For Green Lantern fans, the name "Sector 2814" represents that part of space that includes Earth — and it's the space sector protected by Earth's Green Lanterns.
But that's all changing now that Guy Gardner is the leader of the Red Lanterns. As the result of a deal he made during the Green Lantern event "Lights Out," the Red Lanterns are now the protectors of Sector 2814.
That means Red Lanterns will be visiting Earth quite a bit — and it opens up all kinds of story possibilities for the title, as the Red Lanterns can theoretically "police" most of the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.
Writer Charles Soule is hoping that means his critically acclaimed book will get a few new readers on board, and he's getting some help with that goal from Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti. The two comics — Red Lanterns #28 and Green Lantern #28 in February — are crossing-over, and DC is releasing them both in one comic: a 40-page flipbook for the price of one single issue.
In the second installment of our interview with Venditti and Soule [read part one here ], we talked to them about what it means to the DC Universe to have the Red Lanterns in charge of Sector 2814, and how the status quo of both comics are changed by the events of the next few months.
Newsarama: Charles, we talked earlier about how the Red Lanterns are now policing Sector 2814. What can you tell us about that new status quo and how it leads to the story you and Robert are telling in the Red Lanterns/Green Lantern flip book?
Charles Soule: There are basically two plot lines running through Red Lanterns right now. One is that Guy Gardner, who has traditionally been the kind of "hot-headed" member of the Green Lantern Corps, finally realized that his true calling may not be to be Green Lantern, but might be to be a Red Lantern, which are more focused on anger and being a little more hot-headed themselves. So Guy has left the Greens, and he's joined the Reds, and they're being styled more as kind of a space motorcycle gang, where they go out and have their turf, and they patrol their turf, and you're in trouble if you do anything bad on their turf.
The basic rule they have is that you can do whatever you want in their sector, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. But if does hurt somebody else, the Reds are going to come calling.
Though Guy has kept it really loose, he's applying that same rule to the Reds themselves. There are like five or six of them. And they have cool adventures.
So that's one side of it. And the tone is like a Sons of Anarchy or The Shield or something like that.
But the other burgeoning plot, that's been growing since I took over, is that when Guy came onto the team, he essentially killed Atrocitus, who ran the Red Lanterns at that time as more of a cult or religious figure. And Guy killed Atrocitus in this big, huge, epic beatdown. Guy lost control, and then Atrocitus was killed, and so it was kind of like, "Whoops."
But comics being comics, it turns out that Atrocitus is not actually dead. And he has been wandering out in space with his alien rage space cat, Dex-Starr — or rather, Dex-Starr's not an alien; he's an actual cat — but they've been out in space, trying to find a way to get enough power to come back and destroy Guy Gardner and the other Reds who betrayed them.
Guy's not even aware that Atrocitus survived, so there's this spinning thread — when is Guy going to find out? What's Atrocitus going to do? How are those two sides going to clash? And it's going to be epic, and huge, and really fun and cool when they do.
So that's what's going on in Red Lanterns these days.
Nrama: And the Red Lanterns are now the "protectors" of Earth.
Soule: Yeah. Sort of. In their angry way. So there are a lot of fun stories that will be coming out of that.
Nrama: Does that mean the Red Lanterns will conflict with other DC heroes and villains? '
Soule: Absolutely. That was one of the things I was most excited about having Red Lanterns have Earth as part of their jurisdiction.
I mean, the first thing to realize is that Sector 2814 is pretty big. There are a lot of different planets in it. And so, they are cleaning it up and getting rid of bad guys in their sector.
But they will certainly go to Earth. And we've seen the Greens interact with Earth's heroes tons of times, but we haven't seen Reds do it that much.
So for me, it was a very appealing idea that I could have them go up against… well, I guess you'll see that — some of that starts as early as issue #27, and we see some in #28, and then it just goes from there.
