There's always been a strong connection between the Green Lantern Universe and the alien technology that powers the armor worn by Blue Beetle.
And now, the New 52 will experience that connection for the first time as Green Lantern: New Guardians crosses over with Blue Beetle next month.
In the #9 issues of both titles, the members of the New Guardians team will encounter Blue Beetle in New York City — and at the same time, the Reach will become a problem for the Blue Lantern planet of Odym.
According to Tony Bedard, who writes the two titles, the crossover represents a turning point for both series. As the Green Lantern universe heads toward the "Third Army" eventteased by Geoff Johns and and other DC executives on Newsarama last week, Blue Beetle will also be dealing with a cosmic confrontation as The Reach begins its invasion of Earth.
Bedard is no stranger to space-based epics, having launched Blue Beetle and Green Lantern: New Guardians in September after already working on Green Lantern Corps and the fan-favorite title R.E.B.E.L.S.
And now he gets to unite his two new titles in both a grounded New York story and a cosmic crossover. Newsarama talked to the writer to find out more.
Newsarama: Tony, let's start with the general premise behind the crossover. How do the characters in these two books end up coming together?
Tony Bedard: This mini-crossover between Green Lantern: New Guardians and Blue Beetle marks a turning point for both series. For Blue Beetle, it’s his first real contact with the Green Lantern universe. In fact, he’s going to get more Lantern action than he ever bargained! And on the New Guardians end we’re going to finally see just the full bad-assery of the Reach, interstellar conquerors and inventors of the Blue Beetle armor. Blue Beetle #9 is an intense, personal clash while New Guardians #9 is widescreen cosmic warfare on a planetary scale. It all adds up to a big New 52 debut for The Reach and a springboard for the next year of storylines for both books.
Nrama: As you mentioned, in the New 52, Blue Beetle has never met a Green Lantern like Kyle Rayner before. What will be Jaime's reaction to seeing him and the other New Guardians?
Bedard: Jaime actually wants to meet Green Lantern. Ever since the scarab grafted itself to Jaime’s back, he’s been on his own to try and figure out how to live his life with an alien superweapon trying to control his every move. Jaime ran away to New York, hoping he’d meet someone in the big city who could help him negotiate his new life, and Green Lantern seems like a good possible mentor.Unfortunately, Jaime’s armor totally freaks out and attacks when it senses a Green Lantern, age-old enemy of The Reach. Poor, poor, Jaime...
Nrama: That goes along with what we've seen from Reach technology before. But what can we expect from Kyle's reaction to Blue Beetle?
Bedard: Kyle doesn’t know a thing about Jaime. All he knows is what his ring says: that a Reach Scarab Warrior is a threat of the highest order. And then there’s the fact that Kyle is accompanied by Red Lantern Bleez and Orange Lantern Glomulus, who are never ones to keep things calm. So we have Blue Beetle suddenly bristling with weaponry against three Lanterns just outside Kyle’s Manhattan apartment. This could end very poorly for 8 million unsuspecting New Yorkers.
Nrama: We've seen Jaime recently discover more about The Reach? What can you tell us about them, and will more secrets of The Reach be revealed in this story?
Bedard: The Reach is an insectoid race from Sector 2 who bioengineer ultimate weapons called scarabs. They drop a lone scarab on a target-world, it gloms onto a member of the dominant species and takes control. The scarab warrior then destroys that world’s defenses.
Basically, if you’re covered by scarab armor, your first item of business is to wipe out your own people. Jaime escaped this fate because his armor was damaged, and now he’s trying to use its power for good.
But over in New Guardians #9, we’ll see a Reach fleet invade the Blue Lantern planet, unleashing a whole army of scarabs! We’re gonna see just how bad it can get if the Reach has you in their crosshairs.
Nrama: Ah, so the crossover takes place in both space and New York. What will we see in space, and how does it affect Blue Beetle?
Bedard: While Jaime tussles with three Lanterns in Manhattan, we’ll focus on a scarab warrior named Khaji-Kai who fights Saint Walker during the Battle of Odym. Something remarkable happens to Khaji-Kai that will lead to a big shake-up for Jaime in future issues of Blue Beetle. Plus, Jaime’s encounter with Kyle will then lead to his encounter with the D.E.O. in the following issue of Blue Beetle.
Nrama: So it's setting up things for both titles. I noticed it even represents the first issue of "Fall of the Blue Lanterns." How will that story affect the New Guardians?
Bedard: The threat against the Blue Lantern Corps is just part of the bigger picture behind all of the Green Lantern titles.
Nrama: Yeah, things aren't looking so good for all the different colored lanterns right now.
Bedard: Think about it: Sinestro takes down the Yellow Lanterns. The Red Lanterns are facing their own demise over in Red Lanterns. The Indigos are in turmoil currently in Green Lantern. Invictus has returned to threaten the Orange Lanterns in New Guardians. Basically, every single ring corps is facing an existential threat right now. Coincidence? I think not.
Nrama: The threat from Invictus has driven the story you're telling now in New Guardians, and Larfleeze was just revealed as more of a threat than the New Guardians realized. How would you describe your portrayal of him, and have you been making an effort to round out his darker side?
