Venditti Turns "Lights Out" on Green Lantern Corps

When Robert Venditti took over as writer of DC Comics' "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps," he didn't waste any time ramping up the action in Sector 2814. And this October, he's launching right into "Lights Out," the first post-Geoff Johns crossover with the other Green Lantern titles: "Green Lantern: New Guardians" and "Red Lanterns."

In the crossover, Hal Jordan, John Stewart and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps face off against Relic, a new character hyped by the publisher as "the next major Green Lantern villain." Venditti told CBR News that Relic, who made his debut in "Green Lantern: New Guardians" #21, is a scientist who isn't super-powered, but he arms himself with such an impressive technology-driven arsenal that he is unlike anything the Corps has encountered before.

In our latest conversation, Venditti tells Comic Book Resources that Relic's reign of terror, which also plays out during Villains Month in September, will have an effect on "every Lantern of every Corps who has ever appeared in any comic book ever," including long-term ramifications for Hal, John, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner.

CBR News: Though we've only seen one issue of your "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps" runs so far, you've been writing these characters for months. Are you enjoying your time with the Corps?

Robert Venditti: It's really been a blast. Even more fun than I expected, and I expected it to be a lot of fun. The Green Lantern universe is so rich and full of interesting characters concepts. How could I not have fun writing something like that? And with "Green Lantern Corps," it's an opportunity to work with Van Jensen, who I've been friends with for years. When your workday consists of hanging out with your friends and planning what you're going to do with the whole of the known universe for the next year, you're doing all right.

What's been the biggest surprise working with Hal? And John Stewart?

I think it's the differences between the two. It might not be immediately apparent, but when you get down to dissecting the two characters, you realize they both want the same things, but the way they go about achieving those ends are almost mirror opposites. There's ready-made conflict, there.

I'd say the biggest difference is that Hal is a short-term, right-now type of thinker. As a fighter pilot flying at supersonic speed, you have to be. John, on the other hand, is an architect. That's the type of job where you need to be thinking very far into the future and planning out every detail. Neither is 100 per cent right or wrong. Both characters have shown, and will continue to show, the validity of their respective approaches.

I spoke with Justin Jordan a few weeks back, and he teased the arrival of Relic. As we crash towards Villains Month and the "Lights Out" crossover what can you tell us about "the next major Green Lantern villain?"

Relic is, first and foremost, a scientist. He isn't inherently super-powered beyond the proportionate strength and durability that comes with his increased size, so his abilities -- both offensive and defensive -- are derived from the technology he surrounds himself with -- and he has quite an arsenal. These are things we haven't seen before, and the Green Lantern Corps certainly hasn't gone up against anything like it in their history.

One thing I'll also add is, while Relic's attitude toward Hal and the Green Lanterns certainly isn't benevolent, my hope is that readers will at least be able to sympathize on some level with his cause.

Does Relic have a specific history with Hal Jordan?

Not with Hal specifically. With Lanterns in general, though -- that's another matter entirely.

Obviously, you can't give too much away just yet, but since we know basically nothing so far, let me ask: What is "Lights Out?"

Like a lot of what we're doing in "Green Lantern," I see the events of "Lights Out" as being a next logical step in the story. The Lanterns will face challenges they haven't faced before, not just in the physical sense, but intellectually as well. More than what he can do, what Relic represents poses a huge threat to the Corps. The story is going to leave a lasting impression on the series and will set the stage for many conflicts to come.

Is the bloody ring featured in the teaser image part of the actual story, or was that just cool concept art to hype the event?

If the question is whether there's going to be a particular panel with a blood-splattered ring in it, then the answer is probably not. But the stakes in "Lights Out" are as high as they can possibly be. Not everyone will survive.

Coming hot on the heels of the Villains Month special, "Lights Out" looks to be a pretty tight crossover, being told strictly in October's issues of "Green Lantern," Green Lantern Corps," "New Guardians" and "Red Lanterns" and "Green Lantern" Annual #2. With such a tight timeline, and such limited space, can we truly expect a major shakeup for the GL titles following the events of "Lights Out?"

Adding all those issues together, the entire story will be 140 pages or so. That's a significant amount of space, and we're going to make the most of every page. I really can't overstate the level of shakeup.

Who are the other major players featured in "Lights Out." I'm told that every Corps member, ever, is in play --

The way I describe the story is, it'll tie together every Lantern of every Corps who has ever appeared in any comic book -- ever. It's an ambitious story, and our editors have been great about letting us take substantial risks with these characters. We're holding nothing back.

The spotlight -- or lack thereof in a story called "Lights Out" -- must shine a little brighter on a few Corps members. Are we talking the heavy hitters like John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner or fan-favorite, supporting characters like Kilowog and Salaak?

All of the above will have key roles to play in the storyline, and plenty of other characters as well. As far as the four leads from the Green Lantern titles, we worked very hard to give them each an integral role in "Light Out." All of them will emerge from October with major changes to their status quo.

Who does "Lights Out" affect more deeply, Hal or John?

Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle will all be deeply affected by "Lights Out," as will many more familiar faces. Everyone will be changed. Profoundly so.

Does Relic remain "the next major Green Lantern villain" beyond the crossover (and someone you will utilize moving forward) or is "Lights Out" his time to shine?

"Lights Out" is definitely Relic's time to shine, but readers will be seeing him before then. Anyone who has read "New Guardians" #21 knows what I'm talking about. The main storyline was conceived with a beginning, middle and conclusion, though, so by the end of October, readers will know what becomes of the character.

"Green Lantern" #23 arrives next week while "Green Lantern Corps" #23 is expected July 10.

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