Say what you will about the overall quality of DC Comics “New 52” line, but one year later, the re-launched universe continues to dominate Marvel and every other comic book publisher when it comes to making huge splashes that keep people talking. In the past two months alone, we’ve seen DC make headlines by rolling out a new Justice League spinoff title with a completely different team of B and C-level heroes called The Justice League of America; pairing Superman and Wonder Woman together in a regular continuity romance; and engaging Rob Liefeld in an ugly war of words on Twitter and other social media outlets after the controversial creator quit the company and immediately started acting like a total douchebag (we hope to have an entire feature article devoted just to this topic soon).
Now DC is flirting with more controversy by confirming that their newest Green Lantern – a scowling, gun-toting character who wears what can best be described as a cross between a ski mask and an S&M “gimp” mask – is an Arab-American named “Baz.” DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns verified the information in an interview with The Detroit Free Press, and he has plans to visit Detroit’s Arab-American National Museum to promote the character who will make his debut in September’s Green Lantern #0.
Let’s pause for a moment here and think about this. Basically, a suburban white guy is going to roll into the National Arab-American Museum and say, “Hey guys, check out this Green Lantern we designed to diversify our character lineup and represent the Arab-American culture! Look how threatening he is! Look at his ski-mask and gun, isn’t that awesome???” Yeah…awkward.
Look, I’m all for diversity in the superhero community. Hell, the Green Lantern Corps is composed of beings from every culture in the universe, so it makes sense to have several Green Lanterns from Earth of varying races. However, given the perception and/or attitude some Americans have towards the Arab community in the post-911 era, is it really the best move to put a ski-mask and gun on your Arab character, DC? Why does a Green Lantern need a gun, anyway? He’s got a POWER RING for cryin’ out loud. Admittedly, I know nothing about Baz’s personality. The guy could have the sunniest disposition in the world and be kind to children and small woodland creatures for all I know; but on a purely aesthetic level, this seems dubious at best.