With the "Rebirth" launch of the new Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps title, author Robert Venditti is putting Hal back into a team book again, along with Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and a brand new role for Kyle Rayner.
The series starts July 13 with the Ethan Van Sciver-drawn one-shot Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, which Venditti said will start the road toward "bringing things back" to the Green Lantern universe from the post-Crisis world. Then in July 29's Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1, with art by Rafa Sandoval, Venditti will start the first story arc, titled "Sinestro's Law," starring the most iconic Green Lantern villain in his role as leader of the Sinestro Corps.
While Green Lanterns, which stars Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, will take place on Earth and the surrounding Sector 2814, the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series takes place mostly in outer space, incorporating "all the aliens and all the alien races and all the space-based villains — all of these things, they're all on the table, and we're going to make use of a lot of it," Venditti said.
Newsarama talked to the writer about how this continues the story from the "New 52" while also providing a jumping-on point for new readers, while bringing back some of the more classic elements of the Corps.
Newsarama: Rob, you've been writing Green Lantern stories for awhile. What's changed with "Rebirth"?
Robert Venditti: Our hope with "Rebirth" is to have new jumping-on points for audiences, new status quos, while also embracing the very long, storied histories of these characters. That's very much what we're doing with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
If you were reading the "New 52" Green Lantern book, then you know that Hal was in possession of Krona's Gauntlet; that's had an unintended effect on him, where it was transforming him into almost a being of pure will.
He's decided, with the Green Lantern Corps missing, that he's going to go find them and reclaim his mantle as a Lantern.
And that's where we're going to pick him up at the beginning of the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth one-shot. And then we'll have a whole new story from there.
So it builds on what's come before, but it's also new-reader-friendly and getting back to a lot of the core, classic concepts of Green Lantern — Hal and Sinestro, green versus yellow, will versus fear, the Green Lantern Corps as police in space. These are all relatable concepts, whether you've read an issue of Green Lantern before or never have, any reader can get their heads around.
Nrama: Looking at your book next to the Green Lanterns series, it looks like that comic book really concentrates on two individuals while your title is more of a team book, with Hal at the lead. Is that the right interpretation?
Venditti: I would say describing it as a team book is great, but, like with an actual team book, co-leads. So you've got Hal, you've got John, you've got Guy — we'll have Kyle as well, although we're holding him a bit in reserve, because what we're doing with him is highly secretive, which is why we haven't really shown him very much in terms of cover art or things like that.
When Kyle shows up, it'll be for a very important reason, and it'll be to do something that only he can do.
So if you look at the structure, you'll have an A-plot with one character and a B-plot with another character — you'll switch so that the B-plot will become the A-plot, and A will go to B. And so all of them are going to be leads at different times. I think that's the way team books operate as well. So that's very much the yardstick that we're striving for.
Nrama: This is a twice-monthly book, right? How does that change things?
Venditti: It is, yes. For me, it's something that I feel like I'm really well-suited for. I'd rather write one thing twice a month than two things once a month. I think it allows me to have more time to plan and to really think long term.
And because I was able to know what "Rebirth" was very early on in the process, by the time my first issue comes out, I'll have 12 issues of script already written. We'll have five issues completely in the can — colors and letters and everything. So to be that far out ahead, to know the exact schedule, to know when Ethan is drawing an issue and when Rafa's drawing an issue. We're not just rotating every month with each of them drawing one — Ethan will draw one, Rafa will draw three, Ethan will draw two, Rafa will draw two, Ethan will draw three.
We know what the plan is, and the stories are structured with the A-plot/B-plot thing I was just telling you about to coincide with when different artists come on. So to be able to be this far ahead and plan all that kind of stuff out, to me, I just feel really happy about it. And it's actually a much easier working environment for me than just doing a monthly was previous to this.
Nrama: Obviously "Rebirth" has brought back some characters who were missing from the "New 52," and it's brought back some memories in characters who had forgotten things. Will that influence your book as well? Is this just continuation of the "New 52" or are there other things going on here?
