Simon Baz: 1990 - 2011 Edit
Simon Baz was born in Engine City, Michigan. When he was ten years old, he and the rest of his family watched their television in horror as airplanes flew into the World Trade Center. As he grew up he and his Muslim family found themselves falling under intense suspicion and ostracism in the days, months and years following the attacks. During those years, Simon had to physically defend his sister Sira from bullies on several occasions. But despite these hardships, Simon managed to graduate high school, and proceeded into higher education, gaining a degree in engineering, followed by a job in an automotive plant. However, when the financial crisis hit, Simon was fired from his job.
In desperation to make money, Simon took up illegal street-racing, something he proved to be quite adept at. Eventually, though, disaster struck during one race, and his brother-in-law was severely injured and placed into a coma. Simon just barely escaped being arrested. As a result of his guilt, Simon grew increasingly distant from his sister which hurt even more.
Sometime later, still financially desperate, Simon began stealing cars, to re-sell them for parts. One night, while stealing a van, Simon accidentally stole a van filled with explosives. Though Simon himself was nearly killed in the explosion, he was arrested on the site. As a result of his Muslim heritage, Simon was immediately suspected to be a terrorist and deported to Guantanamo Bay for further questioning. Despite Simon’s constant claims that he was innocent, Simon was ignored and he was routinely subjected to mild forms of torture.
When Simon was chose by a Green Lantern ring to be part of the new Lantern task force, John Stewart had reservations about recruiting a suspected terrorist but decided that the ring knew what it was doing. After attempting to have Simon released through official channels but being denied by the government, John authorized the ring to do what was needed. Later, when Simon flew out of prison in a bright green light and deposited in the back alley behind a Florida bar, four Green Lanterns were present to welcome him to the Corps.
Green Lantern Echo: 2011 - Present Edit
After breaking out of Gitmo, Simon spent a few months on Oa. This allowed him to train under Kilowog and lay low somewhere outside the United States government’s jurisdiction. By the time that Simon returned to Earth as a novice ringslinger, the heat had died down enough that Steve Trevor was able to secure a proper pardon for Simon.
After his return, Simon barely was able to join the Justice League due to his admittance being considered incredibly controversial. When Simon heard about this, he decided to address the entire Justice League about it. Simon owned the fact that he used to be a criminal and that he received his ring while he was in prison for being a suspected terrorist. This bold approach was not well received by many in the League. In order to keep the Founders happy, John and Hal partnered with Simon in hopes of smoothing over the chip on his shoulder and rein him in.
Simon’s personal life did not go over any smoother upon his return from prison, Many of Simon’s friends distanced themselves from him, and even his criminal contacts wanted nothing to do with Simon. This led Simon to the decision to turn his back on his former life and embrace the life of a superhero, deciding to become a Lantern full-time and moved in to the Watchtower.
Due to his own criminal background and mentoring from Oliver Queen, whose bleeding heart had developed a soft spot for Simon (that or Ollie’s drinking buddy Hal called in a favor, I’m not sure), Simon’s skills as a crimefighter would improve, excelling in hand to hand combat and forensics. But while those skills grew, Simon’s ring focus had become stagnant to the point that Simon had begun carrying a pistol as a back-up weapon should his ring fail him. Ironically, I think this gun reflects his own insecurities in his ring and is part of his problem in not embracing the ring’s power. So in 2016, with a sixth Lantern added to the roster of the Justice League taskforce, Hal Jordan decided that he was to train the new girl, Jessica Cruz, himself and while he was at it, he was going to “retrain”. Funny thing, Jessica’s already showing more talent than Simon, which in turn has pressed Simon to challenge himself.