22nd November 2014

Van Jensen and Robert Venditti Talk ‘Godhead’ and Things to Come

Venditti and Jensen talk Godhead

There’s been more publicity for the “Godhead” event, which also features signs of things to come. Van Jensen, writer of Green Lantern Corps, and Robert Venditti, writer of Green Lantern, answered some questions with Newsarama.Com, and also showed off an image from the upcoming Green Lantern Corps #37, seen above. As we can see in the image, John Stewart is back in his regular Green Lantern uniform, so I suppose his tenure as a Star Sapphire doesn’t last long at all. That’s actually a relief to me. A small part of me was afraid that DC would try to sabotage John by making him a Star Sapphire for an extended length of time. I knew that was highly unlikely, but I don’t put much past DC Editorial. On that note, here are some excerpts from the article:

The two writers, who also currently co-write The Flash, have invented new threats and thought-provoking personal challenges for the Lanterns while shaking up the team. And although some wild rumors about John Stewart dying have been proven false, the latest issue of Corps put him in a Star Sapphire ring.

What’s false is the truth of this statement. Previous Green Lantern Corps writer, Joshua Hale Fialkov, actually confirmed that DC Editorial’s John Stewart death mandate was true. What happened was the editors ultimately decided to not follow through with it once Fialkov left over the ridiculous decision and word got out as to why.

Anyway, moving on to the interview.

Jensen: There’s some very central stuff that goes on in Green Lantern Corps #37. I can’t really talk too much about it without spoiling the end of Act II.

In a big way, the final act [in December’s issues] is about the various Lanterns really taking the fight to the New Gods. We’ve been building the Lanterns up and seeing them trying to equip themselves mentally and physically with the kind of weapons that they need to take on an entire army of gods.

So that’s really central to the next issue of Green Lantern Corps.

And there’s some very, very big fights ahead.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the Green Lanterns deal with the seemingly unstoppable New Gods. When asked about what threat John and the Corps will face after “Godhead,” Jensen says:

Yeah, what’s coming up is not something that has to do with the Black Lanterns. It’s a different threat. And it’s something that’s going to emerge out of existing Green Lantern history, so this is not some totally new thing, but an exploration of something very, very old and very strange in the Lanterns’ history, but adding some new wrinkles to it.

The central idea we’re exploring is, with the Lanterns caught up in huge battle after huge battle, again and again and again, their mission of policing the universe — they really have not been able to do that.

So the universe, in the absence of Green Lanterns, has fallen into darkness. Like, if you’d imagine a city where the police have been caught up in some ongoing, massive situation in one part of town and the rest of the city, with no police whatsoever, would turn to chaos. And that’s what we’re seeing through a lot of the universe.

The Shadow Empire comes from something that has already been around in the Green Lantern mythology? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it has something to do with a story from an obscure 1980s “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” backup. Or perhaps the Mad God Sector 3600. What I don’t like about the Shadow Empire from what I’ve read in the solicits is that they have some ancient grudge against the Green Lantern Corps. How many times have we seen that in recent memory? The Keepers (they actually had a grudge against the Guardians, but that’s not very different), the Durlans, and now the Shadow Empire. Well, we’ll see how it goes.

Venditti: Yeah, the Templar Guardians have been off with Kyle for, well, going on 20 issues now, familiarizing themselves with the universe after having been locked away for so long. And now they’re coming back home to become leaders. But they’re very different characters from the old Guardians. The old Guardians, I think, over time became dark and twisted and so focused on the end.

The Templar Guardians are a much different group of characters. They’re more whimsical. They’re more fun. They’re more good-hearted. So their style of leadership will be different.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still huge scale threats, believe it or not, even larger than the ones we’ve seen so far, including the New Gods, and they’re still on the horizon. Given everything that the Corps has been through in the past couple years.

As Van said, the Corps have left much of the universe unpoliced. And the universe at large has fallen out of favor, in terms of how they see the Corps.

There are a lot of challenges that need to be faced, and they’ll lead to some pretty drastic schisms that are going to happen. Some of these things will come to conclusion by issue #40. Some of them, we’ll see exactly how things are different after we come back from the two-month break.

Bigger threats than the New Gods? That sounds like the Anti-Monitor. You can read the rest of the interview at the link below:
GREEN LANTERN Writers Talk GODHEAD, Say ‘Things Will Be Different’ Post-CONVERGENCE

18th November 2014

Green Lantern Corps #39 February Solicit

DC Comics has released their solicitations for February 2015, and Green Lantern John Stewart looks to be neck deep in the Shadow Empire arc. Take a look at the cover and sales pitch for Green Lantern Corps #39 below.

Harley Quinn Variant

Written by VAN JENSEN
Art and cover by BERNARD CHANG
On sale FEBRUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.

As John Stewart and his team try to root out the criminal network that has overtaken the homeworld of Lantern Feska, they discover the planet is imperiled by a far darker, deadlier force. An enemy with an ancient hatred of the Corps. An enemy that seeks to cast all the universe into shadow.

