Do it right.
I have complete faith in Geoff Johns, who’s writing the character. He’s not only a great GL writer, he’s also Lebanese-American. It’s safe to say he’s got a lot invested in Baz being a good character.
It’s also safe to say that DC is going to get a metric ton of hate-feces dumped in its mailbox. Unfortunately there are people convinced that Arab = member of Al Qaeda who wants to destroy America. If Fox News went ape when Peter Parker was replaced by Miles Morales in Ultimate continuity, imagine the race-baiting field day they’re going to have with this.
So, DC… don’t do what you usually do when faced with a controversy, and chicken out.
The recent hubbub over a gay Green Lantern was a good example of DC’s… I hate to say it, but the word fits… cowardice when it comes to this kind of thing. Green Lantern was gay… in an alternate reality… where he had a boyfriend he kissed… and then said boyfriend was blown to little pieces.
I’m sure James Robinson has wider plans, and he’s certainly no homophobe: Robinson’s Starman run featured a prominent gay character. OK, so he was a blue alien, but he was actually depicted having a serious emotional relationship, which is kind of key if “gay” is going to be more than a stat on the back of a trading card. It’s also the furthest gay characters have gotten in DC’s main line and that book came out more than a decade ago.
Which brings me to my point. I’m sure Geoff Johns is writing the character to face realistic problems any Arab American has to deal with, and I’m equally sure this will be a superhero book first and a social tract second. But don’t just make him an Arab-American by putting some Arabic on his arm and telling the colorist to make sure he’s brown. Let Johns give him texture. Let his heritage be a part of his life.
Also, for God’s sake, don’t blow up his girlfriend. Or boyfriend. Really, if you’re going to go, you might as well go all in.