At the San Diego Comic-Con International DC Comics’ "Green Lantern" - Recharged! panel, the writers and artists behind the Green Lantern corner of the New 52 spoke to fans about their books and what’s next for Hal, John and the others. Moderator and DC Entertainment SVP Bob Wayne began by bringing out the panelists: Robert Venditti, Charles Soule, Van Jensen, Bernard Chang and Brad Walker. DC Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase also joined the group onstage.
Beginning with October’s “Lights Out” crossover that will affect all four GL books, Venditti told the audience that new villain Relic will be threatening the entire Corps. “He’s going to present a very unique threat to all of the Corps,” Venditti said.
“That picture there is drawn to scale, he’s a big, big dude!” Soule said, pointing to the cover image of “Green Lantern” #24.
“There’s a series of variants running across the titles...that tell the story of Relic,” Venditti said, adding that Rags Morales would be drawing all the variants.
“There’s something going on,” Vendittit said of the event as the panel and audience laughed. Speaking in more depth, the writer elaborated that Relic’s story will be told in the Villain’s month issue.
“The Lanterns use light as their tool and weapon...Relic has a theory of why that's happening and he has a plan to fix that,” Soule said, adding that the Lanterns don’t agree with Relic’s theory or approach. Both he and Venditti told the room they were using the crossover to change the status quo, such as Guy Gardner being a Red Lantern.
“There’s a very specific reason Larfleeze was chosen to be in #21 and #22,” Venditti said, adding that as the event continues readers will see the “dominoes” the group set up in the disparate books.
While Hal is dealing with the Power Batteries flickering out, Venditti said he is also dealing with the “Bad News Bears” of the Lantern recruits as, after the constant deaths of the worthy Lanterns, the sectors are somewhat down to the dregs.
Venditti also showed an image of “Green Lantern’s” new Star Sapphire/Hal antagonist, explaining, “Even post-‘Lights Out’ she’s going to be a force to contend with.”
Speaking about “Green Lantern Corps” Jensen told the audience he was thrilled to be a part of the new team on the books and couldn’t wait for readers to see their upcoming issues.
“A lot of us are relatively new to you all as comic book writers...as a way of introducing ourselves this is a big, ambitious, risky story,” Venditti said, adding that it’s not “hyperbole” to say they are involving every Green Lantern character across the DC New 52 Universe.
“Seeing these guys come together...they have more than taken up that challenge, they really have expanded that world,” Harras chimed in.
Chang also praised the writers, stating that the issues are fast paced, “There’s a lot of character play going on.”
Jensen and Chang explained readers will also learn more about their new recruits and their back stories. “With so many overtly heroic heroes being killed off that aren’t many out there..these are all more character-driven, willpower-driven types of characters.”
“There’s a character Mara who is a mute...yet people who read the book can understand that and that’s complicated,” Venditti added, praising the “Green Lantern Corps” team.
“By the time we hit ‘Lights Out’ I think people will really be into them,” Jensen added.
Turning to “Green Lantern: New Guardians,” Walker explained what he liked about Kyle Rayner being the White Lantern is it felt like Kyle’s origin when he was the only Green Lantern.
“He started out as a Corps of one and he’s a Corps of one again,” Walker said.
“I think ‘Lights Out’ is going to add an element to what it means to be a White Lantern,” Venditti said, adding that Kyle will be called upon to do something no other being in the universe can. The two also said Kyle will be expanding his ability to use the entire spectrum.
Speaking about Relic’s entrance in the book, “He recognizes the Light Spectrum...so he starts experimenting and testing the universe he’s birthed into,” Walker said.
“Now that he’s come into our universe he’s still a guy of science but he’s going to weaponize that science,” Venditti added.
Looking at the images of the ship Relic builds around Kyle in issue #22, Chang said he almost spent more time designing Relic’s strange technology than drawing the pages. Walker also laughed that writer Justin Jordan described Relic’s ship and technology originally as a ”cancerous chrysanthemum.”
