Some updates ago, I ruminated on whether or not it would be a good idea to bring Katma Tui back to life. At the time, I reasoned it might not be, because a marriage could shackle John Stewart’s character. Well, I changed my mind. Fickle, I know, but I gave the situation even more thought.
Let’s not even consider John Stewart for a moment. Katma Tui deserves to be considered on her own. She is her own character, and she predates John Stewart by a good eight years. Katma Tui is one of the best Green Lantern characters to me. She is the best female character within the franchise. When I saw her on the Justice League cartoon, I was extremely impressed. She was cunning, capable, strong willed, and could put John Stewart in his place like no other. The Asian-like features given to her updated design were also a nice touch, strengthened further by an Asian accent supplied by voice actress Kim Mai Guest.
Even though Katma was only highlighted in one story, she became one of my favorite characters of the whole series. I thought her and John’s characters were so strong, and “Hearts and Minds” was such a great episode, that an entire Green Lantern animated series could have been spun out of it. I dreamed about seeing a cartoon depict the early years the two characters had together, showcasing Katma Tui training John Stewart and exploring the period when John was in deep space for ten years.
Learning about Katma Tui from Justice League only further whet my appetite to dive into Green Lantern comics and get more of my John and Katma fix. Surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed by the comic book stories of John and Katma! I greatly enjoyed them. Oftentimes, when I turn to the comics after having been into a comics-based cartoon series, I’m disappointed that the comics are not like the cartoons. The true disappointing aspect isn’t so much the difference… it’s that the comics are often worse, at least when comparing the DC Animated Universe toons to their respective comics. This isn’t necessarily the case with the Steve Englehart Green Lantern comic books featuring John and Katma together (which I give a very thorough look to in an article in the Essential Reading and Viewing section right here).
The premise of those Green Lantern comics isn’t exactly the same as the history alluded to in the Bruce Timm Justice League cartoon. Instead of John leaving Earth for ten years, much of the duo’s adventures are in Los Angeles. And there are differences to the characters, as comic Katma doesn’t have quite the aggressive edge that her cartoon counterpart displays, and John isn’t as stoic as the famous Marine interpretation. Regardless, when a story is great, a story is great, and Steve Englehart is one of the best Green Lantern writers.
I have never been disappointed by Katma Tui, whether in comic books or cartoons. She has always been an excellent character, which makes her unflattering comic book death all the more stupid and bizarre.
In the previous update I mentioned earlier, I defended keeping Katma dead because some pretty brilliant things resulted from her death, like the comic series Green Lantern: Mosaic and John’s romantic relationship with Hawkgirl on Justice League. But that was the past. Really, it doesn’t even seem like Mosaic is in continuity anymore, and the comic creators don’t seem at all interested in pairing John Stewart with Shayera Hol Hawkgirl (which is unfortunate, but a whole ‘nother article). Therefore, in the here and now, those points aren’t much of a defense for not having Katma around.
However, when talking about returning Katma to comic books, it’s natural for some of us to think about the current Green Lantern of Korugar, Soranik Natu. I really like her character, but I’m going to get it out there: Soranik Natu is Katma Tui-lite, just like other characters, such as Tomar-Tu, B’dg, and so on are throwbacks to other Green Lanterns who’ve died. Soranik Natu is there because the-powers-that-be didn’t want to use Katma. I know she was dead and everything, but so were many other Green Lanterns who returned, such as Arisia and Kilowog.
The reason they likely didn’t resurrect Katma is because she was the wife of John Stewart. As some readers likely know, over recent controversial events involving Batwoman, DC Comics has publicly outlawed marriage among its heroes. We really don’t know how long they’ve held that policy, but it could contribute to why Katma has been dead this whole time.
But this is the New 52! Anything is possible. And with that, I say they should use this unique opportunity to return Katma Tui.
There has been no mention of Katma Tui since the New 52 began, to the best of my knowledge. When Volthoom went through John’s past during the (absolutely terrible) “Wrath of the First Lantern” arc, there was nothing alluding to him being married to Katma. There was nothing alluding to Katma being dead, or even having existed. At the time, I found that thoroughly disappointing, but considering the possibilities it opens up, I’m actually happy Katma was left out of that.
She wouldn’t even need to be romantically linked to John Stewart, let alone be his wife. If they ever did become romantically linked, and it’s my feeling that they probably should (because it’s a nice tradition), then there’s nothing saying they even need to stay romantically linked. As I said, I loved Katma in Justice League, but she and John did not get back together in “Hearts and Minds,” and I was perfectly fine with that. Actually, I much preferred the John and Hawkgirl pairing, which is no surprise, as the show had gotten me very invested in the two Leaguers’ blossoming romance. Despite that, I absolutely enjoyed the dynamic between Kat and John and would love to see it again.
The opportunity is there, and Katma is just too good a Lantern to pass up, especially with her modern update provided by Justice League. I know things are a bit strange with Korugar having been destroyed during “Wrath of the First Lantern,” and Soranik and Iolande already serving Sector 1417, but I still believe she can comfortably return with a bit of ingenuity (ingenuity that does not involve killing the other 1417 Lanterns and passing their ring to Katma). She would be an excellent fit for current Green Lantern Corps comic books, and as John’s main support character in a cartoon show.
Don’t worry, though. I don’t have my head too far in the clouds. I’m not expecting Katma to return, but I would really love to see her again, as I’m confident many others would, too.
Comic Book Resources has an unworded preview of Green Lantern Corps #24, which is part two of the “Lights Out” event. It looks like things get hairy as Relic attacks Oa. We can see some seriously awesome constructs by John Stewart in this. This early preview is much appreciated, as we get no John Stewart for this month. Rather, because of DC’s “Villains Month,” we get Mongul instead.
Anyway, head on over to CBR to get a taste of what’s to come in October: