Tony Bedard, writer of DC Comics’ ongoing “Blue Beetle” and “Green Lantern: New Guardians” titles, is nearing the end of both his first twelve issue arc in “New Guardians” and his second runaway story in “Blue Beetle.” According to the writer, however, he’s not done taking Kyle Rayner and Jamie Reyes through the twists and turns of the New 52 just yet.
On the heels of the #11 issues of both books, Bedard spoke with CBR about his upcoming #0 issues and events surrounding them, from the New Guardians involvement in the Lantern-wide “Third Army” event to the new Blue and Gold dynamic — which, as readers saw in issue #11, is not off to the best of beginnings.
“Jaime and Booster are in for a rough start. Booster’s from the future and he knows a Reach Scarab Warrior when he sees one, so Jaime is going to have a tough time buddying up with him,” Bedard said. “We’ll see what that means for the Blue and Gold team long term.”
Booster isn’t the only one giving Jaime a hard time in the DC Universe as the website Superfail, The DCU’s TMZ meets Failblog hybrid, is also targeting Jaime.
“In general, we should keep in mind that in the New 52 super-people are a relatively new phenomenon. Ordinary people are wondering just what the sudden explosion of metahumans means for them and for their future. Superfail is there to fan the flames of fear and generally rile up the public against people they consider to be walking W.M.D.s,” Bedard explained.
And while in the latest issue it appeared that Jaime’s Grandmother realizes it’s the El Paso teen under the blue armor, Bedard said that Jaime is not quite ready for anyone else from his family to catch up with him.
“Jaime fled to NYC to protect them from himself. Or, more to the point, to protect them from his living alien armor. The armor already stabbed his best friend Paco in the heart when he found out Jaime was Blue Beetle,” Bedard said. “Now, Jaime’s trying to get a handle on his whole situation so he doesn’t end up doing the same to his folks or his little sister. So, yeah, Jaime wants to be with his loved ones. He just feels like he can’t until he’s sure the Scarab armor won’t hurt them.”
Bedard had high praise for series artist Ig Guara, especially Guara’s take on the D.E.O.’s Mister Bones — though he emphasized that the despite smoke pouring out of every orifice of Bones’ skeleton in issue #10, they weren’t rewriting the character.
“I think that was a bit of artistic license,” Bedard explained. “As far as I’m concerned, he still has the transparent flesh and the cyanide sweat — which is why his personal assistant wears a HAZMAT suit in his office. In any case, Ig totally draws a mean Mister Bones!
“Blue Beetle’s run-in with the D.E.O. is just one of several meant to connect him to the DCU at large,” the writer continued. “It’s not so much that the D.E.O. will be an ongoing presence in ‘Blue Beetle.’ We’re just acknowledging that there’s a big world out there, and Blue Beetle is trying to find his place in it.”
Looking ahead to “Blue Beetle” #0, Bedard told CBR that his story takes readers go back in time to explore the Reach’s Scarab Khaji-Da; specifically, its historical involvement with Earth.
“We saw some of the Scarab’s origin in ‘Blue Beetle’ #1, but we’ll be getting a whole lot more in #0, starting with the fact that Jaime Reyes is not the first ‘organic host’ to bond with his Scarab armor. We’ll see the very first tests of the Scarab system by the Reach and we’ll learn that Jaime’s Scarab Khaji-Da was the prototype of all scarabs,” Bedard said. “We’ll also see how Khaji-Da landed on Earth back at the height of the Mayan empire and bonded with a Mayan High Priest who was Earth’s first Blue Beetle. All of this will have big ramifications in the months to come as Blue Beetle will come face to face with the Reach in a way we’ve never seen before.”
The Reach were also involved in the attack on Odym in Bedard’s second book, “Green Lantern: New Guardians” with artist Tyler Kirkham, and the writer hinted that Jaime and Khaji-Da may eventually become entangled in greater Lantern plotlines, though he stated “Blue Beetle” would not become “Lantern-centric.”
“We have enough cool stuff to focus on in the upcoming months, and it seemed a natural fit that two cosmic characters like Green Lantern and Blue Beetle might cross paths, but I’m not linking them permanently. That said, the events of the Third Army saga will be so far-reaching that they may spill over into some other titles,” Bedard said. “Stay tuned for details!”
The current storyline, concluding with “New Guardians” issue #12, also let artist Kirkham go wild with designs for the members of the Blue Corps — literally, in some cases.
