Illuminating the Darkness: Gibbons talks "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge"

DC UniverseIn the DC Universe, outer space is a dangerous place. The cosmos is ablaze with the interstellar "Rann/Thanagar War" and in certain sectors threats to all life lie in wait under the cover of the darkness of space. This September, a light is shined on that darkness, an emerald light, when writer Dave Gibbons and artist Patrick Gleason launch "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge," a five issue mini-series from DC Comics. CBR News spoke to Gibbons about the reintroduction of the DCU's premier interstellar police force and what it means to the galaxy.

"Recharge" has been in the works for some time. "I was approached by Dan Didio in 2003 at Wondercon. He wondered if I was interested in writing the Green Lantern Corps. I was very interested in doing that," Gibbons told CBR News. "I wanted to get a few more writing credits to my name and the Green Lantern Corps were an organization I was pretty familiar with having loved their appearances when I was a kid and actually having drawn some back up tales and later the main story in 'Green Lantern' back in the 80s."

The chaos of the Rann/Thanagar war is not the reason why the Guardians choose to reestablish the Green Lantern Corps. "It's not directly the fall out from 'Rann/Thanagar,'" Gibbons explained. "Although 'Rann/Thanagar' does show that the universe is a far more dangerous place, but there are other threats out there in the deep. Basically, the concern is that with the Corps disorganized and broken apart and only a few remnants left as we saw in 'Rebirth' that maybe the Guardians aren't going to fulfill their ultimate purpose. So they want to reestablish the Corps."

The ultimate purpose of the Guardians will remain a mystery in "Recharge." "The Guardians wishes and the Guardians purpose is something that will be eluded to and eventually discovered although it definitely won't be in the mini-series," Gibbons said.

There will be operational differences between the new corps and the old, starting with their membership. "There are going to be 7200 rather than 3600," Gibbons explained. "There are two to a sector and a little bit further on down the line there are going to be changes to Oa itself and a lot of the incidental trappings of the corps."

The Guardians don't require any personnel to recruit members for their new Corps. "They are looking for people who are natives of the sectors, who have local knowledge, but have the potential to overcome mortal fear," Gibbons stated. "The rings are sent out to scan the sectors and when they find someone who fits the criteria or who appears to be the best bet to fulfill the criteria, the ring takes him to Oa where they are inducted and trained."

This method doesn't always insure that the candidates chosen for membership in the Corps will be happy to wear a power ring. Gibbons said it's akin to winning the lotto or being struck by lightning.

One member of the new Corps who feels she was struck by lightning will come from a very familiar planet. "We're going to have a female character from Korugar which is of course where Sinestro and Katma Tui came from," Gibbons said. "She's got a rather interesting take on what it means to be a Green Lantern. She doesn't really want to be one actually."

Other new members of the Corps will be from familiar areas of the DCU cosmos. "We will see a variety of familiar races and will include Khunds, Daxamites, and all sorts of other races. They won't be heavily featured because there are so damned many of them."

The Guardians will also use their membership in the Corps to help reduce interplanetary tensions. "Given the 'Rann/Thanagar' situation and the troubled sector that these planets both find themselves in, we do have a recruit from Rann and a recruit from Thanagar," Gibbons said. "They may well take a dislike to each other. So, it makes perfect sense that they have to be buddies."

The cast of "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" won't be composed entirely of new Green Lanterns. "What we really want to do, because it's very strange and complex out there, is to have some characters at the center of it with whom we can empathize," Gibbons explained. "Namely Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner."

Guy Gardner may have had a long and checkered history with the Corps, but the Guardians consider him a valuable asset to the new corps. "He's now one of the prime recruits because of his undoubted warrior and leadership potentials," Gibbons stated.

The Guardians chose an instructor they knew they could trust to train their new recruits. "We also have Kilowog who many sense is the rock of the corps," Gibbons confirmed. "He's the drill sergeant. He's the man who knocks all the raw recruits into shape."