It’s nice to hear that we’ll be catching up with the recruits again. I also look forward to seeing more of Feska’s planet Zarox. I’m also curious to see what this cult like Shadow Empire has to do with the criminal circuit of Shadow Markets.

Pick this one up in February!

Oa, by the way

The digital first series Smallville Season Eleven, by writer Bryan Q. Miller with cover art by Cat Staggs, is coming to a close with the storyline titled “Continuity.” John Stewart is featured prominently and proudly on the cover. Take a look.

Harley Quinn Variant

I am a fan of the “Lantern” arc. You can find my reviews for it here. I’m very happy that John is the Green Lantern of the Smallville universe. ComicbookResources.Com held an interview with Miller and Staggs about their milestone run.


16th November 2014

February Green Lantern Corps Harley Quinn Variant Cover

Harley Quinn is proving to be one of DC Comics’ most popular characters. In an effort to mine her popularity, DC has themed their variant covers for the month of February 2015 after the clown princess. Check out the Green Lantern Corps variant below.

Harley Quinn Variant

It’s thematically clever, and it’s great to see Harley and John together. You can view a larger image of the cover right here.

15th November 2014

Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Godhead Interviews

Star Sapphire John Stewart

There’s been quite a bit of publicity due to the latest developments in Green Lantern Corps, which have John Stewart becoming the first male ever to join the ranks of the Star Sapphires. Writer Van Jensen and artist Bernard Chang have had a number of interviews about the subject. Here are some excerpts from them with my own thoughts following:

From IGN.Com:

“Jensen: So for our Corps, as we’ve been following John in this journey of discovering himself and figuring out what his viewpoints are in relation to all these different Corps and the different power sets — which has in a lot of ways been an emotional journey — it was kind of a natural culmination of that, of John forging a strange and awkward alliance with the Star Sapphires. I don’t know. [Laughs] It seemed like the right, sort of crazy thing to do, to put him in a Star Sapphire costume.”

It seems like Jensen has been taking John on a long soul searching journey. I’m curious as to what John will find out about himself, and how this will change him.

“Chang: There was actually a handful of different designs that I had submitted, some that were more based on his Green Lantern outfit but had some pink accents to it — even a hybrid of both — because he still had the Green Lantern ring on at the same time. There was even one where he was almost shirtless, because the Star Sapphires don’t have a lot of clothing on them. So I thought maybe John would be pseudo-shirtless and half-naked. But at the end we ended up going with this. It’s a little more. A lot of the lines are pretty jagged. I think that has something to do with the recent turmoil that he’d experienced. But the green energy is still very fluid on his exterior. So I think there’s a nice counterbalance, ultimately, with the final design that is uniform but exudes energy.”

This is pretty interesting, because I’ve seen some people complaining about the fact that John’s Star Sapphire costume has him fully covered. They claim it’s a double standard to have the female Star Sapphires going around in skimpy costumes while John does not. This would actually be true if it weren’t for the fact that since the New 52 reboot, DC Comics has actually been presenting the Star Sapphires in much less revealing costumes. Carol Ferris and Fatality’s most recent costumes are much less sexualized than the ones they had before the New 52.

“Jensen: It’s almost like these raw nerves that have been exposed, that he’s been struggling to deal with. So in a lot of way he has for a long time been cover up or hide his emotional side. This in many ways is him coming to grips with the fact that he can’t just be this taciturn dude. He has to embrace the emotional aspects of his character that are really present, going back to the origin of when he became a Green Lantern.”

It seems to me that Van Jensen is going towards the route of making John more than just “that serious Green Lantern.” Fans of John already know there is a lot more to him than just being stern, and we like him the way that he is when he’s portrayed well. I’m willing to see where Van Jensen goes with this, though. He’s never let me down with the character.


Van Jensen and Bernard Chang also had a word with Comicvine.Com

“Jensen: Part of this is John doing what needed to be done in order to get his troops to safety and that’s sort of the immediate aspect of it. For the longer term, for John, this is a really important moment for really discovering something about himself and the strength within himself that’s gonna bond him in a way.”

One thing I think Jensen is in the process of doing is moving John away from the mopey sadness that has plagued him ever since Cosmic Odyssey. Actually, it began before that. It all started in Action Comics Weekly when Katma Tui was murdered. If that’s where Jensen is headed, then I’m very excited about that.

“Chang: As a lifelong comic book reader, Jack Kirby’s legacy, in comics, has been influential to any fan. Obviously, the New Gods are on the top of that list. Pete Woods came in and redesigned the characters and technology and environments and did a wonderful job at that, so visually, all the books, especially this crossover, looks amazing, purely on just a design basis, playing off what Kirby had originally done. The designs are so great looking at them, but by the end of drawing every issue and having put in all the details, I’m cursing at Woods. Also, a lot of shout-outs have to go to Marcelo Maiolo, who does colors on the book and really brings the visuals to life. Van will write the words, I’ll put in the lines, but Marcelo really comes in and closes the deal on all the issues. It’s a fun experience for me.”

