During its initial run, Smallville gave DC fans a decade-long look at Superman and many of his fellow heroes, but many of his greatest allies that never managed to make any onscreen appearances. One of those allies was Green Lantern who eventually debuted in the show’s comic book follow-up, Smallville: Season Eleven.
First appearing in the aptly titled “Lantern” story arc by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara, John Stewart the Green Lantern Corps were another long-waited arrival to Smallville continuity like Batman before them. Shortly after Superman’s first encounter with Wonder Woman, “Lantern” begins with the Green Lantern ring for Space Sector 2813 — Krypton’s sector — searching for a new bearer.
The ring soon makes its way to Earth, forcing itself upon Clark Kent’s finger. Meanwhile in New York City, detective John Stewart is notified by Lantern dispatch that he’s needed to train a new recruit in Sector 2814. He doesn’t understand why the Corps would need more than one human at a time, and in turn, Lantern officer Salaak tells him that the new Lantern isn’t necessarily human.
At first, Clark struggles with grasping the abilities and mandates of the ring, and John appears to explain its powers and the history of the Corps to him. As Stewart and the ring tell it, the Corps was once thousands strong, a beacon of light and justice throughout the universe, until the first human Lantern, Hal Jordan, was possessed by the fear entity known as Parallax and decimated the Corps. Now, the Corps is down to barely a dozen Lanterns, including Clark, and its officers are conscripted without a choice in whether or not they want to accept the duty of the ring — a concept with which Clark takes great issue.
After being attacked by a group of fear weapons known as Manhunters at STAR Labs, John then takes Clark to meet with a group of the remaining Lanterns on the Moon. Here they learn that the threat of Parallax and the Manhunters was so great that the Guardian created a Yellow Lantern Corps fueled by fear to combat this enemy. This meeting leads John and Clark to head into space where they eventually find Parallax feeding on the presumed-dead Guardians as part of their peace treaty to end the war. The fear entity states that this treaty has been broken by the induction of a new Lantern before sending an army of yellow rings to Earth to create a new Corps. John sends Clark back to Earth to do what he can to stop these Yellow Lanterns. John stays to take on Parallax himself, but he’s quickly possessed by the same entity that murdered his predecessors.
With his new host, Parallax journeys to Earth and takes on Superman and the League until Watchtower manages to reboot all rings, green and yellow, to buy the heroes time to defeat the creature. Powerless, the ever-courageous John distracts the fear entity until the other Lanterns can arrive with the one thing it fears—the entity of will. After the defeat of Parallax, the Corps reexamines their mission parameters, allowing Lantern candidates to choose their own destiny, including Clark. John tells Clark that his ring will find a suitable replacement among the Kandorians in the Argo colony and nobody will know that Clark was the first choice.
After “Lantern,” Stewart again appears in the “Chaos” storyline to help Hank Henshaw transport the Eclipso diamond away from the Earth. He’s not seen again until the Justice League and the other heroes of Earth battle the Monitors in the series finale, “Continuity.” As the heroes are being overwhelmed, John returns to Earth with what remains of the Green Lantern Corps and their allies, including the Green Lantern, Aya — who originally appeared on Green Lantern: The Animated Series — as well as the Blue Lantern, Saint Walker. These reinforcements help the heroes stave off as much of the cosmic destruction as they can until the threat is neutralized, though at the cost of Walker’s life.
Though he first appeared as a somewhat jaded veteran, Green Lantern’s journey in Season Eleven reignited his will, turning him from soldier to hero as he overcame great fear. And with the reinvigorated Corps and the Justice League by his side, Stewart proved that the light of Smallville‘s Green Lanterns still shined brightly.
In the Smallville: Season Eleven comic, Clark Kent met John Stewart and became a member of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps.