When the Green Lantern crossover "Lights Out" ended last week, the ramifications were extensive.
Kyle Rayner is believed dead, Oa is destroyed, and the Blue Lanterns are gone — meaning Guy Gardner is stuck as a Red Lantern.
But the Corps' confrontation with the villain Relic also exposed the fact that the power of the Emotional Spectrum (which the various corps harness) is finite. In fact, every time the Green Lantern Corps uses their rings, the universe takes one step closer to running out of energy.
According to Robert Venditti, the writer on Green Lantern and co-writer on Green Lantern Corps, the changes may mean huge adjustments for the various members of the Corps — but they also lead to some big surprises in the future of the Green Lantern universe. And some of the upcoming stories are also giving Venditti the chance to spotlight Mogo (who has replaced Oa as the Corps' home base), and to work on a crossover between Red Lanterns by Charles Soule and Green Lantern.
As this week sees the publication of Green Lantern #25 — the first issue following the conclusion of the "Lights Out" crossover — Newsarama talked to writer Robert Venditti about the issue and found out more about what's coming up in the Green Lantern universe.
Newsarama: Rob, there were a lot of developments at the end of "Lights Out." One of the more concerning things for Hal is a disagreement among the Corps members about whether they should be even using the green energy of willpower. Some agree with Relic that it shouldn't necessarily be used. Is this a problem for the Corps going forward?
Robert Venditti: I don't know that I would say they entirely agree with Relic. He came to our universe hell-bent on killing everybody who used a ring, and I wouldn't say these guys are like that. But I think that they understand the light does come from the reservoir now. The reservoir is really the emotional energy for the entire universe, and this is what the Green Lantern Corps and all the other corps have been tapping into all this time.
You know, it's a new concept. It's a new idea for them. And some might have the kind of mentality where they don't really care where the bullets come from, where you have other Lanterns who kind of want to take a pause and figure out what exactly this means, the problem being that, when you're the police force for the entire universe, everybody's not going to take a pause for you to figure out what it means. The job still has to be done.
And there are, of course, multiple other corps out there that are pretty significant threats to the universe, and they're certainly not going to stop using their rings.
So it becomes a question of, what is the justification? And how do you determine when it's OK to use rings and when it's not? And how do you police it?
And Hal's idea now is to police the use of the light. And the Green Lanterns will use their rings in order to keep threats like the Sinestro Corps or Larfleeze — those kinds of elements — from draining the reservoir.
So that's kind of where we stand right now.
How that plays out and where that takes Hal remains to be seen.
Nrama: Then is it about keeping the balance in the universe? Or a balance of the various light corps?
Venditti: No, I don't want to make it sound like it's about regulation or something like that. It's more the idea of, just, if all the Green Lanterns put down their rings, what would happen? The Sinestro Corps would probably come in and have their way with everything. So this is the position they're in right now, and they're trying to figure this out as they go. I mean, this is quite a bombshell that's been dropped on them, and as Hal points out in Green Lantern #25, it took a very long time for the reservoir to run dry last time. So he's focusing more on the immediate concerns of, what are we going to do about these other corps that are out there using light? Because one thing's for sure: If we stop using it, they're not going to.
And also you have the fact that the Blue Lantern Corps was killed by Relic. So the balance is already tipped against the Green Lanterns in the sense that they lost a very powerful and trusted ally.
So it's a precarious time for the universe. And as Hal's going to find out very soon, not just in Green Lantern, but also John in Green Lantern Corps, there are other threats on the horizon, and they don't really care what kind of existential crisis the Green Lantern Corps is dealing with at this point in time.
Nrama: One of the more immediately visible changes is the fact that Oa is gone, and now Mogo is the home base of the Green Lantern Corps. Honestly, when I read it, I thought, well, that actually makes sense. How did you guys come up with that idea?
Venditti: When I was originally doing the plot for "Lights Out," the original intent was that the battery was going to get destroyed, but Oa was not. In my head, that's what the original intention was. But as I was plotting that out, and typing out a document that was just going to be a rough outline of the entire event, I don't know why, but I thought about the catacombs underneath the central battery, which we'd seen in so many issues. And I thought about how the foundries are underneath. And it just suddenly made sense to me that the battery being destroyed would start this chain reaction that could potentially take out the entire planet.
And so what I actually typed in my outline was, to the editors, "what would happen at this moment is probably that Oa would explode, and if that were to happen, then Mogo would become the new home base of the corps." And I was thinking for sure that the editors weren't going to let that happen. But they liked the idea! And it's great to be able to work with editors that let you take chances like that, because it's not a small thing.
But you know, I see this as an opportunity to use Mogo, who, to me, is one of the most unique characters in all of comics, yet kind of underutilized in a lot of ways. And we have some fun things that we want to do. We're not just putting buildings on Mogo and that's going to be the end of it. There's going to be a very integral part that Mogo plays in shaping storylines, not just in terms of his power set, but the difference between on a world like Oa versus being on a place like Mogo, where it's a sentient planet. And we're going to really flesh out Mogo in terms of being a character. And most of all, give him an opportunity to socialize a little bit, you know? It's something that is often absent from the character.
So it's just something that interested me, and I wanted be able to explore. And like I said, I'm glad the editors are giving us the chance to do it.