Kilowog will have some assistance with the training of new recruits. "How could I possibly neglect to mention Mogo, who's the planet sized Green Lantern that first appeared in a story that Alan Moore wrote and I drew way back when? He plays quite an interesting role," Gibbons said. "He takes a big part in the training of the Green Lanterns and he's a very important locale for them."

Another returning character is the Green Lantern of sector 1418. "We have Salakk who's kind of a counterpart of Kilowog," Gibbons explained. "He's senior to the other Green Lanterns and responsible for discipline and the kind of political and organizational end of things."

In the new Corps, the Guardians will be very distant and remote leaders who only Kilowog or Salakk ever get to see. "It's a bit like trying to get an audience with the Pope, the Queen, or the president," Gibbons stated.

There will be a varied response across the galaxy to the new Green Lantern Corps. "Some people are very pleased that there are Green Lanterns around to keep the bad guys at bay. There are others who, not just bad guys, who resent the Green Lantern Corps often high handed tactics and sense of superiority," Gibbons explained. "There are indeed some areas of the galaxy where the Green Lantern Corps are either unheard of or just a remote legend."

A number of intergalactic law enforcement groups won't be pleased with the return of the Corps. "Inevitably, like any major force, they are going to butt heads with local law enforcement agencies, governments, and inhabitants," Gibbons said.

There is one law enforcement agency that will bear a special animosity towards the Corps. "I did write a scene in 'Rann/Thanagar' where Kyle has put certain things under the protection of the Green Lantern Corps and he stresses the fact that the Guardians will protect them for free," Gibbons explained. "So, there's obviously friction between LEGION and the Guardians because this is Vril Dox's livelihood: selling protection to people."

The plot of "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" has the Corps preparing to tackle a powerful, looming menace. "There is a very real and present danger that over takes them as their being reformed. It's a race against time to get the Green Lantern Corps up to speed and to prevent it from being wiped out as quickly as it is formed by a very large, imminent and real threat."

Even though the members of the Corps use their rings to wield fantastic powers, "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" is not a superhero book. "They are what you and I would call heroes, but it's essentially a science fiction book," Gibbons explained. "It's a galaxy spanning space opera book. It's a very strange and scary place out there. No doubt we will see weird and wonderful Green Lanterns and other creatures, but it's not really a comedy universe. I want to have a dark tone. I want to have a feeling of its deep and dark out there."

The Green Lantern Corps have not been active for some time and some readers might not even be aware that the name Green Lantern wasn't just a designation for one character, but thousands. Gibbons hopes to change that. "Essentially what we want to do with 'Recharge' is to reintroduce the Green Lantern Corps; reinforce the concept of the thing, revitalize it, make it something very coherent, very understandable to today's readers and also make it complimentary to the Hal Jordan 'Green Lantern' book," Gibbons stated. "So we cover all the favorite areas, all the really interesting and popular areas of the Green Lantern mythos."

So "Recharge" could properly compliment the ongoing Hal Jordan "Green Lantern" book Gibbons worked closely with the book's writer Geoff Johns. "Geoff Johns and I plotted this mini-series together just to make sure everything is coherent and everything across the board has that kind of interplay and that cross bracing," Gibbons said. "Which I think is going to make it work. I had a tremendous time knocking ideas backwards and forwards with Geoff. I think it's fair to say anybody who enjoyed 'Rebirth' is going to get a kick out of this as well."

Hal Jordan and the other Green Lantern who appears in a monthly book, JLA member John Stewart, will make brief appearances in "Recharge." Both are kept busy in their regular books. "They're back on Earth," Gibbons explained. "While Kyle and Guy are mankind's representatives in the heart of the galaxy."

Gibbons praised the work of "Recharge" artist Patrick Gleason. "He's been doing a great job on 'Aquaman' and I think he is a perfect artist for this series," Gibbons said. "He's got that clear, dynamic, bold style and a really good sense of the macabre and weird."

"Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" is only a five issue mini-series, but Gibbons would love to do a follow up to the series. He's thrilled to have another chance to tell more stories of the DCU's emerald cosmic peacekeepers. "I've always loved the Green Lantern Corps. It was a thing that I was really sorry when I was drawing the lead feature those years ago that I didn't do more of."

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