The DC Universe has always been home to a multitude of terrifying alien races, one of the most recent additions being the Reach — enemies of the Guardians of the Universe first introduced in the pages of Keith Giffen and artist Cully Hamner’s 2006 “Blue Beetle” comic book series.
But in May, writer Tony Bedard, the man behind both “Blue Beetle” and >a href=”http://www.comicbookresources.com/tag/green+lantern”>”Green Lanterns: New Guardians,” is bringing the Reach back to the forefront as his two books cross-over, changing the invasion-happy race’s history and, as he hinted to CBR, leading up to a bigger Green Lantern event.
Prior to the crossover in “Blue Beetle,” Bedard and artist Ig Guara have set Jaime Reyes on the road, running away from El Paso in an attempt to prevent his loved ones from being hurt by the Reach scarab fused to his spine. At the same time, in Bedard and artist Tyler Kirkham’s “New Guardians” Kyle and the team just faced off against Invictus, and while the reason behind the rings choosing Kyle is still a mystery, the group discovered that Larfleeze has been leading them astray, leading into a larger event echoing across the Green Lantern side of the DC Universe.
In anticipation of the crossover Bedard spoke with CBR about his two books, explaining his new take on the Reach and where his two series are going from there.
CBR News: in issues #9 of “Blue Beetle” and “Green Lantern: New Guardians” we’ve got the casts of both books colliding with the Reach. Beyond that, what is this two-issue crossover story about?
Tony Bedard: This is the New 52’s first full-scale clash between the world of Blue Beetle and the Green Lantern universe. In “Blue Beetle” #9, Jaime Reyes a.k.a. Blue Beetle comes face to face with Green lantern Kyle Rayner in New York City. Kyle’s accompanied by Red Lantern Bleez and Orange Lantern Glomulus. Jaime’s living armor perceives all three Lanterns as deadly threats and all hell breaks loose.
Meanwhile in “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #9, the interstellar conquerors known as the Reach invade the Blue Lantern Corps’ home world. The Reach invented Blue Beetle’s scarab armor, and they’ve brought a whole army of scarab warriors to unleash on the Blue Lanterns. So in the same month you get a very personal clash in “Blue Beetle” and an epic battle that lays bare the full scope and horror of the Reach in “New Guardians!”
If you’re a “New Guardians” fan, this story is going to go down as a major turning point in that team’s history. And if you’ve never given “Blue Beetle” a try, this is the perfect time, as Blue Beetle steps up to the big leagues.
When did you know you were going to do a crossover between your books? Was issue #9 for both series something you had been building up to in your mind since the relaunch?
Ever since I wrote a Green Lantern shooting down a scarab in “Blue Beetle” #1 I’ve wanted to further explore the long-running enmity between the Reach and the Green Lantern Corps. Once we decided to have Jaime spend some time in New York City (starting with issue #7), I knew this was a great opportunity to have him and Kyle cross paths. But I didn’t just want to have this personal encounter between two individuals. I also wanted to give the Reach a widescreen epic show of cosmic firepower. So in “New Guardians” #9, we have action on a planetary scale with the Reach trying to eliminate and consume an entire Corps.
So, the Blue Lanterns are going to be heavily involved in this. Why are the they, specifically, the ones leading the charge against the Reach and the Blue Beetles rather than any of the other corps?
It’s actually the Reach leading the charge against the Blue Lanterns. They’ve been tipped off as to the Blue Lanterns’ location and they rush in expecting the Blues to be the weakest of the Lanterns. They end up getting more of a fight than they bargained for. Looming over all this action is the mystery of just how the Reach found the Blue Lantern planet. The answer to that question leads back to the heart of the growing conflict in the Green Lantern titles.
While Jaime might be happy to see Kyle and the Blue Lanterns, I’m guessing the Scarab may be less excited to see a host of Lanterns on Earth! How would you sum up his and the scarab’s reactions to Kyle and the New Guardians? Is this their first exposure to the Lanterns?
Jaime thinks Green Lantern is exactly the sort of person who could help him adjust to his new super-powered life, but the scarab’s first reaction is to arm all its weapons systems and deploy every countermeasure! Now, the Blue Beetle armor was created to wipe out entire armies. Lanterns are empowered to patrol entire sectors. So a full-speed clash between these four in the middle of Manhattan could involve staggering collateral damage.
Is this crossover also giving you the chance to reinvent the Reach’s history with Oa and the Lanterns in the New 52?
Yes. In the previous “Blue Beetle” series there was a history of warfare between the Reach and the Guardians of the Universe. A long time ago a cease-fire was called with the agreement that the Reach would stop expanding its territories. But in the previous version, the Reach were more of a super-capitalist culture. That old cease-fire thing doesn’t work as well for the current version in which we play them more like space-locusts, literally feeding the worlds they conquer to their mysterious “Hivemasters.” And now they want to turn planet Odym into a cosmic banquet. It’s a story so big it actually spills over into “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #10.
