Readers might assume Green Lantern might slow down when the new creative team comes onto the title in June, but writer Robert Venditti says "we aren't easing into anything."
"The Relic storyline will be very grand in scale," the writer told Newsarama. "We're coming out of the gate with an ambitious, challenging arc."
Relic is the brand new villain whose design was previewed by DC last week, with art that revealed he was enormous in comparison to the average Green Lantern.
But Venditti said his size isn't the only reason he's such a threat to the Lanterns. In fact, he said the villain "will connect every Lantern of every Corps that has ever appeared in any comic book."
Venditti and artist Billy Tan take over Green Lantern with issue #21 after the departure of long-time creative team Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke. Their run will begin after some devastating events promised for the end of the current storyline, "Wrath of the First Lantern," which is affecting all the Green Lantern books.
The Green Lantern franchise has five books now: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns and the new Larfleeze book by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Scott Kolins. And they're all starting with a fresh slate of creative teams in June, as well as a "jumping-on" point for new readers.
Venditti, who's also currently writing the DC book Demon Knights, is emerging as one of the key creators for the new direction of the Green Lantern universe, since he's writing Green Lantern and also co-writing Corps. Newsarama talked to the writer to find out more about Relic and why he's probably a character to watch as DC allegedly heads toward a focus on villains in September.
Newsarama: Robert, we recently learned about the introduction of a new villain called Relic. What were your thoughts behind creating this new character for Green Lantern?
Robert Venditti: Relic is a character I’ve been working on in one form or another for nearly six months. He was born out of what I knew was going to happen before I came in as the new writer for the book.
While the goal is for issue #21 to be a clean jumping-on point for readers, we’re also very much picking up the story where Geoff and Doug are leaving it off. Relic is emblematic of what I see as the next logical step in the Green Lantern mythology.
Nrama: From where or what does this villain emerge?
Venditti: That’s a detail I really can’t get into yet.
Nrama: Is it something we'll find out soon? At the end of Geoff's run? Or is it something that's a mystery?
Venditti: The answer will come in September. But I will say he emerges from an entirely new location.
Nrama: We've heard a little about what's coming in September from DC, but I know that's still under wraps. Can you tell us anything about his powers or why he's a threat to the Corps?
Venditti: His enormous size gives him a proportionate level of strength, but he isn’t what I’d describe as being inherently super-powered. His weaponry and defenses are more technology oriented, and he’s coming after the Corps for a very specific reason. All his technology is geared toward fighting them.
Nrama: How involved were you in the design of the character? Can you describe the design process and why he looks the way he does?
Venditti: I had input into the design, but Billy did most of the work there. The goal was to create a character who’d be visually imposing and compelling, but to also stay true to the character’s roots.
Nrama: Any clue you can give us about his roots, and how that plays into this look?
Venditti: Before he was a villain, Relic was a scientist, and I think Billy did an amazing job melding those two things together.
Nrama: We've been talking to other writers on the upcoming Green Lantern titles, as you know, since we talked to you and Van Jensen about Green Lantern Corps. It sounds like the Earth team of Lanterns are splitting up, with John over in the Corps book and Guy Gardner heading to Red Lanterns. Since you're dealing with Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, what role does he play in the interaction with this new villain? And what does this threat mean to him in particular?
Venditti: As a result of events that will transpire before the beginning of our run, Hal will see himself assume more of a leadership role within the Corps. Relic is the first major villain he’ll face, so in many ways he’ll be a test of Hal’s leadership.
As for what Relic will mean to Hal, the answer is “More than he could ever imagine.” Relic will hold that level of significance for many of the characters in the series.
Nrama: Many of the characters? So what other characters get involved in the battle with this villain?
Venditti: Pretty much everyone, as far as Green Lantern characters are concerned. Relic is such a huge threat, fighting him becomes an all-hands-on-deck scenario.
Nrama: I know you've got to hold back until the end of "Wrath of the First Lantern," but can you describe any of the other challenges that are being faced by the characters in Green Lantern when you start your run?
Venditti: Between Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, there’s going to be a status quo change for nearly every major member of the cast. I can’t go into what those will be, but we hope many of them will surprise people.
And I’m not even getting into Red Lanterns and New Guardians. Charles Soule and Justin Jordan are both really smart writers, and I’m as excited to read their books as everyone is.
Nrama: OK, since we're tiptoeing around the end of "First Lantern," we'll have to talk again after that last issue comes out. So for now, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Relic or what's coming in Green Lantern?
Venditti: The Relic storyline will be very grand in scale. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: He’ll connect every Lantern of every Corps that has ever appeared in any comic book. Ever. We’re coming out of the gate with an ambitious, challenging arc, so we aren’t easing into anything.