Bedard: Ever since his introduction in Green Lantern, Larfleeze a.k.a. Agent Orange has been a distinctive mix of funny and scary. But when you stop to think that every one of his Orange Lantern constructs represents a foe he’s killed, you start to appreciate just how scary he is.I mean, the guy is a one-man ring corps, he’s totally unpredictable, and he has no compassion or empathy. He cares only for himself. That makes him potentially the scariest foe imaginable, whether or not he has his own Christmas Special. You can laugh all you want, but nobody in their right mind messes with Agent Orange.
Nrama: He's obviously affected Sayd's life in a negative way. It's difficult not to feel sorry for her right now. Will we see her story evolve, and can you give readers an indication of how involved she is in coming storylines?
Bedard: Sayd’s part in the long-term New Guardians storyline is huge. She’s very important, and everyone will find out exactly how by the time we close out our first year of New Guardians stories.
And, yes, you should feel sorry for anyone who has to put up with Larfleeze 24 hours a day (or however long a day is on Okaara).
Nrama: As you mentioned, the Sinestro Corps are pretty much gone, and Sinestro has removed the Yellow Battery. How will Arkillo try to recover?
Bedard: Sinestro’s dismantling of his own corps is the central issue in Green Lantern: New Guardians #8, which follows Arkillo on a solo mission to Korugar to find out what happened to his Corps. Without that central power battery, he can’t recharge his ring and he’s already going on fumes, so to speak. So it’s going to be a lot fun watching Arkillo deal with his master’s betrayal even as his ring runs out of juice.
Nrama: Anything you can tell us about his story going forward?
Bedard: Well, you can imagine how happy he’ll be to find that his master has forsaken him. But while he’s on Korugar, he runs into another survivor of the Sinestro Corps purge who will set Arkillo’s career in a new direction. It’s a totally kick-ass issue, so I don’t want to give away much more than that.
Nrama: In Blue Beetle, you're currently in the midst of a story where Jaime has to deal with Stopwatch, a villain in New York. What can you tell us about the conclusion of this storyline, and how will it influence Jaime's growth as a character?Bedard: Jaime’s blindly looking for someone in New York who can mentor him and help him adjust to his new super-powered life. What he encounters is a very twisted guy trying to literally rewrite the story of his life. What Jaime will realize from that encounter is that he can’t get someone else to fix his life. Jaime is going to have to deal with his own problems himself. It’s a major life-lesson. Plus, I’m pretty proud of the weird twist I came up with for the Stopwatch character. Check out Blue Beetle #8 and you’ll see what I mean.
Nrama: As you mentioned earlier, Jaime gets to interact in issue #10 with the D.E.O. and Mr. Bones, who we've been seeing quite a bit in Batwoman. Why did you think this character in particular would be a good nemesis for Blue Beetle, and what should we expect from their meeting in that issue?
Bedard: I just thought that with Blue Beetle parading around Manhattan and stirring up trouble, the authorities would take an interest in him. And since the Department of Extranormal Operations is all about keeping tabs on the metahuman community, it just made sense to pit Blue Beetle against Director Bones. Gotta admit, though, I didn’t know how much fun Bones would be to write. He’s a hoot!
Nrama: He really is. I know Jaime has had to stay away from El Paso, for now in New York, because he's trying to protect Paco and his others friends and family. Yet there is some unfinished business there. Do you hope to return Jaime to his hometown? Or will he be traveling as he discovers more about his life and the suit?
Bedard: I do expect Jaime to return to El Paso eventually, but I haven’t reached that point yet in the game plan. I’m having too much fun introducing him to the world at large. And soon, his concerns will once again go cosmic as the Reach returns to Earth to reclaim its wayward scarab.
Nrama: How will the artists be working on the crossover? And is Ig Guara coming back as the regular artist eventually?
Bedard: Blue Beetle #9 is drawn by Marcio Takara, who also did issues #7 and #8. He’s done a terrific job of keeping the quality up while our regular Beetle artist Ig Guara was away rescuing the Teen Titans. Ig will be back as of Blue Beetle #10, but Marcio is turning in some outstanding stuff right now on issue #9.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #9 is drawn by Tyler Kirkham, who has already made New Guardians the most successful new Green Lantern series since Green Lantern Corps was launched. You have to see his rendition of the Reach invasion to believe it. Widescreen calamity all the way!Nrama: DC executives have revealed that there's a "Third Army" event coming up for the Green Lantern comics. How involved is New Guardians in what's going to be happening in the Green Lantern Universe?
Bedard: If you’re already reading New Guardians, then you know that it is central to the Green Lantern Universe. We’re expanding on all the various ring corps, fleshing out characters like Arkillo, Saint Walker and even Glomulus. It’s a fun ride.
Nrama: Then is there anything you want to tell fans about Blue Beetle?
Bedard: If you’re not reading Blue Beetle, what the heck are you waiting for?! Jaime Reyes ranks among the best new DC characters of the past decade, and his struggle to control his living armor is more challenging than ever. It’s a funny, often shocking read. Come join the fun!
- DC Comics' FULL July 2012 Solicitations
- GEOFF JOHNS Takes GREEN LANTERN Toward THIRD ARMY Event
- 10 Biggest GREEN LANTERN SURPRISES of All Time
- The 10 Coolest GREEN LANTERN Comic Book Ring Constructs