“I actually just called for new Blue Lanterns, and Tyler promptly knocked our socks off; I especially liked the Blue Lantern that looked like a giraffe!
“Ty’s terrific with these visual touches, like the way he turned Glomulus into a breakout character by shifting his form in fun ways as the little guy reacts to each new battle or challenge,” Bedard continued. “I’ve been very lucky to work with Ty for a couple of years now. He’s the best guy to hang out with in person, too.”
Turning his attention to the upcoming “Third Army” event, Bedard acknowledged that he’s had a lot of experience navigating his characters in a shared universe, often requiring changes in trajectory to fit into events or crossovers, such as when Munk took off for the “Secrets Of The Indigo Tribe” storyline in Geoff Johns’ “Green Lantern” book. Rather than viewing this as a hardship, Bedard said this was just part and parcel of working in the Lantern corner of the DCU.
“I’ve always viewed the Green Lantern books as interlinked, even when there’s no big event going on,” Bedard said. “From the start, ‘Green Lantern: New Guardians’ has been tied into the big events shaping the Lantern universe. The Guardians of the Universe have been steadily growing darker in their methods, including their ’emotional lobotomy’ of Kyle’s mentor Ganthet. That’s what has driven the whole ‘New Guardians’ storyline from the start, and when we finally reveal why all those different colored rings converged on Kyle in the first issue, you’ll see that ‘New Guardians’ has been part of the Green Lantern big picture all along.”
Speaking specifically about the “Secret Of The Indigo Tribe” storyline Bedard said, “Of course, I knew Geoff was doing a big reveal about the Indigos, so I didn’t get too revelatory about Munk’s true nature, but that was no big deal. The toughest thing about ‘New Guardians’ is juggling all those characters and trying to get across who they are and what their rings do and still have space left over to tell a story. But it’s been a fun challenge and it has given me a wonderful opportunity to explore and expand the Lantern Universe. ”
As revealed in the “Blue Beetle”/”New Guardian” crossover, the Guardians are after Kyle — and in “Third Army” they are actively trying to take back control of their chaotic universe by destroying free will, creating a “Third Army” (counting the Manhunters as the first and the Lanterns as the second) to accomplish their goal. Yet despite the Guardians’ intentions, Bedard feels the Oa-dwellers are more complicated than being simple bad guys.
“The Guardians definitely feel justified in everything they do. They’re not trying to be bad guys. They’re trying to fix the universe,” Bedard said. “But the road to Hell is paved with such intentions, and the Guardians have become for all intents and purposes the biggest villains of all.”
To that end, “New Guardians” begins the countdown to Third Army with Bedard’s #0 issue, drawn by artist Aaron Kuder.
“Kyle won’t be taking [the Guardians] on in ‘New Guardians’ #0, but the path to their final showdown definitely begins there,” Bedard said. “‘Third Army’ is something that will affect all of the Lantern books intensely. In fact, ‘New Guardians’ is going to be deeply affected, starting with a shuffle in the team line-up in ‘New Guardians’ #0. We’ll ‘trade up’ with some of the characters — Carol Ferris instead of Fatality, Atrocitus instead of Bleez, etc. — and we’ll see that Kyle might just be the last, best hope of stopping the Guardians and their Third Army.”
Though there was much speculation at the very beginning of the New 52 relaunch that Carol would be the Star Sapphire on the team (that spot was taken instead by Fatality), the upcoming switch is actually the result of a storyline in another Green Lantern book.
“I can’t give away too much, but it has to do with events in the ‘Green Lantern Annual’ that will affect the other Lantern books in a big way,” Bedard explained. ” Carol’s not exactly crazy about being Star Sapphire, but these new events compel her to put that violet ring on and give Kyle a kick in the pants, speeding him on his path to become the Torchbearer for every Lantern Corps all in one.”
While issue #12 will also resolve the Invictus storyline and Sayd’s reveal that she was the one who stole the power rings, Bedard say the #0 issue is a great spot for new readers to climb aboard.
“It’s definitely a jumping-on point,” Bedard said. “The original Star Sapphire Carol Ferris comes into Kyle’s life with an urgent agenda that will see her competing with Kyle for the leadership of the New Guardians. We’ll also see Kyle embark on a quest to master all the colors of the Emotional Spectrum in a desperate attempt to stop the Guardians’ master plan.
“Things are about to get turned up to ’11,’ so do not miss the #0 issue!”
“Blue Beetle” #12 is out August 15 and #0 issue is out September 19; “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #12 hits stores August 22 and #0 issue releases September 19.