Nrama: Guy has been sent back to the Red Lanterns, and Hal acknowledged that fact is a "mess" he has to clean up. John is obviously angry about that decision, and we've seen a solicitation indicating that Hal and John are going to come into conflict. Is this at the core of the conflict?
Venditti: Sure, that's certainly an element of it. John and Guy are best friends, and John had no knowledge that Hal was sending Guy under cover into the Red Lanterns. And now Guy, from Hal and John's perspective, appears to be stuck that way, because without the Blue Lanterns, there's no way to completely purge the Red from his system. So now he's just kind of on the hook being a Red Lantern.
That will be part of the conflict between John and Hal, but there are other elements in there was well. And really, it's just looking at these four leads, you know? You've got Kyle, you've got Guy, you've got John, you've got Hal. And they're all Green Lanterns. But they're all very different people, in terms of their characters and their personalities.
So how do they view situations different? How is Hal's approach sometimes right and sometimes wrong? How is John's approach sometimes right and sometimes wrong? You know? There's not going to be one approach that's always right all the time.
So that's kind of what we're trying to do. We're trying to give each character a chance to shine in each of their own titles, and develop them in ways that hopefully don't feel forced but are very organic. And that's really the way it happens.
The story that I'm excited about, coming up, is one with Green Lanterns and Red Lanterns. Charles Soule and I are working on it. And it was a very organic thing, the way it happened. And when it happened, it just seemed like this is the natural thing that would be happening right now.
And readers will start to hear about that stuff in the near future.
But that's what we're trying to do across the line in general.
Nrama: At the end of "Lights Out," Kyle is off on his own journey, unknown to the other Green Lanterns.. And Justin Jordan confirmed to Newsarama a couple weeks ago that the New Guardians series will be out in the far reaches of the DC cosmos. How does it affect the Green Lantern Corps to not have Kyle around anymore?
Venditti: It's funny you ask that. When you called, I took a break from writing a scene that addresses that very topic, so it's interesting that you're asking that right now. But yeah, it's a huge impact to the corps, but not just to the Green Lantern Corps, but really the entire universe. Because at the end of Green Lantern Annual and at the end of "Lights Out," we saw that Kyle discovered that part of his power set of being a White Lantern is to actually pass through the Source Wall. And he was part of the combination that replenished the reservoir, and basically gave the universe a do-over, to start over at zero. He replenished the reservoir, rather than the universe ending, like it did in Relic's time.
So now that's gone. Everybody thinks that Kyle is dead, and that option is off the table. Nobody's even sure what made him what he was, or how he became the White Lantern. So duplicating it isn't an easy thing, particularly for the Green Lanterns now amidst all the other conflicts they have in their day-to-day operations, just being cops in the universe. They're having to deal with this question of, you know, we're using this light, and we know where it comes from now, and we don't even have this option to replenish it again, because that disappeared with Kyle.
Nrama: Before we talk about what's coming up in Green Lantern, do you want to talk about the work Billy Tan is doing on the series?
Venditti: Yeah, working with Billy Tan is just amazing. He draws an amazing Kilowog, which is a large part of what I tried to do with issues #25 and #26. It's going to be a mission with Hal and Kilowog.
Of course, Kilowog is the protocol officer, which means he'd usually be based in the citadel. But there's no citadel anymore. So without really an office or a desk to work behind, Hal takes Kilowog on this mission to go after Nol-Anj. So we're going to get two issues of them together. He's a really fun character to write, and like I said, Billy does such a great job drawing him.
And also, you know, Sean Chen did an amazing job on the Annual. It was great working with him on those really big epic moments, and the Source Wall and all those sorts of things.
And we've got Dale Eaglesham working on Green Lantern #27 now, as well. So I feel really fortunate to be working with all the great talents I'm working with.
The best part about it is not only seeing how they turn the script into art, but also learning from them and seeing what they do and hopefully using that to make me a better writer.
Nrama: You mentioned Nol-Anj and the next couple issues, and when you and I talked about a month ago, you talked about the role of Nol-Anj as the villain in the next couple issues. That starts in tomorrow's issue, right?
Venditti: It's in issue #25 and #26, so it is the issue that comes out tomorrow. And this sort of becomes Hal's first target. This is a leader of a criminal organization, an escaped convict from the science cels, back in issue #22. She's murdered a Green Lantern in her past. And she has a Star Sapphire ring.
So this is something that Hal sees as someone wielding light in a way he's calling an unauthorized use of the emotional spectrum. This is somebody who's wielding light for criminal purposes. And so it ends up being the first test of his new mission statement to police the light across the universe, and that's how he ends up coming into conflict with Nol-Anj.
He ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for.
Nrama: And DC is saying that there's an unseen adversary coming up in issue #27, which starts off the new year for Green Lantern. To finish up, can you talk about what's coming up not only in that issue, but during the next year for the Green Lantern universe?
Venditti: I think what we're going to find out over the course of the next year of the series is that among all of these threads that have been woven into not just Green Lantern but in all the titles, there are plots and subplots that I think everybody's aware of, and some of which you're asking me about, but there are just as many plots and subplots that people don't even realize are there yet, because we haven't started to pull on those threads.
Those are the kind of stories we're going to see start to come together over the course of the next year. In the plans for everything, happily you haven't asked any questions that we haven't all sat down and talked about found answers to. So we definitely know where all these things are ending up.
It's going to be something that surprises readers, and I hope it's something they end up thoroughly enjoying.