According to the Ancient Reader in the Tower of Talo, on the day of John Stewart's birth, an immortal Guardian of the Universe prophesied that John would would grow to become the legendary hero known as "The Opener of Doors."
Back on Earth, John's father drank, abused his mother, and instilled a reckless contempt for society in him before selfishly leaving the family. When John was fifteen, he went joyriding as he often did in his aunt's car along with his younger brother Damon and younger sister Rose. A drunk driver crashed into them, causing a terrible accident that killed Rose. The event was so traumatic for John that he blocked some of those memories and turned his attitude around to be more focused and disciplined.
Graduating from school, John wanted to become an architect, but he joined the U.S. Marine Corps first. The experience further honed his focus and discipline, and he excelled as a sniper. He succeeded in becoming an architect after leaving the corps. However, the job he landed a firm only lasted eight months before he was fired. Reasons for his lay off were given, but the real reason that was apparent to John was racism.
When Guy Gardner was injured and unable to continue his duties as a Green Lantern soon, the Guardians of the Universe selected John to be Guy's temporary replacement. Hal Jordan did not initially agree with the Guardians decision, seeing John's anger toward society as making him unfit and untrustworthy for a power ring. However, John quickly proved Hal wrong and became much more than a temporary replacement for anyone.
The character was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams. John first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #87.
John Stewart was one of DC Comics earliest black superheroes, and as such, a good deal of attention was paid to his race. One of his notable characteristics was an anger toward society over racism, and one of his earliest adventures revolved around a racist politician. Created in 1971, the character's appearances were sparse until the 1980's. John's real break through after his initial appearances came when he was given the lead role in Green Lantern from 1984 to 86. He was the first black superhero not to have "black" in his Super Name.
Two years later, John had a major role in the four issue limited series Cosmic Odyssey. It was in this story that the planet Xanshi was destroyed, an incident that became one of the character's major defining moments.
In 1992, DC Comics launched Green Lantern: Mosaic with John in the starring role. The series ran for 18 issues and featured John acting as caretaker of a community of various alien cities forcibly brought together by a mad Guardian. It also featured John's evolution into the first human Guardian. The series was clearly focused on elevating the status of John's character, building him up to show he was different from Hal Jordan in ways other than just race and in some ways more formidable than Hal. The series was both a commercial and critical success. However, DC editorial decided it was to be cancelled by the time the fifth issue came out, claiming it simply did not fit with their editorial vision and giving writer Gerard Jones a year to finish the story. It has been speculated this was largely in preparation of the massive changes to the Green Lantern status quo during Emerald Twilight. After reaching this height of a starring role, the character of John Stewart fell into a slow decline of status. John was crippled in the pages of Darkstars and then regulated to a supporting role in Green Lantern.
While the character saw little spotlight in comics, John found new popularity on television as the primary Green Lantern in the Justice League animated series, which ran for several years on Cartoon Network. He proved so popular on the series that elements of his portrayal in the series were adapted to his character in the comics, such as his background as a U.S. Marine.
When Green Lantern: Rebirth raised the Green Lantern franchise to new heights of popularity, John Stewart was the only one of the now four human Green Lanterns to fall through the cracks. While Hal Jordan took over the Green Lantern series and Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner each went on to starring roles in their own series, John became an infrequently used supporting character in Green Lantern. This would not change until nearly five years later when John was given a starring role alongside Kyle in Green Lantern Corps with writer Tony Bedard.
Major Story Arcs
When the gods of Apokolips and New Genesis made an alliance to face a threat against the galaxy, John Stewart was one of the heroes called upon to help. Four aspects of the Anti-Life Equation had invaded the galaxy, and each intended to destroy a planet that would begin a process threatening to destroy the galaxy. John teamed with Martian Manhunter to save the planet Xanshi from one of the aspects. Tragically, they failed due to John arrogantly believing he could stop the aspect's plan on his own. Xanshi was destroyed, and the guilt drove John to the brink of suicide.
