Though it appeared to be no more eventful than the birth of any child on Earth, news of the birth of John Stewart reached further than the boundaries of his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. On the distant planet Maltus, one of the immortal Guardians of the Universe told the Ancient Reader in the Tower of Talo that the Opener of Doors had been born.
Back on Earth, John Stewart did not have an ideal childhood. His grandfather, Roy, was a gambler, a womanizer and an alcoholic who abused his wife, Addie. They had come from Mississippi to Detroit and though they had three children, one of whom was John's mother, the two hardly lived together for the last twenty years of their marriage. Grandpa Roy was killed, stabbed in the chest, by one of his many romantic liaisons.
John's mother was dying of cancer. A religious woman like her mother before her, she believed this was part of God's plan for her. She had protected John from his father, who could be demanding and unforgiving. His father was an assembly line worker and often lectured John on the importance of learning about "the white man's world" so he could make the white man need him. John thought the better place his father was always referring to meant a better neighborhood, a better kind of building. He eventually came to believe he should learn how things were kept up, but not to question the secrets at the heart of things.
John's mother died some time later, and he went to live with another relative, possibly his Aunt Loretta, who treated him like her own child. Presumably, his father died before John became an adult. John Stewart eventually went on to become an architect, but as a black man found work hard to come by.
When Guy Gardner, the alternate choice for Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814, was injured, Hal Jordan was ordered by the Guardians to train a replacement should Jordan ever be injured as well. The Guardians chose John Stewart.
Out of work, Stewart was not worried about finding the time to train as a Green Lantern, so he accepted the offer. Given a power ring and the uniform of the Corps, Stewart discarded the mask, claiming he had nothing to hide.
Stewart was quite adept with the power ring, easily mastering flight. Over an airport, he and Jordan investigated a large gathering awaiting the arrival of a plane carrying Senator Jeremiah Clutcher.
When a runaway fuel truck threatened to hit the nearby crowd, the two Green Lanterns intervened. Jordan carried the crowd to safety while Stewart caught the truck. In the process, Stewart purposely pierced the side of the truck, splashing oil on Senator Clutcher. Though Jordan agreed with Stewart's assessment of Clutcher as a racist, he warned him not to act so irresponsibly in the future. To teach Stewart a lesson, Jordan ordered the novice ring wielder to guard the senator.
An hour later Clutcher gave a speech in a city stadium. An assassination attempt was made but Jordan caught the would be killer, a black man. Stewart went in another direction, where he caught a white man about to gun down a policeman patrolling the stadium parking lot. Stewart explained he had seen both men with the senator that afternoon and realized Clutcher had planned the assassination attempt with the would-be assassin firing blanks at him. The murder of the policeman in the parking lot would make it appear blacks were on a rampage and Clutcher was right, which could have led to Clutcher gaining the Presidency. Clutcher and the two gunmen wee turned over to the authorities.
Over the next few years, Stewart acted as Green Lantern when Jordan was unable to protect Earth. When a simple accident, slipping in the bathtub, caused Hal Jordan to be knocked unconscious, the power ring ascertained Jordan was not permanently damaged and placed a healing field around its injured owner. Minutes later, a JLA emergency signal sounded, going unanswered. The power ring streaked off into the night, securing John Stewart and delivering him to the Justice League as Green Lantern.
The Justice League's old foe, the Key, was dying and wished to see the JLA die before him. He murdered a Santa Claus on Christmas Eve as a way to leave a clue, a key with a note attached, for the heroes. Green Lantern bathed the key in an emerald glow which would pulsate when it was brought near the matching lock. Red Tornado flew up and down the streets of St. Louis until he found the correct door to use the key. The heroes entered a crumbling building and abruptly fell through a trap door into a death maze. The Leaguers had fallen victim to snares designed by their old foe, the Key. It appeared to the Justice League they were being picked off one-by-one. Green Lantern and the Red Tornado were surrounded by life-sized toy soldiers which neither of them could defeat. Unfortunately for the villain, the heroes' lives were spared by the intervention of the Phantom Stranger.
The Key escaped, setting off the countdown on a bomb threatening a St. Louis neighborhood. The JLA evacuated the imperiled citizens and Green Lantern contained the blast within a ring generated forcefield. Stewart was then able to use his architectural and power ring skills to reconstruct the destroyed buildings, just as they had been the day they were originally built.
