Interview: Robert Venditti Turns the LIGHTS OUT on Green Lantern

The Green Lantern family of titles have recently gone through a massive creative shift, thankfully to much acclaim, and at the center of this move is author Robert Venditti. No stranger to science fiction action, Venditti picked up the reigns of flagship title Green Lantern and never looked back, even coordinating another crossover event between the books for this October entitled, “Lights Out.” Set to change the landscape of the DC Universe’s outer space mythology, Venditti took a few minutes out to talk to us about how the transition has been going, what kind of villain Relic is, and what it’s like to envision an entirely new (old) universe for the books!

GL_Cv24_1cf2b7f8l7_Matt Santori: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us again, Robert! Now that you’ve settled into the Green Lantern family a little bit, has anything surprised you about the characters that you wouldn’t have expected in the beginning?

Robert Venditti: I’ve been surprised by how deep the roster of supporting characters is and how much fun they are to write.  So much of my pitch focused on Hal by necessity, but making him the leader of the Green Lantern Corps and basing him on Oa has allowed me to spend a lot of time with characters like Kilowog, Soranik Natu, Voz, and others.  It’s something I’m going to continue to do, particularly after “Lights Out,” when readers will start to meet some new Lanterns as well.

MSG: After just a few months of settling into their own routines, the four key books in the Lantern line come back together for another crossover. Why did you feel the time was right to launch “Lights Out” and how has working with the other creative teams been?

RV: Part of the challenge—and the fun—of working in the Green Lantern group is finding ways to bring the titles together. Van Jensen, Charles Soule, and Justin Jordan are all talented writers and very sharp guys, but they also each come from different backgrounds that allow them to bring to the table things no one else could bring. Being able to talk story as a group has been invaluable.

Green-Lantern-23.1-Relic-origin-4MSG: We learned a great deal of Relic’s origins in recent weeks, and gotten a peek at the universe before our own. What inspired you to re-envision the emotional spectrum for a time pre-Guardians, and are there more stories to tell from that era?

RV: “Lights Out” was a large part of my pitch for my first year on Green Lantern, and when DC told me they wanted to feature Relic’s origin story in one of their Villains Month issues—and have the story told in twenty splash pages—that essentially meant I was being given the chance to create an entire universe and then blow it up in just twenty panels.  How do you not get inspired by something like that?  I saw it as an opportunity to tell a story that not only expanded the Green Lantern mythology, but also doubled as a primer of sorts that could introduce new readers to the concept of the emotional spectrum and the various ring corps.

As for whether there’ll be more stories set in the universe before ours… only time will tell.

MSG: With Green Lantern: New Guardians #23, we saw the Blue Lantern Corps decimated, extinguished first like the Blue Light of Faith was in Relic’s universe. What does this do to the balance of the spectrum going forward?

RV: It’s an opportunity to bring new conflicts into the Green Lantern line.  The Blue Lanterns are arguably the most powerful of all the corps, and their ability to supercharge green rings has often been used as a resource.  Without the Blue Lanterns, the balance of the spectrum is tipped in a way that’s only going to make things more difficult for Hal and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps.

GL-RELIC-23-1-5-f37e2MSG: Relic himself is a curious adversary, not unlike Sinestro as a villain who seems to have the best intentions, however twisted by circumstance. What led you to his creation and why does he feel so strongly about his mission?

RV: Relic is a scientist who spent his entire life studying the emotional spectrum and trying to convince the Lanterns of his universe — known as “Lightsmiths” — that his theory about the ultimate source of the spectrum’s power was correct.  They ignored him, and that universe died because of it.  Having found himself in our universe and realizing the cycle is already on its way to repeating itself, Relic has decided that he’s done with diplomacy.  It’s time to act, and any Lantern or corps who stands in his way will be taken down.  These are the types of villains I enjoy writing — villains whose cause is sympathetic to the reader, even if their methods are somewhat abhorrent.

MSG: What’s your overarching goal for Hal Jordan, now that he’s been moved from his more independent and roguish roots into a position of leadership and deep responsibility? Is there an aspect to him you’re looking to highlight or uncover that’s been previously unknown?

GL_ANN_2_CVR_haxxglpyy0_RV: It’s about finding the qualities that make Hal unique as a character and placing him in situations that will highlight those qualities — both the good and the bad.  How is Hal’s leadership style different from John Stewart’s or Guy Gardner’s or even Batman’s?  Hal is very much a man who acts on instinct, something that goes back to his roots as a fighter pilot, so how does that approach help him or hinder him?

MSG: Any last words or special teases you can share with the Comicosity audience about your upcoming work?

RV: We worked hard to make sure each of the Earth Lantern leads — Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle — have a major role to play in “Lights Out.”  This is a story that’s going to have significant, long-term effects on not just the Green Lantern line, but the wider DC universe as well.  Some of those effects will be apparent, and others will hopefully surprise people.  The consequences can’t be overstated.

“Lights Out,” the latest Green Lantern crossover event, begins this Wednesday in Green Lantern #24, and continues weekly through all the Green Lantern family titles, culminating in Green Lantern Annual #2, also written by Robert Venditti and arriving in stores on October 30. Preview pages from upcoming issues can be seen below.


Images courtesy DC Comics.




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