In June, all the Green Lantern titles get a new direction, and now, thanks to the revelation in Green Lantern #20 that Kyle Rayner is remaining the White Lantern, readers know just where Green Lantern: New Guardians is going.
Well, not exactly where it's going. As new series writer Justin Jordan told Newsarama, the title will be quickly spinning out into space somewhere. Kyle remains in the starring role, but the Templar Guardians play an important part as well (thus the title "New Guardians"); the comic will be exploring areas of the DC Universe "that readers don't normally see," Jordan said.
And the writer pointed out that Kyle's powers as a White Lantern are also unknown. What are their limits? How can Kyle control them? And perhaps most importantly (for Kyle, anyway), how should he use them to help the universe?
As Jordan's first storyline begins in June's Green Lantern: New Guardians #21, Kyle begins a mission for the Green Lantern Corps, but he's also on a quest to figure out what being a White Lantern really means.
The new creative team comes on board at a time of transition for the Green Lantern comics. The former creative teams on all the Lantern-associated books finished up their run this month with each title's issue #20, ending a series of events that culminated in the recent "Wrath of the First Lantern" storyline.
That means a whole new batch of creative teams in June, and a new status quo for the Green Lantern universe. As Jordan and artist Brad Walker take over New Guardians, there have been some major upheavals, including the destruction of the Guardians, a change in leadership for the Corps (with Hal in charge now), and a new batch of "Templar Guardians" being introduced.
Newsarama talked to Jordan to find out more about what Kyle will be facing in the coming months of Green Lantern: New Guardians and why his emotional baggage from recent events will affect how he uses his power as the new White Lantern.
Newsarama: Justin, now that we've read the #20 issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern: New Guardians, we know that Kyle stays the White Lantern. How does that affect what he's doing in your comic?
Justin Jordan: It's one of the things that I was interested in exploring when they first asked me about the book. And so we're working out what the White Lantern can do.
It's interesting to me to look at how you're going to use the various ring powers, because they an do more things than just create constructs. And it kind of doesn't matter whether a construct is green or red, necessarily, in terms of the construct itself. But you know, what it says about the person's emotional state is interesting to me.
And the other powers that the rings have, exploring what you can do with those and how you can combine those things, is actually one of the more nerdy, interesting things to me, about the book. So I was glad they left us in that place.
Nrama: I'm curious, though, because it was kind of confusing in these last few issues. Can White Lanterns raise the dead? Can you address that?
Jordan: I cannot. I have an opinion on it, but it's one you're going to have to wait to read in the book.
Nrama: Fair enough. But can you talk a little more about what you said earlier, regarding "what it says about the person's emotional state." In issue #20, Kyle implied he was kind of using "love" as a reliable default emotional power. But there's obviously a purpose to these other emotions. Is it wrong to assume it's always going to be on the blue/indigo/violet side of the spectrum?
Jordan: Yeah. I mean, that's not unreasonable, and I think Kyle believes that. I also think that we'll find that things like — well, for instance, Kyle started as a Green Lantern, and that's where he was trained to use a ring. So when it comes down to crunch time, he's going to find himself defaulting to green quite a lot.
But if he gets sufficiently angry about something, it's going to be pretty difficult not to use red when he has access to that.
So there's going to be a mix of colors. The fact that these things kind of reflect his emotional state is something I want to play with. And honestly, it's not always going to be ways that Kyle consciously would have expected of himself, which is kind of how it goes. You know? You can sort of predict how you will react emotionally to something, but we don't always know ourselves as well as we'd like to.
Nrama: There seems to also be a lot going on with Kyle introspectively. As you take over the comic, what's the status of Kyle emotionally? He's got to have some baggage after the emotional experience caused by the First Lantern. We saw him working through some of that in the last issue. Will that play into your book at all? Or is it really just a fresh, new start for him?
Jordan: That all factors in pretty intensely. Kyle is asked to do something in New Guardians which will form what New Guardians, under my run, is about. Something that he is really, really ambivalent about. And ambivalent might be putting it mildly.
He's asked to do something that hurts him a lot because of the stuff that happened to him during "First Lantern," because of the betrayals that he feels that he suffered.
And since his powers are related to his emotions, mastering that is one of the things he has to do. And it's an ongoing problem, doing what he's been asked to do while trying to keep his emotions and feelings about that in check.