Will the Reach’s attention to Earth end with this crossover, or are we going to start seeing the Reach pop up in “New Guardians” and other parts of the DCU?
I’d say this is the Reach’s big coming out party in the New 52 era, and we’ll definitely be hearing more from them in the future. Specifically, the “New Guardians” issues feature a Reach command drone and scarab from the first few issues of “Blue Beetle.” What happens to them in the battle for Odym will have huge consequences in upcoming issues of “Blue Beetle.”
Similarly, do you have future plans for Kyle or the other New Guardians to drop into “Blue Beetle” after this, or vice versa?
We’ve actually got so much mind-blowing stuff coming up for Kyle and company that we won’t be able to drop in on “Blue Beetle” for the foreseeable future. From the launch of “Green Lantern: New Guardians,” it’s been one crazy thing after another for Kyle Rayner. Now things are kicking into an even higher gear as every single Corps from the Reds to the Greens to the Blues are under siege. We’ve got showdowns with Larfleeze, a rematch with the Guardians and a major change in the Green Lantern status quo coming up.
Talking specifically about “Blue Beetle” after the crossover, in the comic now we’ve got Jaime hoofing it to New York City, as far away from El Paso as you can get. Why did you want to have Jaime settle down in the Big Apple?
It remains to be seen if Jaime stays in New York City permanently. So far, his career as a runaway has been anything but smooth. But one of the things I wanted to do in the second six issues of “Blue Beetle” was to have Jaime get out and see the rest of the DCU. El Paso is his home, but it’s off the beaten path, superhero-wise. Now he has a chance to meet Green Lantern and Booster Gold and knock heads with the D.E.O.
Then to your mind, is NYC the place to build up a new supporting cast and new base? Or are his wanderings in the Big Apple just beginning?
We are expanding his supporting cast a bit by introducing his crazy grandmother who lives in the Bronx. But I think it’s safe to say Jaime’s future adventures will range beyond New York, and that his hometown will always remain El Paso, even if we take our time getting back there. Jaime’s still got a rematch coming up with his buddy Paco’s armored alter ego Blood Beetle. And then Khaji-Kai, the veteran scarab from the early issues of “Blue Beetle” will return to teach Jaime the full extent of his armor’s power, and to ask him a favor that will put the future of planet Earth in the balance.
Jaime’s also attracting the attention of the D.E.O. right after the crossover. What does the D.E.O. want with a runaway teen?
Not much, as it turns out. But what they want with a planet-killing alien super weapon is sort of self-explanatory. Director Bones and the Department of Extranormal Operations are aware of Blue Beetle and they want to get this “walking H-bomb” off the streets — perhaps even give him a job. Jaime is learning the hard way that there’s no end to the people who want to control him. He’s already run into that with La Dama and now the Federal government’s most shadowy organization has its sights on him, too.
Turning to about “Green Lantern: New Guardians,” in facing down Invictus, the group seemed like they were starting to gel, at least on Saint Walker’s side. Do you see the Reach and the crossover as helping to turn the group into a real team?
Actually, this story comes just as the team has temporarily parted ways. Most of them need to recharge, which is why Kyle returns to Earth — to pick up his power battery. Bleez and Glommy come along with him, but Indigo Lantern Munk is away taking part in the “Secret of the Indigo Tribe” story in “Green Lantern.” Fatality is checking in with her Star Sapphire sisters. Arkillo is going to check on the Sinestro Corps (only to find they were disbanded by Sinestro himself!). And Saint Walker is with his small but steadfast Blue Lantern Corps on Odym when trouble comes looking for them.
To your mind, why have Arkillo and Saint Walker been able to put aside their differences quicker than the other members?
When Saint Walker used his ring’s healing power to re-grow Arkillo’s severed tongue, it was probably the first and only act of kindness anyone ever bestowed upon Arkillo. And as it turns out, even a monster has a heart. Now, Arkillo may not realize this is why he’s a little protective of Saint Walker, but against expectation those two have a sort of friendship forming. Just don’t expect Arkillo to start saying, “I love you, man!”
Finally, as we found out from Invictus, Larfleeze has been jerking around the New Guardians, and it seems his actions are messing with the other corps as well. Will “The Fall Of The Blue Lanterns” and the New Guardians dealing with Larfleeze impact the other Lantern books or other parts of the DCU in a big way?
Yeah, the Blue Lantern story and the upcoming showdown with Larfleeze are all part of a build-up to a larger story. One reason I think fans have taken to “New Guardians” is that it’s clearly hooked into the bigger Green Lantern storyline. There are important things happening in almost every issue of the book as Kyle pulls together his unlikely team and discovers abilities and potential he never knew he had. So I hope everyone sticks around for the fireworks, and I hope everyone gives “Blue Beetle” a try, too!
The crossover begins in “Blue Beetle” issue #9 out May 16 and continues in “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #9 out May 23.