A call for help from Dinah Lance AKA Black Canary saw Stewart return to the role of Green Lantern. Hal Jordan had returned from a rescue mission on an alien world and quickly fell ill. Believing Jordan could only be cured by the Guardians of the Universe, Green Arrow requested Stewart fly his fallen friend to Oa.
Though Stewart mastered flight on Earth, he was not as prepared for the perils of space. Caught in the gravitational pull of a neutron star fragment, Stewart and Jordan were rescued from certain death by an alien starcraft.
Taken aboard, the aliens diagnosed Jordan's condition. Claiming the Green Lantern suffered from a disease of the psyche, they offered the use of the telluatron, a device which would show someone their deepest fears in order to defeat them. As there was no time to bring Jordan to Oa, Stewart allowed the aliens to place Jordan in the telluatron where the veteran Green Lantern faced his own feelings of inadequacy and triumphed. The two Green Lanterns were returned to Earth, just in time to save Green Arrow from death during an assassination attempt on the President of the United States.
Some months later, the threat of Krona and Nekron, Lord of the Unliving, meant the assembly of the entire Green Lantern Corps to protect the universe. Though John Stewart and Guy Gardner could feel the clarion call to battle, they remained on Earth, unaware of the extent of the threat.
Stewart was living in Star City when he was summoned again by the Guardians of the Universe. Though Hal Jordan had been exiled to space for one year, threats to Earth still required the power of a Green Lantern. The Guardians chose Green Arrow to instruct Stewart should the inexperienced ring wielder need assistance in dealing with the alien menace Crystayl.
Millennia ago, members of the Green Lantern Corps had joined forces to destroy the crystalline warrior. Unfortunately, its destruction meant the death of the life forms it had absorbed. A single shard of crystal drifted through space until it fell to Earth where it was eventually found by a small boy. The boy's hatred for school served as a catalyst to awaken the crystal warrior and reactivate its programming.
Stewart gathered dozens of people and tried to fly them to safety but the weight was too much. A momentary loss of concentration weakened his will power, and those he sought to save fell and were absorbed by the crystalline warrior. Green Arrow barely escaped absorption, Stewart freed the archer's arm from the crystal that had formed around it.
The two heroes devised a plan to defeat their mutual foe. Stewart scanned the menace for a stress point in its crystalline structure. The stress point changed as it absorbed carbon based life forms making the heroes' task all the more difficult. When Green Lantern found the stress point, Green Arrow's aim was true and the crystal creature shattered, freeing the Star City residents it had absorbed. Stewart gathered the crystal shards, then he and Green Arrow celebrated their victory.
Called once more into action by the Guardians of the Universe, Stewart fought alongside the Justice League of America to thwart the latest plans of Doctor Destiny. The villain had been "borrowing" the dreams of Gotham City artists as part of a scheme to gain vengeance against the hero team. For his part, Stewart defeated a dream duplicate of Doctor Light.
Doctor Destiny had taken control of the dream dimension ruled by the Sandman and would have defeated the Justice League of America were it not for the Sandman's quick thinking that brought Superman to the rescue.
When Carol Ferris of the Ferris Aircraft Corporation needed an architect to rebuild Ferris Aircraft after it had been leveled by the Demolition Team, she flew Stewart to Los Angeles at the corporation's expense. Though the grounds were in poor shape, Stewart took the job, confident would be able to build a stronger facility. Ferris' financial troubles seemed to be solved by an enigmatic man, known only as "Smith."
John Stewart moved into a sublet in the Marina City Towers in Marina Del Ray. While fixing breakfast in his new apartment, John Stewart was abruptly transported across the light years to Oa. The Guardians of the Universe wished to appoint a new ring wielder as Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814, to replace Hal Jordan after his resignation.
Stewart was annoyed by the Guardians' inability to understand his needs, and his refusal startled the Guardians and dishonored his predecessor's friends in the Green Lantern Corps. After he was accused of cowardice by Katma Tui, the Green Lantern of Korugar, Stewart accepted her challenge and took the responsibility of the power ring as the new Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814. Though he did not wear a mask in his prior adventures as Green Lantern now that he was permanent ring wielder of Earth, Stewart wore the full costume of his predecessor.
