The Green Lanterns will be "taking the fight to the New Gods" in December, according to writers Van Jensen and Robert Venditti, who've been pitting two of DC's biggest space-based mythologies against each other in "Godhead."
And after the story's conclusion, not only will the Corps have to deal with the fallout from all their recent challenges, but Venditti acknowledges some things will be "different" after Convergence.
The two writers have been putting the Green Lanterns through the wringer since they started on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps in 2013. The two writers, who also currently co-write The Flash, have invented new threats and thought-provoking personal challenges for the Lanterns while shaking up the team. And although some wild rumors about John Stewart dying have been proven false, the latest issue of Corps put him in a Star Sapphire ring.
As the Green Lanterns are now embroiled in an all-out war with the New Gods, in a line-wide crossover titled "Godhead," the writers have been helping define the New 52 versions of the Source Wall, New Genesis and Jack Kirby's "Fourth World." But they've also put the Green Lanterns (and the other colored Lanterns) up against one of the toughest threats they've faced.
The storyline, which enters "Act III" in December with Green Lantern #37, finishes up with Green Lantern Annual #3 later that month. But as the series enters 2015, Venditti said some story threads will be wrapped up by the time DC takes its break for Convergence in April, but some things will be "different" when the Lantern series return in summer 2015.
Newsarama talked to Jensen and Venditti to find out more:
Newsarama: Van and Robert, when did you guys first come up with the idea to do a story that ties together the various Lanterns and the New Gods? Was it when you decided to use the Source Wall? Or even before that?
Robert Venditti: Yeah, it goes back pretty far. I remember talking to Matt Idelson about it as far back as… I almost want to say, as far back as before any of the issues from the new creative teams were actually on the stands.
I had kind of already started writing Green Lantern, but I don't think any of the issues were published yet, when we were already knowing that we were going to be heading in this direction and what it was going to mean when Kyle went through the Source Wall at the end of "Lights Out."
So this is something that's been planned for well over a year, before any of the issues came out. And over time, we had writers meetings, all the writers together talking about things and everybody bringing ideas into the room. It just kind of grew out from there.
Nrama: What's most mind-blowing is this idea of the "life equation," which has long been associated with the New Gods, being associated with the white light of the Green Lantern mythos. Where did that come from? Did a light bulb just go off as you guys were talking about it, or was that where the whole idea for this story started?
Venditti: I think that, it's something we talked about...
Van Jensen: No, Rob, you need to take credit for that. It's such a great idea.
That was all Rob. I know he's trying to be diplomatic.
Venditti: All right. [Laughs.] OK. Here's the truth, Vaneta. You and I have talked a lot in the past, and I've discussed, I'm sure, with you before that I don't really come from a background of comics, you know?
Venditti: I didn't start reading them until pretty late in life. And so, as we were talking about the New Gods with Matt, and I got all the Fourth World stuff and I started reading all the original Kirby stuff, I was coming at it from a completely new perspective, which is exactly how I came at Green Lantern, you know? Kind of a blank slate sort of thing.
And as soon as I saw anti-life equation, having already read the entire run of Green Lantern, I just was waiting for that connection to be made. It was like, oh, OK, Kyle has the life equation. You know? But that just never happened.
So I think it was something that came about because I didn't read the Fourth World stuff way back when, and then read the Green Lantern stuff way later. I read them both right next to each other, back to back.
Coming at it completely clean, that's why that connection just sort of got made. And it all seemed to make perfect sense, as a way to bring those two mythologies together.
Nrama: Van, it's interesting that you got the chance, in Green Lantern Corps, to not only put the entire corps in danger and show them interacting with other color lanterns, but you're dealing directly with John Stewart's emotional journey as he overcomes the deception of Fatality having actually been a Durlan during their recent courtship. Now he has to wear the violet ring. How does that give you the chance to challenge the character in new ways?
Jensen: I think the important thing to stress is, we all — all the writers of all the different books — we knew for a long time that this event was coming, and we'd be doing this. So one of the things we focused on was how to make sure this crossover really amplified the characters' story that we were already telling, that we were taking our protagonists and using the event to do some cool things with what we were already planning to do, rather than having to plan our character arcs around the necessities of the crossover.
So character really came first.
And for John's character, this is the trajectory he's been on. I knew, coming out of the story with Fatality, that this was the natural next step.
What we're seeing now, everything happening with John —that's all stuff that was established and hinted at and set in motion from the very first issue that I wrote, with Green Lantern Corps #21.
I think it's cool to do it in the midst of a big event like this, because there's a little more tension.
Nrama: We've been introduced to New Genesis and gotten to know Metron. And I get the feeling we'll get to know some of the other characters better in your issues, although much of the character development of the New Gods has been within the Infinity Man and the Forever People title. Do you wish you had more room? I mean, there's so much stuff there in New Genesis to be mined.
Jensen: Yeah, that's the thing that I learned coming into superhero comics is just how little space 20 pages is, in terms of writing it. And the bigger the story, the bigger the challenge is.
This is some really, really epic stuff. The scale of it is huge, and you want these moments to be big, and you want to have some splashes throughout your stories. But as you're writing, the space evaporates pretty quickly.
Venditti: And as much work as we're doing with the New Gods now, spending all the time with the characters, it will be a shame to think this is the last time we're ever going to see them. We're tying together two of the huge, sprawling, hallmark mythologies of the DCU — the Green Lantern mythology and the New Gods mythology — and after we've done that, those two are forever linked in some way.
They're great characters and great high concepts. Whether it be us or somebody else, there's always an opportunity to come back to those things down the line.
