Green Lantern Simon Baz was introduced in DC Comics as part of their New 52 event, and he’s since become one of Earth’s most powerful heroes.
While many fans think of DC’s Green Lantern as a singular hero, the name is actually just a job title, and there are plenty of heroes who have held it. One of the newest is Simon Baz, a recent addition to the DC Universe benefiting from increased interested after the announcement that he’ll be featured in HBO Max’s Green Lantern series.
Baz’s origins and struggles are quite unique in comparison to his fellow Lanterns, and the character is a recent addition to the DC Universe, created by writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnkein as part of DC’s New 52 initiative. But who is Simon Baz, and why does a member of the Green Lantern Corps feel the need to carry a gun?
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The Origin of Simon Baz, New 52’s Green Lantern
In 2011, DC Comics made the decision to reboot its entire universe with the New 52, launching all new series and creating a plethora of new characters to join the ranks of those who have long been a part of the DC mythos. One such character was Simon Baz, who became the latest human – and the first Arab-America – to join the Green Lantern Corps.
Baz’s co-creator Geoff Johns based Simon on elements of his own life. Of Lebanese descent, Simon and his family grew up constantly on their guard due to the relentless onslaught of racism and prejudice thrown their way for years following 9/11. On more than one occasion, Simon would have to protect his sister from being harmed by bullies and thugs. When he grew up, Simon worked as an automotive engineer in Detroit until he lost his job. Once that happened, he began street racing and stealing cars to help his family get by, until he got arrested for stealing a car that turned out to have a bomb inside of it. Caught up in a system of prejudice that seemed ready to assume his guilt as a given, Simon was sought out by a Green Lantern ring, which inducted him into the ranks of the Corps.
Simon Baz Uses His Green Lantern Ring Differently
After convincing both the government and the Justice League that he wasn’t a terrorist, Simon Baz and his new partner Green Lantern B’dg set to work freeing Hal Jordan, who was trapped within the Black Lantern ring of Black Hand. Hand had managed to trap both Hal Jordan and Sinestro prior to Baz’s recruitment, resulting in the loss of their rings, which merged into one. Naturally, this caused some malfunctions in the newly formed ring that made its way to Simon, and it would often act of its own accord or randomly lose power at inopportune moments. When Simon entered the Dead Zone where Sinestro and Jordan were being kept, Sinestro attacked Baz in a bid to get his old ring back. Due to the the fact that the ring was originally Sinestro’s (in part) to begin with, the ring stopped working for Baz. Instead, Baz used a handgun to shoot Sinestro (who would come back to life soon after).
From this point on, despite wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the DC Universe, Simon Baz always kept his handgun as a back-up. Baz would tell others and himself that it was there in case his ring failed him again. In reality, the gun served as a symbol of Simon’s self doubt and inability to trust in anyone or anything but himself. Given his upbringing and struggles, it made sense that Baz’s ability to trust was stunted, but an altercation with Batman helped Simon realize this flaw within himself, and he gave up the gun in Green Lanterns #17, written by Sam Humphries with art by Eduardo Pansica.
Simon Baz is Technically One of TWO Green Lanterns
Simon Baz would go on to join the Justice League of America, which was a government-run Justice League directed by Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor. Baz agreed to work with them in exchange for the promise that his criminal charges would be dropped and his innocence made public. However, when Green Lantern Hal Jordan had to spend an extended amount of time away from Earth, he tasked Baz with being Earth’s primary Green Lantern protector, as well as making sure to keep Jordan’s family safe while he was away.
At the start of DC’s Rebirth event, Simon also got a new partner in the form of a new human Lantern by the name of Jessica Cruz. Jessica had become a Lantern after she was forced to become the new Power Ring in DC’s Trinity War, wielding the malicious ring of Volthoom from Earth-3. However, she managed to control its power and sacrificed herself at the end of the Darkseid War. In the aftermath, Jessica lives and gains a real ring, becoming a true Green Lantern. As a result, Hal Jordan merges Simon and Jessica’s power batteries together as one, making them partners so that they have to work together to use their power, relying on each other to be successful heroes. Furthermore, they’re also given spots on the Justice League at Jordan’s request. While they had a bit of a rocky start, Simon and Jessica learned to work with one another and became great friends and solid partners, relying upon one another’s strengths, assisting with each others’s weaknesses, and trusting in one another’s willpower.
While Jessica went on to become part of Justice League Odyssey in 2018, it’s as of yet unclear what the future holds for Simon Baz in the comics, with his last confirmed appearance being in Green Lanterns #57. While he did get his own short story in the Green Lantern 80th Anniversary Special, that story focused on Simon and his family, and less on his current whereabouts in the DC Universe at present. Presumably, he’s still protecting Earth with his Lantern ring, no longer held back by his initial fears and flaws. In any case, fans should be very excited to see HBO’s live action take on this complex and dynamic Green Lantern in the near future.
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