‘Enduring Farewells’ – N.K. Jemisin Says Goodbye to the Far Sector Universe in DC Power 2024
Author N.K. Jemisin and artist Jamal Campbell reunite to tell one last Green Lantern Sojourner ‘Jo’ Mullein story in the City Enduring in DC Power 2024. A “bittersweet” journey into a world she’s built, Jemisin talks about how she wraps up Jo’s journey in the City Enduring. According to Jemisin, the decision to end Jo’s time in the city-planet wasn’t one she would’ve chosen.
“It’s a little sad, because I had a number of other stories that I’d wanted to tell in the Far Sector-verse in the City Enduring. I don’t come up with a whole world just to tell a single story. Unfortunately, for reasons known only to DC, Far Sector was not going to be continued,” Jemisin shared in a Zoom call. “So what I did instead was just sort of mentally detach myself from it. Which is the thing I do when I know that I’m not going to be able to return to that particular world. It was nice to be able to return even for a brief time. But it was also a little bittersweet, because it was a reminder of what could have been.”
The story itself, ‘Enduring Farewells,’ is a sweet reminder of the powerful impact Jo has had on a planet she wasn’t born on. Her assorted lovers, friends and co-workers gather to figure out how to plan a surprise party for her, while she tours the City Enduring with her idol, fellow Lantern, John Stewart.
“Two subplots, were what I pitched to DC, that on some level she’d be getting ready to leave. On the other level, her friends will be trying to figure out this quaint Earth custom called a surprise party. And screwing it up horribly, because fun,” Jemisin shared with a chuckle. “The idea was just simply that I would do something fun and as I did it, I inserted what character moments I could.”
Seeing Jo walk John down memory lane was a great full-circle moment, especially when John comes across her official Green Lantern Stewart bobblehead doll.
“I had been hoping to convey that if this had been the beginning of Jo’s time in the City Enduring, she would have been like a complete fangirl at him [John]. You know, squeeing, gushing and ‘oh my god it’s you,’ that kind of stuff,” Jemisin explained. “After a year, she’s much more settled, she’s more confident. She owns herself as a Lantern. She’s able to view him as a colleague, but there’s still bobbleheads. He still sees the evidence that she would have happily treated him like somebody to admire and put on a pedestal. But I think he’s glad that she’s over that too, because it’s probably a little uncomfortable.”
One of the most visually beautiful things to come out of the partnership between Jemisin and Campbell are the incredible outfits, constructs, and skillful ways Jo uses her power ring.
“I told this man, the very beginning of us working on Far Sector together, I’m looking at some Afro-goth and Afro-punk stuff, in terms of outfits. She’s a little more traditional, but we can go there,” Jemisin said. “Then I said one thing to him, that Jo is the kind of person whose eyebrows are always done. He was like ‘AH’, and that was all I needed to say. From there on, every outfit that she wore, like issue two, and pretty much every outfit after that, he came up with and they were all so tight. Just amazing. I’m super happy with them. That’s all Jamal.”
Even though we have to say goodbye to Jo’s time in this part of the universe, we get to witness the changes her being in the City Enduring had and continues to have. As a former Earth police officer and current Lantern, Jo witnessed atrocities back home on Earth and in her new home. Atrocities carried out by people who enforce the law. With reformation on the horizon for the City Enduring’s police, Jemisin makes her stance very clear.
“I’m straight police abolition. [However], the City Enduring is not going to be getting rid of its police force. It is already not as carceral as our world. I was trying to show that the circumstances that made reform possible in the City Enduring, like a massive personality shift caused by weird drugs; it’s about the only circumstance that would allow a police officer to reform, as far as I’m concerned,” Jemisin said.
“What I tried to show in the city in the series proper was that Jo is the only thing that I can think of as a good cop: she quit. She started out as a traditional cop, she was doing what she could, she realized there was nothing she could do, because she was working against a machine that had been running for several hundred years and she did not have magic powers in that world. The only thing that she could do to be a good cop was to quit. In the City Enduring, she’s got magic powers, there’s weird magic, personality changes happening and so on. I think it may make some sense there. I don’t believe that that is a thing that should be treated as a parallel or an allegory for our world. Our world doesn’t have those kinds of miracles happen basically.”
Jo’s time in the city has absolutely left its mark on her and changed her perspective on things, in the city-planet and at home. Jemisin had more plans to show Jo’s adventures.
“I just intended for her to have a very eventful year, you know, the whole thing was supposed to be her first year as a Lantern, her training year. Then, she was going to be acting as the Lantern to the City Enduring, which is a city the size of a planet easily. The thought was that she would just have other adventures, other things that she had to do.”
You can read Jo’s farewell to the City Enduring in DC Power 2024, available online and in-stores for Black History Month, January 30, 2024.