DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has announced he plans to step down as "Green Lantern" writer after over nine years with the ongoing comic. Johns will leave the issue in May following the release of "Green Lantern" #20 illustrated by longtime "Green Lantern" collaborator Doug Mahnke.
"I'm really proud of all the stuff we've built with Green Lantern - from Larfleeze to the different corps," Johns told The Associated Press. "The universe has expanded and will live well past my run. It was more than just telling another story, but really giving back to the character by expanding and adding to their mythology."
Johns began his nine-year run on the "Green Lantern" franchise with "Green Lantern: Rebirth" in 2004, which re-introduced Hal Jordan as the premiere Green Lantern of the DC Universe and dropped hints for a long-game story that led to some of DC's most memorable storylines of the 2000s -- including "The Sinestro Corps War," which gave longtime "Green Lantern" villain Sinestro his own fear-based Lantern Corps. The writer's multi-colored Lantern Corps saga eventually took over the DCU in 2009 for DC's "Blackest Night" event, which saw the dead rise as members of the Black Lantern Corps. The writer was named DC's Chief Creative Officer in February 2010, over a year before his "Flashpoint" story kickstarted the New 52 reboot. Following the launch of the New 52, Johns continued his "Green Lantern" story with a new volume of the series, introducing new elements including Earth's newest Green Lantern, Simon Baz, a Muslim-American and recently wrapped "Green Lantern"-line crossover "Rise of the Third Army."
"It was a very, very hard decision," he told AP. "I absolutely love these characters but I felt like I had a story line that really made sense and felt emotionally satisfying and felt very big and very epic."
Johns stated his "monster of a final issue" with Mahnke will tie up everything and "ends the Green Lantern saga."
"I think people will get a sense of finality from it," he said.
Moving forward, Johns will shift his focus to DC's Justice League line, continuing as writer on "Justice League," "Aquaman" and the upcoming "Justice League of America" ongoing series.
UPDATE 02/11/2013 10:02 AM PT: Geoff Johns has posted to DC's official blog, The Source, elaborating on ending his over-100 issue run of "Green Lantern."
"So what will 'Green Lantern' #20 bring? The bizarre return of Hal Jordan, the final fate of Sinestro, the revelation of the First Lantern and an ending that I hope pays off everything we've ever done and ever created with 'Green Lantern,'" Johns said in his post. "It has art by Doug Mahnke, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and I've poured everything I can into the script."
The writer also teased plans for Simon Baz and B'dg in "Justice League of America."
Check out Doug Mahnke's "Green Lantern" #20 cover below.