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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Green Lantern: John Stewart's New Costume Reveals the Corps' Style Icon

A new mission for the Green Lantern Corps has sent John Stewart into parts of space that had yet to be explored. But when he was left stranded on an unfamiliar world without his ring after an explosion knocked out the Central Power Battery on Oa, John had to turn to his old training as a soldier to survive this new environment.

But as Green Lantern #3 reveals, that isn't the only thing that has changed though. Without a ring, John can't generate his trademark 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 choice of costume falls well into a precedent for members of the Corps who stand apart from the rest of the Green Lanterns in a meaningful way.

Most of the Green Lanterns of Earth have costumes with a fairly symmetrical, balanced design. Favored by traditionalists like Hal Jordan and John Stewart, these uniforms express calm and consistency that befits the members of the universe's premier peacekeeping force. However, some of Earth's other Green Lanterns don't have this same symmetrical design, which is usually the first visual hint that they are not the typical ringslinger.

This design trend started in earnest with Guy Gardner and the asymmetrical suit he started wearing in the '80s. It helped to distinguish him from other members of the Corps, giving him a unique look that set him apart from the Corps' other two human Lanterns. Unlike the other human Lanterns, Guy is loud and cocky with a temper that makes him dangerous if left to his own devices. So in many ways, the asymmetrical design of his outfit is a warning that he is not a Lantern to be trifled with, and that he does not follow the rules to the letter.

However, Kyle Rayner's asymmetrical costume had more to do with his unusual place in Lantern lore more than anything else. When he became a Green Lantern, he was effectively the last Green Lantern, and he was only chosen because Ganthet needed someone to take the last working power ring after Hal Jordan succumbed to Parallax's influence. Kyle was chosen because of his ability to feel fear and then overcome it, making future Lanterns less susceptible to the same force that ruined Hal.

Far Sector's Jo Mullein also has an asymmetrical look that similarly reflects her distance from the larger Green Lantern Corps. Her station in the Far Sector meant she couldn't rely on the same resources as other lanterns, so her ring is recharged not by the power battery, but by her own willpower to live with fear. This makes her less powerful, but arguably 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 was hardly the last to do so. For him, Kyle and Jo, these asymmetrical costumes have become their defining looks, a way to set themselves apart from the sea of Green Lanterns.

And separated from the Corps in a strange part of the universe, John has an asymmetrical look to signify that he's all alone and proving that he doesn't need a Green Lantern's might to be a hero.

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