Alright, I suppose I owe DC an apology on this one. I figured I should put my money where my mouth was and give this new Green Lantern a chance (Which is why they numbered this #0? Along with a bunch of other titles? Christ, they make less sense every week.).
Apparently Hal Jordan has gone off reservation somewhere in the previous twelve issues, which has left his ring searching for a new recipient. But we don’t start with that. In fact, I would say this issue is a perfect place for someone new to the New 52 (can it still be new when it’s a year later?) to hop on.
The new Lantern, Simon Baz, is fairly fleshed out, for someone we only get 24 pages to get to know. He actually is a car thief, and accused terrorist, but there are reasons for both of those things that aren’t entirely implausible. His backstory also spends some time on the rise of racism since 9-11 and how someone who was raised in that type of environment would fare. Hell, we even touch upon the ridiculous arm tattoo, what it means and the fact that it’s actually forbidden in the Muslim faith. There’s a lot more even-handedness here than I expected. The fact that one of the writing team is Middle-Eastern himself has a lot to do with it. I wonder if he was privvy to the “stunt” cover that got everyone (including me) riled up last week.
The only real caricatures here are the Feds, who you can practically hear panting over the prospect of waterboarding a “Mohammed” for the glory of the U.S. of. A. The last few pages very quickly devolved into your typical “unjustly imprisoned protagonist is treated…unjustly” tale. Thankfully this is DC and there’s always a power source of some sort to come in and provide a convenient Deus ex Machina. It will be curious to see how the JLA handle a convicted criminal wielding the ring, who’s side they’ll take. Also, I ended up liking Baz enough that I want to see his reactions, what he will do next. (The fact that the ring throws an Error message when it finds Baz has me deeply curious as well. I have a perverse love for when established systems go awry in comics; I look forward to seeing what the real story is behind Baz getting chosen.)
Now please let Starfire put some clothes on.