It's the end of an era for Green Lantern fans.
This morning, DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns announced his departure from "Green Lantern" in May after nine years helming the adventures of the emerald ring-slinger. The question now on every "Green Lantern" reader's mind is, "Who will replace Johns?" While the Writer still has a few more months before his final issue ships, he concludes his over-100 issue run on the series with "Green Lantern" #20, meaning a new writer will have to be named soon.
In the interest of wild speculation, CBR has compiled our picks for the five strongest candidates -- culled from DC's current roster -- to take over "Green Lantern" following Johns' departure from the series. Whether it's someone with their foot already in the "Green Lantern" side of the DCU, or a writer waiting in the wings with a fresh take on the franchise, DC has a whole host of talent from which to choose the person best-suited to continue the legacy of Green Lantern.
As longtime "Green Lantern Corps" writer, Peter J. Tomasi is a natural choice to take over for "Green Lantern." Not only has he been involved with "Green Lantern Corps" since 2009, Tomasi co-wrote "Brightest Day" with Geoff Johns and was the regular writer on "Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors" following the "Blackest Night" event. Not has the former editor proven his strength at writing in the "Green Lantern" universe, he's also had experience taking over an critically-acclaimed and fan-favorite ongoing series with "Batman and Robin."
Tomasi has the added advantage of being plugged in to all the current plans for the "Green Lantern" universe, a familiarity with most of the book's cast and an established fan base from both "Green Lantern Corps" and "Batman and Robin." As a writer already in the know, Tomasi would be a smooth transition to replacing Geoff Johns for both DC and readers alike.
In his "Green Lantern" announcement, Johns teased a project with current "Green Arrow" writer Jeff Lemire. While Lemire is undoubtedly busy enough right now, having just relaunched "Green Arrow" and setting up "Constantine" in the pipeline for release later this year, one should never say never when it comes to the allure the Guardians' rings have for DC writers. He's become a legitimate fan-favorite writer, and the fact that Johns teases a collaboration could point to Lemire adding another "Green" book to his arsenal. His take would most assuredly be a departure from Johns' status quo -- a shift that might be necessary following whatever Johns has planned for his final issue of the series.
However, even though Lemire's long-running creator-owned Vertigo title "Sweet Tooth" recently concluded, he doesn't have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to taking on new books. Along with "Green Arrow" and "Constantine," Lemire is still ongoing writer for "Animal Man" and "Justice League Dark," bringing his grand total ongoing series up to four, not to mention writing and illustrating his upcoming Vertigo series, "Trillium." "Green Lantern" would give him a workload of six books -- more at one time than any other New 52 writer.
Joshua Hale Fialkov would be a daring choice to bring a new take on Hal Jordan and "Green Lantern." His recently-cancelled "I, Vampire" was a hit with critics, and with the series' cancellation, this may be the perfect time to see what Fialkov can do with an established, core-DCU book. While the writer's take undeniably skews toward the macabre (whether in "I, Vampire" or his creator-owned "Echoes"), he's had quite a bit of experience with more lighthearted comics as well, including "Fear Itself: Monkey King" and the upcoming "Alpha" miniseries for Marvel.
Considering the direction DC has gone with Lemire's "Green Arrow" (which features art from "I, Vampire" artist Andrea Sorrentino), it's not far-fetched to believe Josh Fialkov's darker, but humorous, take on the GL is a possibility. As mentioned previously, a tonal shift for "Green Lantern" may not only be a breath of fresh air, but necessary for the series, depending on Johns' endgame.
With Johns publicly stating his final issue would "end the Green Lantern saga," that he has plans for "Green Lantern" character Simon Baz in "Justice League of America" and the fate of Hal Jordan is uncertain at best, there's always the outside possibility that "Green Lantern" #21 is the first issue in a new ongoing series focusing on Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of "Earth 2." In addition to being the driving force behind "Earth 2," writer James Robinson has a vast amount of experience in the DC Universe. Considering that "Earth 2" is one of DC's most successful "Second Wave" titles, why not expand the "Earth 2" line of books to follow one of its most popular characters?
It's clear from what's already been revealed in "Earth 2" that Robinson has a developed a lot of backstory for Alan Scott. Making him the star of "Green Lantern" would free up room not only to explore the character outside the confines of "Earth 2," but would allow for more of Earth 2's heroes and villains to grab some panel time. If Robinson could bring the same magic to "Green Lantern" that he brought to "Starman," bringing him on as ongoing writer would be a no-brainer.
Best known for his creator-owned series "Chew," John Layman has catapulted into the sight of DC Comics fans in the past several months as writer of "Detective Comics." Not only has Layman revitalized the title, he continues to bring new and innovative ideas to the table when it comes to Batman stories. Layman's "Detective" was a clear new direction for the series, which is something "Green Lantern" may be looking for after Johns' epic nine-year run. With "Detective," Layman has illustrated his ability to deliver a new direction for a classic property without a dip in story quality.
Layman also has the rare ability to successfully combine action and humor as seen in "Chew" and his ongoing "Mars Attacks" series at IDW. While writing the Dark Knight doesn't exactly lend itself to levity and humorous situations, the traditionally lighter tone of "Green Lantern" is right in Layman's wheelhouse. Frankly, it's difficult to think of ways Layman wouldn't be a good choice for "Green Lantern." He's proven that he's got the procedural chops as seen in "Chew," the space aspect with "Mars Attacks" and the ability to work in the DC Universe with "Detective Comics."
BONUS PICK: DAN ABNETT AND ANDY LANNING
While it's certainly a long-shot, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning taking on "Green Lantern" would be a cosmic fan's dream. DnA worked wonders with Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" -- so much so that the upcoming film is based strongly on their interpretations of the characters. Readers know the writing duo has the capacity to create cosmic-level stories while developing realistic characters. Why not bring that expertise to the DC Universe for a new "Green Lantern" chapter?
Abnett and Lanning working to develop the cosmic side of the DCU with the same dedication they had for "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Hypernaturals" and even DC's own "Legion of Super-Heroes" would certainly generate excitement amongst comics fans. Star-Lord is the same class of hero as Hal Jordan, and building a supporting cast from the archives of "Green Lantern" lore would be a perfect assignment for the duo.
News Editor Kiel Phegley contributed to this article.