DC ComicsGreen Lantern

Green Lantern: Mosaic #1 (1992)

Green Lantern: Mosaic #1 (June, 1992)
“Do You Want to See?”
Gerard Jones – Writer
Cully Hamner – Penciller
Dan Panosian – Inker
Albert De Guzman – Letterer
Steve Mattsson – Colorist
Kevin Dooley – Editor
Cover Price – $1.25

Do you want to see something weird?

***Hello from 2023!  Howsabout a bit of a disclaimer before moving along to the spoilery synopsis and discussion, eh?  Just a quick note to mention that this piece was written on February 1, 2016… ten or so months before we learned some horrible things about the writer of this book.  Please keep that in mind as (or if) you read through this piece.  Thank you.***

Spinning out of the main Green Lantern title, Mosaic follows John Stewart as he attempts to oversee the now-patchwork planet of Oa.  Following the Guardians of the Universe leaving Oa to be with the Zamarons (female Oans), the sole remaining guardian Appa Ali Apsa (“The Old-Timer”) lost his mind due to feelings of extreme loneliness.  He collected various cities from around the galaxy that he had visited, and turned Oa into a Mosaic of varying races/species of inhabitants.

John Stewart was “elected” to oversee this experiment (becoming THE Green Lantern of Oa) in attempt to see if they may form something of a cohesive collective.

We open with Stewart introducing us (he is “speaking” to the reader throughout) to some of the disparate species that inhabit Oa, all relatively harmless, and all quite odd.  He stumbles upon a pair of twin girls who ask if he “wants to die today”, and proceeds to get thoroughly thrashed.  The girls thank him for the good time, and ask if he’s up for another round tomorrow.

Mosaic is an odd book.  I remember flipping through this one when it was on the shelves.  Being a 90’s comics kid, I was told during my initiation to grab anything with a #1 on it, as it would do all of those cliche things… buy me a house, put me (and my kids) through college.  I remember looking at this one, and I remember it bothering me.  It was unlike any Green Lantern book I had ever seen before… hell, it was unlike ANY book I’d seen before.  Even today, this book has the uncanny ability to summon pangs of discomfort from me.  This book can definitely leave the reader ill at ease, and that is absolutely part of its charm.

We continue on our nickel tour of the Mosaic patchwork with John.  He introduces a few more species… then informs us that not only are there humans on Oa, there are American humans on Oa.  The citizens of Evergreen City, a place that Hal Jordan had once lived, are also part of the Mosaic world.

We are informed that the disparate communities are connected by roads.  Roads that are built by Oa’s “one hero” Oa’s “one God”… it’s builder, planner, architect… John Stewart.  As though it were planned, just as John makes this claim, he hears cries for help from various species of inhabitant.  He is called into heroic duty against creatures that would do harm.  This battle is interesting, in that one cannot be sure if it is actually occurring.  We watch the fight, however, it all seems too convenient.  John quickly neutralizes the threat, all the while quoting philosophers (quotes included below), including the great thinker of our time, Hal Jordan.

What follows is a look into John’s mind.  We can hear things that have been said to him, and things he had once said.  It would appear that John is at a critical point, psychologically speaking.  He is full of doubt, full of envy… full of, well… voices.  The Old-Timer speaks to John… through John.  He is tortured by his voice, which he dismisses as a “cancer in [his] subconscious”.

We wrap up our tour, and John finds himself in front of the twin girls again.  They ask him if it’s tomorrow yet.  John turns to the reader, and welcomes us to his world.

Text piece touching on the “mission statement” of GL:Mosaic
Written by Gerard Jones

As cliche as it may sound, Green Lantern: Mosaic was a book that was truly… say it with me, “ahead of its time”.  Packed full of fantastic ideas, mature themes, and imaginative storytelling methods, Mosaic separates itself from the rest of DC’s early 1990’s output.  The character of John Stewart is one that always felt more “real” to me than Hal.  I do enjoy Hal, but John (even though he wasn’t “my” Green Lantern) was one who I felt I could empathize more with.  Hal, warts and all, was a roguish, cool, and confident superhero.  John was a man.  A man with responsibilities.  He was an architect… he had a job.  John’s feelings of responsibility make him the perfect front for this series.  He has been given a task, and no matter what is thrown in front of him, he will see it through.

But at what cost?

John is clearly troubled in this opening issue.  Voices reinforcing institutionalized racism interspersed with his own jealousy of Hal Jordan’s way of life make for quite the dichotomy.  It should also be noted, the Green Lantern ring is not the only ring John wears.  He is still wearing his wedding band.  His wife and fellow Lantern, Katma Tui was killed years earlier by Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris) who did so to send a message to Hal Jordan.  Later, John failed to protect the planet Xanshi from destruction.  John clearly had a lot on his mind, even before Mosaic.

Green Lantern: Mosaic is definitely worthy of a read-through (remember, this piece was originally written in 2016…).  It is unfortunately short for its vintage (only 18 issues), and has largely been forgotten.  Still an all-time favorite and more than worthy of read, in my opinion.

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UPDATE 5/7/2023: “Remastered” this article for WordPress

5 thoughts on “Green Lantern: Mosaic #1 (1992)

  • Chris U

    This book was Vertigo before Vertigo even existed.

    • So true! Had an absolute mind-twisting blast my first time through this… I only wish I were able to talk about this one more. The writer's "situation" makes it really difficult to laud any of his work.

  • The absolute beat-down John puts on that pompous ass Hal Jordan in a later issue had me jumping for joy.

    • Agree! It's a damn shame I won't be able to cover the subsequent issues of this run!

  • AFAIK, the writer has been out of prison now for about six months as of this writing. Whether or not that was a long enough prison term is not for me to say, nor can I speak to whether he has been rehabilitated at all, though I recall he was sharing stories during his time “on the inside” that may or may not explain (but not excuse) what he was doing. He may be a sick man, or an evil man, or he may be something else. I don’t know the guy.

    Nevertheless, I am not sure I agree that you aren’t morally allowed to “laud” good things done by bad people. There are numerous works of art, films, literature, scientific achievements, etc that we now know for a fact were the work of heinous individuals. Should we now say, for example, that the massive output of classic music produced by Phil Spector is undeserving of praise? Or “Rosemary’s Baby”? What about the massive artistic achievements of Michael Jackson? It seems like a very difficult line to walk.

    At any rate, I am not personally afraid to say that “Green Lantern: Mosaic” is astonishingly well written, thoughtful, and way ahead of its time. I recognized it at the time, I was baffled that the same writer could produce this while concurrently being responsible for absolutely terrible runs on the regular “Green Lantern” book and “Justice League International,” and, somehow, 30 years after I read it and 12 years after all of my physical comic books, 12 long boxes full, were carted off to the recycling plant, I still remember it.

    So if the guy did one decent thing in his life, let him have it. It’s not like talking about it puts any money in his pocket.


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