After getting an assist from Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti for the first few months of his run, Van Jensen is taking over the Green Lantern Corps title as a solo act — just in time for war with the Durlans and a return of the Sinestro Corps.
The next storyline sees the Corps coming up against the Durlans, including the oversized Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 later this month. While other Green Lanterns get the spotlight elsewhere in the DCU — Hal in Green Lantern, Guy in Red Lanterns, Kyle in New Guardians, and Simon in Justice League of America — the storyline of Green Lantern Corps focuses on John Stewart.
Newsarama talked to Jensen to find out more about his plans for Green Lantern Corps, the threat presented by the Durlan war, and what readers can expect from the return of the Sinestro Corps.
Newsarama: Van, now that you're writing solo on Green Lantern Corps, and you've been on the book for half a year, what's the ride been like? Anything surprise you?
Van Jensen: It's been pretty intense. The Green Lantern mythos is a huge one, so I spent a lot of time on the front end researching stories and characters. And I'd never written a single-issue comic before, so there was a steep learning curve over the first few months. Lucky for me, I work with one of the top artists in comics in Bernard Chang, and I had great editors and, of course, Rob Venditti, to show me the ropes.
Probably the biggest surprise was just how little space 20 pages is, and how challenging it is to tell a great story in that amount of real estate. And that challenge is all the bigger with a book like Corps that has a cast of about 7,200.
Nrama: I think a lot of fans are surprised how much attention John Stewart is getting, thanks to the fact that every Earth Lantern now has his own comic. Have you gotten a lot of feedback from John Stewart fans?
Jensen: There's a pretty big contingent of John Stewart fans, and they've been great. I heard from a lot of them on Twitter even before my first was out. They have a deep love of the character, and they're excited to see him be the lead in a book. Like most Green Lantern fans, they're as smart as they are passionate, so I know they set a high bar for the book. It adds a little pressure to the job, but mostly it's a cool responsibility to write a character and a series that has such an ardent following.
Nrama: You've showcased John's abilities as an architect, particularly the last issue, as he designed and worked with Mogo to rebuild the Corps headquarters. What other aspects of John Stewart will we see come into the forefront?
Jensen: There's a war coming, and so the Corps needs fighters. John (and Hal) are going to have to draw on every ounce of experience they have in the military and in the Corps if they're going to stand a chance in this fight. And even if they win, they still need to convince the universe that Lanterns aren't villains. That's a tough row to hoe. (Is it obvious I grew up on a farm?)
Nrama: Just a little. One of my personal favorite Green Lantern characters, Arisia, has also been getting some screen time in your comic. When she was first introduced to comics, as a young girl, she had a very different role in the Corps. How would you describe her now?
Jensen: Arisia is a great character, one that I've been trying to fit into a story for a while. She's so compelling because she has a very innocent, hopeful side. And yet, she's survived long enough to become one of the more senior Lanterns, and that brings a certain weariness and cynicism.
Nrama: What role does she play on the team, and particularly working with John?
Jensen: Arisia is in a position of leading by example and teaching the younger members of the Corps. That's a role she's still adjusting to, as we saw in #26. But I think Arisia is ultimately a very positive, energetic presence in the Corps, something that's much needed, given all the dark clouds that seem to be hanging overhead.
Nrama: What other Corps members will we be getting to know better over the coming months?
Jensen: In Green Lantern Corps #27 and the Annual, we'll be seeing more of Vath Sarn, Isamot Kol and Iolande, all great characters. And we'll get to catch up with Oliversity, who's a big space snake, which is just inherently cool. Later, we're going to spend some time with Soranik Natu, who is really struggling with all that has happened recently — in Korugar and Oa, she lost two home planets. And there's still the specter of her father looming.
With the threat of the Durlans growing, I have to imagine Von Daggle (the only Durlan to be in the Corps) will appear before long.
Nrama: We've discovered that the Durlans are working in secret to take over various worlds. How would you describe the threat from the Durlans to the Corps, and why is it particularly menacing at this time in the Corps recovery and the aftermath of the Guardians' destruction?
Jensen: The Durlans hold an old, old grudge against the Corps. They've been laying the groundwork of their revenge for years. Unfortunately for the Lanterns, the Durlans have picked the worst possible time to strike — when the Corps is at its weakest.
The Durlans are a particularly dangerous opponent because every action they take is based on deceit. They don't just want to destroy the Corps — they want to discredit it before they tear it down.
And what we've seen so far is just the beginning. In the months ahead, I think readers are going to want to keep those back issues on hand, so they can spot all the secret machinations that the Durlans put in place.
Nrama: Will we get to know some of the Durlans in particular? Can you tell us anything about them?
Jensen: Von Daggle is going to be showing up soon, and he is the key in this war. But which side will he pick? We'll meet the Durlan Ancients, though we probably will wish we hadn't. As for Durlans, they're shape-shifters, but they can't take just any shape. Their power has limitations, and discovering those will be the only hope the Corps has in this fight. Durlans lie. Always. And beneath those liesŠthere are more lies.
Oh, and one more thing: The Durlans are already here, as the Corps is about to find out.
Nrama: We've also gotten hints in solicitations that the Sinestro Corps is making a return.
Jensen: Wouldn't it be just like those Fear Lanterns to show up at the worst possible time?
Nrama: What can you tell us about the threat they represent to the Corps?
Jensen: The Sinestro Corps has been one of the biggest threats to the Green Lanterns since Sinestro formed them, but now there's the added threat of the Sinestro Corps draining the emotional spectrum by using their rings. They can only further turn the universe against any wielders of the light, and the Green Lanterns need to have the support of the universe if they have any hope of policing it.
Nrama: Will the Green Lantern universe be affected by the aftermath of Forever Evil?
Jensen: I would imagine so. Things haven't been going too well for Simon Baz on Earth.
Nrama: Interesting. Can you hint about what's coming up for the Corps in the post-Forever Evil universe? How would you describe what's coming in 2014 for the characters you're writing and the Green Lantern Corps comic?
Jensen: There's a light at the end of the tunnel. But to see it, you might have to squint. The Corps has some big, big challenges ahead. And for John Stewart, well, 2014 will be a memorable year. The Corps will need him, and he'll need the Corps.