This summer Europe will sink, the Green Lanterns will have to make far-reaching decisions about the future of the Corps and lives will be lost in both the DC and the Flashpoint Universes thanks to writer Tony Bedard.
Under Bedard's pen the action kicks into high gear this month when DC Comics' "Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman" pits the Flashpoint Aquaman against Wonder Woman and the Amazons in global war. One of the main "Flashpoint" titles, the three-issue "Emperor Aquaman" miniseries features the art of Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes as it delves into the causes behind the Atlantis-Themyscria War, revealing everything from Aquaman's new origin to why he sank Western Europe.
At the same time in the regular DC Universe, "War of the Green Lanterns" is coming to a close -- but as Bedard's "War Of The Green Lanterns Aftermath" will show, the action isn't quite over yet. Dealing with the fallout from the "War" crossover, July's two-part "Aftermath" is drawn by Miguel Sepulveda and deals with the fallout from the human Lanterns' actions in "War," including their choice to wear replacement emotional spectrum rings. Ending promptly before DC's line-wide September relaunch, "Aftermath" promises to change way the entire Corps looks at itself and its human members as well as tying up loose ends from "War."
Despite a full plate of writing wholesale mayhem and murder, CBR News was able to snag writer Tony Bedard in order to talk about both new series. Though he kept mum on events surrounding "Aftermath," Bedard regaled us with the differences between Flashpoint and DCU Aquaman, explained the thinking behind the Green Lanterns' choice of replacement rings and gave us his views on Geoff Johns' multiple character reboots.
CBR News: Aquaman's been out of the DCU spotlight for a while, and prior to his return it seemed both fans and writers weren't quite sure what to do with the character. Do you think after "Brightest Day" and "Flashpoint" people will look at Aquaman with a new level of respect? Was that part of the goal for these two events?
Tony Bedard: I don't know if it was the goal, but it certainly had the effect of raising Aquaman's profile. He's hotter now than he's been in years, and he's also been returned to what I think is his best, most quintessential version. I happen to like my Aquaman with two hands and an orange shirt. But it shouldn't be a surprise that Aquaman's enjoying this new wave of popularity since Geoff Johns is behind his comeback. Dusting off moribund characters has become Geoff's stock in trade -- The Justice Society, Black Adam, Green Lantern and Sinestro are proof of this. All of them were considered second stringers not so long ago.
Aquaman looks pretty deranged on the covers to "Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman" and we know his war is tearing apart the Flashpoint world. Does Aquaman play the role of the villain in the Flashpoint universe?
Emperor Aquaman could certainly be seen as the villain, but it's not as simple as that. He's conflicted about what he's done and he's tortured by some terrible breaks that he feels have forced him to become such a monster. One of the cool things about "Flashpoint" is that it presents a world that could have been ours if only a few things had gone differently. In Aquaman's case, he was separated from his father earlier than in the normal DC Universe, and it made all the difference.
Along those lines, what is the main difference overall between is the Flashpoint Aquaman and the regular DCU Aquaman?
The main difference is that in the normal DCU, Aquaman was raised by his human father and learned surface world values before returning to the deep to take over Atlantis. In "Flashpoint," Aquaman was separated from his father at too early an age and grew up adopting the harsh, war-like values of Atlantis, which is more like ancient Sparta. It's like if Superman didn't have Ma and Pa Kent to instill him with humility and solid Midwestern values. These characters aren't simply defined by their powers, but by their values. So Emperor Aquaman grew up more hard-edged and when war comes to Atlantis, he doesn't hold back.
Will the "Aquaman" books flip around in time to show us this new Atlantean origin as well as catch readers up to date on the current war?
Yeah, "Emperor Aquaman" jumps around in time, giving us backstory on how he sank Europe, on his origin and on his relationship with Mera. The current-day scenes will set up his final battle with Wonder Woman.
Readers know Aquaman and Wonder Woman were once meant to be married for political reasons, but where does Mera fit in to all this?
Aquaman's heart belongs to Mera, who has emerged as one of the most interesting and powerful women in the DC Universe. She was great in "Brightest Day" and I'm having a lot of fun with her in "Emperor Aquaman." In fact, she's central to why Aquaman sinks the European continent.
