War & Peacekeepers: Gibbons on "Rann- Thanagar," "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" & More

The Countdown is over and the Crisis has begun. On Earth, the heroes of the DC Universe must contend with an army of supervillains, a malevolent satellite and its legion of robotic enforcers, and the full fury of the Spectre's insane rampage against magic. In the blackness of space, an interstellar war rages and all existence teeters on the brink of universal armageddon. But all hope is not lost; the stygian depths of space will once again be illuminated by the light of the Green Lantern Corps, that is if they survive an assault by an unknown enemy. CBR News recently spoke with writer Dave Gibbons, the man who lit the powder keg that exploded into the "Rann-Thanagar War" and is reigniting the emerald flame of the Green Lantern Corps in the mini-series "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge." We chatted about the wrap-up of the "Rann-Thanagar War," the upcoming "Rann-Thanagar War Special, " "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge," and the "Green Lantern Corps" ongoing series set to begin next year.

When Gibbons received the "Rann-Thanagar War" assignment, he was also given a set of very specific instructions. "Somewhere I've got the piece of paper that says, 'We want these characters in it. This has got to happen. It's six issues. Do it.' Which was fine," Gibbons told CBR News. "I really wanted to get into doing a bit more writing and certainly this was into the thick of it. Everything I've written in the past has been very much self contained, but with the big DC 'Infinite Crisis' event going, on this really had to be one to order."

Most of the cast of characters Gibbons was given saw action in "Rann-Thanagar," with one exception. "At one point Bizraro was in there," Gibbons said. "I managed to talk them out of that. He really struck me as somebody hard to integrate. I did one complete treatment where he ended up terrorizing Adam's Strange's daughter. It was a fairly good scene, but we kicked Bizraro out which I think was probably a good idea."

"The Rann-Thanagar War" mini-series may have ended with issue six, but the two cultures are still locked in a bitter and violent struggle. "Although things have pretty much resolved as far as the immediate conflict in 'The Rann-Thanagar War,' the War will run for a long time to come. Because clearly there are many people in the galaxy who have been spoiling for a war and it suits their end nicely to prolong it."

One person who is exploiting the War to serve her own interests is Blackfire AKA Komand'r who has adopted a sort of Eva Peron role with the Thanagarean Grand Mor. "She's an interesting character because she's a great schemer and, of course, what she's got at heart always is the welfare of her people. She'll stop at nothing in order to get them a new home world. Now she's using her intellect and her powers of persuasion to kind of seduce the Grand Mor into acting in a way that's going to benefit her and her people.

"I always think the best villains must have some kind of redeeming reason," continued Gibbons. "I think Komand'r's redeeming feature is she wants security for her and her people. She wants a planet and she doesn't care if it's Rann or Thanagar. If she's in a position of power that means she can guarantee their security. That's her motivation."

As readers of the final issue of "The Rann-Thanagar War " saw, it was with Komand'r's encouragement that the Grand Mor lead the legions of Thanagar and it's allies in a direct assault on Rann and the Rannians and their allies were preparing to repel the invading armada. "We see this epic battle taking place in space," Gibbons said. "Which is kind of, 'Here comes everybody.'"

Looming in the background of this epic clash is a rift in space that appeared moments after Adam Strange and his allies defeated the monstrous Onimar Synn and his undead legions. This is where "The Rann-Thanagar War" mini-series ended.

The interstellar conflict continues in the pages of "Infinite Crisis" and many lingering questions will be addressed in the upcoming "Rann-Thanagar War Special," also written by Gibbons. "The special is the bridge between what happened in 'Rann-Thanagar' and what happened in 'Infinite Crisis,'" Gibbons explained. "The way I understand it is these specials fit in between issues of 'Infinite Crisis.' They expand on things that are happening. They fill up the details and kind of cross-brace the structure of the whole thing.

"With all of these books DC is playing what I believe they call a long game," Gibbons continued. "There are things that have happened, their reasons are not immediately apparent or aren't quite what we thought they were, and will be revealed in the future."

While he's been busy bringing chaos and destruction to one corner of the galaxy with "Rann-Thanagar," Gibbons has also been reestablishing a force for order and justice in another corner with the five issue "Green Lantern Corps: Recharge" mini-series. Figuring out the timeline for both series has been a little difficult for some readers. "This is like three dimensional chess because we're playing in our own little sandbox, but somewhere all these sandboxes have tunnels and connections to one another," Gibbons said. "I think 'Recharge' fits in the interstices between the 'Rann-Thanagar War' series and the 'Rann-Thanagar' special. The way I see it, and I might be absolutely wrong about this, but my feeling is that's when it takes place. Because in the first issue of 'Recharge,' Kyle mentions Captain Comet so it's clearly after the 'Rann-Thanagar War' but before the ultimate resolution of 'Infinite Crisis.'"

The Rann-Thanagar War is a devastating conflict, but in the eyes of the Guardians of the Universe, it's an insignificant one compared to the cosmic big picture. Gibbons said, "The Guardians reaction to the Rann-Thanagar War was not, 'This War must be stopped at all costs.' But they sent Kyle Rayner along, under the orders of Kilowog. So, Kyle was sent on essentially a peripheral police action and then got more involved. Whether the Guardians knew that or planned it that way we shall leave a mystery at the moment.

"So, the Guardians are concerned about it, but they are concerned about lots of other things that are happening as well," Gibbons continued. "They know something bad is coming, which is why they want their corps up to strength."

There is something or someone out there who wants to obliterate the new Green Lantern Corps before it's a fully functioning force. "The bad guys of 'Recharge' are seizing the opportunity to turn on the Guardians and their agents," Gibbons explained. "There's something out there that's doing something which is contrary to the plans of the Guardians. The Guardians come to the realization that these enemies have to be stopped and, at the same time, they must defend themselves against them"

The chaos of "Rann-Thanagar" resonates in "Recharge," but the series is not part of "Infinite Crisis." "'Recharge' pretty much is a self contained tale," Gibbons explained. "It's more about the Green Lantern line rather than the 'Infinite Crisis' line. But, obviously 'Infinite Crisis' is going to have ramifications everywhere."

These ramifications will be felt when "The Green Lantern Corps" ongoing series by Gibbons and artist Patrick Gleason launches later next year. "In the 'Green Lantern Corps' as well we are going to do the one year later flip," Gibbons said. "There will be huge changes between the end of 'Recharge' and the beginning of the ongoing. I think the Corps will be perceived in a different light. It will still have the things that I love and what I know a lot of people love about the Corps, which is the wonderful mix of grotesque and sometimes comedic strange beings. But the function of the Corps, the organization of the Corps, and the physical base of the Corps is going to be radically overhauled. It's going to feel a lot more like a police or a military organization. In truth, it isn't quite either of those, but you'll have to read on to see."

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