As the release of Green Lantern #0, on stands tomorrow, draws near, the mainstream media has finally begun to notice that there's a new guy at the head of that title, and that he's not nearly as WASP-y as most of the previous Lanterns.
Simon Baz is the full name given for the new, tattooed and gun-toting Muslim Green Lantern introduced in tomorrow's issue, according to a new Associated Press story that also says the character "begins with the character's family watching the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the suspicion and ostracism that followed for many Muslims and Arabs."
"Obviously, it's affecting everybody," Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns told The Associated Press. "One of the things I really wanted to show was its effect on Simon and his family in a very negative way."
Concerns that many comic book fans had when they first saw the guns and tattoos appear to be not entirely unfounded, too: Johns told AP that, inspired by his own working-class Detroit background, he's written Baz as a laid-off auto worker who becomes a car thief to make ends meet.
"He's not a perfect character. He's obviously made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable," Johns 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."
From car thief to the Justice League of America? Maybe our man Baz is a kind of stand-in for the so-far-absent Plastic Man in the world of the New 52!