Is the world ready for its first Arab-American Muslim Green Lantern? DC Comics thinks so.
One of DC’s premier comic titles, Green Lantern continues to make news for its inclusive nature. Not long ago it was announced that Earth’s first Green Lantern character, Alan Scott, would be portrayed as a gay man in the New 52 continuity. Now writer and DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns, himself an Arab-American, is drawing on his own experiences to create Simon Baz.
Fox News reports that character of Baz lives in Dearborn, Michigan, and is out of work after being laid off from his job at an auto plant. The new stand alone zero issue that introduces him shows Simon Baz growing up in a post 9/11 America that is suspicious of Arabs and Muslims.
“Obviously, it’s affecting everybody,”Johns told Fox News. “One of the things I really wanted to show was its effect on Simon and his family in a very negative way.”
The character seems to lack some of the heroic attributes of his predecessors and will be shown stealing cars after losing his job. On the cover of the issue, despite being in Green Lantern garb, Baz wields a hand gun. Though the character has been described as a Muslim, how much that will factor into his story is unclear. His forearm tattoo that reads “courage” in Arabic is considered “haram,” or religiously forbidden by Islam, for example.
The New York Daily News reports that long-time Lantern fans shouldn’t worry that Baz will replace long-time Lantern and the series best known character Hal Jordan, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in a recent film adaptation. Jordan is still around, and stuck in a sort of limbo in an ongoing plot line. There are currently four Green Lantern titles in the DC relaunch: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: The New Guardians and Red Lanterns.
In the DC Comics universe, Green Lanterns are members of a universe-wide, inter-planetary police force. Its members are chosen for their courage and will power. Things like race and sexual orientation are of little concern to the Green Lantern Corps, which counts among its members numerous alien species and even a sentient planet.