John Stewart debuted in Green Lanternvol. 2 #87 (December 1971) when artist Neal Adams came up with the idea of a substitute Green Lantern. The decision to make the character black resulted from a conversation between Adams and editor Julius Schwartz, in which Adams recounts saying that given the racial makeup of the world's population, "we ought to have a black Green Lantern, not because we’re liberals, but because it just makes sense." The character was DC's first black superhero.
John Stewart has become a major recurring character in the Green Lantern mythos within the DC Universe. He became the primary character of Green Lantern vol. 2 from issues #182 through #200, when Hal Jordan relinquished his place in the Green Lantern Corps (1984–1986). He continued to star in the book when the title changed to The Green Lantern Corps from issue #201 to #224 (1986-1988). He would continue to make key appearances in Action Comics Weekly after The Green Lantern Corps' cancellation (1988). He starred in the comic Green Lantern: Mosaic, which DC spun out of Green Lantern vol. 3, with a four part storyline titled "Mosaic" (issues #14-17). DC published 18 issues of the ongoing Green Lantern: Mosaic title between June 1992 and November 1993.
John Stewart was featured as one of the lead characters on the television cartoon Justice League from 2001 until 2004. He continued to appear as a major character on the show's 2004–2006 sequel, Justice League Unlimited. In 2011, John Stewart starred in the New 52 relaunch of Green Lantern Corps alongside Guy Gardner, and became the sole lead character of the title from 2013 until the series' conclusion in 2015. Green Lantern Corps was replaced by Green Lantern: The Lost Army, which also stars John Stewart as the lead.
John Stewart was an architect who was selected by the Guardians of the Universe as Hal Jordan's backup after Guy Gardner was seriously injured in a disaster. Although, Jordan objected after seeing that Stewart had a belligerent attitude to authority figures, the Guardians stood by their selection. Jordan complied and recruited and equipped Stewart with the standard uniform and power ring.
To Jordan, Stewart's first mission began badly with the assignment of protecting a racist politician and Stewart took advantage of averting an accident to embarrass him in the process. However, Stewart soon proved his worth when an apparent African American assassin shot at the politician, but Stewart refused to intervene with Jordan to move in response to the attack. However, Stewart had good reasons for this apparent dereliction of duty when he stopped a gunman from killing a police officer in the outside parking lot at the event while Jordan was pursuing a decoy. When Jordan confronted Stewart for his actions, Stewart effectively explained the situation of the ruse and the fact the politician staged it for political advantage. With that adventure, Jordan concluded that Stewart was an excellent recruit after all.
For some time, Stewart occasionally filled in for him as Green Lantern when Jordan was unavailable, including some missions of the Justice League. After Jordan gave up being Green Lantern, the Guardians selected Stewart to full time duty. Stewart filled that role for some years, during which time he married Katma Tui, the Green Lantern of the planet Korugar. After Tui’s murder, Stewart became the administrator of the “Mosaic World,” a patchwork of communities from multiple planets that had been brought to Oa by an insane Guardian. From this position, Stewart eventually ascended to Guardianhood, which he later relinquished. After a brief period of paraplegia, he became Green Lantern once again and became a member of the JLA. Stewart was also a member of the Darkstars for some time. He regained his power ring during Kyle Rayner's tenure as Earth's main Green Lantern, and remained his backup for years, until Hal Jordan was resurrected after his spirit was freed from Parallax and the Spectre, after which Jordan took over Rayner's role as Rayner went to serve an administrative position in the Green Lantern Corps in Oa.
In the subsequent restructuring of the Corps, each sector now has two Green Lanterns assigned to it, and Stewart and Jordan now share the responsibilities for Earth's sector 2814. After the dissolution of the Justice League in the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis event, and the destruction of their Moon Watchtower headquarters, Stewart has begun playing a larger role in metahuman affairs, working with many former Justice Leaguers.
Sinestro Corps War
John was on Oa with fellow Earth Green Lanterns Hal, Guy, and Kyle to discuss the new threat of the new Sinestro Corps with the Guardians. Kyle was abducted by a yellow power ring and the Sinestro Corps storms Oa in a surprise attack, killing thousands of Green Lanterns.Bedovian, a sniper of the Sinestro Corps, had been taking out several Green Lanterns three sectors away, and John uses his ring to create a scoped sniper to find Bedovian and then shoots him, taking out the sniper. Because Green Lanterns power rings are not allowed to kill John most likely injured Bedovian. When John, Hal, and Guy attempt to recharge their rings using the Central Power Battery, they set of a booby trap set by the Sinestro Corps and were transported to Qward. Parallax, who had infected Kyle forced John to relive the moment where he failed to save Xanshi. He and Guy were freed by Hal and the Lost Lanterns. While Ion was recovered by the Lost Lanterns the Earth Lanterns returned home to get back up only to discover that the Sinestro Corps were about to attack Earth.
