Kyle Rayner Stars in Colorful GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS

Kyle Rayner Stars in NEW GUARDIANS

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There are a lot of changes coming to the DC Universe after Flashpoint wraps in August, but not everything's getting a major rehaul.

Though the Green Lantern books are all receiving new #1s along with the rest of the line, the creative teams are remaining mostly intact, and look to be proceeding with established storylines. And why not? Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps were both in the top 10 for quantity sales last month, with Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors not far behind at No. 17.

Writer Tony Bedard is moving just across the street, switching from Green Lantern Corps to new title Green Lantern: New Guardians, one intended to explore the entire Emotional Spectrum of the DC Universe. He's keeping both artist Tyler Kirkham and main character Kyle Rayner, with Bedard saying part of his goal for the seires is to "leave readers marveling at how cool Kyle is."

Newsarama chatted up Bedard via email, to try and find out more about exactly who will be comprising the New Guardians, why Kyle has stuck around when some of his '90s peer have not, and the undeniable appeal of orange light-wielder Larfleeze.

[Newsarama Note: This interview was conducted before the cover of Green Lantern: New Guardians #1, strongly hinting at several members of the cast, was released.]

Newsarama: Tony, clearly September is bringing a lot of new DC books and a lot of new creative teams. But you've been working on Green Lantern already on a different title — so for you, is New Guardians a big change, or sort of a natural evolution of what you have already been doing?

Tony Bedard: I think New Guardians is more of a natural evolution for a couple of reasons. First, New Guardians will deal extensively with the other Ring Corps -- the Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, etc. It's something we've explored in the latest Green Lantern Corps issues and it's something I really want to go further into. The second reason is that New Guardians will really focus on the character of Kyle Rayner, who has been a major star in my Green Lantern Corps run. My mission in New Guardians is to leave readers marveling at how cool Kyle is, and how cool these new Ring Corps are.

Nrama: Another familiar element is artist Tyler Kirkham. Given how many writers are on books with different artists come September, is there a feeling of security in still being paired with Kirkham?

Bedard: The Green Lantern books have been DC's best franchise for a while now (OK, maybe I'm a little biased) and so we're not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. All three GL series are retaining their current creative teams, and though the content of the books will definitely be fresh, we're not putting the lie to everything that got us here. You'll see what I mean when the books come out in September.

Nrama: I know it's still way early and a lot of stuff is still under wraps, but in terms of a mission statement for the book, it seems that while Green Lantern proper will be focusing on Hal and Green Lantern Corps will be focusing on the Corps (duh), it looks like this one is going to be expanding the greater mythology of the whole Green Lantern world and the entire color/emotional spectrum — is that something resembling being correct?

Bedard: That's very much on target. I've said it before: the thing that I love about Green Lantern isn't any particular character, but the fact that there's so much potential for new stories and new discoveries in the GL universe.

Nrama: We know that Kyle Rayner is the lead character, but beyond that, will this be pretty much the same New Guardians crew that formed during Blackest Night — Sinestro, Atrocitus, Carol Ferris, Larfleeze, Indigo-1 and Saint Walker? Effectively a team book?

Bedard: I don't want to give away too much about the team, other than the lineup will be a bit unexpected. Also, it will take a little time to assemble this team, and it won't be a team in the classical sense. They won't be waiting around in their rainbow watchtower waiting to respond to crimes and disasters. The whole reason why members of the different Corps would need to come together is one of the central surprises of the book, but I think you're going to find it a pleasant surprise.

Nrama: Speaking of Kyle, who you've been writing in Green Lantern Corps — to be completely blunt, a lot of Kyle's contemporaries aren't around in any type of prominent position (or at all) in DC Comics these days. What do you think it is about Kyle's character that's allowed him to endure?

Bedard: Kyle is unlike any other Green Lantern. In many ways, he doesn't fit the profile. He was given his ring by Ganthet, not chosen by the ring. He's an artist, not a jet jockey or marine sniper or warrior. Kyle is, in short, the closest thing to what would happen if you or I got the ring. I think that's a big reason why readers respond to him. He's the most everyman Green Lantern, and yet when the chips are down Kyle has what it takes to face down any enemy. It makes you feel like if Kyle can do it, maybe all of us can. Kyle speaks to the potential in all of us. Plus, he's funny, and chicks dig him.

Nrama: Let's look at some of the other characters a bit more —Larfleeze has become a real breakout star for DC in recent years. Is he going to be playing a role in the series?

Bedard: Can't really tell ya if Larfleeze is in there. But he is a whole lot of fun, isn't he? I'm a big fan of humor in comics. I don't think it makes the serious moments any less serious. I think that if you laugh with a character, then you care what happens to that character.

Nrama: Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns have their own ongoing starting in September, by Peter Milligan — will that affect the Red Lantern presence in this book at all?

Bedard: One of the tricks you have to learn on a franchise like Green Lantern is not to step on the toes of your fellow creators. So I'm going to keep up with what Milligan has planned so we don't work at cross purposes, but I think we can have a Red Lantern presence in New Guardians without interfering in all the cool stuff to come in Red Lanterns.

Nrama: By the time the book hits in September, a lot more folks will know Sinestro and Carol Ferris thanks to this week's Green Lantern movie. If they end up in New Guardians, is there any type of extra responsibility in writing characters like that, even if they're (presumably) in a much different place here than they are in the film?

Bedard: It's the same responsibility you have when you handle any of our major characters. In fact, I feel that more when I wrote Superman or Batman. Luckily, these characters are often so well defined that you know when you are doing something out of character with them. Sinestro is a great villain with majesty and dignity. You never punk that guy. As long as you remember those sorts of guidelines you usually do fine with these characters. And if you cross the line, your editor is always there to get you back on track.

Nrama: Saint Walker and Indigo-1 are a little more mysterious and a little less established than their fellow New Guardians. Will you be exploring these characters?

Bedard: I feel very comfortable with Saint Walker. The Indigos, on the other hand, are a mystery — and they're supposed to be. But whether it's Blue or Indigo or whatever, my goal in New Guardians is to come away from every encounter with some new understanding of what makes each Corps unique. Ideally, you'll end every issue of New Guardians with a new reason why Kyle is cool and why a given Corps is cool. This is a chance to keep widening and deepening the Lantern mythos. That's all I ever wanted in a writing assignment.

Nrama: Finally, I'll throw out the classical final question — is there anything else readers should know about Green Lantern: New Guardians?

Bedard: The key word is "New." You want to discover something new about the Green Lantern universe? This is the book you'll want to be reading. We're going to drink deep from that endless jug of adventure that is Green Lantern and every sip will be a different flavor!

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