I have to hand it to Pete Woods, too. I really like the designs of the New Gods now. Shadowfall looks stunning in the latest issue of Green Lantern Corps. I am now a fan of her’s.

“Jensen: GREEN LANTERN CORPS is going to be very much a singular story, coming out of Godhead. It’s going to be an exploration of this idea that we’ve been seeding a little bit over the past year that the Corps has been wrapped up with these huge, monumental battles for years, really, from the First Lantern to Relic onto the Durlans and then the New Gods and one of the things that we’re exploring is that with the corps wrapped up with these singular threats is that’s diverted their attention from their stated purpose which is patrol the universe and keep the universe protected. If you imagine a city where all the cops in the city have been focused so long on particular place, what happens to all the other neighborhoods where there are no police officers? That’s going to be the central idea of this next arc. The universe has largely been without Green Lanterns for sometime now and a pretty significant group of threats have taken hold in that time.”

It’s nice to hear that Green Lantern Corps will branch off and do its own thing. The inter-connectivity with Green Lantern has definitely been interesting and handled well, but I’m ready for Green Lantern Corps to go off and forge more of its own identity with more independent stories. I’d like to see more enemies developed primarily for John Stewart. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Shadow Empire has to offer, and I’m hoping the Sciencell convicts are involved somehow. I’d hate to see that thread Jensen left go unused. Speaking of threads, I’m really interested to see what’s in store for Von Daggle and R’amey Holl, too.

Interview: Van Jensen and Bernard Chang Discuss the Present and Future of GREEN LANTERN CORPS

Van Jensen also spoke with Comicosity.Com, where he had interesting things to say.

“When I first started on the book (with issue #21), I started looking at the history of Fatality and the way she’d been almost brainwashed as a Star Sapphire. That’s a really interesting dynamic, and we continued to explore that as Fatality was replaced by a Durlan shapeshifter, and then she claimed not to really love John. It’s been an important area to explore for John, as he’s been going through the process of rediscovering his emotional side.

One of the things I’m interested in is gender dynamics in comics, and this ongoing story arc is largely an exploration of that. The Star Sapphires are fascinating in that regard, as a group that excludes males. So this issue is really the culmination of that.”

In my recent review for Green Lantern Corps #36, I wrote about Van Jensen’s far sighted plotting. Meaning that he plans things well in advance, which makes his big deliveries all the more powerful.

“As the Lanterns have been drawn into the fight against the New Gods, the Shadow Empire has expanded its reach throughout the universe. The Corps is soon to discover just how far the shadows have spread.

Oh, and John is going to make a discovery that changes him forever. No biggie!”

A discovery that changes John Stewart forever? Well, that certainly has me intrigued.

Interview: Van Jensen Lights Up the NEW GODS

The events of Green Lantern Corps #36 have certainly gotten people talking. It seems everyone has an opinion on John Stewart becoming a Star Sapphire. I’m happy that all this attention is being drawn to the book, and I’m really excited about things to come for John.

14th November 2014

Green Lantern Corps #36 Review

“Godhead” moves forward. Check out what Green Lantern is doing in the latest installment of the epic crossover, Green Lantern Corps #36.

“I guess I can understand Van Jensen’s run not speaking to someone if they dislike John Stewart, or don’t like Green Lantern, but I would never be able to understand someone who says these comics are bad, or even just okay. The amount of heart, care, skill, and foresight that goes into them is undeniable. I’ve never had so much fun with Green Lantern comics before!”

Read more

Be back for more content about our favorite Green Lantern!

Oa, by the way

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was released recently. Here is some footage of gameplay featuring John Stewart.

I love how in the menu, he’s not listed as “Green Lantern,” but rather as “John Stewart,” because clearly only Hal Jordan is the real Green Lantern [/sarcasm]. I only nitpick like this because I care. I do it because I want DC and WB to do better. If they want to be more inclusive to an entire certain demographic of people, then they need to stop presenting their most beloved Black character as not the real version, less than, the substitute, the secondary guy, a supporting character, and so on.

Believe me, I congratulate them when they do good! It’s great that John is there at all. And I love Michael, Supergirl’s new love interest. However, I feel that when they make advancements, oftentimes they don’t go as far with them as they can, which gives me a feeling that they’re doing them begrudgingly. As if they’re doing them only because they have to. I never got that feeling from Bruce Timm and company’s famous Justice League cartoons.

Let the Black guy shine. Is that too much to ask? I think this Darwyn Cooke variant cover is so great because that’s exactly what Cooke let John Stewart do in the image. Cooke didn’t hold John back to put a White character in front of him, or something of the sort.

I hope you’re listening, DC and WB. People actually want you to do better, because they love your characters. However, it seems you still have some difficulty moving into the 21st century. I point out these “little” things because you may or may not notice what you’re doing, but it does make a big difference to some people, and I don’t want you to believe we’re all satisfied with such displays. It’s not that all of us are impossible to satisfy. We’re not. You just need to handle the characters as if you’re totally proud of them, like you are your best White heroes. That’s really all it would take.