Green Lantern Corps #32The drumbeat to this summer’s Blackest Night has begun, and nowhere is it louder than in Green Lantern Corps written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Patrick Gleason. Telling the tales of the other Green Lanterns – Arisa, Guy Gardner, Sodam Yat, Kyle Rayner, and dozens more, the series is DC Comics’ police procedural in space.
Most recently, the Lanterns have been involved with the Star Sapphires and the vile Sinestro Corps member Kryb, while Mongul is making noise about leading a group, and the rogue Guardian Scar is looking to start some kind of trouble with the Anti-Monitor’s body.
We spoke with Tomasi for more.
Newsarama: Peter, in Green Lantern Corps, especially recently with the Star Sapphire arc, it seems that you’ve been tasked with laying the groundwork for the coming Blackest Night and war that is coming…is that an accurate overview of what you’ve been doing – setting the pieces in
Peter Tomasi: I wouldn't say I'm laying all the groundwork. A guy by the name of Geoff Johns -- you may have heard if him, he's been doing some pretty good stuff over the years -- is actually leading the charge on Blackest Night. What I'm doing is laying the groundwork for certain important elements that are going to be part of the Corps tapestry that will be woven into Blackest Night. This story is going to be massive and epic across the DCU, but obviously key elements needed to start gestating now in both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps to help set the stage, along with both books being key to everything once the big event of 2009 hits the racks . I honestly feel that anyone interested in Blackest Night should really be picking up both GL books right now because it will definitely enrich the reading experience of Blackest Night when it hits.
NRAMA: As readers, we know that Blackest Night is inevitable – it’s coming up this summer. But how about storywise – we’ve seen a lot of factions among the various Lanterns – are the coming events that will be known as Blackest Night something that someone is pushing the players toward, or is it going to be a byproduct of all the machinations within the various factions?
PT: Both, actually, and even more. There's going to be so many wild and intense moments in this epic story, coupled with a driving force behind it all, that when it's all revealed it's gonna send readers screaming into the night with joy and horror!
NRAMA: Speaking of machinations and those who may be constructing them, let’s talk about Scar…she seems to wield an unusual amount of power among the Guardians. Why is that? Why isn’t their more opposition to her?
PT: Scar's simply stated her case in many instances that jibe with the way the Guardians think at this juncture in time due to the prophecies and such that are now before them. Scar is a master of subtle manipulation that only Ganthet and Sayd, once being members of that intimate inner circle, would have spoken truth to power to if they were still there.
NRAMA: While we’re speaking of the Guardians, there have been two new Laws written in the Book of Oa – the use of lethal force, and in #30, the forbidding of non-professional, platonic relationships among the Lanterns. In your view, are the Lanterns as a body the same as they were prior to these new laws? Clearly, the Zamorans don’t think that they are…
Green Lantern Corps #33PT: As I mentioned in the previous answer, time and events are fluid. Everything is changing. Prophecies have come to past and the Guardians believe they are being proactive and meeting these problems head on with decisive, and in their minds, just and proper. Whether they are taking the right course of action is anybody’s guess at this moment. Only time will tell.
NRAMA: You’re juggling probably one of the largest casts of any DCU series. What’s your formula to allow the characters rotate in and out of the spotlight while the larger story moves forward?
PT: I have to say, when it comes to large casts, the story dictates who should be in the mix at certain times. I keep a cast list pasted on the side of my computer so that when I look up from deadline hell I ask myself if I have given everyone a fair shake, is there story points that certain cast members can better address organically than others. The last thing I want to do is force a character into a situation simply because they haven't had much page time. If they fit into it, then great. If not, I know I'll find a place for them to shine sooner or later.
NRAMA: Is writing a book with a large cast such as Green Lantern Corps with its many
characters and viewpoints harder, easier or just different from writing a solo book such as Nightwing?
PT: Definitely harder. Because you do want to have everyone contribute and you do know that there are readers who have particular favorites, so in the back of my mind I always know I'm gonna disappoint some people, but that's the way it goes with team books.
Also, if you've read Nightwing and Green Lantern Corps, you'll see that I've stayed away from using captions most of the time when it comes to GLC. I think it's better with an ensemble book to let the dialogue and visuals do all the heavy lifting, while a book like Nightwing, with a title character, gives me the chance at internal narration that I would rather stay away from in a team book if possible.
