David Brothers weighs in on this “new” Green Lantern and, as usual, has some great points. Here’s his post:
(via Green Lantern #0 Brings Us That New Green Lantern… And The Third Army (UPDATE) | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors)
What’s weird is I’ve seen a lot of cats (and briefly talked to one) talking about how this new Green Lantern is suspect, sensitivity-wise. The checklist, near as I can tell, is that he’s got a gun, tattoos, brown skin, and a skimask, which I guess triggers some type of fight or flight response in people. Why is our introduction to this hero so violent? They ask.
But that reaction really, really bugs me. Son isn’t wearing a skimask at all. He’s wearing a superhero mask. it is the same mask a character like Batman has, plus chinguard. In fact, his whole costume looks vaguely sports-inspired to me, like a football uniform. Maybe it’s the way the lines outline the green sections, I don’t know.
The gun—are we really having this conversation? Captain America, Bucky, Punisher, John Stewart, Hal Jordan, plenty of dudes already use guns. But I guess black skin + gun…?
And the tattoo… tattoos are long, long past being a symbol of somebody’s hardness. Nerds have tattoos these days. This guy has “courage” tattooed on his arm, a trait Green Lanterns are supposed to have. (I, personally, got “freedom” in Swahili tatted on my arm in the same place and pretty much every adult male in my family owns a gun or two, so I’m probably biased.)
I’m curious about this guy. I’ll have to find out about him second-hand or via interviews or whatever, but he has an interesting look for a GL, an immediately arresting visual image, and the tattoo is a really interesting touch. In thinking about it, I leapt to this guy being Muslim and middle eastern, which probably isn’t fair.
It would be cool if every single new black (or blackish) character wasn’t immediately assaulted with other people’s ideas of how black characters should be. This guy doesn’t immediately fall into any already established comic book stereotype, either, unless you somehow see a ski-mask where there is a traditional comics mask (it’s Mr T’s face sticker thing + a cowl, c’mon) and see a brown guy with a gun and assume “villain.”
If there’s a problem, there’s a problem. But like… don’t hamstring these dudes just because you don’t like his looks.