As the Green Lantern universe launches into its next major crossover, Geoff Johns is reuniting with Ethan Van Sciver for this week's Green Lantern Annual.
The two were the creative team behind the revamp of the Green Lantern concept seven years ago in Green Lantern: Rebirth, and they've worked together on several of the series' biggest moments since.
In this week's Green Lantern Annual, the two will kick off this fall's "Third Army" event, which crosses between Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: The New Guardians, and Red Lanterns.Green Lantern #12 The Annual, which features Van Sciver on the main story and Pete Wood on an eight-page back-up, has gotten a lot of attention for its bleeding-lantern cover, which mimics the "Death of Superman" comic's cover when that hero died. As a result, many fans have speculated that the issue features the death of a Green Lantern, most probably Hal Jordan or Sinestro. Green Lantern #12 added to that speculating because it had a prophesy that Hal Jordan would become a Black Lantern, which is usually manned by reanimated corpses.
Van Sciver's return to providing art for the Green Lantern universe comes after helping to launch Firestorm last year as co-writer and later penciler.
Newsarama talked to the artist to find out more about the Green Lantern Annual and got a hint that there are some new characters coming that may have a problem with the Guardians.
Newsarama: Ethan, what is it about the path you've taken with Geoff, and with the Green Lantern universe, that makes you the ideal person to do this Green Lantern Annual?
Ethan Van Sciver: It's always a pleasure to work with Geoff Johns. We work together really well. I understand what his thoughts are and I think he understands me. I'm actually interested in the Green Lantern universe and the larger scope and the scale of this universe.So whenever we get together, no matter how long it's been since we worked... I don't know. I just click right back into it again, and I understand where he is and what he's trying to do, and what he's trying to say, and what his new ideas are for these characters that are 40 or 50 years old.
And we just have fun. We just have a great time.
Nrama: I know you have designed so many of the characters that are now staples of the Green Lantern universe. Did you come with some of the designs for the Green Lantern Annual, including the design we've seen of the Third Army?
Van Sciver: Yeah, I did. I designed the Third Army with Geoff's guidance because I didn't know what they were. When he asked me to design the Third Army, I assumed it was going to be something quite different from what it actually turned out to be. And this was before I read the script for the Green Lantern Annual.
It took awhile for me to understand what he was trying to do, but as soon as I figured it out, I was alarmed.
I said Geoff, are you sure? This is a huge, huge step for these characters. And he said, "You've got to trust me. I'm absolutely sure."
The Third Army is, wow, it's a degrading statement from the Guardians. It makes me not like the Guardians anymore.Designing it was a lot of fun. But it was also dehumanizing. You'll find out what I mean by that when you meet the Third Army.
Nrama: I noticed they don't have mouths, and I'm assuming that's symbolic?
Van Sciver: [Laughs.] Yes.
Nrama: Geoff's been making the Guardians a little more scary.
Van Sciver: They are now. They're terrifying, especially in this particular book.
Nrama: They have a very rigid structure, especially now that they've stripped Ganthet of his emotions.
Van Sciver: You'll meet some new friends in this book that have something to say about the rigid structure of the Guardians, and even the way they appear.
Nrama: Not the Third Army, but some other new characters?
Van Sciver: Yeah. But I shouldn't say anything else about that.Nrama: Did you design Baz, the new Green Lantern?
Van Sciver: No.
Nrama: Is he in the Green Lantern Annual?
Van Sciver: No. This leads to him.
Nrama: It's been hinted that there is something big coming for Sinestro in this issue. I know that you originally designed his new look six or seven years ago. Does that look still fit with him, or has he changed a little?
Van Sciver: I still draw him pretty much the same way, because Sinestro is who he is, even as he's growing in his political ways and his actions. He just now doesn't glower at Hal quite as much as he used to. But he's still Sinestro, no matter what uniform he's wearing.
I was conscious to make him a little bit less furious toward Hal, a little bit less condescending. I mean, he still condescends, but there isn't the hate behind it anymore. It was fun. It was a good exercise.
Nrama: You were such a big part of the development of a lot of Geoff's concepts for Green Lantern. Much of it feels very spiritual and philosophical, and tends to make the stories more epic. Is that the sort of story that you've drawn toward?
Van Sciver: I think that's what everybody finds so attractive about Green Lantern now. Geoff has made it into a statement about the condition of man: man's motivations, man's work...
I mean, I think this upcoming arc could be Geoff's statement about, or the Guardians' statement about man's self-worth.What are we for, exactly?
This new Third Army concept is at a sharp angle from the emotional spectrum. It's jarring to think that, from the Guardians' perspective, none of that really mattered. And the Guardians see something else entirely.
I think that those broad themes are really attractive to people who read this comic, and they are to me too because they point in new directions.
And of course, they provide a landscape for new, interesting visuals.
Nrama: When you say self-worth, do you mean what makes mankind unique and worthy?
Van Sciver: Yeah, the uniqueness, but also, is our purpose really that vital to the grand scheme of things? I think that we look at our self-determinism and our will as something that moves mountains and can accomplish great things and is a source of pride, but in the grand scheme of things, it could mean absolutely nothing.
Like I said, this annual is a very, very dark book. It threw me for a loop. It's very scary, in a very philosophical way.
I think this is probably one of the coolest Green Lantern horror stories ever written. This is a perfect time to jump on board and see this new idea. It's going to be a hell of a ride.
Nrama: For awhile, we didn't see you drawing much. But lately, with you drawing Firestorm and then this Green Lantern Annual, it looks like you're getting back into drawing again. Why?
Van Sciver: Yeah, you know what? I feel like I took a year off to do conventions and things, and then I realized I missed drawing comics. I feel like I had lost something.
With Firestorm, I pitched myself back into the pool. Then I just said to Dan [DiDio] and Geoff, "You know what? I want to do this again, so start throwing stuff my way." And they did, big time. And I'm having a great time.
Nrama: When you say they're throwing things your way, does that mean we'll see more penciling from you at DC?
Van Sciver: Yeah. After this annual comes out, I'll be working on one of DC's monthly books again. And it's a riot.
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