Geoff Johns is now exploiting Green Lantern for political diversity
Now DC has killed Hal Jordan off (Sinestro too) in another cheap publicity stunt. Yes, I'm sure they'll bring him back in a year or two (maybe), but it's still the same hackish, no-talent stunt we've come to expect from Dilapidated Comics. And now we've made the Guardians a villainish conspiracy theory, and Hal's replacement is an Arab guy that carries a .45 along with a power ring. Oh, and wears a luchador mask (DC's website's top 5 reasons for loving the Green Lantern universe: #2, Diversity! No, I'm not kidding. [link]). Behold, Green Lantern is now Space Punisher!. Anyone want to take bets on when the first nasty crack about Israel is written into his dialogue?Which brings us to the sad revelation that the new character who'll wield a GL ring is going to be a Muslim after all:
Baz's story begins in a standalone "zero issue" available Wednesday that's part of a companywide effort to fill in the gaps or tell the origins of a character or team. Johns has no plans for Baz to fade into the background — the character in February is bound for the Justice League of America, one of DC's premier super team books, to fight alongside Green Arrow, Catwoman and Hawkman.Now that's really strange that someone from a background like Johns', instead of drawing on his own religious background, prefers to base it on a religion that views his own as inferior. It's almost like he's saying his own beliefs are inferior. And it certainly reeks of dhimmitude and a disinterest in refuting the stereotype that all Arabs are Muslims. Given what the story structure is like, it's clear that there's little chance Baz will ever be seen dealing with crimes involving Muslims persecuting Christians, Jews, women, or even gays and lesbians. Nor will he be coming to the aid of targets of honor killings, or even groups like 9-11 Families for a Safe and Strong America who still have to fight to get the memorials dedicated to the real victims completed.
Johns said he took economic as well as ethnic cues for the character from his native Detroit area, with Baz resorting to stealing cars after being laid off from his automotive engineering job. He steals the wrong car, which inadvertently steers him into a terrorism probe and, eventually, an unexpected call to join the universe's galactic police force.
The olive-skinned, burly Baz hails from Dearborn, the hometown of Henry Ford and the capital of Arab America. His story begins at 10 years old, when he and the rest of his Muslim family watch their television in horror as airplanes fly into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Events unfold from there as U.S. Arabs and Muslims find themselves falling under intense suspicion and ostracism in the days, months and years following the attacks.
"Obviously, it's affecting everybody," said Johns, who grew up in nearby suburbs in a Lebanese Christian household and got into comics when he discovered his uncle's old collection in his Arab grandmother's attic. "One of the things I really wanted to show was its effect on Simon and his family in a very negative way."
Johns, who also has written stories starring Superman, The Flash and Teen Titans, said going diverse only works if there's a good story, and he believes he found that with Baz. But don't mistake him for a hero in the beginning: Baz disappoints both devout Muslims — his forearm tattoo that reads "courage" in Arabic is considered "haram," or religiously forbidden — and broader society by turning to a life of crime.An Arab, yes, but a Muslim, no. One could wonder just what kind of reception a character with religious beliefs like Baz would give to Alan Scott now that he's been turned homosexual, and Chuck Dixon himself asked, "Will the Muslim Lantern use his gun to kill Alan Scott?" I don't think many Muslims in real life would like Scott's new state either.
"He's not a perfect character. He's obviously made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable," he said. "Hopefully (it's) a compelling character regardless of culture or ethnic background. ... But I think it's great to have an Arab-American superhero. This was opportunity and a chance to really go for it."
Johns also sees the debut of Baz as a chance to reconnect with people in his home state: He's scheduled to visit Dearborn this weekend for events related to the release that include a signing Friday at a comic book store and a free presentation Saturday on his career and characters at the Arab American National Museum. He worked with museum staff to make sure he got certain details right about his character and the Arab-Muslim community.Oh, I'll bet he did, with a lot of taqqiya (deception) included in the uncreative input.
"It doesn't completely define the character but it shapes the character," he said. "My biggest hope is that people embrace it and understand what we're trying to do."Oh we understand alright; he's trying to "exonerate" the Religion of Peace, and is basically - and naively - aiding victimology. This is the clearest form of politicized storytelling he's come up with ever since he wrote Avengers: Red Zone a decade ago, the padded-out story where Captain America found a government lab around Mt. Rushmore that released toxic gases and said, "this wasn't the work of any terrorist. This was from us." And where Red Skull claims Black Panther was behind the development. And where two soldiers on board an airship semi-threatened Vision to scram with an injured child because "we're loaded to capacity. Any more weight and we'll drop" even as the space they were in was practically empty.
The New York Daily News has more gushing going on:
DC Comics is unveiling its newest super hero Wednesday — a Muslim Arab-American being interrogated by Homeland Security when he’s fitted for the cosmic powered ring.This sounds almost like a story by Chris Roberson DC was planning to run in Superman last year but scrapped because it was very possibly offensive to Americans; it could've depicted them in very degrading lights. Why wouldn't it be surprising if the same happens here?
Meet Simon Baz of Dearborn, Mich., who grew up dealing with prejudice in a post 9/11 America.
The original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, a character first introduced in the 1940, was reimagined earlier this year as a homosexual hero in another series.Oh, but there are, and maybe DC doesn't think so, but as even Chuck Dixon implied, Muslims could be too!
“At this point, after making Alan Scott gay — that was sort of the big one. Other than a few idiots who somehow felt it was a betrayal, there doesn’t seem to be many people offended,” says Harry Knowles, founder of Ain’t It Cool News, a geek culture news website.
The galling political dhimmitude aside, what's also sad here is how, even if Hal Jordan hasn't been killed off, he's still been victimized once again by publicity stunt tactics for the sake of introducing a Kyle Rayner 2.0 and what Johns is doing to the Guardians is despicable too. All these current steps explain perfectly why I shunned his work several years ago after he desecrated the Flash with repellant violence and made things worse after he killed off the infant whose mother he'd first rubbed out in Rogues Revenge. Just like James Robinson, he too is, in his own way, getting lost in a forest of political correctness.