In Green Lantern, John Stewart takes on the Infinite Frontier era in a new costume that hints at why Guy Gardner is a trendsetter from the DC Universe.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Green Lantern # 3 by Geoffrey Thorne, Tom Raney, Marco Santucci, Michael Atiyeh and Rob Leigh, now on sale.
A new mission for the Green Lantern Corps has sent John Stewart to parts of space that have yet to be explored. But when he was stranded in an unknown world without his ring after an explosion destroyed the Central Power Battery on Oa, John had to resort to his old training as a soldier to survive this new environment.
But as Green Lantern # 3 reveals, that’s not the only thing that has changed. Without a ring, John cannot generate his signature costume, so he made his own, one with a distinctly asymmetrical design as opposed to the usual symmetry used by the standard Green Lantern uniform. However, his wardrobe choice falls on a precedent for Corps members who stand out from the rest of the Green Lanterns in a significant way.
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Most of the Green Lanterns on Earth have costumes with a fairly symmetrical and balanced design. Favored by traditionalists such as Hal Jordan and John Stewart, these uniforms express the calm and coherence that befits members of the universe’s greatest peacekeeping force. However, some of the other Green Lanterns on Earth do not have this same symmetrical design, which is usually the first visual indication that they are not your typical ringlinger.
This design trend started in earnest with Guy Gardner and the asymmetrical suit he began wearing in the 1980s. It helped distinguish him from other members of the Corps, giving him a unique appearance that set him apart from the Corps’ other two Human Lanterns. Unlike the other human Lanterns, Guy is loud and arrogant with a temper that makes him dangerous if left alone. So in many ways, the asymmetrical design of his outfit is a warning that he is not a Lantern to be played with and that he does not follow the rules to the letter.
However, Kyle Rayner’s asymmetrical suit had more to do with his unusual place in Lantern lore more than anything else. When he became the Green Lantern, he was effectively the last Green Lantern, and he was only chosen because Ganthet needed someone to take over the last working ring of power after Hal Jordan succumbed to the influence of Parallax. Kyle was chosen for his ability to feel fear and then overcome it, making future Lanterns less susceptible to the same force that ruined Hal.
Far sector Jo Mullein also has an asymmetrical appearance that similarly reflects her distance from the larger Green Lantern Corps. His position in the Far Sector meant that he could not rely on the same resources as other lanterns, so his ring is recharged not by the power battery, but by his own willpower to live in fear. This makes her less powerful, but possibly braver than any other Lantern. Her off-model costume is a visual reflection of the difference between her and the other Lanterns.
Guy’s costume may have set the precedent for asymmetrically designed Lantern costumes to stand out from their fellow Corps members, but he wasn’t the last to do so. For him, Kyle and Jo, these asymmetrical suits have become their defining styles, a way to differentiate themselves from the sea of Green Lanterns.
And separated from the Corps in a strange part of the universe, John has an asymmetrical appearance to signify that he is alone and shows that he does not need the power of a Green Lantern to be a hero.
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