Jensen: And also, a lot of credit needs to go to the creative team on Wonder Woman, Brian Azzarello and Cllff Chiang. They had done amazing, amazing work with New Genesis, giving a taste of it in the New 52 universe. So it wasn't like we had to build everything from scratch. A lot of great work has been done.
Nrama: Last we saw Hal, he was going toward Black Hand, which looks like possible bad news. That part of the story will be picked up in Green Lantern #37?
Venditti: Yeah, that will be picked up in Green Lantern #37. We'll find out what exactly Hal is going to Black Hand for and how that plays out. It carries over as well into the Annual, which will be the final part of the event, which comes out at the end of December.
So lots more Black Hand coming.
Again, it was one of those things where, bringing these mythologies together — the Source Wall, the New Gods and the Green Lantern mythology — and reading the stories and making connections there, finding out that all the pieces can fit in very interesting ways, similar to how Kyle being the White Lantern also folds into him having the life equation and things like that.
Nrama: Well yeah, if "white" light is associated with the life equation, it'll be interesting to see what "black" is. But Van, what's coming up in Green Lantern Corps?
Jensen: There's some very central stuff that goes on in Green Lantern Corps #37. I can't really talk too much about it without spoiling the end of Act II.
In a big way, the final act [in December's issues] is about the various Lanterns really taking the fight to the New Gods. We've been building the Lanterns up and seeing them trying to equip themselves mentally and physically with the kind of weapons that they need to take on an entire army of gods.
So that's really central to the next issue of Green Lantern Corps.
And there's some very, very big fights ahead.
Nrama: Things don't look so good for Kyle Rayner after "Godhead" is over. Can you guys say anything about that, or is that a Justin Jordan question?
Venditti: Yeah, that'll be for him.
Nrama: But Rob, you are going to deal with some of the fallout from Kyle being discovered as "alive" and Carol having been with him. In January, after "Godhead," it looks like we'll see an issue focused on Hal and Carol. Can you talk about what that issue entails?
Venditti: Yes, that will be dealt with in Green Lantern #38, which is an issue that I'm really looking forward to.
It's probably one of my favorite issues that I've written. Some really, really deep character stuff — Hal and Carol, and also some surprise characters that I think people might not necessarily expect to see. They've been intentionally kept secret in solicitations.
Nrama: The solicitations for Green Lantern Corps after "Godhead" are pretty mysterious, Van. It talks about a "demonic threat," a "dark" and "deadly force." Is that left over from the Black Lanterns being involved in "Godhead?" Or is that something new?
Jensen: Yeah, what's coming up is not something that has to do with the Black Lanterns. It's a different threat. And it's something that's going to emerge out of existing Green Lantern history, so this is not some totally new thing, but an exploration of something very, very old and very strange in the Lanterns' history, but adding some new wrinkles to it.
The central idea we're exploring is, with the Lanterns caught up in huge battle after huge battle, again and again and again, their mission of policing the universe — they really have not been able to do that.
So the universe, in the absence of Green Lanterns, has fallen into darkness. Like, if you'd imagine a city where the police have been caught up in some ongoing, massive situation in one part of town and the rest of the city, with no police whatsoever, would turn to chaos. And that's what we're seeing through a lot of the universe.
Nrama: And then Hal hasn't had to deal with the Templar Guardians for about a year. We saw the solicitation for February for Green Lantern addressing the Templar Guardians giving Hal a mission. What kind of story are you exploring there?
Venditti: Yeah, the Templar Guardians have been off with Kyle for, well, going on 20 issues now, familiarizing themselves with the universe after having been locked away for so long. And now they're coming back home to become leaders. But they're very different characters from the old Guardians. The old Guardians, I think, over time became dark and twisted and so focused on the end.
The Templar Guardians are a much different group of characters. They're more whimsical. They're more fun. They're more good-hearted. So their style of leadership will be different.
But that doesn't mean there aren't still huge scale threats, believe it or not, even larger than the ones we've seen so far, including the New Gods, and they're still on the horizon. Given everything that the Corps has been through in the past couple years.
As Van said, the Corps have left much of the universe unpoliced. And the universe at large has fallen out of favor, in terms of how they see the Corps.
There are a lot of challenges that need to be faced, and they'll lead to some pretty drastic schisms that are going to happen. Some of these things will come to conclusion by issue #40. Some of them, we'll see exactly how things are different after we come back from the two-month break.
Nrama: Ah interesting. So some thing things will be different? Can you tease what we'll see in 2015? After getting used to how things have been in the Green Lantern universe during your run in the New 52, are you guys still working together next year? How much different are the things we'll see?
Jensen: Nah, Rob and I like to shake things up every once in awhile, so we're thinking for 2015, we're going to establish a really serious rivalry between us. It might culminate in fisticuffs. I don't know. We'll see where it goes. But that's the idea we're playing around with.
Venditti: [Laughs] I think you've got the reach on me. You've got the youth, too. I don't know.
Jensen: I'm going to win, for sure.
Venditti: But yeah, we are going to continue to work together on stories. And also, I think the one thing we've done in both of our books, since we've taken over, and really all the Green Lantern books as there have been new writers, is we've brought in new challenges that seem unexpected. You wouldn't think that we were going to do it like that. You wouldn't think that we were going to cross over with the New Gods, You wouldn't think we were going to do some of these things.
We're going to keep challenging ourselves and coming up with new ideas and new threats that the Green Lantern Corps hasn't faced before, and just really try to expand and build out the great foundation that's already there.