Green Lantern Report from San Diego Comic-Con

This Saturday at the San Diego Comic-Con there was a Green Lantern panel featuring Bernard Chang (Green Lantern Corps), Van Jensen (Green Lantern Corps), Charles Soule (Red Lanterns), Robert Venditti (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps), and Brad Walker (Green Lantern: New Guardians). Additionally, DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and editorial director Bobbie Chase were both in attendance, plus DC head of sales Bob Wayne acting as moderator. Newsrama’s Albert Ching summarized what was said.

“The panel begins with talk of the upcoming ‘Lights Out’ story and new villain Relic, who derives his powers from science. ‘He’s going to present a threat to pretty much all of the Corps,’ Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti says. Red Lanterns writer Soule says he likes the fact that the character is literally larger than life.

Soule prompts the panel to give a little information on what the ‘Lights Out’ story is about. ‘Relic basically has this theory. It was a theory that was debunked.’ ‘There’s a reason it’s called ‘Lights Out,” Soule says. ‘There’s a big problem with the lights. Relic has a theory as to why that’s happening and a plan to solve everything,’ but the Corps sees it differently.

‘One of the things that we wanted to do as new writers on these titles was to use this crossover to reconfigure some of your preconceptions on where these stories can go,’ Soule says, citing Guy Gardner as a Red Lantern as an example.

‘Everything we’re doing, whether it’s immediately obvious or not, is leading to (‘Lights Out’),’ Venditti says, with much of the payoff becoming obvious as of Villains Month.

Series writer Van Jensen on Green Lantern Corps #24: ‘It’s really seeing the impact of Relic’s attack on the Corps.’ He says he’s having a lot of moments where he ‘can’t believe’ what he just wrote. ‘After ‘Lights Out’ comes out, you can’t say that we didn’t take some big chances with this book.’

Venditti points out that he, Jensen and Soule are all pretty new to DC readers, and that ‘Lights Out’ is a major way for the writers to introduce themselves to fans. Soule says some ‘gigantic things’ are going to happen that, if fans heard what they were now, they’d think they were crazy.

Green Lantern Corps artist Bernard Chang talks up the fact pace of ‘Lights Out,’ and says, ‘There’s a lot of character play going on,’ including new recruits to the Corps. ‘I want people to read the books and gain a sense of emotion as you’re flipping through the pages,’ Chang adds.

On Green Lantern: New Guardians, artist Brad Walker says he likes how Kyle Rayner, as the only White Lantern, is now once again ‘a corps of one,’ as he was when he was introduced. ‘He’s got a level of power that he’s not really aware of, and he’s kind of discovering it as he goes along. He’s going to work that whole spectrum.’

Relic appears first in New Guardians. ‘He recognizes the light spectrum, and he has interest in it, and he operates as a scientist does, and immediately starts experimenting on everything around him.’

Venditti says Relic ‘weaponizes science’ for his own purposes. ‘His technology is advanced to a level that probably even the Lantern Corps hasn’t experienced,’ Walker says. ‘It’s from a different world. It’s growth-based more so than being built.’ To that end, Walker enjoys not being bound to the laws of the real world. ‘You can draw a ship that bubbles and bulges in a disgusting manner.’

Soule on Red Lanterns: ‘Red Lanterns is the book that features Guy Gardner. In Red Lanterns #21, he was assigned on an undercover mission to see what was going on in the Reds. You can’t be a Red Lantern unless you’re really fired up, and in doing so, Guy Gardner went too far, and he got so mad that he beat the leader of the Red Lanterns to death.’ Soule says Gardner will thus not be sure what he wants to do next, or if he wants to stay a Red Lantern.

‘Charles is doing such a great job with Guy Gardner,’ Venditti says. ‘In Red Lanterns #22, I think Charles has set the bar for the best line of dialogue from the new creative team so far.’ Soule says he wasn’t sure the line would be approved until the last-minute.

October’s Green Lantern Annual #2, out Oct. 23, will open up new plotlines and ‘the next longform story arc of what the Green Lantern books are going to be,’ Venditti says.

Audience Q & A time

Q: What about Alan Scott? I know he’s in Earth 2.

A: Harras says Scott has his own story going on in Earth 2 to watch out for. The Entities will be a part of the stories the current creative teams have planned.

Q: Sinestro in the near future?

A: ‘Can’t talk about that,’ Venditti replies.

New Guardians will have more of a focus on Kyle than the ‘color team,’ Walker says, but those characters could still appear. ‘I think it’s nice to have a book where he’s the star. Having those characters not constantly be on a team together lets us focus on Kyle.’

Q: Are there any plans for Saint Walker?

A: ‘He definitely has a storyline, it’s going to carry forward post-’Lights Out,” Venditti says.

Q: What does the panel like about the Green Lantern mythos?

A: For Venditti, it’s the high-concept of cops in space. Soule likes the hard sci-fi aspects. Jensen enjoys the imagination that can be deployed with using the rings. Walker likes how it’s ‘Star Wars meets superheroes.’ Chang: ‘Design and emotion. I’m an emotional guy.’

Q: Is there a White Lantern oath?

A: Walker says he’s not sure…and he’ll ask New Guardians series writer Justin Jordan (not on the panel) about it.

Q: Are there any new Earth-based Lanterns on the way, and if there’s a new Green Lantern movie coming? (‘I know a lot of people say that movie sucks,’ he says, ‘But give them a second chance.’)

A: The panel jokes off the movie question, and answers that they don’t want to reveal anything yet about possible new Lanterns.

Q: Will there be more ‘intimate,’ Earth-based stories for Hal Jordan?

A: ‘Definitely,’ Venditti says — he’s a long-term planner, and that’s in the works — but for right now, the future is dealing with outer space conflicts.’”

I have to admit that the current direction of all the Green Lantern books is really interesting, but I’m very fearful of this massive series crossing villain, Relic. The Johns closing saga of Volthoom was absolutely awful. I would love to see DC allow their writers at least a year for their characters in their own books to forge their own paths before being slaved to a mega-event. And I would LOVE to see Sinestro stay out of the DC Universe for at least a year! That character got a lot of tremendous story in the last few years, more so than the Lanterns did, so I say leave him alone for awhile.

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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