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DC has come out about their… coming out. Alan Scott, one of the stars of DC’s new Earth 2 series, is the major and iconic DC character referred to by Dan Didio to become gay in the New 52. This will be officially established in the second issue of Earth 2.
In interviews, James Robinson has laid out a solid case for this decision. The general de-aging of characters in the New 52 has had its consequences. For Alan Scott, these consequences are the removal of his children, Jade and Obsidian, from continuity. Obsidian, for those who do not know, was one of DC’s few prominent homosexual characters. His emotional instability and repetitive falls to darkness didn’t exactly make him much of a role model, but he did his part in adding to the diversity of the DC Universe. The decision to make Alan gay began as a way to balance the scales. It’s a logical choice to make.
There are some downsides to Alan’s selection, though. Debate has already begun about how major or iconic he honestly is. Yes, Alan is the original Green Lantern. But he has long ago been supplanted as the Green Lantern by Hal Jordan. And given that Alan’s status as the original is no longer part of continuity, calling Alan the original Green Lantern is now more a bit of metatextual trivia than an actual part of the character. While he is being positioned as the Superman of the world of Earth 2, that world is really only relevant to a single title in DC’s large lineup of books.
Another concern with the choice of Alan Scott has to do with labels. Is Alan now going to be referred to simply as the gay Green Lantern? There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but people generally don’t want a character to be primarily defined by their race, gender or sexual orientation. Alan is one of several Green Lanterns. Calling him the original or Golden Age Green Lantern is far less relevant today than it used to be. Hal Jordan has long ago supplanted him as the Green Lantern. Calling him the Earth 2 Green Lantern would now make the most sense, but… how often does sense matter? John Stewart is the black Green Lantern. He’s not really referred to as the Marine Green Lantern, the architect Green Lantern or the JLU Green Lantern. He’s the black Green Lantern. Can Alan avoid being similarly labelled? It’s hard to predict, but this is not an obstacle DC would have had if they had gone with a more singular character.
Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I’m a fan of this decision. Earth 2 is turning out like I wish the New 52 at large had. The New 52 was supposed to be more modern and diverse. Earth 2 seems to be one of the few books actually living up to that. It’s making the bold choices with the Golden Age while the rest of the DC Universe seems to have been more interesting in holding onto the straight, white maleness of the Silver Age. Earth 2 isn’t just going with Hawkgirl over Hawkman, but it’s going with the Hispanic Kendra Saunders over the white Shiera Hall. Now, Alan Scott is a gay man. James Robinson promises this is not the extent of it either.
So — wait. Does this mean Vibe is going to be straight? …Seriously?