The Green Lantern Corps had fallen into ruin after the Guardians of the Universe left the dimension to commune with their counterparts the Zamarons. The lone remaining Guardian, Appa Ali Apsa, lost his grip on sanity, and John Stewart became his prisoner. In his extreme loneliness, Appa linked minds with John and unknowingly became influence by John's unconscious mind, which suffered greatly from guilt over Xanshi's destruction and the death of Katma Tui. This prompted Appa to devise a mad plan to create a new world on Oa by stealing cities from other planets. He called it his Mosaic. The return of the Guardians of the Universe stopped him from taking his plan any further, and Appa Ali Apsa died. What he had built of the Mosaic remained on Oa, and John Stewart was assigned as its caretaker.
The stress of trying to form a community out of the Mosiac took its toll on John's mind, which was already still reeling from his mind link with Appa Ali Apsa. To others, it appeared that John was becoming unhinged. He developed a messiah complex, feeling intensely that it was up to him to make the dream of Mosaic work. The Guardians refused to intervene, and when Hal Jordan tried, John defeated him. John saw Mosaic as his penance for Xanshi. He was absolutely committed to making Mosaic work, and he began to succeed in spite of his peers lack of faith in him. He evolved as the Guardians expected him to, becoming a Guardian himself.
Just when Mosaic was finally coming together, it all fell apart when Hal Jordan destroyed the Green Lantern Corps at the nudging of Parallax. John was rendered powerless, becoming just a human again. Having lost everything, John was recruited by the Controllers to join and lead the Darkstars, which was more needed than ever with the Green Lantern Corps gone. To increase the ranks, John sought out many veteran Green Lanterns to become Darkstars. He also found new love with fellow Darkstar Merayn Dethalis. In a battle with Grayven, John suffered severe injuries that left him crippled, losing the ability to walk. He soon left the Darkstars and returned to Earth with Merayn.
During the events of Final Night, Hal visited John and used his near limitless power to grant him the ability to walk again. This also resulted in John having the power to unleash blasts of green energy for a time. However, this all faded and John found himself unable to walk once again.
Hand of God
When Kyle Rayner first absorbed the power of Ion, he was able to diagnose John's condition. There was an energy blockage left over from what Hal did that was preventing John from walking again, so he removed it. However, John found he could still not walk. It was then John's psychologist who helped him realize why. For a long time, he had been repressing the memories of the car accident during his childhood that killed his sister and subconsciously punishing himself. Once John realized this and accepted the truth, he was able to walk again because he was no longer punishing himself for the loss of his sister.
After Terry Berg was brutally beaten for being homosexual, Kyle lost the will to stay on Earth. He needed to get away from Earth for awhile, and he left John a letter explaining this. With the letter was left a power ring. Kyle had trusted John to protect things while he was gone, and John was glad to aid the opportunity. It had been years since he took to the skies as a Green Lantern, and he was finally able to do it again. John would later join the Justice League of America.
As part of the fully fledged Green Lantern again, John was among the Lanterns to escort the Guardians to the Vega System in order to confront Larfleeze, the owner of the Orange Lantern Corps. Violence quickly erupted when the arrived on Okaara, and John watched as one of his fellow Green Lanterns, Gretti, was killed and consumed by the Orange Lanterns. He was nearly next but was saved by the surprise intervention of Fatality. She, the lone survivor of Xanshi, had become a Star Sapphire. The violet light washed away her desire for revenge on him, and she now told him that she forgave him for Xanshi's destruction. She also told him that he needed to forgive himself.
Sinestro Corps War
During the events of Sinestro Corps War John was on Oa with fellow Green Lanterns Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner. While the four green lanterns were being briefed about the Sinestro and his corps, Kyle was suddenly abducted by a yellow ring. The Sinestro Corps rushes in and kills many Green Lanterns. While the battleground was held, Oa was badly wounded during the attack and the Green Lantern's numbers were reduced greatly. During this time, John Stewart relived the memories of failing to save Xanshi. He was saved by Hal Jordan and the group found out about an attack on Earth from the Sinestro Corps. With Earth's Green Lanterns and heroes protecting Coast City and the world from the Sinestro Corps, more secrets were revealed about the future of the corps. In the end events of the Sinestro Corps War, the Black Lanterns were revealed to be soon coming to challenge Earth's heroes and also destroy all light.
