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NYCC: Venditti, Jensen & More On "Green Lantern: Godhead"

As the next phase in DC Comics' "Green Lantern" series, the "Green Lantern: Godhead" event has a lot to live up to -- especially considering the event is introducing the New Gods to the New 52. The minds behind the event -- including Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Bernard Chang and Brad Walker -- brought all the details behind the event to New York Comic Con 2014, ready to shed some light on a new age for the Green Lantern Corps.

After introductions, moderator John Cunningham kicked off the panel, asking the panel how the concept of the series came about.

"The stuff with the New Gods has been going on for a long time," said Venditti, saying the group editor brought up the New Gods as a topic a while back. "We knew way back before 'Lights Out' that when Kyle came back from the source wall that the Life Equation would be a part of it."

The Source Wall was scripted by Van Jensen, and he said it had the greatest disparity of writing it and Ethan Van Sciver drawing it. "We talked a lot about the feel of the Source Wall -- it's a very reverential feel. We did the history of the universe in three pages, which is not the easiest thing," said Jensen. "If you're just coming to this fresh, you can get caught up and it sets the stage for pitting the two biggest space-based enemies of the DC Universe in conflict with each other."

According to Jensen, there was a lot of talk about the society and culture of the New Gods in the New 52. "They know that the ultimate enemy of the entire mutliverse, Darkseid, is out there," said Jensen, noting that the eons-long war shapes both sides of the conflict. "Justin and I had a lot of fun creating some new New Gods."

"I specifically said when I [did this], that I would create a new New God," said Jordan.

Act two of "Godhead" sees the Green Lanterns encountering the New Gods. "As you read Godhead throughout the issues, you'll get to see just how far out through all of the books we've been building," said Venditti of Hal Jordan's arc. Hal has been on a journey becoming more of a strategizer and less of a headstrong impulsive hero -- "but sometimes you run up against circumstances where no matter how much you strategize, you just can't win." The big question is how much can we change as people while still retaining who you are?

Jordan said that concept also relates to Kyle Rayner, who has god-like powers -- and can he remain who he is, or "is that supreme god-like power inherently corrupting?" "It's nice to see all the subplots coming to a head -- a GODhead," said Jordan.

The story continues in Act Three in "Green Lantern Corps." Jensen said tha the New Gods rewrote a planet, but changed the creatures into twisted forms of themselves. "Highfather says they have to take them out of their misery," said Jensen. "John Stewart and his team come to this planet -- named Aydin [after writer Andrew Aydin] -- they don't know exactly what's going on and also have to go up against the New God Uga, who rides a space bulldog. Bernard, as always, did amazing art that you see."

Chang said "Green Lantern" has been a challenge, because a lot of the Green Lantern constructs have to be imaginative. "When we're on the planet with the New Gods battling the Green Lanterns, I think there's a creative difference," he said. "When we're on the planet Aydin, it's very dark, but when we're with Highfather, it's a different setting. They're visually worlds apart."

Part Four in "Green Lantern: New Guardians" was described by Cunningham as having gorgeous final pages, and Walker said he thought he was moving so fast that he wasn't sure he read everything in one fell swoop. "There was a moment toward the end where I said I could do something really nice and full circle with everything we've been playing with," he said.

Jordan said visually, he also likes the plane that they're on. "It's impressive because [Brad] has done some really cool shit," he said.

"Justin and I hadn't met or spoken when we got the assignment, but it was really nice that I feel like we really wanted to do the same book without having that conversation," Walker said. "Stuff like that is what really interested me about Science Fiction. I wanted to create weird environments and worlds. ... And the difficulty is Justin would write a story where something would happen and then when you come back there's a challenge in showing things going back to normal in a place that isn't normal to any of us."

Jordan added that in the first issue of everything in "New Guardians" is establish what the new normal is and then blow it up.

Cunningham said the "New Guardians" issue is a "turning point in the story," and asked how much of what's happening with Kyle is a long-term vision.

"When they asked me to do 'New Guardians' with Kyle, it was looking at what interested me about Kyle -- it was the sheer amount of power," Jordan said. "The question for Kyle isn't what can he do, it's what should he do. ... I was interested in the idea of the DCU -- you've got so many characters of differing levels of power, what does it mean to be a god? That was always my goal. ... A lot of that stuff's intentional -- it's the nature of a monthly book that you have a vague idea of [what's going to happen]."

Jordan said the team was lucky that the Green Lantern team didn't have another crossover between "Lights Out" and "Godhead," and Walker said he was impressed at how much the storyline/crossover organically integrated into the ongoing story lines of each book. "That's what's great about a crossover -- for me, nobody needs to read it to enjoy the crossover, but people who have been reading won't be slighted at all," said Walker.

"This crossover is the culmination of all the story lines we've been getting to," said Jordan. "'Godhead' will give you the answers about what's going on with Kyle."

As the team planned out, there was so much focus on the main characters and the journey they were on. "It wasn't like how can we keep the story from damaging what we're doing, but how can we make the story more powerful?" said Jensen.

"Another part of it was how long we could be doing this," said Venditti. "We knew we were coming here, so we were able to plan it all accordingly. ... Now, it's just a matter of how we execute it and hopefully we execute it well."

"With the Five Years Later issues, you could read them before 'Godhead' or after, and you'll see how we made the Five Years Later issues [tie-in] to what we're doing with 'Godhead,'" said Venditti.

Parts Five and Six are "Red Lanterns" and "Sinestro," respectively.

In "Red Lanterns," the Red Lanterns are in charge of Earth. "And Earth is a planet of interest for the New Gods. All of it developed very organically," said Venditti. "The Wheel puts them in conflict with Simon Baz and Guy Gardner."

According to Venditti, Guy Gardner is in a very dark place, and it's going to be a very interesting place for him to explore throughout "Godhead."

As for "Sinestro," Venditti said that at the end of "Green Lantern" #35, Green Lantern headquarters are no longer safe. "Hal will go to where the New Gods would never look for him, and that means going to get help from Sinestro," said Venditti. "Sinestro is trying to reestablish a place not only for the SInestro Corps, but also Korugarians who are still alive. ... It's an adversarial conflict, but also one that's rooted in friendship." That relationship between Hal and Sinestro will come into play in a big way to help them bring out the best in each other, despite being adversaries.

With that, the panel opened up for questions in its final minutes. Venditti said Saint Walker will be a "big part of the arc," and further said that the black and white rings are a part of the emotional spectrum, but are two endpoints. Jordan agreed saying that "in the cosmology of the Universe ... you need all seven to have either of those."

"If you're wondering where the Black Lanterns are in all of this, check in next month," said Jensen.

The issue of Mogo getting taken off the table came up, and Venditti said he didn't just think that the character was one of the best Green Lanterns, "but one of the best characters in comics."

According to Jordan, fragments of the Blue Lantern power battery still exist, and more will be revealed about it in the future.

The final word on the panel was exemplary of the creative team's run so far -- namely, "Anything is possible.

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