Along the same lines, how is Aquaman related to Hippolyta? We know she dies, but her connection to events is elusive after that.
Hippolyta's death is a big turning point in the relationship between Atlantis and the Amazons -- it's the flashpoint of the war that threatens the entire world.
Is Aquaman an integral part of the main "Flashpoint" comic and Barry Allen storyline?
The war between Atlantis and the Amazons is the central conflict in the world of Flashpoint, so yes, Aquaman is a huge part of the event. We'll see the blood feud between Aquaman and Wonder Woman reach its conclusion in the actual "Flashpoint" miniseries, while "Emperor Aquaman" and "Wonder Woman and The Furies" will give the backstory from completely different points of view. I think readers are going to want to know what could have possibly compelled Aquaman to drown millions of people -- not to mention how he did it.
Since Aquaman is one of the characters we already know is sticking around after the September relaunch, are there any plans for you to be involved in his future.
We'll soon have announcements about what happens after "Flashpoint," but at this point I've got nothing to say on the matter. And isn't not knowing more fun sometimes?
Moving from Aquaman's war to the one the Green Lanterns are in the midst of, DC seems to really trust you to wage war in their universe.
There are many fronts in this never-ending battle. It's a privilege to serve on the front lines. It's lots of fun, too.
We're nearing the end of "War Of The Green Lanterns" now -- anything coming up in the crossover you can tell us about?
It's actually hard to talk about the aftermath without giving away too much about the War. Suffice to say, the end of "War Of The Green Lanterns" is going to blow your mind and upend a lot of things we take for granted about the Green Lantern Corps. "Aftermath" will show our main characters coming to terms with those changes and with each other.
Does "Aftermath" tie up any lingering threads and set the stage for the September relaunch of the Green Lantern titles?
Again, I'm not going into anything that happens post-"Flashpoint." I will say that the events in "War Of The Green Lanterns" have such a profound effect on the friendships and the bonds within the Corps that we really needed more room to explore that fallout. There's plenty of action in "Aftermath," but it's really a very character-driven two-parter.
As of right now in "War," the four human Lanterns - Guy, Hal, John and Kyle - have each picked four rings out of the emotional spectrum. Can you take a minute to touch on each one and talk about why you paired that ring with that Lantern?
I suppose Hal chose Yellow since he's had the most experience channeling the power of Parallax (fear). Guy chose Red because he's channeled Rage before and because it just plain suits him. Kyle's a very different kind of person than the other three. He's more of a wide-eyed optimist, more of a lover than a fighter, and so with him it was either going to be Blue for Hope or Violet for Love. We spared you the spectacle of Kyle in a pink one-piece with a plunging neckline. And John is a combat veteran and chose Indigo because it can channel all the other colors. It's like seven weapons rolled into one. Or so he thinks. The truth is Indigo is trickier than anyone knows.
"Aftermath" is only two issues -- will it primarily follow the remaining human Lanterns and the consequences of their actions, or does it deal with the aftermath of the war for the entire Corps, Guardians and all?
"Aftermath" impacts the entire Corps, the Guardians -- the whole meaning and mission of the Corps. The "Sinestro Corps War" and "Blackest Night" may have shaken up the galaxy, but nothing has shaken the Corps as bad as the War of the Green Lanterns. Now the survivors are faced with some fundamental questions and with some fractured friendships.
How will "Aftermath" work -- is this a slow-paced, reflective story or are we in for more action, capping the end of the War?
It's hard to describe without giving too much away, but "Aftermath" has more to do with interpersonal conflicts than with people beating the snot out of each other. If you care about these characters then this is a story you can really sink your teeth into.
At the same time as "Aftermath," you are also writing the aftermath issues of "Green Lantern Corp." How do events in "Corps" differ from events in "Aftermath?"
The three "Green Lantern Corps" issues after the War do deal with some of the War's repercussions, but they are basically self-contained stories. It's nice to do those after a mega-epic. My recommendation is for readers to pick up both, and then buy extra copies for all their friends. It's the best time ever to be part of the Green Lantern Universe, both for us creators and for the readers.
"Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman" #1 hits shelves June 8, with "War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath" #1 following on July 13.