The world of Kyle Rayner has been turned upside down, in recent months, in his book GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS. Writer Justin Jordan has put Kyle through a series of trials that includes brand new enemies and new loves. Jordan answered a few of our questions about this series.
COMIC VINE: The Godkillers have a very familiar design in that they look a bit like Roman legionnaires. Where did that idea come from?
JUSTIN JORDAN: In some classic art, when the archangels are depicted, they have a bit of that look about them, and it felt right for them. These are people who rebelled against their god, and while there are not literally fallen angels, we tried to incorporate the imagery a bit. That’s also why when they arrive they sort of crash into the world like a meteor – it’s falling imagery again.
That said, their floaty armor? That was all Brad Walker and it was awesome.
CV: The power from the Godkillers came from their weapons, but after the events of the last arc, they are left weaponless. Are the Godkillers still a threat?
JJ: Oh yes. The First and the rest of Godkillers know how to build that armor and weapons, and they’re on a planet where the shards of the Blue Lantern battery are all around. So they won’t be weaponless forever. And man, they are going to be pissed when they get off Elpis.
They’re not entirely powerless while they’re there – it didn’t come up in the story, but the Godkillers have some inherent superstrength and durability. They’re pretty tough even without the weapons – but they need the weapons to get into space.
CV: The annual issue gives new insight into what's on the other side of the source wall. Aside from the instructions for the universe, are there other elements within there that will come into play?
JJ: There are two thing beyond the source wall. One is that equation we saw. The other is the actual Source, although arguably the Source also includes the equation. But both of them are going to be extremely relevant very shortly.
CV: Oblivion is essentially the anti - Kyle Rayner. How did you come up for the idea of this character and will we see a return?
JJ: Oblivion had a pre New 52 incarnation which, in terms of origin, was similar – he was a product of Kyle having vast power, and he was a physical manifestation of his fear and guilt. So I wanted to do something that would demonstrate the peril of having the amount of power Kyle does and Oblivion seemed like something cool to reintroduce into the DCU.
And yeah, given that Oblivion is essentially part of Kyle, I would say there’s a very good chance we’ll see him again.
CV: Where did Kyle go at the end of the annual?
Which is indeed a very vague answer, but fear not! The question is answered in full in 31, which came out this week.
CV: Kyle is now back on Earth, kinda. How can he be there without certain other characters, like Hal, being alerted to his presence and will he let those close to him know he's still alive?
JJ: Well, he was on Earth very briefly, with Oblivion doing his thing for longer. But the only reason that nobody aside from Carol figured this out is that they were mostly preoccupied with other things. And by other things, I mean Durlans.
But they’re going to know pretty soon Kyle is alive.
CV: This book has really been building on the growing relationship between Kyle and Carol. What's it like writing a love story between two very different but very strong characters?
JJ: Fairly difficult. It’s been a fairly slow build towards them actually acknowledging they have feelings for each other, for one thing, because there’s a lot of history and problems. Carol has the whole Hal issue, and Kyle has known Carol platonically for a while, which has its own perils.
But yeah, trying to find a good Kyle/Carol balance is actually pretty tricky. Kyle is the protagonist of the book and the real powerhouse of the cast, but, at the same time, Carol is much more of a leader by disposition and experience. So getting the balance right is tricky.
CV: Since Kyle is thought to be dead, and he's out in space, you get your own little pocket of the DCU to work with. Do you feel you're free to do a lot more than the other DC books you worked on?
JJ: Oh definitely. That’s not to knock the previous books I’ve been on, but I was working on Earth and with characters that crossed over heavily with other characters, and that limited what I could do.
With New Guardians, post Lights Out, I’ve been able to pretty much create whatever I want and tell whatever kind of stories I want, which is terrific. And for the most part, people seem to be enjoying it, which is good.
CV: There's been a lot of space sharks in this book. Why space sharks?
JJ: Why not space sharks!
There will also be MORE space sharks, with issue 32, which is sort of their secret origin.
The real answer is that I got to thinking – it was established, in the old DCU, that space dolphins existed. They were Lobo’s favorite animal. So I got to think “Why not space sharks?”
CV: Any teasers you can give us on this upcoming arc?