John went to Coast City to help Hal battle Parallax, but found that Parallax had absorbed Hal as well. He held off Parallax long enough for Guy to return with a painting that Kyle's mother painted, and used it to snap Kyle out of Parallax's control. The painting and Hal's words restore Kyle's will and he breaks free from the fear entity. Ganthet and Sayd appeared to imprison Parallax into Hal, Guy, John, and Kyle's four separate batteries. After Ganthet and Sayd warned the Earth Lanterns about the Blackest Night, John and Guy went to New York to help Earth's heroes and the Green Lantern Corps to battle the Sinestro Corps. He and Guy came up with the idea to use Warworld as an grenade, which badly injured the Anti-Monitor, who was then thrown into space by the traitorous Superman Prime.
John took Guy to Soranik Natu in hopes that she could stop the Sinestro Corps sentient virus Despotellis. Soranik used the Green Lantern smallpox virus Leezle Pon, who stopped Despotellis. After the war John hung out with fellow Earth Lanterns at Hal's family's apartment in Coast City.
War of Light
John was asked by the Guardian to join a new division within the Corps: the Alpha Lanterns, but John refused. John was later one of the Green Lanterns chosen to escort Sinestro to Korugar, however the escort team was ambushed by the Sinestro Corps and the newly formed Red Lantern Corps. The Green Lanterns were left to die in space after Atrocitus captures Sinestro. They are saved by Saint Walker, a member of the Blue Lantern Corps. John was infected with the rage of the red power rings and attacked Saint Walker. Walker uses his blue ring to create a construct of Katma Tui, who heals John and calmed him down by showing him a vision of himself flying with Katma. He told Kilowog that he would see Katma again and that the universe told him so.
John stopped the Guardians from attacking Hal with green energy, in an attempt to destroy a blue power ring that was attached to Hal. He witnessed Larfleeze making demands to the Guardians. John is one of the Green Lanterns who accompany the Guardians to battle Larfleeze. While battling the Orange Lanterns John is saved by Fatality. Fatality tells John let go of his grief over Xanshi's destruction and then leaves. After the battle with Agent Orange have a discussion about their hopes.
John was part of the team that removed the coffins of the fallen heroes from Valhalla Cemetery and took them to the Hall of Justice as a security measure against an unknown threat that might use the corpses of people for evil purposes.
John goes to Coast City with Hal, Guy, and Kyle on the anniversy on Superman's death which has been declared a national holiday for fallen heroes. The four Earth Green Lanterns attend a parade in honor of those killed in Mongul I's attack. John leaves to visit Xanshi after the parade ends. When John visits the grave of planet Xanshi, thousands of black rings fly into the planetary debris, and reconstitute the entire planet. Xanshi itself then speaks to John, telling him "I can help you save them." Against his better judgment, John descends to the planet's surface. Once reaching the surface, John finds himself confronted by Katma Tui and the entire population of Xanshi as Black Lanterns. While battling them all, Katma tries to weaken John by claiming that he caused the planet's destruction. However, John, spurred on by Fatality's words, says that he was not the cause of it all and successfully fights off the Black Lanterns. After escaping Xanshi's atmosphere, John realises that the planet is headed for Earth, along with every Black Lantern in the universe, and contacts Hal, warning him of the impending threat.
John is almost overwhelmed by Black Lanterns, but is saved by seven corps united against Nekron. John leads a team made up of Kilowog, Fatality, and other members of the seven Corps to destroy the reanimated Xanshi. John finally makes peace with losing his wife Katma and failing to save Xanshi; he and the other lanterns destroy the core of the planet which was made up of thousands of black power rings. With Xanshi destroyed Nekron and Blackhand feel an intense pain just as Sinestro is revived by the Entity.
John is seen in Oa, supervising the demolition of the buildings left in ruins after the Black Lanterns attack, and planing the reconstruction. He is called suddenly to the Guardians' chamber, where they order him to join Alpha Lantern Boodikka in a mission to robot planet Grenda, Stel's homeworld, where the communications ceased abruptly without explanation, and Lantern Stel and the population are missing. John agrees and departs with Boodikka.