Robert Venditti: And the idea of the Reds taking over 2814 has such huge ramifications, not just in terms of Red Lanterns as a book, or the Green Lantern group. It's really affecting the DCU as a whole. I mean, this is a fantastic engine of conflict.
It's also a chance to flesh out what Sector 2814 is — what doe that neighborhood look like? We've gone to far-off parts of the universe, but we don't look at Earth's back yard very much. And having the Red Lanterns go to Earth and deal with heroes and villains from the DCU is all going to be exciting stuff.
Nrama: And that's the main engine, then, that brings together the crossover? You and I recently talked about how the Green Lanterns are now concerned about the future of the universe, and are policing use of the light. Does that help lead up to issue #27? Can you talk about what drives the story toward the confrontation with the Red Lanterns?
Venditti: There are going to be some pretty significant events that happen in Green Lantern #27, which you got a hint of in Green Lantern #26. Hal has been going up against this criminal, and at the end of Green Lantern #26, it's revealed that there's another alien race presence as well. All the different threads that we've been weaving through the story of the Green Lantern Corps up to now are going to come to a head in #27.
So when issue #28 comes around, and as you say, Hal is policing light, it's revealed to him that there are suddenly new Red Lantern recruits out there. And so now, on top of everything he's trying to deal with — with these adversaries that have just revealed themselves in #27, and trying to police the light — now, he thinks that Guy is sending out rings and getting new Red Lantern recruits, which just compounds his problem.
Now he's got to go talk to Guy and see how they can straighten this out. And how can they all get on the same page here, so they're not just causing more problems for each other?
All this is going to be precipitated by the arrival of a Red Lantern that's going to cause a lot of — what's the word I would use? — turmoil and complications.
Nrama: I want to come back to something Rob said, about how this flip book, and the idea of the Red Lanterns policing Sector 2814, has ramifications beyond just one or two titles. Can you speak to the significance of this meeting we're going to see in issue #28 in the flipbook?
Soule: As Rob said earlier, the main through-line of story in the flip book is that there's a new Red Lantern discovered in Green territory, and it's very surprising to Hal. He felt like he could trust Guy to do the right thing.
And the mystery of who that character is, how that character was created, and how both Guy and Hal deal with that character is really a big part of that story.
It ends up that Hal and Guy have a lot of unresolved issues about the how 2814 thing. Hal is not aware, necessarily, of how Guy has been sort of running with things. So that's got to be resolved. And they have a lot of other unresolved issues, and tension with each other.
So that's a big part of it.
But we also layer in existing plot lines in each of our respective books so that you'll come away with a nice status quo change for both books. You'll learn about a lot of things. And you'll be able to just keep reading the books and run with them.
Venditti: Yeah, there's the internal storyline that happens within the crossover — this clash between Hal and Guy and Green and Red. But there's also threaded or continued all of the plot lines that are going to carry forward into Red Lanterns and carry forward into Green Lantern. So it isn't even an interruption of the current story lines.
And I can stress this enough — that was a big part of the goal here. We didn't just want to write a little Green Lantern story that featured some Red Lanterns. We wanted to actually showcase what Red Lanterns is as a title.
This is an opportunity for retailers to basically get Red Lanterns for free this month, and let their customer base try it out.
However many copies of Green Lantern you get, you're going to get Red Lanterns for free. Those readers are going to read that. And then hopefully, going forward from that, readers will stick around and see what's going on in Red Lanterns.
It's a book that is extremely content-heavy. There's a lot of stuff that happens in these 40 pages. And it's going to have repercussions that last for a very long time, not just in the Green Lantern family, but in the entire DCU.
Soule: It's got great action. It's actually got some romance, believe it or not. It's got a lot of good jokes. It's got crazy aliens. It's really — there's a ton in there, and i think it's going to be a really fun read. And I hope it sells 500,000 copies.
Venditti: It's got a Red Lantern that looks like a ball, and a Green Lantern that looks like a box. I don't know what else you want.