John Stewart spent much of his youth with his uncle reading Justice Guild of America comics after school. He developed much of his heroic characteristics from reading the comics and believed had he not read those comics he probably would never have been selected to be a member of the Green Lantern Corps.
He later left home to enlist in the United States Marine Corps at a fairly young age. Relatively little is known of John's military service, save that he met and befriended Rex Mason during that time.
After leaving the service, John Stewart was selected by the Guardians of the Universe to join the Green Lantern Corps. Early in his Corps career, John would train under the veteran Green Lantern Katma Tui, with whom he shared a brief romance.
As Sector 2814 was already under the protection of Green Lantern Abin Sur, John was eventually reassigned to another space sector; his activities during this time are largely unrevealed, but John was among the Green Lanterns that brought down their renegade corpsman Sinestro, stripping him of his power ring. Some time later, following Abin Sur's demise at the hands of Sinestro, who by that time had sworn a blood oath against the Green Lantern Corps, John returned to his home sector. Abin Sur's designated successor, Kyle Rayner, would himself require training before being assigned a sector of his own. John Stewart was therefore sent to stand guard over Sector 2814, while Kyle Rayner was sent to Katma Tui for training.
Not long after John's homecoming, he would answer the fateful summons to join six other heroes in opposing the Imperium invasion. In the aftermath of that crisis, John readily agreed to Superman's suggestion that the seven heroes band together as the Justice League.
John was the focal point of one of the League's earliest missions. A detachment of Manhunter Robots were sent to Earth to take John into custody, to answer charges of inadvertently destroying an inhabited world. The League followed, ready to stand up for their comrade despite John's insistence that he be held accountable for his actions. The League was able to prove that John was innocent, and that the entire situation had been framed and engineered by the Manhunters as part of a plot to exact revenge upon their former masters — the Guardians.
John continued to serve with distinction in the Justice League, forming a strong bond with his comrades. In particular, John grew closer to Hawkgirl. Although the two clashed at first, their shared military/police backgrounds provided common ground, and in time, the two became romantically involved.
This romantic attachment would be shattered, however, by the Thanagarian invasion. Hawkgirl's apparent treachery, and engagement to Thanagarian Commander Hro Talak, all but broke John's heart. After the Thanagarians were defeated, the League voted whether to reinstate or revoke Shayera's Justice League membership. John recused himself from voting due to his personal feelings toward Shayera, so Superman broke the tie because he believed in second chances. However, Shayera voluntarily resigned from the League before hearing their verdict. John shared one last goodbye with Shayera before she flew off to parts unknown.
Despite everything that happened, John remained with the Justice League through its expansion, although he at one point unsuccessfully appealed to the Guardians for reassignment to another space sector. He attempted to put himself back together and started seeing Justice League member Vixen. He also shaved his head and grew a goatee. While John attempted to make it seem as if he was over Shayera, other members on the Justice League noticed that this was not the case. To make things even more complicated for John, Shayera came out of hiding to stop Solomon Grundy after he had risen from the grave a second time. When Grundy had been put to rest by Shayera, John angrily informed reporters that not only was Shayera allowed back in the League; she was never actually kicked out in the first place.
Things didn't get any easier with John in Justice League. When the time traveler Chronos came back in time to steal Batman's utility belt, John, Wonder Woman and Batman chased him back to the Old West where they assisted him and a group of western heroes against Tobias Manning. Even though they defeated Manning, Chronos managed to get away again, but this time he went back to his own time where he warped it, resulting in the devastation of the Justice League of that time. The trio chased him again where they met up with the last members of the Justice League: Batman II, Static and Warhawk.
While there, John discovered his unsettling future: He would become the father of Warhawk, and the mother would be none other than Shayera Hol. As a result of Chronos' tampering, the space-time continuum itself began to unravel, causing Wonder Woman to vanish during the mission. John himself was briefly replaced by Green Lantern Hal Jordan in another time shift, but returned in time to help Batman and the others stop Chronos and restore the time back to normal. John and Batman returned to their time as the only ones bearing the knowledge of what had happened in the mission.
With this knowledge, John became awkward around both Vixen and Shayera. It wouldn't be until over a year later that he would inform Shayera of his discovery, after witnessing himself as the reincarnation of Bashari in Egypt. However, John refused to be destiny's puppet and decided to stay with Vixen until he chose otherwise.
As one of the founding members of the League, John served as a voice of leadership within the organization throughout some of its most trying times, including the Cadmus crisis and the ongoing conflict with Grodd'sSecret Society.
