GREEN LANTERN-JOHN STEWART
You may recall that not too long ago I reviewed a Superwoman figure. She was part of a series of figures based on Ed McGuinness’s artwork from his run on Batman/Superman. I bought a few figures from that series when they first came out years ago and I always intended to pick up a few more. But DC figures are a fairly low priority for me so they got pushed aside while my G.I. Joe and Marvel Universe collections grew. These days those two properties are in a bit of a hiatus. Other lines I collect like Masters of the Universe, Transformers, and Beast Saga have also slowed. You’d think that I would take this opportunity to give my wallet a break and actually save some money but instead I’ve gone back to my old DC want-list and have begun filling some holes in that collection. Since acquiring Superwoman a few weeks ago I bought the McGuinness version of Zoom and just the other day I picked up this McGuinness inspired version of Green Lantern.
I’m fortunate to have multiple comic shops in my neighborhood. While all my weekly comic book shopping is done at Strange Adventures, Giant Robot Comics and Monster’s Comic Lounge are also great resources for collectables. GRC has a wall of vintage carded toys and cabinets full of loose figures at reasonable prices. MCL is your one stop shop for DC Direct figures. They have a ton of other stuff as well but their DC stock is unrivalled. I would normally have to turn to ebay to buy a DC Direct figure that’s more than 6 months old but MCL still has figures in stock dating back to the birth of the line. It’s nice to be able to walk in there and grab a figure like this on a whim without dealing with shipping costs and weeks of waiting by the mailbox.
Depending on how big a Green Lantern fan you are you may or may-not recognize this guy. Most people probably think of Hal Jordan when they think Green Lantern. He’s the brown-haired white guy who works as a test pilot and is a bit of a hot head. He was recently portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in the terrible live-action GL movie. Though if you’ve seen that movie, or read the comics, you know that Hal is one of many Green Lanterns. They’re basically space cops and each one of them patrols a different sector of the universe. Hal Jordan was the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps but there have been several since. Some of them were Hal’s partners and some of them were his replacements.
This African-American GL is John Stewart. He’s been kicking around the comic books in a supporting role since 1971 but he rose in popularity when he was placed in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon as the team’s default Green Lantern. That was my introduction to the character anyway. I never really watched the cartoon and I still knew very little about GL at that time. I just figured the producers changed out Hal for John to add some diversity to the team. I really didn’t think much of it.
It wasn’t until I started reading Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern stories, in which he resurrected the then-dead Hal Jordan, that I began to learn the origins and significance of the various Lanterns. Johns got me totally hooked on Green Lantern, a character whom I previously had zero attachment to or fondness for. I’ve an unabashed GL fan now who collects 4 monthly GL related titles. While Hal is the star of the main Green Lantern book, John has a prominent spot in its sister-title, The Green Lantern Corps.
Over the past few years I’ve really come to like all of the various Green Lanterns, from Hal to John, to Guy to Kyle, not to mention non-human Lanterns such as Soranik Natu, and Lanterns from other color spectrums such as Atrocitus the Red Lantern or Larfleeze the Orange Lantern. You’d think having multiple characters with the exact same powers would get repetitive but the team of writers on these books have done an excellent job of giving each Lantern their own voice. John, for example, carries the weight of two dead planets on his conscience which effects the way he approaches things.
I don’t know why I waited so long to buy this figure. I’ve seen it hanging on the wall at MCL for years now. I’m glad i finally pulled the trigger because it is an awesome figure. The sculpt and paint look great. I especially like the face sculpt; this dude looks pissed. I’m not sure why he doesn’t have pupils, as I don’t recall seeing him drawn that way, but it looks cool. McGuinness’s exaggerated style doesn’t work for every character; the Superwoman figure was a good example of that. MCL has a figure of GL:Kyle Rayner on their pegs based on McGuinness’s art which I’ve contemplated buying many times but I don’t think the style works for Kyle either. I see Kyle as more of an every man, he’s an artist after all, not a wrestler so he shouldn’t be built like one. But McGuinness’s style works great for a big beefy character like John Stewart.
I’ll briefly mention the cons: the articulation is lacking (as it always is on DC Direct figures) and other than the display base there are no accessories, not even a lantern (fail). For those reasons it might not be the most fun figure for a kid to play with but as a display piece, it suits me just fine. 9 out of 10.