After arriving in the planet, the two confirmed the Guardians report: the entire population mysteriously disappeared. John asks Boodikka if something of her older self remains despite been turned into a Alpha Lantern, after she asks him why he refused to join the Alpha Lanterns. Boodikka responds that her changes are only physical, and she still have her former personality, John doubts about this affirmation. The two discover what seems to be a Green Lantern House Sector, that, accorded to Boodikka, its not registered. After entered inside, they discovered Green Lanterns Horoq Nnot and Stel, the last one tells John he must flee from the planet immediately. Suddenly, Boodikka turns against John and attacks him; despite John fights back, he was surrounded by more rogue Alpha Lanterns and is defeated. Its reveled that the Alpha Lanterns have begun a revolt against the rest of the corps, allied themselves with Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, and take control of Grenda to use the planet as their hidden base to turn Green Lanterns into Alpha Lanterns. John Stewart is last seen wounded and bleeding, been taken to Henshaw by Boodikka. The Cyborg Superman then begins the cosmic surgery to turn John into another Alpha Lantern.
Before starting the operation, however, Henshaw connects Stewart's brain to his memories in order to see why he was turned into a cyborg. He also reveals to John, that, after being resurrected by the Manhunters after the Sinestro Corps War, he returned to Earth in the middle of the Blackest Night, and pled to the Black Lanterns (among them are the former crew of his space shuttle) and Nekron to kill him, only to discover that because he did not have a physical heart, he was invisible to them. Angered for being ignored by death itself, the Cyborg Superman encountered the mysterious hooded stranger who abducted the entities of the Emotional Spectrum. He convinced him that Ganthet has the power and knowledge to turn Alpha Lanterns into normal beings again. John realizes that Henshaw organized the revolt of the Alpha Lanterns with the sole purpose to attract Ganthet to the planet Grenda and forced him to turn Henshaw into a mortal being again. Kyle and Soranik burst into the lab and manage to rescue John, but Ganthet is captured. They hide in a cave, where John informs them about the Cyborg Superman's true plan. They also discover the missing robot inhabitants of the planet, trapped in the depths of the cave by Henshaw. Mounting a defense, they battle against Henshaw and his forces, destroying the cyborg's body. Henshaw leaps into Boodikka's body, but her consciousness manages to defeat his, seemingly destroying him. John later joins Kyle Rayner and Ganthet in a mission to the anti-matter universe, in order to save Soranik Natu.
War of the Green Lanterns
On their return to the matter universe, John and the others are affected by the return of Parallax to the Central Power Battery by Krona. Their previous experience with Parallax allows John, Kyle and Ganthet to escape its control, but they are forced to fight their fellow Green Lanterns. Affected by Parallax's fear powers, John and Kyle are forced to remove their rings and escape through Oa's underground. They then meet up with Guy and Hal, who has the rings of the other corps' leaders. John initially chooses Larfleeze's orange ring, but is convinced by Hal to use Indigo-1's ring instead due to the debilitating effects of the orange ring on the wearer's psyche. When the corrupted Green Lanterns attack, John has difficulty channeling the various corps powers through his ring. Things are made worse when Mogo joins the attack. While Hal and Guy go to remove Parallax from the Central Power Battery, John and Kyle attempt to free Mogo from Krona's control. On the way, John attempts to stop the flow of tainted rings sent by Mogo, but fails. As he and Kyle head for Mogo's core instead, they discover residual Black Lantern energy around it. John absorbs the Black Lantern energy, along with all the Green Lantern energy, and regretfully uses it to destroy Mogo. In the fallout, the two regroup with Hal, Guy and Ganthet, using the full power of the emotional spectrum to crack open the Battery and release Parallax. Their job done, the Lanterns regain their original green rings, in preparation for the final confrontation with Krona.
Following the War's conclusion, John assists a new Green Lantern from Sector 282 "selected" during the period when Mogo was under Krona's control in adjusting to the power of her ring despite the possibility that she will not be allowed to keep it by assisting her in halting a war taking place in her sector, the original Lantern for that sector having died during the war. When John is able to help the two sides find a peaceful resolution to their conflict, his new student reflects that, despite John's reputation after destroying two worlds, she now knows that nobody could regret that action more than John himself.
The New 52
Born in Detroit, Michigan, most of John's life was marked by poverty and clashes with police. His mother was a community organizer, who tried to make things better, and inspired John to try and make the world a better place. In order to pay his way to college, he joined the Marine Corps. His mother didn't like it, as he became part of "the man". He excelled and was an excellent marksman, and soon became a sergeant. He did one tour of duty in the War on Terror, before being deployed to a storm-stricken Gotham City to help evacuate refugees from the Seaside Coliseum. His team falling afoul of Anarky, and the brash nature of his commander, Lt. Tasker, forced him to take the lead in a less violent course of action. He eventually swayed the crowd and managed to save the day. Due to the fact he had laid hands on a superior officer, John was forced to retire from the Corps. However his heroics at the Coliseum granted him an honorable discharge.
