Robert Venditti had a big task ahead of him when the Green Lantern baton was passed to him after Geoff Johns' run concluded with The End. We sat down with Robert to talk about how he and the rest of the GL writing team set out to tell their own story, what's happened so far, and where they're going to be taking Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.
Charlie Chang: Taking over the reins of the giant universe built around Green Lantern, what did you set out to do with Hal and the Green Lantern Corps?
Robert Venditti: I looked at what had transpired coming out of Geoff’s run, looked at those stories, and I knew ahead of time what was going to happen before I pitched my story and I tried to this of what conflicts would naturally rise of that. That’s what it’s all about with a serialized monthly book. You want to have a flow of storylines. I didn’t want to come in and grind the gears and go off in a different direction so we’re very much building on that. Geoff’s run ended up with several very large, very climactic, and well told battles where a lot of Lanterns were lost and so one of the elements we set out to do was introducing a whole bunch of new recruits and we get to see the Green Lantern Corps through their eyes. The idea is that through all these events: a recruit is chosen, they come, they die, and then their ring is immediately shot off to go find the next replacement. By now we’ve been through so many recruits and cycled through so many deaths that now, this generation coming in are like the Bad News Bears.
They’re going to be good ballplayers someday but for now they’re a little rough and so that was the concept of a lot of these guys coming in. A very small individual day in and day out who overcomes that bully without every throwing a punch is actually really good at overcoming fear. So we looked for more characters and other ways we could expand on that idea. At the same time with the Corps having been decimated due to the previous events they need leadership, and Hal, whether or not he is the guy who wants to be a leader, he is a leader. He’s a charismatic guy who’s brought the Corps through a lot of events and they’ve always come out on top so people are just drawn to him. So now how does he deal with being a leader when he doesn’t really want to be one. At some point, if the little ducklings are following him across the street, he’s going to have to make sure they get there safe whether he wants to or not. Even though that is almost completely against his nature.
CC: How far have you planned the new GL rogues gallery? For so long, Hal’s equal or sometimes better has been Sinestro. How have you thought about villains for the GL Corps?
RV: The current Rogues Gallery if you want to call it that is pretty deep and I certainly wanted to add to that. From the first issue, in Green Lantern #21, we introduced two new villains who will be around long term. One is Relic who was the focus of our first large crossover story arc called Lights Out. If you haven’t read it yet you can find out all about Relic through Green Lantern Corps, New Guardians, and Red Lanterns, and it concludes in Green Lantern Annual #2. Then we have another character called Prixiam Nol-Anj who escapes from the Science Cells (Green Lantern Prison) and becomes a Star Sapphire and again, looking at how the rings choose people in different ways, she’s chosen as a Star Sapphire in a very different way and reason than the other Sapphires we’ve seen. She’s someone who is going to be a very long term threat. Other than those two major villains, the Rogues Gallery is definitely something we want to keep building on and flesh out, not just in Green Lantern but also in all of the other books.
CC: Green Lantern is unique similar to the Bat books because there are these other books that tie into the mythology and lends itself to doing mini events. As the Green Lantern team, how are you, Van Jensen, Charles Soule, and Justin Jordan working out the interconnectivity of your books?
RV: By nature, I’m a very organized and long term planner. If you ask my wife it drives her nuts. So I’m very far down the road and whether people realize it or not, things that happened in Green Lantern #21 that you didn’t even realize were significant, you’ll find us coming back to some things in 18 months. Everything we’re doing is building on top of the other so you’re going to get self-contained arcs and feel like that story came to a close with a satisfying ending but as you read the next arc you’ll realize it was building on that concluded arc and it’ll be the same way three arcs down the road. Every story we’re telling is building on the last one. That’s very much the long term drive of the whole line.
CC: Will we be seeing Simon Baz come into these books?
RV: I do have plans for Simon but not in the immediate future. I feel like coming out of Geoff’s run, it just felt like this was going to be Hal’s story for a while and focused on the Corps getting back on it’s feet. Part of my pitch wasn’t just what could happen with Hal but what could happen with all the Earth Lanterns including Simon Baz. The great thing is all of us writers get together in the writer’s room and we all come up with our own things that eventually mesh together into this unified vision which is what you saw in Lights Out and hopefully people will like where we continue with go with Hal and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps.
This interview was conducted and written by Kindle Comics expert Charlie Chang. Interested in comics and graphic novels? Sign up for Comics Delivers, a weekly email featuring the best in comics each week - from weekly booklists to deals and exclusive content from creators.