DC’s Muslim Green Lantern Update.

He is now going to be representing the good old U.S.A. of in Justice League of America. (Credit to Comic Book Resources) Normally home to a more prominent Lantern, as well as DC super stars Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aqua-man, this new crew is an odd assortment. Maybe this is more that a publicity stunt after all?

The new Muslim Lantern

Read the original article here. It is one of my most read articles, and I’m pretty blunt about how I feel.  As neat as a superhero having an active faith is, and seeing how he would resolve the inner conflict aliens would present to his beliefs, I also can’t help but wonder why Islam? How much will the gloss over the violence prescribed the Koran? Why give him a gun?  (that last one at least seems to be because he has a weakened ring) Why make him a former criminal ? etc.

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DC’s New Superhero: A Muslim Arab American Green Lantern

DC has announced a Muslim, Arab American Green Lantern.  Green Lantern is a franchise that usually focuses on one Lantern  from Earth (although there are many and there is also a separate title that focuses on the Lantern Corps)  The Green Lanterns use the power of their rings to will their thoughts into real weapons and tackle crime across the galaxy.

Image

I need and a gun and ski-mask why?

Even after a company wide reboot to make things more accessible to a new audience, Earth still has a dozen Green Lanterns even though normally only one is assigned per sector. In fact this reboot, left both Green Lantern and Batman in a strange middle ground between all past stories being canon, and a new status-qou, in an attempt to please both sides that was sure to fail both. That is off course a debate for another time. The focus today is what is the impact of this new Lantern?

Having been made clear this more than one green lantern, it’s important to note the franchise and role itself has often been shuffled around for the sake of diversity.  The Most famous Green Lanterns are Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, but when it came to the 90’s-00’s DC’s animated universe they ditched the two white guys in the name of racial diversity and had a past lantern John Stewart fill the role.  Honestly It turned out really well, Stewart was well written and thanks to the cartoon the version of the character and admittedly added more diversity to the team as they wanted. The problem there is that DC has other African American superheroes that are more original to choose from. Static Shock comes to mind, and so does Cyborg.  I’ve always felt creating minority versions of characters instead of telling an original story that happens to star a minority only further segregates and downplays minorities, (I’m looking at you Steel, the black superman,  Justice the black Muslim Captain America,  and same goes for all the female copy cats of male super heroes too.)  It feels insulting for minorities to have be alternate versions, or b characters to the white originals.

DC also released a homosexual Green Lantern as part of their Earth 2 series (an alternate earth is also somehow an attempt to make things less confusing for readers?) More baffling is that this Green Lantern is an alternate version of the very first golden age Alan Scott Green Lantern who was married and had kids? Btw, and I wish I was making this up, he was different than the Green Lanterns that came after him in many ways, one of them was his weakness… wood. I really am not kidding his weakness was wood. DC hyped the fool out of his coming out, but very quickly after the reveal I’ve heard nothing else about him.

Now the latest attempt is a Muslim Arab American Green Lantern. This Green Lantern has some obvious design and logic problems right off the bat. If this is a Green Lantern who can make anything with simple that he can imagine by the power of his ring, why does he need a gun?  He is the first ever Lantern to carry a gun, what is DC trying to say there? Why have a full mask? Is he not good enough to look like the other Lanterns?  Beyond that where are DC’s Christian super heroes? For Marvel I can name NightCrawler and Daredevil  right off the bat. DC’s Superman does not even say, “Truth, Justice, and the American way!” anymore so I can see how some are calling this another publicity stunt, and possibly betraying more about DC’s philosophies than they intend. Buzzfeed released an interview with Geof Johnsit seem s their intent is adding diversity, and exploring how Arab American Muslims view the world differently especially in light of the suspicion post 911. It seems unfair to show “the other side” with such little spotlight on Christianity in DC. It also feels unnatural, Does New York even exist in the land of Metropolis and Gotham?  If they felt the need to tell this story, why use another new Lantern?

Muslim Captian America

Marvel has already been there and done that.

Exploring the Faith of a Superhero can be a really neat opportunity.  Most Christian folks would not take vengeance into their own hands; it is after against the bible’s command to do so. But they could blur the line between Justice and vengeance.  They could simply be incorrect in the application of scripture to their lives etc. The Green Lantern provides a neat possibility because each hero is chosen and tasked, this new GL or any of the Lantern Corp did not become heroes solely by choice.   Any religious person having to suddenly grapple with the existence of aliens, and powers that contradict his faith could face serious inner doubt.  How would reconcile his command to witness, or deal in his case with infidels while wearing tights? DC is giving this character more push than their gay lantern he already has a figure from DC Direct on the way, and I’ve already seen one person posting a G.I.Joe scale custom.

