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‘Green Lantern’ Guidebook: Everything You Need To Know About John Stewart

John Stewart as Green Lantern in DC Comics

How do you not know who John Stewart is? C’mon! The Daily Show? He’s the guy doing all the political hot takes that make us all feel good as we watch the American political landscape sink into the abyss? He’s my daily dose of serotonin!

Wait, what? Oh shit. Wrong guy. You meant THIS John Stewart. He’s my OTHER daily dose of serotonin.

How did John Stewart become a Green Lantern?

John Stewart is THE MAN. He is also THE MYTH. And he could even be considered THE LEGEND. But who is the man behind the myth behind the legend? Allow me to explain.

John Stewart was born in Detroit, Michigan. His mother was a community organizer who fought to make things better for others, and instilled those values in John. Despite his mother’s positive influence, young John Stewart’s life was made difficult by poverty and frequent clashes with police. John also had a little sister, but she died when they were children. After graduating high school, John decided to join the U.S. Marines in order to make a life for himself. His mother was against her son joining the military-industrial complex, but John thought that it would be the best way from him to pay for college.

John excelled in combat training, and after a tour in the Middle East, he was promoted to Sergeant. John then returned home and assisted in an evacuation of Gotham City after it was hit by a storm. One of John’s superior officers showed a callous disregard for human life during the operation, and was willing to kill American citizens who were stirred to unrest by the villain known as Anarky. Disobeying direct orders, John broke rank and calmed the crowd, confronting and defeating Anarky in the process. John’s commanding officer began to berate John for insubordination, which resulted in a physical altercation. John was court-martialed and found guilty, but was honorably discharged based on his heroism in Gotham City.

After leaving the military, John moved to California to become an architect and quite literally build a better world, taking his mother’s advice to heart. Upon earning his degree, John was sent to oversee a project for an aviation company called Ferris Air. Unbeknownst to John, the intergalactic Guardians of the Universe corps had been keeping an eye on him, believing that he could be a valuable member of their organization. To test John’s mettle, they sent a robot called a Manhunter to attack the Ferris Air facility. Without hesitation, John rushed in to battle the robot, and was rewarded for his bravery with a Green Lantern ring. He quickly mastered the ring and destroyed the Manhunter.

John was then brought to the planet Oa, where he met the Guardians. They were impressed by his desire to spread peace, and raised him to the rank of a Green Lantern.

A brief history of John Stewart’s heroics

Short answer: a lot. John Stewart is an exceptionally smart man and utilizes his military and architectural training to great effect while using the Green Lantern ring. He’s not like Hal Jordan, who conjures up literal objects like punching gloves and catcher’s mitts while using the ring’s power. Instead, John favors efficient geometric shapes in order to get the job done. He’s basically the Steve Jobs of the Green Lantern Corps. All about that elegant design, baby.

John has been instrumental in saving the universe time and time again. He faced off against the Anti-Life Entity, a being responsible for a transcendental mathematical equation that allows those who know it to dominate the minds of other beings. John was even promoted to a Guardian of the Universe at one point, and helped the Green Lantern Corps defeat Hal Jordan when the latter was possessed by the fear entity Parallax.

After that, he helped overthrow the newly corrupted Guardians of the Universe, defeated the evil primordial entity Relic, and even faced off against literal gods from the planet New Genesis who intended to steal Green Lantern rings in order to complete a mathematical formula called the Life Equation. Basically he just fights a lot of math nerds. My hero.

What is John Stewart’s role in the new Green Lantern TV series?

John is arguably one of the strongest Green Lanterns in existence, and gives Earth’s other Lantern, Hal Jordan, a run for his money any day of the week. According to the Hollywood Reporter, however, the two are actually going to have to work together. The Lanterns TV series will be an entry point to the main storyline of the DCU’s first chapter of movies and TV series, titled “Gods And Monsters.” Hal and John have quite a bit in common already, considering they were both once military men and both seem to enjoy being manhandled their commanding officers.

According the writers, the pair will be working together to solve a “terrestrial mystery” that is “very much in the vein of True Detective.” What’s the big case? The duo is investigating an “Ancient Horror” that has dark designs on our universe. This means that the Lanterns series is going to get quite Lovecraftian, especially considering that the villain of True Detective‘s first season was a man known as the Yellow King, who may or may not have been controlled by the eldritch alien god Hastur. In this case, I’m pretty sure the “Hastur” of the new DCU is going to be Darkseid. He’s basically the Thanos of the DC Universe, but I think he’s arguably more evil.

This also means that BOTH of these Green Lanterns are going to have a significant role in the upcoming DC reboot—unless, of course, one of them dies at the end of the TV series. I don’t want to play favorites here, but I’m gonna: John should survive. Why? Because HAL HAD HIS TURN. They made a live-action Green Lantern movie in 2011 with Ryan Reynolds and it just wasn’t very good. I couldn’t tell you a single scene from it except that Ry Ry was screwing around in a jet plane for a little while.

John Stewart deserves some time in the spotlight, and it’s high time we give it to him.

(featured image: DC Comics)

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