NRAMA: Let’s touch upon some of those smaller spotlights – first off, Saarek’s mission by Scar to communicate with the corpse of the Anti-Monitor. What could the corpse of the Anti-Monitor tell anyone, anyway?
PT: Since we've still got a little ways to go before Blackest Night hits, let's just say that Saarek's mission is incredibly important to the scheme of things and will have its own set of integral ramifications.
NRAMA: Ion – what’s his larger role in the Corps? He’s moving into the spotlight coming up soon with Mongul, correct?
Green Lantern Corps #34PT: Obviously, Sodam Yat -- according to prophecy -- has a major role to fill within the mythic nature of the Green Lantern Corps. Geoff is writing an amazing story in his book Legion of 3 Worlds with George Perez, and that prophecy is even touched upon there. But always bear in mind the definition of 'prophecy', which is simply a "prediction", like what the weatherman does every day of the week. He's gets a bunch right and misses some, too.
Also, for all you Sodam Yat fans out there, he'll have some pretty amazing powers on display in the coming months as he and Arisia make their way to Daxam to confront Mongul and the Sinestro Corps.
NRAMA: Guy and Kyle – arguably the most “relatable” for readers, yet they’ve been slightly moved to the back of the stage recently – not in clear leadership roles, but still around. Will they be moving back up into the main action soon?
PT: Well, in my mind they've never really left the main action. Yes, by degrees, the story has dictated a certain amount of stage time for Kyle and Guy, but they are still the leads in my mind, and I've made sure that something is always going on for them, especially when it comes to their personal lives. They will definitely be front and center when the veritable crapola hits the fan soon.
NRAMA: The larger Sinestro Corps – even though Sinestro was captured, they’re still a very viable and active threat. Who’s behind the driver’s wheel over there? What is their larger plan these days?
PT: Mongul is obviously planning to get his big yellow mits around the leadership role of the Sinestro Corps and build a specific game plan for them. We'll see shortly to what extent that will take place as Mongul arrives on Daxam and begins his own call to arms, and just what ramifications that will have especially since Sinestro may have something to say about someone leading his aptly named army.
NRAMA: More specifically among the Sinestro Corps, let’s talk about Kryb. Jeez man, why focus on the creepiest Corps member ever in the storyline, and in this issue? What does he gain by stealing babies, again?
PT: Why not? I really dig Kryb. And by the way, he's a she actually. Kryb is a wanna-be mom who happens to also despise everything the Green Lanterns stand for. She feels that growing up in a Lantern household is poisonous, and she will do whatever it takes to "save" these children from being infected by the "Green". She's a caring and loving being that just wants the best for her adopted youngins.
NRAMA: Coming up – this week sees the team catch up with Kryb – and what else should readers be keeping an eye out for?
PT: Aside from kick ass action in GLC #32, there's some interesting emotional developments thanks to Star Sapphire making an appearance, and this new law that the Guardians put on the Book of Oa has immediate consequences which will dramatically effect the future of the Corps from here on out.
Then in GLC #33 the “Emerald Eclipse” arc begins as all the stakes are gonna get ratcheted up as we march from there directly into Blackest Night. A lot of fires so to speak are going to ignite in “Emerald Eclipse”, especially on Daxam and Oa, and our cast of characters are going to be put through the emotional ringer. This isn't a status quo story, where all the pieces will be back in place by the end of it. Everything in the Green Lantern and DC Universe will change forever.
NRAMA: While we’ve got you – wasn’t Mongul supposed to get the Faces of Evil look in this month’s issue that focuses on Kryb?
PT: Actually, the cover that was used for early marketing was a mistake. As you can probably see now, the cover to the Faces of Evil month is actually a disturbing image of Kryb by my crazed partner in crime on the book, Patrick Gleason. But Mongul is in the issue and to answer your question, Mongul is simply just one of those complete bad-asses that is a blast to write. One of my first published stories for DC was a 36-pager in two issues of Showcase back in 1995. It was recently reprinted in a DC Universe Special: Superman #1 issue. Mongul's best played as an intelligent powerhouse with no reservations about taking life. A villain through and through, with no redemptive qualities whatsoever. I feel he's one of the DCU's best villains and I've been happy to take him out for a little spin once in awhile. He's got a nice twisted part to play in the coming months.
NRAMA: Finally - what other beats in the build up to Blackest Night can we expect to see as 2009 unfolds?
PT: The most important ones are -- hey, look at all those shiny red laser dots on my body, they look like little fishies swimming around waiting for some -- BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM