The Green Lantern sector of the DCU is expanding in May, with news that Peter Tomasi is leaving “Green Lantern Corps” to launch a new book within the mythos, entitled “Emerald Warriors.” And, obviously impressed with the large-scale sci-fi adventures Tony Bedard is telling in the critically acclaimed “R.E.B.E.L.S.” each month, leadership at DC Comics has handed him writing duties on “Green Lantern Corps.”
Beginning on May 12 with “Green Lantern Corps” #48, Bedard will team with rising star artist Ardian Syaf to tell the post-“Blackest Night” tales of two Green Lanterns that come to no surprise: John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. But the dynamic duo will be joined by a third featured Green Lantern that may leave some readers scratching their heads: the Guardian of the Universe, Ganthet.
Ganthet was first introduced to the greater DCU mythos in the 1992 graphic novel, “Green Lantern: Ganthet’s Tale” by Larry Niven and John Byrne, and has often been shown as a rebellious member of the Guardians. It was Ganthet who first gave Kyle Rayner a Green Lantern ring, and he was also integral in "deputizing" Lanterns across the spectrum during "Blackest Night."
CBR News checked in with Bedard about his plum (and green) new assignment and found that not only is he a long-time fan of Green Lantern character but he believes that there is no higher honor than serving in the Green Lantern Corps.
CBR News: While “R.E.B.E.L.S.” has enjoyed its own level of success, “Green Lantern Corps” is obviously a higher profile assignment. Was “R.E.B.E.L.S.” your effective try-out for this title or was writing the “Blackest Night” tie-in issues what brought you to “Green Lantern” family of books?
Tony Bedard: It might've been a combination of the two. When “Blackest Night” was being put together, I contacted Geoff to see if “R.E.B.E.L.S.” could play along. It just made sense: his cosmic saga should affect my cosmic series, right? Geoff graciously agreed, and “R.E.B.E.L.S.” #10 went over so well, that I got invited to help on some other “Blackest Night” issues and it just kind of snowballed from there. But whatever the reason, I’m just glad to be part of the team with Geoff and Pete. It’s the biggest gig of my career.
While you’re not writing Hal Jordan in “Green Lantern Corps,” what’s your affinity for the character? And are you at all surprised that Geoff Johns and company have been able to raise GL’s popularity to the level of Batman and Superman since his “Rebirth” in 2004-05?
Creatively speaking, Geoff’s been on fire for a while now. I’m pretty sure he could make “Sugar & Spike” into a Top 10 book. That said, I’ve been a Green Lantern fan since I started reading comics, though that has more to do with the overall GL concept than with Hal. I think the GL costume is the best superhero costume in comics, bar none. And I love the idea of this cosmic police force and the endless variety of alien Green Lanterns. It never made much difference to me if it was Hal, John, Kyle, Guy or G’nort -- if a Green Lantern’s involved, I’m interested.
Guy Gardner is moving on to Peter Tomasi’s new book “Emerald Warriors” with Kilowog, but you get John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. Can you talk a bit about both of those characters, maybe what you perceive as their strengths, how you see them interacting, and the specific role they play within the Green Lantern Corps hierarchy?
I liked Kyle from the moment Ron Marz rolled him out. His quirks and flaws made him immediately sympathetic. Hal was a fearless test pilot, a breed apart. That’s heroic, but it can make him feel a little distant. Kyle was the closest thing to someone like you or me getting the ring. And when Grant Morrison put Kyle on the JLA, I came to love him even more. He’s an everyman character fighting alongside legends and discovering that he’s worthy after all. And Kyle wears his heart on his sleeve. John, on the other hand, is more of a mystery. John’s quieter, brooding, reserved -- but still waters run deep. John’s an interesting contradiction in that he’s both an architect and a Marine. He’s both a builder and a destroyer and that makes for great inner conflict. I like to think that other Green Lanterns are intimidated by John Stewart and his super-complex ring constructs.
The big news is that Ganthet will also be riding shotgun with Kyle and John. What makes him click, what do you love about him and do you see him playing a Yoda-like role to the Corps members or does he mix it up every issue like Mr. Miyagi?
There is a bit of that Yoda thing when you’re immortal and you’ve seen the universe from the point of view of a Guardian. But Ganthet is also embarking on a journey of inner growth, learning to deal with emotions that he hasn’t felt in eons. It’s neat to think that someone like him has a lot to learn from his mortal partners about matters of the heart.
While the relationship between Ganthet and Kyle has grown closer over the years, their initial time together was, shall we say, strained. What’s their relationship like today?
I think Kyle and Ganthet are just fine these days. In fact, they complement each other well – Kyle’s all heart and Ganthet’s more cerebral. That means they have a lot to teach each other.
Assuming Barry Allen is no longer a Blue Lantern post-“Blackest Night” and the Atom is no longer a member of the Indigo Tribe, why does Ganthet stay on with the GLC? And is this explored in your series?
Some of this has to do with how “Blackest Night” and “Brightest Day” play out, so it’s probably best to say it’ll all make sense once the books are out. But Ganthet’s always been a bit of a renegade amongst the Guardians of the Universe, so it’s not too surprising that he keeps doing things his own way.
What else can you share about your first arc? Can you tease a villain?
Well, the first arc is called ‘Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns,’ if that’s any sort of clue. The Alpha-Lanterns are sort of the Internal Affairs division of the Green Lantern Corps, and they are some seriously messed-up, scary dudes. Something will go terribly wrong with the Alphas, and a fate worse than death threatens John, Kyle and Ganthet. Especially John.
Will Hal Jordan be appearing in “Green Lantern Corps” from time to time? And what other characters will be appearing on a regular basis?
I’m sure we may see Hal now and then, though I don’t have specific plans for any appearances as of now. I’m concentrating on Kyle, John and Ganthet, along with Kyle’s girlfriend -- and Sinestro’s daughter -- Soranik Natu. And we’ll also be seeing a lot of one of the toughest Green Lanterns anywhere, Hannu. He’s the big rock guy who hates using his ring when his fists will do. He comes from a race of warriors who feel it’s a disgrace to have to rely on a weapon.
Those five are the main cast of “Green Lantern Corps,” though we’ll see plenty of other Lanterns passing through. There are so many cool planets and alien races to explore, so many corners of the universe to flesh out.
What role do you see the Green Lantern Corps playing within the DCU in terms of storytelling and how do you differentiate their adventures so they couldn’t just as easily be told in the pages of “Justice League of America” or even “R.E.B.E.L.S.”?
To begin with, the Corps and L.E.G.I.O.N. are very different organizations. Dox’s peacekeepers work for profit, and they enforce local laws. The Corps enforces the universal laws of the Guardians, and they are above such concerns as money. The Corps are revered across the galaxy. They embody a higher ideal, and they often give their lives in the line of duty. There is no higher honor than being a Green Lantern, and that’s the sort of grandeur I want to convey in “Green Lantern Corps.”
Any chance “Green Lantern Corps” will crossover with either of those popular team books because I believe there was a “Justice League of America”/”R.E.B.E.L.S.” crossover planned at some point?
The “Justice League of America”/”R.E.B.E.L.S.” thing has evolved as the “War of the Supermen” event evolved, and James Robinson will end up handling Vril Dox’s role in the fate of New Krypton himself.
As for other crossovers, I think that in the wake of “Blackest Night” it might be best to just concentrate on our own books for a while and make them shine on their own merits. Especially with Pete’s new “Emerald Warriors” series launching, we need to make sure that the three books have their own distinct personalities. We’re not going to water down the franchise by all doing the same thing. Green Lantern is a multi-faceted concept, and will support three series quite well.
Have you seen any pages from artist Ardian Syaf and what does this up-and-comer bring to the project?
I’ve seen his other projects and I’m very impressed, but we are just now getting up and running so I’ll have to wait another week or two before seeing “Green Lantern Corps” art from him. I’m really, really looking forward to it. This is a great opportunity for both of us.
Can you give us any updates on what’s coming in “R.E.B.E.L.S.,” like a certain new team member, and “The Great Ten”? And are you working on anything else these days?
The whole Starro saga concludes in “R.E.B.E.L.S.” #14, and after that we’ll be seeing some exciting changes for Vril Dox and company. There will be a new L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters in the Vega System -- the most lawless sector in the galaxy. Starfire will join the cast, and there will be a lot of intrigue involving the Tamaraneans, planet Rann, and other cosmic locations and races that don’t fall under the Green Lantern umbrella. And we’ll see a showdown between Dox, his villainous son, and his father, Brainiac.
Over in “The Great Ten,” we’ll continue exploring who these Chinese superheroes are. By the way, “The Great Ten” has been a joy to work on. Stanley Lau’s covers are gorgeous, and Scott McDaniel has brought such passion to the interior art. He does so much research, sets up all these great details, lovely panel borders, and each issue really reflects the character it focuses on. In fact, “The Great Ten” is less about the overarching plot and more about giving some depth to these 10 characters, most of whom haven’t really gotten much stage time up till now. I’m really, really proud of that book.
“Green Lantern Corps” #48, featuring art by Ardian Syaf, hits shelves on May 12.