Back on Earth, Stewart resumed his job at Ferris Aircraft. Test pilot Hal Jordan seemed familiar to him but he did not make the connection to Green Lantern. The two went to a nearby bar, the Flight Deck, where they saw a televised report from the Baldwin Hills Dam. Major Disaster threatened to destroy the dam and the surrounding community if his old foe, Green Lantern, did not face him. Stewart excused himself while the powerless Jordan attempted to call another super-hero to save Los Angeles. He was shocked to see Stewart charging the power ring as Green Lantern.
Stewart arrived at the dam and announced himself as Green Lantern. The mentally unbalanced villain was not satisfied with the newest ring wielder's appearance and demanded his familiar foe.
Stewart tried to use the power ring to fight Major Disaster, but that proved ineffective against the villain's force field. Disaster was confused by what he saw, he knew Green Lantern was Hal Jordan, but a mental block placed on his mind prevented him from telling anyone. He wanted revenge on Jordan, but was frustrated when he could not convey his wishes. Believing Stewart was mocking him, Disaster tore the dam apart.
The rushing water was held back by a ring created dam, but this did not last long. Stewart lost his concentration and the water rushed free. He created a giant viaduct to divert the flood. Major Disaster was later apprehended in Los Angeles. Using the power ring, Stewart had made everyone in Los Angeles appear as Green Lantern, and the confused villain was easily captured.
Green Lantern attracted the interest of Tawny Young, a television reporter for K.L.A.Q. in Los Angeles. Her diligence impressed Stewart, and the two went out to dinner that night. Unfortunately for the reporter, Stewart was not willing to share the story of his origin and for that he received a bowl of spaghetti over his head.
Ferris Aircraft had been working on the Solar Jet, a design crucial to the company's financial recovery. When it disappeared along with its pilot, Richard Davis, into a column of black light beamed from a miniature moon, Stewart changed to Green Lantern.
He faced Eclipso, owner of the so-called "Murder-Moon" satellite. Another mysterious figure, known as the Predator, battled to protect Ferris as well. A beam of black energy aimed at Green Lantern but deflected by the hero's energy shield destroyed the satellite's energy regulator, changing the satellite's black beam to a high intensity laser. Thrown from the satellite, the hero and villain fought hand-to-hand on the ground. So intent on killing Green Lantern, Eclipso did not listen to the ring wielder's warning and was cut down by the satellite's laser. Without Eclipso to stop him, Stewart sent the Murder-Moon into orbit where it detonated in a fiery blast.
Later, unable to concentrate on work, Stewart took to the air as Green Lantern. Using the power ring to detect any emergencies around the world, Stewart found the space shuttle Champion was in distress. The astronauts on board were already working on solving their problem when Green Lantern arrived and, in the course of his rescue attempt damaged the shuttle further. The astronauts were able to stabilize the shuttle in spite of Green Lantern's actions.
Stewart knew he had mishandled the situation and went to Oa to ask for further training. He appealed to the Guardians for the name of his predecessor so that he might talk to him and get some pointers but the Guardians steadfastly refused to compromise the former Green Lantern's new life. Still, they agreed more training from a member of the Corps was in order, and for that task they chose Katma Tui of Korugar.
Only a week after he became Green Lantern, John Stewart's secret identity was exposed on national television by Tawny Young. Stewart knew his life would never be the same again. To avoid any further attention to Stewart, Katma Tui altered her skin color from her natural red to black like Stewart.
While his coworkers at Ferris Aircraft were happy to have Green Lantern John Stewart working among them, Carol Ferris was not. She had decided she did not want Ferris Aircraft associated with Green Lantern in any way, shape, or form. Though she admitted Stewart had done an excellent job as Hal Jordan said he would, Stewart was laid off the same day the news story broke.
Stewart was puzzled to learn it was Hal Jordan who had recommended him to rebuild Ferris Aircraft, to his recollection, he had never met Hal Jordan until after he had taken the job. Jordan arrived and quickly explained he had read about Stewart somewhere and told Carol Ferris of the architect's reputation.
