Breaking news; DC’s getting bad press.
Last week, news broke that Joshua Hale Fialkov walked off two books he was writing, Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns, before the his first issues even hit the stands. A few days later he later revealed that one of the reasons why he left the books is because he was asked to incorporate the death of John Stewart into his storyline.
Cue fanboy and internet outrage.
DC quickly got new writers assigned to the books, who tweeted out that John Stewart’s life was not in any danger.
Now as longtime comic and G.L. fan (I still remember the Dave Gibbons cover for Green Lantern #183 where John pushes Hal Jordan out of the way to face an unseen menace) you’d think that I’d be happy that DC decided not to kill John Stewart. Plus I’m Black and he’s one of DC’s first Black heroes.
But the thing is; I think DC need to kill John Stewart.
Allow me to explain.
The first thing to understand is that DC is seriously crushing on Hal Jordan. They have been for the past nine years, ever since the debut of Green Lantern: Rebirth. And can you really blame them? Green Lantern: Rebirth was a popular miniseries that launched a new Green Lantern series that was equally popular.
Furthermore, thanks to Green Lantern centric events like Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, DC enjoyed great success not only monetarily but also with the critics. And all of that can be traced back to Hal Jordan (and Geoff Johns.)
That success did come at a cost; John Stewart. Y’see, at that point John Stewart was a pretty prominent Green Lantern, not only in the DCU but also in terms of the public awareness. John was the Green Lantern in the insanely popular Justice League cartoon. And he was even the GL in the JLA comic for s spell too.
Of course Hal Jordan’s return quickly pushed John Stewart onto the backburner. DC was so in love with Hal Jordan that they actually made him the start of a big budget summer blockbuster film. Because why make movie about John Stewart, the character on a popular and well regarded cartoon that spawned tons of merchandise, when you can center it on Hal Jordan, a character that virtually an entire generation of comic readers regarded as Parallax/The Spectre/Not Green Lantern?
And how did that turn out? Well, when was the last time you heard anyone speak highly of the Green Lantern movie?
But DC stuck with Hal Jordan, like an abusive boyfriend. They look past the colossal failure that was the GL movie and seemingly only remember Sinestro Corps War and The Blackest Night. What chance does John Stewart have if DC still throws all the support behind Hal?
Another reason why John is better off dead is because his current continuity is a mess. Mind you, this is coming from someone who wrote a Q&A column about the DCU for six years, so I’m used to muddled continuity. Here are some questions I’ve got about John’s past;
Was he ever married to Katma Tui? This is rhetorical, because obviously the answer is no. John and Katma’s relationship would never have begun under the current reimagining of the workings of the Green Lantern Corps. It’s also pretty clear that the marriage never took place given the most recent issue of Green Lantern Corps (hint; the death of you wife packs an emotional punch.)
Did Green Lantern Mosaic ever happen? I’m guessing no. I love the book. It was cool to see John in the starring role. And the book was weird. Like just shy of Vertigo weird. That said, I doubt John ever had to keep a fractured Oa together. And what’s funny is that Mosaic is why John doesn’t wear gloves. I doubt he ever gained the powers of a Guardian. That makes me sad.
How did he become Green Lantern? Ah the joys of the New 52! We saw that Ganthet gave Kyle the ring. Hal’s origin is storied. And we’ve got a pretty good idea of how Guy got his ring, especially since sectors have two GLs. But how did John get his ring again?
For me, those are just the three most pressing questions. I’ve got more, believe me like; was John Stewart still imprisoned for crimes committed by Hal Jordan?
My final reason why John’s death sentence should not be pardoned is because he’s been misused for quite some time now.
I love Peter Tomasi. He was an awesome editor and he’s a stellar writer. I loved The Mighty. His Batman & Robin always delivers. He even made me a fan of Guy Gardner (mostly due to awesome Baltimore Easter Eggs.) But John Stewart has been largely ignored.
Well, let’s have a look at what he’s done since Hal’s return.
Um, he was retconned into having been a Marine sniper. He’s finally forgiven himself for the destruction of Xanshi. On and he killed Mogo, the sentient planet who also happened to be a Green Lantern. But John killed Mogo in an effort to save the Green Lantern Corps.
In the New 52 just hasn’t done much…other than kill another Green Lantern. But again he did it in an effort to save the Green Lantern Corps. John’s been such a supporting character that while Guy and Kyle both got full issues to deal with Volthoom, the First Lantern, John is such a minor character with such a muddled backstory that he gets to share an issue with Fatality.
As a character John is suffering and has been for years. John Stewart is on life support and DC planned to pull the plug, then changed their mind to avoid a backlash.
But there’s no reason to believe that things will get better for John. DC is firmly standing behind Hal Jordan and he’s got his own book. Kyle Rayner was handpicked by a Guardian to be Green Lantern and he’s got a title that chronicles his adventures. And Guy Gardner is the rebel who headlines a book that John occasionally has cameos in. Simon Baz is the “new guy” and he’s guaranteed a spot in the Justice League of America.
Even Atrocitus and Larfleeze have books that they star in. But John Stewart? He’s just sitting on the sideline, suffering.
I suppose I could be optimistic and believe that DC would get their act together in terms of John Stewart. The thing is, I’ve got a pretty full plate of waiting; for DC’s “big plans” for the Milestone characters, Samaritan X and a new version of Who’s Who in the DCU.
I say put John Stewart out of his misery. Let him die a hero as opposed to being relegated to a supporting character or worse a forgettable one. Consider it euthanasia; I’ve rather have John Stewart killed off than have continue as he’s been going for the last five years.
I know; it’s a downer. But that’s how I feel.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday, go and get some fresh new comic books.