Stewart appears in the Trinity series. He is the one to first attack the alien creature Konvikt, but when he's on the verge of defeating him, his concentration suddenly snaps, and starts muttering incoherently in binary code. A moment later, he spontaneously generates complex weapons from his body, by means unrelated to his ring. Later, he attempts to overexert himself to know how he generated those weapons by running a brutal training session against holographic Qwardian Thunderers, which does not work. He later shows Firestorm the machinery used to monitor the Cosmic Egg imprisoning Krona, but as he leaves again, he suffers from a relapse and start generating knives from his uniform, and it is revealed the entire system is broken.
Later, on board the Antimatter Earth Crime Syndicate satellite, he again loses control and nearly brings down the satellite with his blasts. It is revealed these discharges are brought about due to John's absorption of a Qwardian superweapon, the Void Hound, which has been trying to escape its containment, or at least seize control of Stewart. After the sweeping, devastating effects of the spell engineered by Morgaine le Fey and Enigma, he is seen in an Earth under the control of a totalitarian Justice Society, where all Green Lanterns are forbidden to be. He eventually starts breaking down, and with the Void Hound gaining enough hold on him to force him to create a black hole which forces him back to Earth, he has no choice but to comply. The Void Hound is later revealed to be a servant of Krona, and it's hold over John is broken when Krona is defeated.
After a massive battle between the JLA and the Shadow Cabinet, John chooses to stay with the League despite many of its members choosing to leave. After Kimiyo Hoshi goes missing while tracking down Shadow Thief, John blackmails the armored vigilante Hardware into helping the team track her down. The League arrives in the Himalayas, discovering Kimiyo and Superman's friendIcon engaged in a fierce battle with the cosmic vampire known as Starbreaker. The JLA defeats Starbreaker, and John takes a leave of absence to go to Xanshi.
During the events of Blackest Night, John joined Hal, Kyle, and Guy on the anniversary of Superman's death and also the anniversary of Coast City being deemed "the city without fear." After the ceremony, John left to go honor the people of Xanshi, the planet he failed to protect. At this very moment, millions of black power rings flew to the planet and re-created every single soul that had died in John's greatest failure. A voice told John that it can tell him how to save everyone on the planet. John decided to go to the planet and was confronted by Katma Tui. Katma Tui surrounded John with the souls that died on Xanshi and she began to try and persuade John to feel guilty for Xanshi's deaths.
However rejecting Kat's very persuading words, he battled the Black Lanterns. Eventually getting out of Xanshi's atmosphere, he was soon followed by all the Black Lanterns in the universe as he raced toward Earth to warn everyone.
On Earth, the rise of the Entity and the power of the White Lantern was able to defeat Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps. John returned to Oa to help with the process of rebuilding all that had been destroyed in the battle and was soon inducted into the Honor Guard of the Green Lantern Corps.
War of the Green Lanterns
Controlling the Emotional Entities, Krona attacked Oa. He defeated the Guardians and installed Parallax back into the Central Power Battery, which allowed Parallax to take control of the vast majority of the Green Lantern Corps through the newly restored yellow impurity. With the help of Ganthet, John and Kyle were able to resist long enough to remove their power rings. However, this left them helpless on Oa with an army of enslaved Green Lanterns. Ganthet covered their back, allowing them to take refuge in the tunnels underground Oa. Eventually, they were able to regroup with Guy and Hal, who had also abandoned their power rings after realizing the yellow impurity had returned stronger than ever before.
In order to have the power to fight, Hal proposed they use the power rings he collected from the leaders of the other Lantern Corps, who had already been taken out by Krona. Hal gave John the indigo power ring, and John became an Indigo Lantern.
Hal wanted them to go directly after Parallax in the Central Power Battery, but John disagreed with that planet. Mogo was in orbit of Oa and under Krona's control. He thought that should be their first priority, because who knew how many new Green Lanterns Krona was having Mogo recruit and Mogo's overwhelming firepower would not let them get far anyway. Hal would not agree, so the four ended up splitting with Kyle going with John to save Mogo. John was slow to figure out how to use his power as an Indigo Lantern but began to get the hang of it as they descended into Mogo's core.
