This summer, the Green Lantern Corps is truly going where no Lantern has gone before in “Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War,” a crossover mega event presented by IDW Publishing, CBS Consumer Products and DC Entertainment. “The Spectrum War” will mark the first crossover between these two cosmic franchises, a remarkable feat considering their lengthy histories. The Green Lantern Corps debuted as the DC Universe’s intergalactic police force in 1959’s “Showcase” #22 in a story by industry legends John Broome and Gil Kane; Gene Roddenberry introduced “Star Trek” seven years later in 1966. Now, almost fifty years after “Star Trek’s” debut, the Corps and the latest iteration of the Enterprise’s crew will cross paths.
Leading the Corps and crew into “The Spectrum War” are writer Mike Johnson and artist Angel Hernandez. As both the writer of IDW’s current “Star Trek” ongoing and one of the minds behind DC’s recent “Earth 2: World’s End” and “Supergirl” series, Johnson is uniquely suited to deliver this long-awaited event to readers. CBR News connected with Johnson, who revealed some of the allies and enemies set to appear in “The Spectrum War.”
CBR News: The “Spectrum War” solicitation information and cover art tease that Hal Jordan is front and center in this story. What does the man who knows no fear have on Kirk, the man that bested the impossible Kobayashi Maru test?
Mike Johnson: I don’t think either man has much on the other in the way of courage and skill, but if I had to pick something, at his point in their careers, Hal has definitely seen many more bizarre things than Kirk, given that Hal comes from a world of superheroes and supervillains and has traveled far beyond the Milky Way that Kirk is exploring. But Kirk has more experience as a leader, bearing the responsibility of every life aboard a starship that is flying alone in the void, encountering new things without the backup of a Lantern Corps. But at the end of the day, these two have much more in common than not.
The “entire” Green Lantern Corps also looks to be along for the ride. Does that mean that we will see fellow headliners like John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner in “Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War”? What about secondary characters like Kilowog, Tomar-Re or — a personal favorite — G’nort?
I can’t say too much without spoiling things, but yes — we will see fan favorites as well as the big guns. And I agree with you about G’Nort.
Can you tease how the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Green Lantern Corps initially cross paths in “The Spectrum War”?
The Enterprise sends an away team down to a dead planet. On the surface they find a large-skulled skeleton surrounded by six — yes, six — dead rings. The rest you’ll have to find out when it hits the stands.
Prior to the meeting, do the Federation and the Green Lantern Corps have previous knowledge of one another?
No. They exist in alternate realities that come into contact in this story because… that’s enough. I don’t want to spoil anything. What I can say is that the majority of the story takes place in the Trek timeline, because in the Lanterns’ timeline, the… [laughs] seriously, I should stop.
Based on the Gabriel Rodriguez variant cover for the first issue, it appears that Sinestro plays a role in this series. If that’s the case, is he working together with the visually challenged villain shown in the preview art or are they two separate threats?
Sinestro plays a pivotal role. But as usual with Sinestro, his motives are not as clear cut as a typical villain’s, as we will see when he meets a Klingon who wields a yellow ring.
And speaking of the power ring bearing Klingon with the eye patch, can you confirm that he is in fact Christopher Plummer’s General Chang from “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”?
It is indeed Chang. The new Trek timeline gives us the opportunity to see familiar characters at an earlier point in their lives, and as a huge Christopher Plummer fan I jumped at the opportunity to make him our lead Klingon for this story.
Will he be quoting Shakespeare?
To quote or not to quote, is that the question? Hmm…
I rank “The Undiscovered Country” right behind “The Wrath of Khan” as the second best original cast Star Trek movie. Would you concur?
I would put “The Voyage Home” between those two. I think it’s a perfect combination of great character moments and a classic big sci-fi Star Trek plot.
You have written many “Star Trek” titles for IDW over the past six years but I don’t believe you have written Green Lantern before. What is your history with the character? Do you have a favorite Lantern?
I’ve been a huge Green Lantern fan since I was a kid, right up through Geoff Johns’ incredible expansion of the Lantern mythology in the present day. I’ve only had the chance to write a couple of lines of dialogue for Hal in an issue of “Superman/Batman,” and I wrote many of the Alan Scott scenes in the recent “Earth 2: World’s End” series. This is my first opportunity to really dive in and write a bunch of characters across the Lantern spectrum. It’s impossible to choose a favorite, but I have a soft spot for Kilowog.
There is a specific phrase in the solicitation that caught my eye: “… in an adventure that spans space, time… ” With “Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2” already in continuity, is the Doctor in play here?
I wish! Maybe in the sequel to this one?
What do your interior artist Angel Hernandez and the lineup of cover artists bring to “Spectrum War”?
Angel is our MVP. He has a rare talent for combining both huge superhero action with the particular demands of likenesses and future tech that a franchise like Trek demands. His pages have blown us all away. He gives the book a big summer popcorn movie scope that fans will absolutely love.
“The Spectrum War” features the U.S.S. Enterprise crew featured in the 2009 and 2013 films. What do newcomers like Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana bring to the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, Bones and Uhura? What differentiates them from the original portrayals delivered by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Nichelle Nichols?
My single favorite thing about the new movies is the cast. J.J. Abrams is a genius when it comes to finding unknown talent and matching them with the perfect roles. I think the new cast has differentiated itself in the way that they have embraced the changing circumstances of the new timeline and revealed new facets of the characters.
For example, in the original timeline, Kirk had a career in Starfleet before becoming Captain, whereas in the new timeline he becomes Captain at a younger age through extraordinary circumstances. Chris Pine did an amazing job at showing Kirk’s journey from disillusioned youth to confident Captain. Likewise, Quinto and Saldana have given us new facets of Uhura and Spock through the prism of their relationship in the new timeline. The entire cast has done a masterful job of reminding us of why we love these characters while at the same time making the roles their own.
Is there one crew member in particular that you see as being unequivocally tied to the new J.J. Abrams’ movies?
Keenser! I know some people dismissed him as a sidekick added to sell toys, but I love the relationship he’s developed with Scotty in the movies. We’ve expanded on it in the ongoing “Star Trek” comic series, showing flashbacks to Keenser’s past and his journey to Starfleet, and showing that Keenser just might be the best engineer in the galaxy. It’s fun to play his quiet confidence against Scotty’s more vocal personality. He’s become a valuable member of the crew.
Before I let you go, I know you are a huge fan of the Star Trek franchise. How were you affected by the death of Leonard Nimoy and, with his passing, is there a hole in both the 23rd century and today?
Like everyone, hardcore fan or not, I was deeply saddened by his passing, but I was heartened by the knowledge that his work, his wisdom, his humor will always be with us and will influence every new Star Trek story that will be told in any medium. The word legend gets tossed around a lot. Few truly deserve the title. Nimoy was, is and always will be a legend.
“Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War” #1 by Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez launches towards the final frontier in July.
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