What’s up glum chums! Yes….I just said “glum chums”…..We’re off to a great start. Today my group #WatchmenOfAmino are doing a monthly initiative where for a month we have a specific topic to talk about. With so much talk about diversity we wanted to start with our very FIRST INITIATIVE called, #DiversityAtItsFinest where we look at the times diversity or social justice elements are done right in comics! As you guessed our first one are the 2 Green Lanterns, Simon Baz & Jessica Cruz.
This post was originally written in February 2017, so, excuse if the post is not up to date.
Let’s face the truth, Simon Baz was only created because DC wanted to be the first at the gate with a Muslim superhero. In the first storyline that he appeared in, he worked….kind of. DC gave him an extra power, but let’s face it he was the definition of mandatory diversity character. Now DC initially made him stand out with the coolest GL suit to date and a gun at his side whenever his ring was out of battery (like a phone, except it has a better reception….and everything else). At least we know Simon would be against a firearm ban. Now “the gun to prepare yourself for the inevitable” was a pretty cool thing to integrate because it made the character feel real, but other than that there wasn’t much more to him.
DC really didn’t know what to do with the character after the big Green Lantern: Endgame/Wrath of the First Lantern storyline. DC added him into the Justice League of America but that came and went away. Suddenly the character was forgotten. He had no purpose or meaning. Until……
What can I say about the ever so amazing Jessica?Oh! Right! She was amazing from the get-go, Cruz wasn’t the only first female Green Lantern of Earth (which in my opinion shouldn’t matter THAT much), but also one of the first if not the first heroes to struggle with anxiety and agorophobia (fear of the outside) which were caused after a tragic event in her life. An alien power ring of Earth 3 attached itself to her, which in this case the ring controlled her and fed on her fear by torturing the woman mentally. She finally did what no Lantern could and escaped the ring (through an amazing deed), which granted her “the power to overcome great fear”.
Even though she has the worst design out of all Green Lanterns (Come on! Don’t tell me that suit doesn’t look a full suit diaper and her tattoo feels out of place) she was always a great character. She always had a purpose, even after her debut story arc, during the Darkseid War when she had to face a Earth-level threat (Anti-Monitor vs. Darkseid), try not to come under the influence of the evil Power Ring and her anxiety/phobia! I don’t know about you, but I call this badass. But what after?
GREEN LANTERNS BY SAM HUMPHRIES
This is it! I repeat this is it! The book that totally redefined both of these characters as we speak. Simon Baz finally became a character who was a witty guy with consistent seriousness and rebellious nature. When it came to Jessica I feared she might become just another generic Green Lantern, just female (with 6 Earth Corps members not mentioning the obvious return of Alan Scott in the future), but more couldn’t be further from the truth. Her inner struggle continued and it worked!
Both of the characters made it into the Justice League. Sure, the comic is bad, however that’s the fault of the characters, but the writer, Bryan Hitch, who struggles to write a creative story. Jessica and Baz are actually the best part about that comic. Enough with JL, and back to the work of Humphries. We talked about each hero individually, let’s now talk about what truly makes this series the red diamond within the gold. The chemistry.
The back and forth between the 2 heroes is one of the best I have seen in recent years. The writer brings out the most interesting features of the characters into their interaction. He mixes the inpatient side of Baz and Jes’ unsure personality. The final product gives out something hilarious and exciting. It easily beats out all the action, which within itself is a great feature. The comic is a sci-fi buddy cop adventure, only without all the cringe jokes. I just hope DC won’t give into the shippers. Keep them just friends, but something tells me they won’t listen to me.
WHERE DO I START?
For those who don’t wanna do all the catching up from issue #1 (although you should)start from the current #16! You need no previous knowledge, it’s a part 1 of a new story arc, takes place now Gotham, Batman guest stars and creates a story you didn’t think the two could drive forward. There is a scene where Simon Baz will make it your highlight of the month. That’s right a scene where Baz outshines the Batman himself. You’ll know the exact scene I am talking about. And the cliffhanger is so shocking and awesome!!!! What the Oa are you doing if not reading this!? Please do yourself a favor and put this at the top of your list!
WHAT I VALUE MOST ABOUT THIS SERIES
A Muslim man flying around with a gun and a mentally unstable Hispanic woman. So much can go wrong with this, yet at no moment did I ever feel like the writer wanted to preach me about the “social problems and how they affect us”. I am trying to read a Green Lantern comic. Leave me alone with all that nonsense. Some graphic novels fit to address the real world (if done properly), but Sam Humphries finds a better fit for the GALACTIC DUO. He doesn’t treat the two as minority characters, just simply as characters. Thank you Humphries for not falling through with writing what most artists would do in your place. Thank you for giving us a truly fun story. Thank you for the best diversity out there. Thank you for #DiversityAtItsFinest.
Enjoyed that? Yes? No? Hopefully you did because Watchmen are dedicated to post the best diversity has to offer in comics. These themed posts will come out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the whole February so it will be an exciting month.