Katma Tui, still angry at Jordan for leaving the Corps for Carol Ferris, threw her arm around the ex-Green Lantern and kissed him, hoping to drive a wedge between Jordan and Ferris. When questioned by Stewart, Katma would explain she was trying to get back at Ferris for laying off Stewart.
Sonar of Modora saw the new Green Lantern as a media event and therefore the destruction of John Stewart at his hands would make world wide headlines. He attacked Ferris Aircraft and challenged Green Lantern to a fight which Stewart won. The Master of Sound did not know Green Lantern had another ally. Per Stewart's request, Katma Tui secretly used her power ring to set up two walls of sound on either side of the villain. When Stewart caused the sound waves his ring was generating to skip a beat, the waves cancelled each other out, Sonar found himself without power to drawn upon and crashed to the ground.
Sonar was later freed from jail by Throttle and Blindside, a pair of villains that wanted Sonar to join them in their life of crime. Even with Katma Tui, Stewart was unable to capture the new villain team. Stewart set up an airborne monitor above Los Angeles which told him when Sonar's particular ultrasonic vibration was heard. The Green Lanterns converged on an amusement park where Katma Tui fell into Throttle's power. The supervillain used his power to speed up the Korugarian Green Lantern's heart and threatened to speed it up to the bursting point unless Stewart retreated. Unable to overcome both Blindside and Sonar to get to Throttle, Stewart agreed to leave, all the while being tracked by Sonar. Flying in a straight line away from the villains, Stewart raced around the globe to strike Sonar and his henchmen from behind. Seeing Katma Tui was safe, the two Green Lanterns kissed.
Stewart used his power ring to probe his own mind for the identity of his predecessor but consistently met with failure. He wanted to know who the prior Green Lantern was to learn about other villains that would invariably return to face him, now that he wore the power ring.
Sometime afterwards, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Tawny Young arrived with a video tape Young had shot on the Thanksgiving following Stewart and Green Arrow's battle with the crystal warrior. She had worked for K.C.C.C., Coast City News and had interviewed Carol Ferris and her super-hero guests, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Green (Hal) Lantern after the substitute Green Lantern had left Ferris' home. They would not give any details on the mystery Green Lantern but that was not why Young had brought the tape. Though she and Green Arrow and Black Canary had been on the tape as well as Stewart, none of them remembered any of those events occurring. The Predator entered Stewart's apartment and attempted to take the videotape and erase their memories of even seeing the tape. Katma Tui was able to disrupt his plans.
As she was not a human, Katma Tui was unaffected by the strange music Predator used to blank out and paralyze her friends. Unfortunately, when the Predator threw them out a window to their deaths, the Green Lantern of Korugar had to let the Predator escape in order to save their lives. When Stewart and the others recovered they had no memory of even watching the videotape.
For a short time, John Stewart and members of the Justice League of America found themselves mind-controlled by the Construct. The villain, a manifestation of Earth's overloaded airwaves, had faced the JLA before and met defeat. In this, his latest bid for world domination, the Construct sought to use the JLA to destroy Red Tornado as the heroic android was immune to his influence. Fortunately for Earth, Red Tornado was able to best the Construct once more.
The theft of Stewart, Green Arrow's, Black Canary's and Tawny Young's memories led Katma Tui to believe the Zamarons were involved. While on their way to the Zamaron homeworld in neighboring space sector 2813, John and Katma met Dalor, the Green Lantern of Timron.
The more experienced Green Lanterns told Stewart what little they knew of the planet ahead. The Zamarons would sweep across the stars on mysterious missions and it was suspected anyone who learned the reason why would have their memories erased. What astounded Stewart was not the technology but the simple fact that the Zamarons were a race composed solely of women.
The three Green Lanterns continued their assault on the Zamaron force field until they finally broke through. They arrived in time for the coronation of the newest leader of the Zamarons, the newly returned Star Sapphire, Carol Ferris, who had unconsciously been the Predator all along.
Hostilities ensued until Star Sapphire used a Zamaron organ which wiped the memories of the Green Lanterns. Katma Tui had planned for this and had ordered her power ring to record events then return their memories once they were one thousand Koseis (767.3 miles) from the Zamaron homeworld. Stewart wished to go back and fight but Katma Tui and Dalor agreed it was best not to. They had learned what they had needed to and had managed to keep their memories intact.