Venditti: Oh, definitely other things. Definitely other things. I would say, without giving too much away, we are definitely going to be bringing things back. [Laughs]
I don't want to say beyond that what it is. But I really can't anticipate that anybody will see this coming. When it does happen, and when we get there – and some of this is already in motion; I've already written some of these things — people will be able to trace it all the way back to the Rebirth one-shot and events that happen there.
You'll be able to see these threads that we've laid down throughout the entire running series.
Nrama: That said, most of this book takes place in deep space, right? As opposed to Green Lanterns, which is kind of on the Earth itself?
Venditti: It does, correct. We're mostly out in the wider universe.
The thing I find really appealing about it is that the entire cosmos of the DCU is our sandbox. And if you think about all that that entails, all the planets and all the systems and all the aliens and all the alien races and all the space-based villains — all of these things, they're all on the table. And we're going to make use of a lot of it.
We're going to see some things that I don't know that we've ever seen in Green Lantern comics before, but they make sense. When they happen, you'll almost wonder why we've never seen it before.
And we've got somebody like Ethan who's such a part of Green Lantern mythology and the DCU as well. He has a great love and affection for the classic concepts, and we'll be doing a lot of that.
And we've got somebody like Rafa Sandoval who does epic scope and cosmic scale and design very well. He'll be doing some new things that we'll be creating with him.
To be able to work with the team that I have on these characters, out in space — it's really a book that I feel is unlike anything else in what it's able to do and what it's able to make use of anywhere in comics.
Nrama: You mentioned Sinestro before. Can you speak to the basic premise of his appearance in your initial story arc? He's leading the Sinestro Corps against Hal?
Venditti: Yeah, he's leading the Sinestro Corps. Hal's situation is that he knows the Green Lantern Corps is gone. He doesn't know how or why. But he is going to go try to find them. He's going to reclaim his mantle as Green Lantern as he does it and try to protect the universe as best he can, as what he believes is the last Lantern.
In filling that vacuum, you have Sinestro parking Warworld in Sector Zero, the location of Oa, and establishing himself as the police force of the universe. And that's our conflict.
The heroes that we've come to know, the protectors of the universe, are gone. Sinestro's filled that void. And now, Hal and the Green Lantern Corps, are going to get back together and take back their place as the police of the universe and face the challenges that they have ahead.
Sinestro, to me, is a character who really embodies a lot of what the Green Lantern concept is, just as much as Hal or John or Guy does, because Sinestro represents the oath — the ability to overcome great fear is what makes you a Lantern. And Sinestro is that great fear. So to start with him, I think, was a real no-brainer, not just because of his profile as being one of the Green Lantern real heavy-hitters, but also what he means to the concept and how he helps introduce that to new readers and rekindle it for historic readers as well.
Nrama: It sounds like you're continuing the story that came before "Rebirth," but also starting a fresh, new approach with new elements. Is that what you'd call it? Kind of juggling the mission of attracting new readers with keeping the best of what's there now for the existing readers?
Venditti: Yeah, that's the mission statement of "Rebirth," I think, is to be new reader friendly, but also to embrace the long, storied histories of all these characters. That's very much what we're doing.
If you've never read an issue of Green Lantern in your life, I promise you that you will pick up Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, and you will know everything you need to know by the end of that issue to follow the story and pick it up from there. So no prior experience required. But if you have been reading all those other things, you're going to see a lot of stuff in that issue that you're going to find really tantalizing, because you're going to know what it means. And it's going to pull on some heartstrings for you. It's definitely a mix of both.
But I think that goes beyond just "Rebirth." I think that's what monthly comics should be as well. Every issue should embrace being new and unexpected for the historical reader, but at the same time, every issue is somebody's first issue, and they should be able to pick it up and grasp what's going on. And that's certainly what our goal is.