DC Comics has released solicitation information for their Green Lantern family of titles, and while no further cancellations were announced (to accompany Justice League International and Captain Atom), fans got a somewhat closer–and more vexing–look at the new Green Lantern teased in DC’s Free Comic Book Day issue, a tattooed, dark-skinned man who carries a gun.
That’s right, folks–in addition to wielding the most powerful weapon in the universe on his right hand, this new Green Lantern carries a gun in his left one.
He also has a tattoo on the inside of his right forearm which appears to be in another language. It appears at first glance to be Arabic text, but upon closer examination doesn’t appear to match up to any letters in the Arabic, Hindi or Hebrew alphabets. Due to the nature of Green Lantern comics, it may turn out to be an alien language that merely bears a passing resemblance to those human alphabets, particularly since the tattoo appears green on his skin, suggesting that perhaps it is a manifestation of the ring.
[Update: Reader Jus Desamoursvia Facebook commented to say that it actually is Arabic, and that it translates to "courage." While speculation since the beginning of May had been that the character was an African-America, it now appears as though he may be of Middle Eastern descent.]
What does it all mean? The solicitation is no hint, with DC just identifying the man as “a surprising new Green Lantern,” and the Free Comic Book Day issue isn’t much better, with Batman telling the man only that he’s “not Hal Jordan.”
There is, of course, the question of what kind of controversy DC might kick up be featuring a masked gunman with Arabic writing on the cover of one of its premiere superhero books. It seems likely that members of the Middle Eastern community might not like the rather stereotypical visual, while Christian conservative groups are likely to complain simply that such a character is being treated as a hero, as happened with the recent controversy over the Earth 2 Green Lantern being reinvented as a gay man.