Later, Katma Tui's training exercises led them into the solar system's asteroid belt, and Replikon, an enemy of Stewart's predecessor. The creature immediately attacked the Green Lanterns. Stewart lost concentration for a moment, losing the battle and his ring to Replikon. Katma Tui was swiftly defeated by the shape shifting creature. Despite their power, the two emerald gladiators were defeated. Replikon had both power rings.
Apparently the shape shifting alien did not have enough expertise to use the power ring to destroy Earth's ozone layer, an act which would destroy all life on the planet but create a perfect environment for Replikon's offspring. Replikon offered Katma Tui's life in exchange for Stewart's cooperation.
Replikon did not know the rings could be mentally controlled from a distance. John Stewart took control of his ring just as Replikon blasted Katma Tui. Even though it was worn by Replikon, Katma Tui's ring would protect her from mortal injury. The battle was brief, Replikon tried to turn into a gas, but was trapped in a ring generated suit of armor. The armor was too dense for it to escape, it had to turn solid to gain leverage to move, but this left Replikon susceptible to physical assault. In a ring-to-ring duel, Stewart easily beat Replikon.
Instead of leaving Replikon to its fate, Stewart asked the Guardians of the Universe for permission to rebuild the creature's world. Taking materials from Mars, Jupiter, and the asteroid field, the Green Lanterns created a beautiful new world for Replikon. Soon after their work was completed, Replikon's children were born. The alien was very grateful and invited the Green Lanterns to stay. They departed as friends.
Returning to Earth, they found a world wracked with storms, earthquakes, and red skies. The so-called Crisis on Infinite Earths was upon the universe. The pair of Green Lanterns went to see Green Arrow and Black Canary in Star City for answers and to help their fellow heroes with the disastrous conditions. At that moment the woman known as Harbinger arrived to take Green Lantern with her. Considering her a threat, Stewart tried to contain her. Even with the assistance of Katma Tui, Green Arrow, and Black Canary, Harbinger could not be held back.
After listening to Harbinger, Katma Tui wanted to go with Stewart but the envoy of the Monitor had been instructed to take only Stewart. Though she was the more experienced Green Lantern, Katma Tui would remain on Earth. Harbinger requested Stewart wear his mask as he had when she had the Monitor observed him in the past. In a flash of light they were gone.
They arrived on the satellite headquarters of the Monitor, a powerful being that opposed his antimatter twin's plans to destroy the multiverse. Harbinger disappeared without explanation while Stewart tried to understand why he and other heroes and villains had been gathered by the mysterious woman. There wasn't much time to speculate as they were soon under attack by shadow demons.
The battle was over as soon as it began. The Monitor explained that the gathered heroes and villains would be part of an initial force that would be sent to five crucial points in time and space, to guard vibrational forks used to keep the multivere intact against the anti-matter waves.
Stewart was sent back in time to Coyote, Texas in the year 1879, along with fellow heroes Firebrand and Cyborg as well as the villain Psimon. The legendary Old West heroes Jonah Hex, Nighthawk, Bat Lash, Johnny Thunder, and Scalphunter fought with them against the Anti-Monitor's forces.
Back on Oa, in the late twentieth century, the Anti-Monitor struck at the Guardians of the Universe through the Central Power Battery. In the midst of battle in 1879, Stewart's power ring fluctuated and gave out.
In 1879, Nighthawk was killed by the encroaching wave of antimatter. The defenders could only watch as the Shadow Demons merged, forming a giant entity which towered over the Monitor's machinery. The wave of antimatter swept over the Earth in instants.
In the 20th Century, the Monitor had been killed by a corrupted version of Harbinger. Fueled by the Monitor's energy, the vibrational forks had saved the positive matter universe for the time being but time itself was warping.
John Stewart, along with dozens of other heroes and villains were teleported back to the Monitor's satellite.
A contingent of heroes were taken to Earth-D, home of the Justice Alliance of America. Earth-D was plagued by shadow-demons as other worlds in the multiverse were. During their battle alongside the heroes of Earth-D, Stewart met Jose Hernandez, the new Green Lantern of Space Sector 5134 in that universe. Earth-D fell to the waves of antimatter, the heroes of the Justice Alliance sacrificed their lives trying to save others.
"In brightest day, in blackest night,