To make matters more frustrating, most comic message boards eliminate the ability to talk about religion or politics creating a wall of silence on the matter. So DC may be drawing some attention by announcing him as a Muslim character, but there is a lot places that no one can discuss this aspect of the character.

DC has done some less politically or religiously controversial things with their Green lantern franchise, such as turning good guys into homicidal city destroying maniacs, making them different superheros all together and giving them redeeming actions and occasionally ret-conning things to dull the villainy.  It often is a fan favorite book, but it’s never been one I’m interested in as a kid or as an adult, and I think it will stay that way in part thinks to this and the other publicity stunts. Ultimately I highly doubt much will come of it beyond a publicity stunt. After all there has already been a Muslim Captain America-like hero from Marvel.  He didn’t revolutionize anything, didn’t get near the attention, or controversy.

I always try to put effort into the links I include into an article, and this  article in particular has some great reads and things to look at it. Give them a click.

UPDATE:

After my initial post on the subject, I’ve read a review which gives us more info about the lantern and a reason to be upset in my opinion.

The review i spoke of, as well as additional discussion is located at ToynewsInternational.

Shaz (the name of the GL) is actually taken in for suspected terrorism and waterboarded. Gee that doesn’t seem like playing up politics or anything does it? when is the last time you heard about water boarding?  And is he innocent? of terrorism yes, but of stealing? no, because he has fallen on hard times and based on the comments made Johns interview I posted in the previous post it’s all our fault as Americans because we are racist and drove him too it.
I really plan on skipping this book, but  I thought I’d attach a couple Qoutes from the Koran that this new Superhero should be following. I understand writing characters would make different choices than myself, but with a publicity stunt like this, they couldn’t have planned it at a worse time. I do not believe Islam is a religion of peace and wonder if that is what we will be presented with by DC? The idea we should be more understanding and accepting.

Below please find the commands this Green Lantern would have to uphold, all Qoutes from the Koran.

Mohammed said, “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, none has the right to be worshipped but Allah” (Al Bukhari vol. 4:196)

How about this one for unbelievers, Sura 4:89 “seize them and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

Sura, 2:190-292 “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for Allah does not love transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out: For tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; But fight them not at the sacred Mosque unless they first fight you there; But if they fight you, Slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.”

The Quran in Sura 4:34 says: ” If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great ” Sounds a lot different than being Sacrificial like Christ was for the church to your wives doesn’t it?

Please remember though, Jesus would have all saved, and we should remember to Hate the sin and Love the sinner!

Luke 6:27 says, ” “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” NASB.

I point this out because I do not feel most Americans, and even Christians are educated on the teachings of the Koran.

Just in case anyone brings ups the crusades or Death in the Old Testament, I want to make it clear in advance that’s a moot point. The Nation of Israel acted like a NATION most of the time, But Christianity was never meant to function as a nation. Mark 12:17 records “And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him” (NASB) Not to mention a new covenant came into play here, one much more focused on teaching it’s disciples to be selfless and giving, and more inward focused than outward. Those witch hunts and crusades etc. are actions of a “Christian” government and often for political gain. Some of the Muslims are indeed manipulated (sadly) into terrorism but it goes much further than terrorism or political acts. I truly hope they find Christ and I am heartbroken over the violence in their land. I think DC has opened up a can of worms and feel i have rambled a little. Forgive me.

Coil Con 2012, my first con ever of any type

I had never been to a con before. That may hurt my nerd cred a little but it was largely due to the fact that I grew up in backwoods Kentucky, and then moved to Alaska. There are no cons in Alaska, I could however go to  a glacier 5 minutes from my house, so I prefer to like at the blessings i am given rather than the ones I don’t have.  I recently moved so I had the opportunity to go to Coil Con, a G.I.Joe themed con in Kokomo Indiana.  For those of you who don’t the Coil are a sub group of cobra. In the old school cartoon they were a group loyal to CC after the rise of his replacement Serpentor, but most are familiar with them as the comic company Devils Due Publishing used them, as Serpentor’s personal army. Serpentor himself was created to be a leader, and warrior by a bunch of snake loving people, talk about a living idol! (But that’s an article for another time.)  Below are a few pics I managed to grab on my cell phone.

This costume was used in the fan film G.I.Joe initiate.