JJ: Well, aside from more space sharks, we’ll get to meet the Psions, who are responsible for the state of the aforemention space sharks, as well as X’Hal. And they are not like the old DCU Psions, so this is very much a horror arc.
Anger may seem like a pretty straightforward emotion. But in DC's Red Lanterns title, writer Charles Soule is exploring the different facets of anger - and the war that results from those differences.
This summer, Red Lanterns gets some newly designed members and a whole lot of action, as Guy Gardner's "good" Lanterns battle Atrocitus and his rage Lanterns.
In a storyline titled "Atrocities," the war between factions will begin in next month's issue #32 and continue through July's Red Lantern Annual #1 and issues #33 and #34.
Then the results of "Atrocities" tie directly into September's Futures End issue.
Former Green Lantern Guy Gardner has been leading the Red Lantern Corps for the last dozen issues of the comic, ever since Soule took over writing duties with issue #21 last June. But Guy actually stole leadership of the Corps from Atrocitus, who's back for revenge, along with his loyal rage kitty Dex-Starr.
Newsarama talked to Soule about the "Atrocities" storyline and what readers can expect from September's Futures End "Five Years Later" issue.
Newsarama: Charles, everything seems to be coming to a head this summer, as Atrocitus and his team are gearing up to battle Guy Gardner and his team. Can you explain what's brought them to this point, and what this war between the two factions will bring to the title over the next few months?
Charles Soule: What I've been building toward since the start of my run on Red Lanterns — and I don't think this is going to come as any sort of surprise to anyone who's been reading — is really a big battle between Atrocitus and Guy Gardner.
They both have very different views about what the Red Lanterns should be and can be. And now those views are going to come to a head.
It also doesn't necessarily help Guy that in his first five minutes as a Red Lantern, he basically beat Atrocitus to death, stole his ring and stole his corps out from under him. So Atrocitus has a huge vendetta that he wants to satisfy.
And Guy is now trying to preserve this thing he built. He's turned these people who didn't really like each other, didn't really like themselves, and he turned them into… I hesitate to say team; it's more of a family unit. They don't really go against super villains, or that kind of goal. But they certainly have each other’s backs. And he feels like he's responsible for Atrocitus being so angry, so now he's basically trying to save his family, pretty much.
Atrocitus is going to do everything he can to stop him, and that's what we're building up to.
Nrama: The end of this week's issue said it's time for them to rescue Rankorr, which is probably going to contribute toward the war between these two factions (although as you mentioned, there are a lot of things leading toward this battle). But the next issue sees this rescue and the confrontation begins?
Soule: I think that's pretty fair to say.
I cued up kind of a million dominoes, let's say, over the series. There are a lot of things that will start to play out in the next several issues. The whole thing, for me, has been writing a strong revenge saga. I wanted to give Guy something to lose, and I wanted to give Atrocitus something that he really wanted to gain back.
You can kind of sympathize with both of them, in a way. You understand why Atrocitus would be so ticked off.
But now all these plotlines have been set up, and now it's time to let the chips fall where they may.
It's really fun, you know, when you get to write kind of a long story like this. It's hundreds of pages, at this point. So it's very fun.
Click here to read the full interview.
After a harrowing yet heroic sacrifice to save the universe, Kyle Rayner should have been dead. But the White Lantern somehow survived what no other sentient being in the DCU ever has before. He traveled beyond the Source Wall and returned, now more powerful than ever. But with that return he also brought something back with him, and it's not a stamp on his intergalactic passport. It's Oblivion -- the embodiment of all of his doubts and fears.
"Green Lantern: New Guardians" writer Justin Jordan told CBR News Oblivion's presence means Kyle's life isn't going to get any easier in the next arc, which kicked off last month in Annual #2 and continued in this week's "New Guardians" #31.
With the Green Lantern Corps still in the dark about Kyle's resurrection, the New Guardians -- led by the White Lantern and Star Sapphire/Carol Ferris -- are really up against it as they are set to face the Psions, a reptilian race making their New 52 debut. If you thought George Pérez made a bad ass Psion in the 1980s, Jordan says the H.R. Giger-inspired take "New Guardians" artist Brad Walker will take your breath away.
Jordan also revealed to CBR News that Kyle will learn more about what happened to him beyond the Source Wall in the months ahead, and that his relationship with Carol will only intensify. That's a bit of good news, finally, for Kyle. Maybe not so much for Hal Jordan...