John Stewart is at heart a professional soldier, a man of duty. He takes his roles as a protector of Earth, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, and a founding member of the Justice League with the utmost seriousness. At times this has led him into conflict with comrades like the Flash or Supergirl, who do not appear to share this serious attitude. His sense of responsibility is beyond reproach, as seen during his trial in theAjuris System; John believes that beings entrusted with great power must be held accountable for their actions, including himself.
John's long absence from his homeworld has left him with some difficulty fitting back into normal Earth society, but his experiences with the Justice League have helped him to deal with this to some degree.
Compared to some Green Lanterns (such as Katma Tui, who has taken him to task on the matter), John tends to be fairly straightforward in the use of his power ring, eschewing complicated or innovative ring-constructs in favor of simple beam-blasts or defensive barriers. John's simple, efficient approach is likely a result of his military training.
Beneath John's hard-nosed military exterior, there remains a certain (and normally well-hidden) streak of playfulness and sentimentality. On the rare occasions he allows himself to let his guard down, he is not above using his power ring to play in the snow, fondly recalling the comic-book heroes of his youth, or even admitting to a certain weakness for his favorite film Old Yeller.
Powers and abilities
John Stewart possessed no innate superhuman abilities, apart perhaps from a nearly-indomitable will. He was also unfailingly honest and virtually without fear. These qualities made him an ideal candidate for membership in the Green Lantern Corps.
John's military experience provided him with a strong grasp of tactics, and made him a skilled combatant — armed or unarmed. On two separate missions he went into battle without his ring, and fared well.
Like all members of the Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart was issued a power ring and a lantern-shapedpower battery. Thus equipped, John was extraordinarily well-prepared for the mission of maintaining order within his assigned space sector. Midway through his Justice League career, he was re-taught in its use by Katma Tui, who criticized him (and other Corps members) for using their Rings "like jackhammers."
During his training with the Corps, John fell in love with his trainer Katma Tui, whom he left when he returned to Earth. John entered into a relationship with Hawkgirl which came to a sudden end with the Thanagarian invasion. He would later form a relationship with fellow League member Vixen, which was complicated somewhat by the former Hawkgirl's return to active service with the League. A meeting with his and Shayera's future son, Warhawk, has done little to alleviate John's conflicted feelings. Carter Hall's interest in Shayera hasn't helped much, either. John eventually did rekindle his love for Hawkgirl, and they had a son together,Warhawk. This is explained in a graphic novel, Justice League Beyond, where on the night that John planned on proposing to Vixen, Shadow Thief impales her, and in a fit of rage, John murders him, leading to his expulsion from the Green Lantern Corps, and eventually to his marriage to Shayera.
In the DC Comics, John Stewart was an unemployed architect who was selected by the Guardians to be the backup Lantern for Hal Jordan. As in the TV series, the comics version of Stewart had no qualms about making his identity as a Green Lantern public, casting aside the mask when he first wore the GL uniform, stating: "This black man lets it all hang out! I've got nothing to hide!"
In the comics, Jordan himself has served as both a Green Lantern and a member of the Justice League of America and was originally to be the Green Lantern for the TV series. Stewart was instead chosen in an effort to bring in diversity, although much of his background was modeled after Jordan's, including his military experience and his role in taking down Sinestro. Though not very well known among comic fans, Stewart's career in the Lantern Corps has been quite notable, with him becoming the first mortal to ascend to the rank of Guardian of the Universe. Stewart's presence on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited has helped to raise his profile among comic fans.
- "Secret Origins"
- "In Blackest Night"
- "The Enemy Below"
- "War World"
- "The Brave and the Bold"
- "Fury, Part I"
- "Fury, Part II" (Cameo)
- "Injustice For All"
- "The Savage Time"
- "Tabula Rasa"
- "Only A Dream"
- "Maid of Honor"
- "Hearts and Minds"
- "A Better World"
- "Secret Society"
- "Wild Cards"
- "Comfort and Joy"
- "Power Play" (Mentioned Only)
- "A League of Their Own"
- "Fallen Hero"
Justice League Unlimited
- "Kid Stuff"
- "The Greatest Story Never Told"
- "The Return"
- "Dark Heart"
- "Wake the Dead"
- "The Once and Future Thing Part One: Weird Western Tales"
- "The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped"
- "The Doomsday Sanction" (Cameo)
- "Task Force X"
- "Hunter's Moon"
- "Panic in the Sky"
- "Divided We Fall"
- "Shadow of the Hawk"
- "Chaos at the Earth's Core"
- "To Another Shore" (Cameo)
- "Patriot Act"
- "The Great Brain Robbery"
- "Far From Home"
- "Ancient History"
- "Alive!" (Cameo)