In Michigan a young Simon Baz witnesses the bombing of the world trade center being bombed on 9/11. Over the next ten years he witnesses the stigma of being an Arab in a world where they are terrorists, enemy and less than human. He becomes a criminal, a car thief to be exact. He steals a van with a bomb inside. In a bid to save lives he crashes the car into an abandoned warehouse. For the next three days the authorities lock him in prison and treat him like a terrorist. A green lantern green then latches onto his finger and flies him out of the facility. The feds quickly call Amanda waller and Cyborg contacts batman. Meanwhile Baz is unconscious on a beach in an undisclosed area.
Cover-controversial to say the least but has deeper meaning once you’ve read the story. The mask is to hide Baz identity since he has seemingly “escaped” from custody and is a suspected terrorist. The Gun? A remnant of his time as a car thief/criminal.
Simon Baz- Before I get into it I must first say that baz is one of those characters which falls under our broader definition of “black” in that he does have dark brown skin tone as opposed to the Nightrunner character in batman incorporated who is more of a light skinned Muslim. Now on to the good stuff!
Simon Baz has a very entertaining back story which brings up allot of deep seated and damn true Racist stereotypes for Arabs post 9/11. I’m sure more than a few of my fans may have been perpetrators of this type of Dogma and racism without even realizing it. In a post 9/11 world Baz and his family were hounded by supposedly “patriotic Americans”. They were harassed at school, worship and especially when traveling through an airport.
How Baz even arrives in the situation of “suspected terrorist” is all about wrong place and wrong time. Its scary how fast he moved from being an America; having a job; to being a terrorist. I mean he was almost tortured for have an Arab tattoo, his ethnicity + bad place bad time.
We laugh every time we see a comedy where the Arab guy is a suspected terrorist on a plane but for real life Arabs that must be a living hell!
Breaking new ground- DC Comics has been trying to up its profile of Non White superheroes in the new 52; The canceled Voodoo, Static Shock and Mr. Terrific spring to mind immediately. Though they didn’t quite accomplish what they could have at least they are now courting the minorities. Baz is something truly new from DC, it’s taking an already established franchise, in this case Green Lantern and adding a new Ethnic coat of paint. In that way it reminds me of Marvel’s Miles Morales the new ultimate Spider-man. The other great big push for Baz is the attachment of a big name writer in Geoff Johns that’s something on Miles Morales of all the other minorities nowadays can boast. I salute this venture down the rabbit hole.
Colors- Not as Vibrant as Green Lantern Corps or New Guardians but they were better than the emotionless art.
Art- I’m unconvinced that Doug Mahnke was the best artist for this issue. The motion of the issue fell flat because the art couldn’t keep up its end of the bargain, it lacked life. Sarah Pichelli is an example of the kind of art that was needed; even Joe Kubert springs to mind. Sorry Doug your art really did not help the story transcend its pages.
A solid tale and character introduction simply missing the right art to take it to the next level; Overall 4/5