Kyle almost succeeded in freeing Mogo, but the leftover taint of the Black Lantern Corps prevented it. Sentient beings were dying and Krona's forces were growing with every second Mogo was under his control, so John made a difficult decision. He harnessed the power of a Black Lantern and killed Mogo. Kyle, horrified by Johns actions, attempts to gather pieces of Mogo together in order to restart his core but they fall apart. Later on John and Kyle meet back with Hal and Guy and Ganthet and attempt to use the full power of all the different Corps ring to crack open the Central Power battery and release Parallax. While their combined effort was unable to continue as they were under attack by other Corps members. Guy Gardner with the Red Ring of Rage and the Star Sapphire Ring of Compassion manages to break open the Central Battery and releases Parallax from the Central Power Battery. The other Lanterns are then broken from Krona's control and being preparations for their final showdown with the New Guardian Entities and Krona.
The New 52
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. At one point, John is forced to kill another Lantern who was about to give in to torture and reveal the access codes to the Oan defence network.John is approached by the Alpha Lantern to arrest him for the murder of Green Lantern member.The night before his execution, he is saved by Guy Gardner who declares war on the Alpha Lanterns and he isn't alone. On John's side stand: Guy,Kilowog,Isamot Kol,Salaak and several more Lanterns who are fighting for him and to save him from execution.
Powers and Abilities
John is a wielder of a Green Lantern Power Ring, which enables him to construct anything out of light based on his imagination and willpower. The ring possesses a wide array of functions such as: translating alien languages, flight, the ability to breath in space, illusion casting, enhanced strength and durability, etc.
Stewart is known as the "Master Builder" of the Green Lantern Corps, primarily because of his architectural background. Due to his military training, one of his favorite (and most famous) constructs is a sniper rifle. He can be often seen picking off opponents from a far.
Stewart is a trained United States Marine. He is a skilled tactician and hand-to-hand combat, with expertise in various different types of firearms. His specialty is in long range weapons.
"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power...Green Lantern's light!"
For further details: Flashpoint
In an alternate timeline creation by the Reverse Flash's manipulation of time, John Stewart never became a Green Lantern and remained with the military. He was a member of this timeline's version of Team 7 and died with most of the team on a mission in Afghanistan, where only Grifter survived.
The Justice League animated series was developed by Bruce Timm as a continuation of his extremely popular animated series for Batman and for Superman. Voiced by Phil LaMarr, John Stewart was chosen as the primary Green Lantern over Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan in order to give the series a more diverse cast and because John's more strict and abrasive personality had more potential to create a dramatic group dynamic.
In the show's continuity, John's history had notable differences from the continuity of the comics. He had a career as a U.S. Marine rather than an architect. He had also served as a Green Lantern for over ten years, presumably making him the first human Green Lantern since there was never any acknowledgement of Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner preceding him. Katma Tui was his former lover rather than wife and did not die. Kyle Rayner existed as a recently recruited member of the Green Lantern Corps, spending most of the time in space being trained. Finally, rather than being responsible for the destruction of a planet, John was framed for the deed by Kanjar Ro and the Manhunters.
John became a founding member of the Justice League after teaming with other heroes to repel an alien invasion. As the group dynamic developed, John became particularly closed with the Flash, Wally West in the series, and Hawkgirl, Shayera Hol in the series. His friendship with Wally took the form of an odd couple dynamic, pitting John's serious professionalism against Wally's comedic recklessness. His relationship with Shayera became romantic and was the biggest romance of the series. In the finale of Justice League, Shayera was exposed as a Thanagarian spy and John faced off against her former lover, Hro Talak.
Justice League Unlimited
Justice League did not end but simply changed its name to Justice League Unlimited, shifting the focus of the show to a greatly expanded Justice League. John remained a central character of the series and sported a new look with a shaved head and goatee.
John was now romantically involved with Vixen, one of the many members of the large Justice League roster. Shayera had kept to herself since the events of the Justice League finale but eventually rejoined the team, sparking a love triangle between her, John and Vixen. In an episode that sent Batman, John, and Wonder Woman to the future as depicted in the Batman Beyond animated series, it was revealed the the character Warhawk was John's son and that Shayera was his mother.
John eventually told Shayera about Warhawk, and they confessed they still loved each other. However, John remained with Vixen for the time being because he was not comfortable with the idea that his future had already been decided for him. The series ended with their relationship unresolved and John choosing to be with Vixen.
