As Robert Venditti finishes his long run on Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, he's connecting multiple threads from the series' history while exploring each of the classic Green Lanterns of Earth as they prepare to battle the Darkstars.
When the "Darkstars Rising" storyline ends with issue #50, the series itself also concludes with that August finale.
The series conclusion will also be Venditti's final issue on the Green Lantern franchise, a corner of the DCU that he has been guiding for several years. In fact, combining Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps with Venditti's work on the Green Lantern universe during the "New 52,' the writer's entire body of work on Hal Jordan is a whopping 85 issues, although it started over with a new #1 for the "Rebirth" initiative.
With this week's release of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #47, Newsarama talked to Venditti to find out more about his time on the series, why each of the Green Lanterns is going on a different mission to recruit help, and what readers can expect from the conclusion of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
Newsarama: Rob, since the last time I talked to you, readers found out that the Darkstar threat is specifically connected to Hal. And we've seen how some story elements from early in the series are playing into what's happening now. This must have been planned for some time? And now you've got this personal connection to Hal?
Robert Venditti: Yeah, the Darkstar arc was something we already had planned for quite aw hile. But as things began to develop and finish up with Metal, it seemed like an opportunity to connect what we were doing with the moment in Metal where Hal wears the Element X armor, as all the heroes do, and that sort of leads to some interesting things that are coming out across a lot of books featuring the Justice League team members.
So it just seemed like a nice way to have that connectivity across the universe without changing our story in any way, because it was always a very Hal-centric story due to his relationship with Tomar-Tu that we built up, and moments that we've seeded throughout the series with Hal pondering, in a very natural way, if the Green Lantern way of enforcing the law is working because so many criminals end up getting loose and doing the same things, if not worse things, again and again.
Nrama: Along that same line of thinking, you've also been questioning what justice is and whether lethal force is necessary. Was that part of what you're addressing with Hal's exploration of the Corps' effectiveness?
Venditti: Yeah, I think it goes to the heart of who our characters are as heroes and what it means to be someone who has the authority to enforce the law. And the Darkstars, as much of a threat as they are physically, in terms of their power set and how formidable they are as combatants, they're also a philosophical threat in that, like the Darkstars themselves, who are all made up of former police officers, in some ways, the citizens of the universe themselves have begun to question if the Green Lanterns' way really works.
And what it really comes down to on a larger, I guess subtextual level is the idea of hope and believing that you can learn from mistakes and become better people no matter how bad those mistakes have been.
The Green Lantern Corps is a group that believes that that's true. And we all deserve chances to make amends and become better people.
But the Darkstars have given up on that notion and think that you should get one shot at it, and if you mess it up, it's over for you.
I think that's a very villainous way of looking not just at the idea of crime but at what it means to be a person and to make mistakes and to exist.
So it just felt like, with the Green Lantern Corps being a police organization, sort of viewing that through the lens of lethal force fit very well with what I was trying to say about the characters.
Nrama: Let's talk about those characters, because you're following more than just Hal Jordan here. All the Earth Lanterns are important parts of this storyline. I find it interesting that they're all spread in different places going after different strategies. Did you choose their roles to fit with who they are as characters?
Venditti: Yeah, that was exactly the idea. It is Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and it does feature the four classic Earth Lanterns - Hal, John, Guy and Kyle. And the idea of the entire series, for me, is how these characters are also very different. And while they wield a similar power set in the Green Lantern ring, what makes them who they are is all very unique and separate from each other.
So I really wanted to focus on who they were as individuals in this storyline, going on their separate missions that would take them to some surprising places to confront some surprising things before bringing them all together for the big finish.
What they've been up to is realizing how formidable the Darkstar threat is.
John Stewart has sent them out to go recruit others who might be interested in helping the Green Lantern Corps, even if, in the past, they've been at cross purposes. That includes characters like General Zod, the New Gods and Orion, Hector Hammond.
Now, what he needs those characters for, we'll find out in issue #48 and #49 what John's big, master strategy is.
