extraterrestrials became involved, and GL eventually came to his senses.
Then came the startling return of Aaron Burr in Flash #230-31 (November-December, 1974 to January-February, 1975). Yes, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in an historic duel, and (as believed in some historical quarters) the leader of a failed attempt to attack Mexico. That Aaron Burr, who never died (as revealed here).
Instead of dying in 1836, Burr had been transported off-planet in 1804–just before the duel with Hamilton. He was replaced by a very convincing clone from outer space. The clone died in 1836 while the real Burr lived on to rule an alien race while longing for home. I believe O’Neil must have been affected by some of those bad mushrooms in that contaminated chili before writing this tale, but it does have its amusing moments.
In fact, this story is so outlandish that it remains a true joy to read.
As a consolation for depriving Green Lantern of appearing in new material in the two 100- pager issues allotted The Flash in 1974, GL was given a solo reprint feature in The Flash #229 (September-October, 1974) and a reprinted 1960s team-up with The Flash in #232 (March-April, 1975).
Portions of this article originally appeared in Back Issue #18 (Nov., 2006), published by TwoMorrow Publications.