Since Robert Venditti took over the Green Lantern title a year ago, he's been re-molding Hal Jordan and the Corps with a slew of new challenges, new characters and new villains.
But coming this fall, the writer promises the Corps will face an adversary that's "possibly the largest adversary the Green Lantern Corps has ever faced."
The villain — or rather, villains, as Venditti revealed — is yet another new concept, and this time it's going to be significant for not just for the Green Lanterns, but the DC Universe as a whole.
This week, Green Lantern #33 finished up the title's participation in the crossover event, Uprising, setting up the story's finale in next week's Green Lantern Corps #33. In August, Simon Baz comes for a visit in Green Lantern #34.
But in September, readers will not only get a tie-in to the Futures End weekly with Venditti's Green Lantern: Futures End #1, but they'll also see references to what's coming in 2014-2015 for the whole Green Lantern universe.
Venditti was previously best known for his work with Top Shelf, including his comic-turned-Bruce Willis film The Surrogates. More recently, he's been helping Valiant revive its characters.
But in June 2013, Venditti became one of the key architects of the Green Lantern titles, not only writing Green Lantern solo, but also helping out Van Jensen on Green Lantern Corps (although Jensen has since taken the book over).
As the Green Lantern Corps finishes up its war with the Durlans and heads toward this new adversary, Newsarama talked to Venditti to find out more about what's coming up in Green Lantern.
Newsarama: Rob, this week's issue felt like an ending, and it takes the Green Lanterns – and I'm sure your intent was, even the readers — by surprise when it turns out the story isn't over. Was that the plan from the start? And why go about it that way?
Robert Venditti: Yeah, that was the way the storyline was structured. It ties into the specific nature of the villain that the Green Lanterns are dealing with. The villains are all about deception, and all about lulling people into a false sense of security, and then they strike. And that's exactly how we tried to model the story to reflect this particular enemy, and how it will be different than any other adversary that the Green Lanterns have faced — really try to tap into the Durlans' unique quality.
Nrama: One of the things that happened during this storyline that we haven't talked about yet is that we found Sodam Yat still alive. Can you speak to the introduction of that character to your story, and whether he'll play a role in the Green Lantern universe going forward?
Venditti: Yes to the last part of that question.
But for the first part, you know, it all happened very organically. As Van and I had been working on Green Lantern Corps together, and we were researching and reading up on all the histories of the books, Sodam Yat was a character who just seemed to disappear from the pages. You know? He was a big part of the series, and all of the sudden he was gone. And it was never really, clearly explained what happened to him.
So that was a mystery that Van and I had always wondered ourselves. You know, what happened? Where did he go?
And so when we were putting together the storylines for the Durlans, we thought this was an opportunity to bring Sodam Yat into it. And it just sort of struck us that it would perfectly explain where Sodam Yat has been all this time, and also add a lot of dimension to his character, because he comes from this world that was very isolationist, and he was fascinated with alien life and traveling and things like that. But his parents always told him to stay home, and we're not supposed to leave the planet. Of course, Sodam Yat would become a Green Lantern anyways.
Well, it turns out in retrospect that, in some way, this almost abhorrent philosophy his father had ended up being accurate, because if Sodam Yat had stayed home, nobody would have ever known there were Daxamites, and the villains would have never come.
So this seemed like a way to bring a lot of storylines together and also develop a lot of character.
Nrama: I know, going forward, in the solicitations, there's mention of Simon Baz. Are you bringing him into the Green Lantern title, and can you tell us what role he's playing?
Venditti: It's not going to be a permanent position in the book. The way the Green Lantern universe is structured right now, Simon Baz is Earth's lone Green Lantern, so he's there watching over Earth while Hal and John and Guy and Kyle are out among the universe. So it's not going to be a permanent position for him in Green Lantern.
But he is, of course, a member of the Corps, and he does have a role to play in issue #34. And he will be back in the main series again, but it's still going to remain Hal's book.
Nrama: Getting back to the current storyline, it's finishing up in Green Lantern Corps, right?
Venditti: That's correct, yep.
Nrama: Although we don't know the end, I was wondering about the thoughts you guys had as you crafted this storyline and the themes you're exploring. Obviously, the Green Lantern Corps isn't very well liked right now. What has this storyline and the challenges of "Uprising" meant to the Green Lantern Corps?
Venditti: It's established this status quo for the Green Lantern Corps that, through some mistakes they've made themselves and that Hal has made himself, but also through some of the ways in which the villains have portrayed them inaccurately, they’ve become a force that the universe doesn't really necessarily be enforcing law anymore. There's some question about if they're the right people for that job.
The events of Green Lantern #33 certainly show the Corps acting and behaving in a way that's very heroic and they saved this world and this race and the larger universe from a pretty bad end, that's news that's never going to leave that world.
So it's almost like they're going to have to win back the universe's trust, one world at a time, which is obviously a very huge undertaking.
All of that's going to play into future storylines that we have planned, that are already in the works. It's going to be a theme that we're going to continue to play with.
And it just kind of mirrors law enforcement in the modern day, you know? Police officers are out there, doing what they can to keep neighborhoods safe, but a lot of neighborhoods, nobody's really happy to see a police officer. If you're speeding on the highway, and you see a cop behind you, you're not happy to see him. You know?
So it's kind of looking at that aspect of law enforcement, and what it takes to do that job in scenarios where they're not necessarily invited to do that job.
Nrama: You're writing the Futures End tie-in in September, with Green Lantern: Futures End #1. I'm curious what you're going to be exploring. In the weekly, we've seen what the Futures End world is like. Can you reveal anything about the story you're telling?
Venditti: Yeah, you've seen a lot of Futures End in the weekly series, which is all pretty Earth-based.
As Green Lantern has been since the new creative teams took over, it's going to be primarily a story set out in the wider universe. But it's going to pull on those same threads and those same conflicts that are going on in Futures End, and also hint at a lot of really big things that we have to come.
The back half of this year is going to be a very important year for the Green Lantern franchise. And it will all be hinted at in the five years later issue.
Nrama: So the September issue isn't just an "Elseworlds" type, what if story? It specifically refers to things you guys intend to have happen to the Green Lantern universe in the future?
Venditti: Yeah, it's one of those things where, when you read the stories over the next six months, you'll be able to go back to that issue and see how they tied in.
They won't necessarily be immediately apparent. But you'll see how those threads come together if you go back and give that issue another look, if that makes sense. Because we don't want to give anything away.
Nrama: I know we'll find out soon about what's coming in October, but can you tease this "important" story that's coming later this year?
Venditti: Yeah, it's not an understatement to say that it is possibly the largest adversary that the Green Lantern Corps has ever faced.
Nrama: Is this a new character? This adversary?
Venditti: Um, yes. It is new characters.
Nrama: Oh, not just one.
Venditti: Yeah, not one, but new "characters."
Nrama: And it's huge.
Venditti: It's going to be hugely significant, not just for the Green Lantern line, but the DC Universe as a whole.
So it's a big story. It's ambitious.
And it's also going to continue to follow a lot of the things we've been dealing with, particularly in Green Lantern with Hal Jordan in a leadership position.
What we've seen with this war, in Green Lantern #33, you know, he fights a final battle that involves artillery and ground forces and a pretty well-thought-out, well-planned strategy, with a rouse involved and all these kinds of things. I mean, this is all hugely forward for him as a character. He's a guy who just charges in with his ring and starts fighting. And now he's putting together battle strategies on a massive scale.
So we're going to see how these changes in his character, and how he's grown as a leader, work to his benefit, and potentially even work against him when going up against this new, greater threat."