CBR News: For a panel or two of "Green Lantern: New Guardians" Annual #2, I almost thought Kyle was having a Bobby Ewing-like experience and his recent past -- including passing through the Source Wall -- was all one long nightmare. But nope, you're still putting him through the ringer. When the alter ego of your superhero is an everyman like Kyle Rayner, how does that influence the brand of storytelling you are able to do?
Justin Jordan: The tricky bit with Kyle is that he's so very powerful that the question isn't really what he can do -- because he can do almost anything -- but what he should do. And that's a hard question. Kyle is a smart guy, but he's still just an artist whose been given this vast power, and knowing what to do with is always going to be a struggle.
So the stories we've been telling with Kyle reflect that, I think, or at least I hope they do. The answer for Kyle is almost never just blasting the bad guy or punching them in the face. Kyle wants to make the universe a better place. He just doesn't really know how. Which, you know, is the same problem the Templar Guardians are having. They want to help the universe but then, so did the old Guardians, and look how that turned out. It turns out that making the universe a better place without trampling on free will is hard. Who knew?
CBR News: As if passing through the Source Wall wasn't tough enough on Kyle, he's also brought something back in the name of Oblivion. Is this New 52 version of Oblivion the embodiment of Kyle's doubts and darker psyche? And if that's the case, have we seen the last of it because it certainly doesn't appear to be playing nice?
Justin Jordan: That's the New 52 Oblivion, yeah, and he is the embodiment of Kyle's fear and doubts. He's driven by Kyle's sense of the universe being wrong and Kyle's life being not what he wanted, so Oblivion is trying to fix that. That said, this is the first instance of Oblivion -- the New 52 Green Lantern stuff is not precisely the same as the old timeline. But yeah, I'd say there's a good chance we'll see Oblivion again.
CBR News: I spoke with Robert Venditti about writing Mogo as a character in "Green Lantern," and while you don't have a sentient planet flying around in your series, you do have the aforementioned Source Wall. While it has traditionally been the source for all that exists in the DCU, it also serves as a prison of sorts for Kyle and other champions, imaginauts and explorers. The Guardians have told Kyle there is more to be learned from his time on the other side. Will Kyle return to the Source Wall or at least remember what it is that happened to him while he was there?
Justin Jordan: He's certainly going to remember more of it, and you'll learn a lot more about the Source Wall and what's inside it. Kyle has done something believed to be impossible -- he passed beyond the Source Wall and touched the Source, and that's going to attract some attention. [Laughs]
CBR News: I know there are some naysayers, but I love the dynamic between Kyle and Carol. Is that a relationship you will continue to explore?
Justin Jordan: Oh yes. And it is a relationship now, and we're going to be exploring what it means for Kyle and Carol and, yes, Hal going forward.
CBR News: And are you enjoying writing Carol as Star Sapphire too?
Justin Jordan: Yes, I am. Carol is fun character. The thing about Carol is that she is, by nature and nurture, much more of a born leader than Kyle is. I mean, she ran a large business, which means she has to have certain qualities. At the same time, she is nowhere near as powerful as Kyle or, for that matter, the Templar Guardians, which is an interesting tension I think.
CBR News: And what about Kyle's father? The annual teased that a rebuild of their relationship may be on the horizon but I have to think that it won't end well as their relationship has always been troubled.
Justin Jordan: Well, Kyle's father got to see a different side of his son in the annual that he had hitherto not been aware of, which is going to change things. And frankly, a decent chunk of the tension between Kyle and his dad is Kyle's fault -- there are a lot of things that Kyle thinks his Dad thinks that he doesn't, which has contributed to the distance between them.
CBR News: For a supposedly dead Green Lantern, Kyle is pretty active. When will the rest of the Corps learn about his resurrection?
Justin Jordan: Soon. Frankly, if they weren't busy with their own problems with the Durlans, they'd have probably become aware of it when he was on Earth. But as it is, they're going to know fairly soon. Which is a problem for Kyle, because he really doesn't want to be viewed as the universe's reset button.
CBR News: And while the annual is tagged with the subhead, "Curse of the White Lantern," will Kyle be transforming back to a Green Lantern in the near future?