John Stewart's starring role in this series was arguably the most popular the character had ever been. It gave more spotlight and development to the character than he ever had in the comics and propelled him into the mainstream consciousness. To this day, some people aren't aware that there are multiple Green Lanterns and still associate John Stewart as the Green Lantern.
In the Young Justice animated series, which focuses on the teenage sidekicks of the DC Universe, John Stewart appears as a member of the Justice League alongside Hal Jordan. Little else has been revealed about his role in this continuity, but he and Hal are presumably sector partners in the Green Lantern Corps. He is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.
Following Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash and Superboy's battle with Blockbuster, John Stewart arrived at the destroyed Cadmus facility carrying Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Aquaman. He later carried the unconscious Blockbuster away from the scene along with fellow Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.
In the aftermath of Red Inferno and Red Torpedo's attack on the Cave, and Red Tornado's apparent betrayal, John helped restoring the Cave's systems.
After mutated plant creatures sprouted up all over the world, John analyzed a sample for Batman, finding traces of Kobra Venom within the plants. John later helped fight the plants in Metropolis.
Both Green Lanterns attended a Justice League mission concerning admission of new members. Both of them were adamant that Guy Gardner should not even be considered for membership.
John Stewart was present at the press conference about the induction of Atom, Doctor Fate, Icon, Plastic Man and Red Arrow into the League.
After being made a slave of the Light's mind control, John Stewart welcomed Vandal Savage aboard the Watchtower with a silent kneel of obedience. In the time he was enthralled, the Light used him and five other Leaguers to attack Rimbor. For sixteen hours, they went on a rampage, and told all present to beware the Justice League, and Earth.
John Stewart was one of the six leaguers on an away mission who was recalled to the Watchtower. This was Vandal Savage's response when the Team successfully disconnected Plastic Man, the Atom, Captain Atom, and Hawkman from Klarion's control. Upon his arrival, the Green Lantern incapacitated the vaccinated Red Tornado, allowing for the enthralled Superman and Wonder Woman to tear off the android's limbs and remove him from the fight. When the Team arrived, Stewart was taken out by Sphere. Robin placed a cure-tech patch on him.
Young Justice: Invasion
In the wake of an alien attack on the United Nations, Stewart briefed the League and the Team on their visitors. Lobo was dangerous, but not likely to return. The other was a Krolotean, and he would not be alone. Adam Strange informed them about technology theft on Rann, which John connected to the Krolotean way of life of stealing everything. Strange also told them that the League couldn't go to Rann, because six Leaguers—including Stewart—were wanted criminals. Nightwing made the connection to them being mind controlled, five years earlier, and John Stewart admitted that, though they investigated it, they never considered their unaccounted actions would take place off-planet. It was decided the Team would send a Squad to Rann, and the others would split up to deal with Krolotean presence on Earth.
After Gamma Squad (Robin, Blue Beetle and Lagoon Boy) encountered the main Krolotean base, they requested back-up. Mal sent them everyone—thought the base was destroyed when the League got there.
John waited for Zeta Squad to return from Rann, and listened to their report. He was not aware he, or any of the other Leaguers, were wanted criminals on Rann or Rimbor, because neither planet was in his sector. After discussing with Wonder Woman and Captain Atom, he decided to consult the Guardians of the Universe.
The Guardians thought it wisest if the six Leaguers journeyed to Rimbor to defend themselves for the High Court. Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner would travel ahead to make sure they received a fair trial.
John and the others prepared for departure. He discussed it one last time with Captain Atom, and then created a spaceship with his ring to carry the others, plus Hawkman and Icon, to Rimbor.
Justice League Heroes
John Stewart appeared inJustice League Heroes, an action RPG video game released for the PS2, PSP and Xbox, as a playable character with three alternate costumes. He was voiced by Michael Jai White. As a non-playable character, John is featured in DC Universe Online and voiced there by Ken Thomas. John also appears in Justice League: Injustice for All and Justice League Chronicles. Both games were for the Game Boy Advance.
Injustice Gods Among Us
John Stewart appears as an alternate skin in the Netherrealm fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us. This is the second alternate skin to have an alternate voice. His voice actor is Phil LaMarr who also voiced him in the Justice League animated show.
He also appears in Green Lantern [Hal Jordan in Injustice]'s outro with the rest of the Green Lantern Corp.