Becoming a Lantern
Wanting to build a better world, John got an architecture degree. Despite his mother's wishes, he didn't work in Detroit; instead, he moved to California. One of his first projects was a project for Ferris Aircraft. What he did not know was that, for a long time, the Guardians of the Universe had been watching him ,hoping to recruit him for the corps. They sent a Manhunter to the facility to test him. Stewart provoked a fight, which he would have lost had he not received a Green Lantern Ring. He was brought to Oa, where the Guardians lauded his inner conflict and his drive. However, they feared that if he had cause, he would even challenge the Guardians.
After Hal's expulsion and Kyle's departure, John Stewart joins Guy Gardner and others in investigating recent attacks in a distant sector of space, which are revealed to be the result of an old Guardian experiment. After being captured, John is forced to kill another Lantern who was about to give in to torture and reveal the access codes to the Oan defense network. John is approached by the Alpha Lantern to arrest him for the murder of a Green Lantern member. He is found guilty for this crime and sentenced to death. However Guy Gardner and other fellow lanterns free him before the execution, resulting in the destruction of the Alpha Lanterns when the Green Lanterns refuse to allow John to be executed. During the fight, the Alpha Lanterns (revealing to the reader that the Guardians set up these events as part of their plans to destroy the Corps) realize that their power has corrupted into judgement and killed themselves.
Rise of the Third Army
John was contacted by the Guardians who state that Mogo's remains appear to be moving and that they have come to the conclusion that Mogo is trying to reform, and assign him to track it. While tracking the Mogo fragment's destination, he is discovered by Fatality, who is seeking a sundered love in danger.
When the being known as Relic arrives on Oa seeking to drain the power batteries, Hal Jordan and other lanterns including John are among the first to respond. However after continuing the futile effort for a few moments I is revealed as a ruse for the guardians to take Relic by surprise and attack. However the plan backfires as Relic simply reflects the power back at his assailants and his robots manage to drain the Oan power core. Knowing that the planet will implode on itself without the power battery keeping it stable John volunteers to lead the last stand against Relic hoping to buy his friends time to leave . He quickly gathers some veteran lanterns and any rookies willing to fight and they attack Relic. Using the energies of their fellow Green Lanterns to boost themselves and creating battle armors to combat Relic and his robot army. However when the planet is about to explode one of John's comrades decides to sacrifice himself in order to allow the others to flee, and under John's leadership they manage to escape the dying planet.
John Stewart’s power ring provides him with the abilities of all other Green Lanterns; these abilities include flight and limited invulnerability.
As with all other Green Lanterns, the ring is a weapon of the mind and powered by will, therefore only limited to the wearer’s imagination.
Stewart was briefly taught by Ganthet on how to reroute his mind to think in the 'language of the spheres', the first language of the universe, to evade telepathic detection by Fernus, the 'Burning Martian' identity of the Martian Manhunter; although the intensity of this method meant that John couldn't use it for more than a minute without burning his mind out, it has never been specified if this means that he cannot use it again after he tapped it to rescue the rest of the League from Fernus, or if he could use it at some future date if enough time has elapsed since his last use of it.
Like all Green Lanterns, Stewart's personality affects his ring's creations, giving them a solid, architectural quality. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, Hal Jordan remarks that "everything John builds is solid". He also remarked that Stewart is the best flyer in the Corps.
In Green Lantern (vol. 4) #26, it was shown that John's willpower exceeds the limit of his ring (when he tried to recreate a planet from scratch), a feat that had not been depicted before this point.
John has served in the military forces of the United States Marine Corps and is an expert sniper.
When he temporarily used Indigo-1's ring as a member of the Indigo Tribe, John was capable of accessing the powers of all Lantern Corps rings in his vicinity, even managing to harness the power of the Black Lantern Corps by drawing on the residual Black Lantern energy around Mogo's core. John is not shown to be significantly affected by the Indigo Ring's mind-altering capabilities, although this could be because he was already capable of feeling compassion.
As well as his obvious powers as a Lantern, John has recently begun to demonstrate an ability to kill when he is certain the situation requires it, destroying Mogo in order to save the universe from the army of Krona-controlled Green Lanterns that Mogo would have created and later killing a fellow Lantern who was about to give in to torture and reveal vital information to their enemies.
John has a number of allies including Hal Jordan, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, SHAZAM, the Green Lantern corps including Kilowog, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardener, Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz and many more.
John has a number of enemies including Sinestro, Atrocitus, Larfleez, Amon Sur, Joe Gardener, Nekron, Parallax, Power Ring, Rankorr, Relic and many more.