You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
Things are getting cosmic now, and we’ve been going through each Green Lantern in turn. Turns out… there are a lot of them? And that’s just the ones from Earth! I thought these rings were meant to be rare! But today we’re rounding out the Earth Lanterns, as Adrienne Resha joins us to tell us about one of the newest additions to the Corps: Simon Baz! Adrienne, what can you tell us?
Who is Simon Baz, one of the newest Green Lanterns? What’s he all about?
Adrienne Resha: Co-created by writer Geoff Johns, “whose spokesperson requested that he be identified as Lebanese American,” and artist Doug Mahnke, Simon Baz is a Lebanese and Muslim American Green Lantern introduced during the New 52 in 2012. His whole thing, at least at first, was being Arab and Muslim in America after 9/11.
He’s the Green Lantern who carries a gun, right? What’s his origin story?
Resha: He used to carry a gun. Batman convinces him to give it up in Green Lanterns #17, so he surrendered it to Jim Gordon, but he did carry one before that.
Simon’s origin story, which begins in Green Lantern (2011-2016) #0, opens on 9/11. It flashes forward through his life, highlighting racist and Islamophobic harassment he experiences over the course of a decade, to the issue’s present, when he steals a van that just happens to have a bomb in it. Simon drives the bomb to the abandoned auto factory from which he was recently laid off, where it explodes, and he is arrested. Despite being an American citizen, Simon is sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he is interrogated as a suspected terrorist. As he is about to be tortured, he resists and, staring down the barrel of someone else’s gun, is rescued by a malfunctioning power ring. Although he appears with a gun on the cover of Green Lantern #0, he doesn’t actually pick one up for three more issues, only doing so after his ring (really Hal Jordan and Sinestro’s ring) stops working during an alien attack.
So there’s a reason, even if convoluted, that Simon carried a gun, but this question is usually posed as “why would someone with an all powerful Green Lantern ring need to carry a gun?” That ignores both the fact that power rings have a time limit, needing to be recharged once every 24 hours, and the fact that Simon Baz is a Muslim person of color living in the United States. Although he would likely be a minority within a minority, him carrying is not entirely unrealistic. Having said that, there’s not much room for this kind of nuance when there are less than a handful of Arab American superheroes and, consequently, one character de facto represents hundreds of thousands of people.
What’s Simon up to nowadays? He spends a lot of time in a double-act with Jessica Cruz, right?
Resha: From 2016 to 2018, Simon was teamed up with Jessica in Green Lanterns. In the three years since that ended, he hasn’t been regularly featured in a Green Lantern title, but he did get a story in the 80th anniversary issue last year, “Homegrown Hero” by Sina Grace and Ramon Villalobos, and recently appeared in Green Lantern (2021-) alongside John Stewart.
Thank you Adrienne! That, for now, covers off the Green Lanterns we want to look at. There are more Earth lanterns for us to turn to in later editions! But for now I think The People would prefer if we move on from the Corps and back to other parts of the Infinite Crisis canon. Although… there is a Green Lantern here with, like, four arms. Who’s that guy? Ah, dammit, we’re going to have to explain him too!!
Adrienne Resha is an academic and comics critic whose work has been seen in Eisner-winning publications like WomenWriteAboutComics and INKS. You can find her on Twitter here!