I should put out that this helmet was made by Pit vipers studios and that you can watch Fred (this viper) in G.I.Joe Initiate on youtube.

There was some debate as to whether or not this was the real Sgt. Slaughter

A father and his kid in some excellent home made costumes.

A father and his kid in some excellent home made costumes.

Here we can see Helmets for Destro, a classic Alley-viper, and the often mocked Cobra-La Royal Gaurd from the original animated G.I.Joe movie. Personally i would pick the Cobra La gaurd and even Cobra La over Rise Cobra.

A fan made S.N.A.K.E. armor from Classic G.I.Joe.

Even being as nerdy as I am this was a bit nerve racking. I knew no one, but very thankfully meet some great people including Joe Celebrities like Robert Atkins (whom I got a nice Commando Snake-Eyes signed print from) Gyre-viper, noted author James Kavanaugh Jr.  and some of the cast of What’s on Joe Mind (Mike and Gary, and little did I know Greg was there too.) I snagged some good nerd swag from Kokomo toys and the booths outside. Thanks to an ambulance on the sign found a great excuse to make small talk with strangers. I ended up making friends with fellow Christian Joe fans, awesome how the Holy Spirit draws it’s own together.

Now that I am no longer a con virgin, I have to do this again, next time maybe with a Nerd4TheLord t-shirt to promote this place.  If you find yourself going to a con as a newbie, be friendly, and start small talk. (oh and the guy who left the ambulance is OK as far as I know.)

“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

Spider-Baby

I am suddenly thankful Spider-man like web fluid is one of the few things i won’t have to clean up when my son is born.

For many us of we can’t remember when we first heard those words, but knew they were the defining message of Spider-man. If your reading this post your certain to know that Peter Parker puts on some funky tights (that he sows at home btw) and zips across the night sky of Manhattan as Spider-man because an accident gave him great power (that of a spider obviously) and due tragic circumstances he realized that it was duty to his fellow man to use those abilities to help others. Those tragic circumstances involved the loss of his Uncle Ben to a robber he could have stopped earlier but didn’t because he was being a selfish jerk (hey, we’ve all been there.)  His uncle Ben had always told him the famous quote, ” With Great power comes great responsibility,” Peter Parker finally took the lesson to heart as he saw that his actions with his power were selfish and lead to his uncles death.

This story has obviously had an impact on society:

a subtle tat if I ever saw one

What are the real origins of this quote?  Was uncle Ben quoting the bible as I seemed to outrageously claim on facebook? Okay he wasn’t quoting the bible directly but we can trace this idea back God’s word. The original issue in the Marvel Comics had the good old Uncle Ben say:  “With Great Power Must  Also Come Great Responsibility.” If you do more Googling you will find that you can trace a french version of the quote to Voltaire.  But let’s look even further back.  In Luke 12:48 Jesus says, ” From everyone who has been given much, much will be required”  Sound familiar?

If you aren’t a Christian and just a nerd this may be cool as a neat fact that will shed light on the most influential father figure in Peter Parker (Spider-man’s) life. You can’t say for certain were Uncle Ben may have learned the lesson but you can agree it was an important one.

As a Christian nerd, or parent of a small child you can also see a perfect conversation starter.  You can let someone (probably a short little child one) who likes Spider-man thanks to his countless comics, movies, toons, or toys, in on a biblical truth.

I always look at things from a Bible teacher’s perspective.  I can’t help point put out a few key additional applications from biblical text not found in quote from Ben Parker. Spider-man’s powers have their origin in a radioactive spider bite, but the biblical quote says, “To whom much is given,” which  suggests a giver. Someone gave you your talents and skills, and while they may not seem as marvelous as Spiderman (okay that is a rather lame pun,) we should express thanks for them. As Christians we know this is God the father created us as unique individuals and had final say on what circumstances we would encounter. He molded us with these events in our lives to strengthen and equip these gifts, and thus deserves thanks.  It should also be noted that the saying of Jesus also says “required.” More than being responsible to act as we should, we are required to uphold a set of expectations. When we fail to meet our responsibilities we are just  irresponsible, but if we fail to do what is required, we have broken a rule or law, we are in a single word, guilty. Sadly all are guilty, but wonderfully all can be forgiven.

Spider-man often struggles to keep on his spandex suit, stay in the web slinging business, and do has he should, much the same all of his do (minus of course the tights and web slinging.)  Keeping this connection in mind may be  good illustration for self encouragement, or for sharing or teaching.

– revsears