Justin Jordan: Nope. Not while I'm writing anyway. He's the White Lantern for the foreseeable future. And as you'll see in "New Guardians" #31, he actually can't quit the job.
CBR News: In this next arc, the Psions make their New 52 debut. What can you share about this updated version of the Psions and what can you tease about this next arc because I want to be ready for, as the solicitations tease, when they make a New Guardian scream?
Justin Jordan: Well, they're really, really horrifying. This is pretty overtly a horror story, so the Psions are not green, inexplicably-named lizard men any more. H.R. Giger has just died and the design of the Psions owes an awful lot to him, which should tell you where we're going.
CBR News: The solicitations also reveal that the Psions are really after the Guardians' DNA in this arc. Historically, the Psions and the Guardians share a common origin. Will those similarities continue in the New 52?
Justin Jordan: Yep. You'll get a concrete answer to the relationship between the Guardians and the Psions in "New Guardians" #33. And it's not pretty.
Kyle Rayner may be presumed dead by the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, but the very-much-alive hero just kissed Hal Jordan's ex, Carol Ferris.
And the power to smooch is the least of his abilities — as readers are discovering in Green Lantern: New Guardians, the hero has almost godlike powers.
New Guardians writer Justin Jordan implied that the attraction between Carol and Kyle is partly based on Carol's belief that she needs to be in love in order to use her Star Sapphire powers. But he also said Hal Jordan's not going to be very happy when he finds out it.
As the series heads toward September's Futures End tie-in issue, which Jordan is also writing, New Guardians will be addressing what might happen if Kyle doesn’t get a handle on what being the White Lantern really means.
Newsarama talked to Jordan to find out more about Kyle's almost unlimited powers, his attraction to Carol, and whether there ever be a Blue Lantern Corps again.
Newsarama: Justin, the revelations in the Annual about Kyle's powers seemed to pay homage to the concepts behind the New Gods and the Source Wall. What was your thought process as you came up with the ideas behind Kyle's time in the Source Wall?
Jordan: Well, a lot of it was figuring out what the hell the Source is and what Kyle would experience beyond the Source Wall, and figuring out something that integrated the New Gods mythology with something that would work with the Green Lanterns mythos.
But going beyond the Source Wall is something that’s never been done and was believed to be impossible, and that should effect Kyle. Hugely. And it has, the consequences of which we’re just beginning to see.
Nrama: We found out that Kyle altered the "operating codes for reality" and created Oblivion. Why did the story of this villain interest you, and why do you think he fits so well with Kyle Rayner in particular?
Jordan: I thought Oblivion was just a cool concept – your fears and doubts and worries made manifest and powerful? Plus now that Kyle is the White Lantern, which is life, his opposite being Oblivion felt right.
Plus he was a good villain to drive home just how powerful Kyle has become and how little they all understand about what the White Lantern is. I mean, he created Oblivion, who himself has the ability to (badly) alter reality, so how much power does Kyle have, really?
Nrama: Can you explain why Kyle created a Source Wall, with his face throughout?
Jordan: He was using what he found behind the Source Wall – essentially, tapping the Source. The Source Wall is how the universe reacts to that, and it reflected Kyle when it happened because he was there.
Nrama: So right now, is it accurate to say that Kyle has the ability to utilize the powers of all the emotional spectrum because he's a White Lantern, but now he can also can alter the codes for reality?
Jordan: We’re going to be exploring this in the upcoming issues but yeah, the first part is definitely true and the second is….hypothetically true.
Nrama: Oblivion was warping the reality he created. Is Kyle also warping reality when he uses that power? Has he changed things unknowingly?
Jordan: Yes to both of those. Which is a big problem for Kyle because he doesn’t know what he’s done already or, for that matter, how not to do it again. And he’s seen what happens when Oblivion rewrites reality and Oblivion only has a tiny, tiny fraction of Kyle’s power.
Nrama: It's clear that Kyle's figuring out his powers as we go from issue to issue, but the Templar Guardians keep talking about what Kyle is "becoming." And even Kyle said something about getting "stronger." Does that mean he's also changing as time goes on?
Jordan: The Guardians certainly think so. The real question is whether he’s actually changing or if he’s been changed all along and is just now realizing it. The worrying thing is that even the Guardians don’t really understand what’s been happening. They have some idea, but it’s still dark territory for them.