But it seemed like a good way to really get to the core of who these characters are.
For example, Guy Gardner, if you read issue #46, you see him become a member of the Darkstars. And so now, he's gone after his father, who we know from Guy's continuity. Now Guy is going to use his mantle to punish him.
Hal has gone to get Hector Hammond, for reasons that are very important to John's master plan. And Hector exemplifies, in some ways, the rightness of what the Green Lanterns believe. You know, he's a former villain who wants to be a hero like Hal, even though he sometimes goes about that in pretty unpredictable ways.
And so that leads Hal to really get down to the nature of who he is, as he's challenged by Hector in terms of confronting his own emotional state that you alluded to earlier, his own guilt over past actions, not only with the Darkstars and Element X armor and those kinds of things, but also Tomar Tu, who is someone Hal saw himself as a mentor of. And now Tomar Tu has gone so wrong as to become the leader of this opposition, lethal justice police force.
So Hector Hammond helps Hal confront those things and really get down to who Hal is as a hero, to prepare him for what this final, big confrontation is going to be.
Nrama: You mentioned issue #46, and Rob, those scenes with Hector and Hal were a lot of fun to read. Would love to see more of them together?
Venditti: Yes, we will see more of them together. Hector is uber-powerful now because of events that happened in prior issues where he now has mental powers that surpass even the mental powers he had before.
And we're going to see exactly how much power he has.
But it's a fun pairing to see Hector, who has so much mental power, be almost childlike in his awe of Hal Jordan. He's almost like a fanboy. You know? He wants to be like Hal. He wants to be a hero. And as powerful as he is, he's looking to Hal for inspiration. I don't know, it's just fun to be able to write with the two of them.
I've always found Hector to be such an interesting character, not just in terms of how he acts and what his powers are, but the visual of him I think is very compelling on the page.
I'm fortunate to have some great artists draw him, including Fernando Pasarin on issue #47. It's amazing to be able to work with him after all the great work he's done in the past on the Green Lantern franchise.
He came in on issue #47, which is a very complicated issue featuring a lot of characters, and absolutely nailed not just the look of everything, but the tone and the drama and the emotion of it.
There's a lot of emotion in this issue, particularly with Hal and with Guy.
Nrama: You're done with the Green Lantern franchise after issue #50, right?
Venditti: Yeah. And this series is actually ending with issue #50. So this is the big finale of the series.
This is what we've been building toward. As you read this entire arc and the prelude that started in #42 and #43, you can really see how much we reach back into the series' past and show you how we're connecting all these threads that we've been building as far back as issue #1 for all the characters.
So you can see that this is something that's been part of our planned architecture for the series for a really long time.
Nrama: What comes next for the Green Lanterns after issue #50 ends this series?
Venditti: That hasn't been announced yet, so I probably should not say.
Nrama: Then to finish up, what can readers expect on the new few issues before the big finale?
Venditti: The next few issues, it's a huge confrontation between the entire Green Lantern Corps and all the Darkstars. Lots of twists and surprises where we see what John Stewart has been planning and how these specific pieces, be it Hector Hammond or General Zod or any of the other characters, fit into this plan.
We're going to tie the bow on a lot of the subplots and threads that we've had throughout the series.
But most importantly, it's just about these four guys who come from very different backgrounds and couldn't be more opposite as individuals, but when they come together, there's just nobody better than these four Lanterns working together as a team. It's a true case of the sum being better than the parts.
And I feel really fortunate to have been on the series this long. When DC first asked me about doing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the hope is always that you make it to issue #12, and then after that, you make it to #25, then after that, you really want to make it to #50. That's a really long run in the modern era of comics, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to do that, to see the series all the way through to the end the way I wanted to see it to the end.
I'll miss writing these characters, but on to Hawkman, continuing with that, and continuing with Damage, and then there are a couple of other things I have in the works at DC that haven't been announced yet, but hopefully you'll be hearing about them soon.