Writer Robert Venditti talks about a new Green Lantern story arc “Darkstars Rising” and more.
Green Lantern has had quite an epic ride since the DC Rebirth in 2016. Many new ideas have sprung up like mixing Yellow Lanterns with Green and new titles too (like Green Lanterns) pepper the character’s series. It has been almost 2 years since DC Rebirth and Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been the primo series to understand the journey Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and the Green Lantern Corps have endured. The driving force behind this series is Robert Venditti who has over the years written exceptional stories from X-O Manowar at Valiant to the most recent Damage in the “New Age of Heroes” line from DC Comics. This week, Venditti will be introducing a new kind of threat in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps with issue #42 for the Green Lanterns called Darkstars, who as Venditti puts it, will be in, “a battle for the universe’s soul.”
Lucky us we got to ask Venditti all about it and he let us know more about the Darkstars, his thoughts on the comic industry, and more.
AiPT!: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Robert. Issue #42 begins the “Darkstars Rising” arc, hinted at in the end of issue #36, which adds an interesting police force group into the Green Lantern universe. At the same time, the Green Lanterns are police of a sort too, what can fans expect from this new dynamic?
Robert Venditti: The Darkstars aren’t just a new police force–they bring with them their own law and a brutal brand of executing it. The Green Lantern Corps believes in incarceration, in the hope that even the worst criminals can learn to be better and change their ways. The Darkstars are finished with all of that. If you’ve committed murder, you die. Right there, on the spot. They’ve given up on believing that those who do wrong can atone for it and become better.
This isn’t just a battle between two rival police forces. It’s a battle for the universe’s soul.
AiPT!: Since the Darkstars were created in the ’90s can fans expect any nostalgic ’90s goodness?
Venditti: We’re reviving a past concept, but our focus is forward. As we’ve done throughout the series with characters like Space Cabbie, the Controllers, and others, we want to embrace the history but also build on it. Our Darkstars have a new mantle design, new capabilities, and much more firepower. Beyond that, the temptation to join the Darkstars can be difficult to resist. This is a challenge that will test our heroes’ abilities, but also their belief in what it means to be a Green Lantern.
AiPT!: The concept and moral dilemma of murdering for good is a core concept explored in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42. I was curious where you draw inspiration to write something so relatable in an age where force by police is questioned or in the news most days?
Venditti: The story sprung more from a desire to test our heroes with a conflict they haven’t faced before. It’s an understandable human impulse for a victim of a crime to want vengeance. Perhaps even more so for a superhero, who encounters on a daily basis the absolute worst that criminal behavior can sink to. The Darkstars represent that impulse made real. In a sense, the Green Lantern Corps is facing the embodiment of their own darkest thoughts.
It’s also worth mentioning that this story plays into the larger events shaping the DC Universe. Our plan all along was to bring back the Darkstars, and when DC approached us about the ending of Metal and what it could mean for the cast, our Darkstars story was already a natural fit.
AiPT!: Technically, I think, Hal murdered Sinestro in a previous story arc. But wait, Tomar-Tu is being prisoned for a similar crime. Will this be something explored in the story arc?
Venditti: If you’re referring to events at the end of “Sinestro’s Law,” Hal gave Sinestro every opportunity to leave Warworld, but Sinestro chose to stay. When Hal become willpower and detonated the planet, it was the choice of Sinestro and Lyssa Drak to remain and get caught in the blast. That’s far different than Tomar-Tu using his ring to kill a criminal who was openly surrendering himself into custody.
AiPT!: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #13 was set 60 years into the future and hinted at stories to come. Are you sticking to those reveals, and what does the Hal Jordan roadmap look like for 2018?
Venditti: Many of the teases that were shown in issue #13 have already taken place. In that issue, you’ll find the prism beasts from “Prism of Time,” the giant, Kirby-infused robots from “Fall of the Gods,” and Romat-Ru, whose final fate in many ways led to “Darkstars Rising.” We even get to learn how Somer-Le, the narrator of that issue, came to receive her Green Lantern ring. But there are other stories that we just didn’t have the time to tell. If I stay with the Green Lantern characters longer, I suppose I’d have a chance to tell them all. But Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 will mark eighty-five issues–not counting annuals–since I began writing in the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe back in 2013. That’s a good, long run in the modern comics environment. I’m proud of what we’ve done, but I’m also excited about Hawkman, as well as other new projects that will be announced soon. If the writers who come after me want to pull on one of our dangling threads and tell the story of a Power Ring Corps invasion from the Earth-3 universe, I can’t wait to read it.
AiPT!: If you had free rein to write and draw any story what would it be and why?
Venditti: I’ve been very fortunate in my career that every character and series I’ve worked on is exactly what I wanted to be doing at that moment. Whether it’s something creator-owned or an established character, I enjoy the challenge each story presents. For the past two years, I’ve loved writing the adventures of four friends–Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner–who just so happen to be superheroes. Writing Damage, a chance to create new characters and introduce them to the DC Universe, has also been a joy. And I’m very much looking forward to launching the new Hawkman series with Bryan Hitch in June. These are the stories I want to be telling right now. I wouldn’t change a thing.
AiPT!: What are your own personal hopes for the future of comic books?
Venditti: I came to comics fairly late. I didn’t start reading them until I was in my mid-twenties. But the vibrancy and the energy of the medium lept out at me. My kids started reading comics at a much younger age–the benefit of having a dad in the business–and they reacted the same way. The appeal of comics is undeniable, and with the variety of content and stories available in the current marketplace, there’s something for everyone. My hope is that the medium will build on the current readership and welcome new readers–both young and adult–into the fold. We can all be ambassadors and help make that a reality.
You can find start reading the “Darkstars Rising” story tomorrow and find it in comic shops or digitally.