Venditti also explained everything is bigger in Relic’s universe, “Like Texas,” he joked as the audience laughed.
Moving into “Red Lantern,” Soule explained the premise of his story was Guy Gardner was infiltrating the Reds as an undercover agent for Hal and the Green Lanterns.
“As part of getting fired up getting the ring...he got so mad he beat the leader of the Red Lanterns to death,” Soule said. Now Guy is unsure what he’s doing and feeling the loss of control that comes with both the ring and with suddenly being in charge of the Lanterns.
Moving forward Soule said that Guy will take the Lanterns “house hunting” for a headquarters other than Ysmault and will run into space pirates on their search. As for the “Lights Out” crossover, “There’s a choke point where the Red Lanterns have to be involved, but Guy isn’t as impressed with the Green Lanterns as he was,” Soule said, adding that Guy Gardener was going to finally ”get his.”
Chang then announced that Thursday was Soule’s birthday, leading the audience in a round of applause for the writer.
Looking at the “Green Lantern Annual,” Venditti said after the 38-page story readers will have a lot more information about the crossover and what the group are doing moving forward.
Opening the floor to questions, the first fan to the microphone asked if there would be miniseries explaining the back story for characters like Sister Circe and other alien Lantern allies and foes. Venditti said they did want to do more stories about the individual characters, though no miniseries were planned at the moment.
The next fan wanted to know if Alan Scott would be involved in “Lights Out” since the group said they were using every Green Lantern ever. The panelists told the fan Scott was engrossed in his own story and would not be a part.
“You’re going to know that real soon,” Venditti said to a fan who admitted being confused to what the Entities are in the New 52.
Soule told another fan that they would bring back Black Hand as he had his own Villains’ Month issue. The panel also clarified that Brightest Day and Blackest Night was still in cannon.
“We’d be foolish to ignore those stories,” Soule said. Wayne added that DC was not interested in putting out a document or anything that explains the continuity of the New 52.
The next fan wanted to know if Sinestro would show up in “Green Lantern” anytime soon.
“Can’t really talk about that,” Venditti said.
A Saint Walker fan wanted to know if he would get his own title. Venditti said the Blue Lanterns would be involved in the long run and Saint Walker has a storyline post-“Lights Out," but there were no solo plans.
A young boy asked why the Black Lanterns existed. “Death has a purpose in the world -- if people don’t die, how will there be new people?” Soule said, adding that they also exist, “To be scary!”
A new fan asked what appealed to the panelists about the Green Lantern universe. Venditti said he loved the “cops in space” element, Soule enjoyed the sci-fi element, Jensen liked the ring constructs, Walker thought it was a cool “Star Wars plus superheroes” and that from a design standpoint it was fun and classic and Chang said it was the design and emotions.
“I’m an emotional guy,” Chang joked as the audience laughed.
The next fan wanted to know if there would be a White Lantern-specific oath. “I’ll get on Justin for that,” Walker said as the panel laughed.
To a reader who wanted the DC Universe to move past having Hal be the lead Lantern, the writers on the panel responded that their goal was to develop John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner just as much. “All the books have different Green Lanterns in them and you want to find the ones that are true to your own voice,” Chang added.
Another young boy asked if there would be another new Earth Green Lantern anytime soon and then asked the world give the “Green Lantern” movie a second chance in a sequel. The panelists and audience laughed as the boy also described Guy Gardner as the “guy with the bad haircut.”
“That’s something we probably shouldn’t talk about,” Venditti regretfully told the boy about new Earth Lanterns, but Wayne gave the boy a Superman hat as a reward as the audience applauded.
The last fan to the microphone wanted to know if Venditti was going to put Hal back on Earth anytime soon. The writer said he planned things out very far in the future so Hal will be returning to Earth, but not until he deals with the mess the Corps was dealt with. Wayne then thanked the audience for coming, ending the panel amidst cheers and applause.