Nrama: Can you say who asks him to do something?
Jordan: You actually see who it is in the preview. It's the Templar Guardians and Hal. They ask Kyle to undertake a mission for them.
Nrama: Does he have to do it?
Jordan: He doesn't have to. He is given a very convincing reason why he should.
Nrama: Yeah, because I wouldn't think the structure in the Green Lantern Corps isn't such that Kyle would have to do something he doesn't want to do.
Jordan: No. He doesn't. They have absolutely no ability to make Kyle do that.
So they have to come up with a pretty convincing argument why he should do it. And they do. But it's not one that he is particularly happy about. He just sees the necessity of what he's got to do.
Nrama: Is Kyle even part of the Corps anymore?
Jordan: Kyle is outside the Green Lantern Corps. He is a separate entity.
So as you were talking about earlier, Hal has absolutely no authority over Kyle. So if he wants Kyle to help him do something, he's got to appeal to Kyle in a reasonable way, not in a command hierarchy kind of way.
And that's actually going to relate to the book as we go on. One of the things Kyle is going to be figuring out within the book is, what is his role relative to the Green Lantern Corps? What should he be doing? What can he do? What is the best use of the abilities that he has?
And it won't necessarily always be working with the Corps. That might not be how things shake out for Kyle.
Nrama: Solicitations indicate you're dealing with a "major Green Lantern villain." Is that Relic? Which is what most people are assuming. Or do you have another threat in this comic?
Jordan: There are a couple of new villains who won't be necessarily what you expect them to be, I think, in the first few issues. That's my non-spoilery way of addressing that.
Nrama: While Green Lantern: New Guardians has starred Kyle since it launched back in 2011, it had almost an ensemble cast for awhile. Who's the cast going to be going forward?
Jordan: Kyle is still the main character. We'll see Carol Ferris from time to time, and possibly more than that from time to time. And we will get to learn a lot more about the Templar Guardians than we've probably learned about most of the Guardians thus far.
Nrama: Can you tell us more about what we'll see from the Templar Guardians? Is this book where we'll learn more about them and how they fit into the Green Lantern universe going forward?
Jordan: I will tell you that there is a very good reason it is called "New Guardians."
Nrama: Ah, so that's why you've given teases in the past that "New Guardians" would be "more literal" when you took over the book. So these Templar Guardians play a big role in your book?
Nrama: Are all the Green Lantern books going to be working in conjunction with each other as you kick off these new directions with new creative teams? Or are you trying to say, "OK, Kyle has this mission, so we're going off on our own for a little bit?"
Jordan: Initially, there's going to be some overlap. After we get through the first few issues, we're going to be a lot more separate, just because of the nature of what Kyle's trying to do won't overlap with what the other Corps do as often.
Nrama: We also saw that Sayd and Ganthet still exist in some way. Is that going to play a role at all in your book?
Jordan: Not in the near future.
Nrama: Then let's talk about Brad Walker, because we're looking at some of his interior pages for the first time. What's he bringing to the book?
Jordan: A high level of awesome! I have to say, I've been looking at the pages as they come in and Brad's just really kicking ass. And it's one of those things you don't necessarily get with all artists. When you're going into it, you don't know how well your scripts are going to click with their styles.
But thus far, Brad and I seem to be working together really well. He's really getting what I was going for, and in many cases even doing something that was even cooler than what I had in my head, which is generally what I'm looking for in an artist, you know? Someone who can actually make me look, you know, competent.
Nrama: Then as a final question, if someone was thinking about checking out Green Lantern: New Guardians for the first time, how would you describe the comic? How would you tell them about what they'll see over the first six months or so?
Jordan: What they're going to see during the first six months is a cancer on the face of space-time, which I realize sounds really cryptic, but you'll understand when you read the first issue.
One of the things we want to do with New Guardians is explore the DC Universe away from earth. And so we will look at some of the pre-existing races, and we'll be looking at new new alien races. So we'll see some really new and old faces appearing as we look at what the DC Universe is like, outside of what we generally see.
For Kyle in particular, he's going to be trying to solve the question of, "I've got all this power. I've got these abilities. What is the best way for me to use them? What does it mean for me to be the White Lantern? Where can I do the greatest good?" And that answer's not always going to be obvious.