Step aside, Hal Jordan, and prepare for two new recruits to take the lead. Launching in June as part of DC's Rebirth, the new ongoing series Green Lanterns pairs Jennifer Cruz and Simon Baz in what former Marvel exclusive writer Sam Humphries calls "Lethal Weapon with alien technology."
Kicking off with Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 illustrated by veteran GL artist Ethan Van Sciver, the bi-monthly series itself will be drawn by Robson Rocha and Adrian Syaf. In it, Humphries promises to explore the entire emotional spectrum through the eyes of these two rookie recruits.
Newsarama chatted with Humphries after the Rebirth announcements at WonderCon 2016 to find out how Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz fit into the DC Universe, what his first arc, “Red Dawn,” is all about, and how his Earth-bound Green Lanterns will still be “epic” on a cosmic scale.
Newsarama: Sam, let’s talk about Green Lanterns.
Sam Humphries: Yes! Green Lanterns. I’m glad you enunciated the “S” cause that’s what this book is all about. The plural. There are two new Green Lanterns of Earth. These are the Green Lanterns of Earth, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. And I’ve been calling it “Lethal Weapon with alien technology.”
Nrama: Let’s talk about Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. These are characters who have been established in the DC Universe, but this is their first real spotlight. What’s your take on these characters and their relationship?
Humphries: Their relationship is what this story is all about. They’re partners, they’re rookies, they’ve been thrown into this situation but they don’t know what to make of each other. They don’t know if they can trust each other. They don’t know if they should be afraid of each other. And just like that dynamic that you see in other great cop movies and TV shows, that’s the kinda dynamic that we’re gonna start with, and we’re gonna give it a real strong DC Universe twist.
Nrama: We know Simon and Jessica are coming up against the Red Lanterns in an arc called “Red Dawn.” Are the Red Lanterns coming to Earth where these two Green Lanterns are stationed?
Humphries: Hal Jordan is off in space. Earth is under the protection of two rookie Green Lanterns. If you’re the Red Lanterns, this is the best news you’ve had all month, especially if you’re Atrocitus and Bleez, and you’ve figured out that Earth is crucial to the survival of the Red Lantern Corps. All of a sudden, the best Green Lantern in history is off in space, and you’ve got these two rookies who may be strapped with the most powerful weapon in the DC Universe, but they don’t really know how to use it yet. So they’ve decided that Earth is crucial to their future, but the humans who live on it are expendable. So we’ve got rookie Green Lanterns, but epic stakes.
Nrama: Aside from the Red Lanterns, are there any other parts of the Green Lantern mythos that you’re bringing in? And can we expect any of that unique Sam Humphries twistas well?
Humphries: Yes to all of the above, absolutely. When it comes to the Green Lantern mythos, nothing is off the table – and I mean absolutely nothing. Within the first few arcs we’re gonna touch on every color in the emotional spectrum, every corps that’s out there. Virtually everyone who wears a ring these days.
And yes, there are new things that I’m bringing to the table. One of the most amazing Green Lantern stories of all time is “Sinestro Corps War.” And what’s amazing about that is, you take the core concept of what the Green Lantern Corps is, and you take the green and make it yellow. And it’s still part of the core concept, but all of a sudden, you’ve taken one epic idea and you’ve made it twice as epic. And if you’ve got green and yellow, you’ve got all the other colors, and you’ve made it seven times as epic. And that’s what we’re gonna do, building on the core of Green Lantern, which is courage over fear. That’s what Rebirth is all about – building on what makes these characters and these legacies great.
Nrama: Between Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, who is the character you identified with most easily? Is there one of them that was harder to grasp?
Humphries: I did really respond to Jessica Cruz right off the bat, and Simon was a little more difficult for me to figure out. But since I’ve been working on it, it’s flipped a little bit. They’re more even, but now I feel like I’ve got a really strong handle on Simon, and Jessica is the one who’s still surprising me.
Nrama: Simon and Jessica are the two Green Lanterns of the Justice League. Will their status as rookies affect their role on the team?
Humphries: They may be rookies, but they are going to be involved in the very heart of the DC Universe moving forward. There’s one big thing that we teased to today that I don’t even want to say the name of it out loud. There’s one big thing coming after Rebirth that’s gonna rock the DC Universe, and Simon and Jessica are gonna be front and center for what’s going on. So yes, they’re in Green Lanterns, yes they’re in Justice League. They’re gonna be in all the major things that are happening in the DC Universe. Yes, these are the Green Lanterns of Earth. It’s gonna be an amazing experience.