They say all's fair in love and war, but as the Green Lantern Corps redefines its mission, what lines will it cross during war with the Durlans?
In "Uprising," the event that will be crossing through the Green Lantern comics in May, the Corps will battle the Khund, the Durlans and the newly revealed Durlan Ancients. As readers saw in Green Lantern Corps #30 earlier this month, there's a new origin for the Durlans of the New 52, and it isn't pretty — and it means big trouble for the Green Lanterns in upcoming issues.
Van Jensen, who's been writing Green Lantern Corps solo for the last few months (after co-writing with Green Lantern scribe Robert Venditti), talked to Newsarama about this month's origin issue, the problems that are brewing for the Corps, and what's coming up in the future of the Green Lantern titles.
Newsarama: Van, this issue turned out to be a new origin story for the Durlans, showing how they went from using their powers as a defense to using them as a weapon. Is that part of their appeal as villains?
Van Jensen: Yeah, the characteristics of the Durlans and that history was something that I had planned out since issue #21, and I really like the idea of a creature that, every aspect of them — both their biology and their identity is completely framed by deception, and based on deception.
So how do you exist when you can't trust anyone, even of your own race? Everything that you do and you accomplish is through deception. What would that culture be? How would it evolve?
And then how did it lead into this ancient grudge against the Green Lantern Corps?
That kind of world-building and development is something that I hadn't gotten to do before the work at DC, other than in my independent comics, and we're going to see it play out in a big way in "Uprising."
Nrama: With the part of the story that showed members of the Green Lantern Corps suspecting Daggle, because of his race, were you tapping into that part of human nature that jumps to those kinds of conclusions? That has this inherent mistrust?
Jensen: Yeah, absolutely. And that's key to what the Durlans are. You think the most scary thing a shape shifter could be is whatever giant scary monster it could turn into. And certainly, turning into a giant, scary monster has its uses.
But the greatest power that they have — and the most damage that they can inflect — is by putting their opponent in a position where they can't trust anyone, even in their parents or their spouse or their fellow general. That's an age-old tactic that humans have used, of course, and the Durlans' entire identity is based around that.
The corps right now is faced with fighting a war where, based on the recent revelations, the Green Lanterns cannot trust anyone.
How can you fight a war when you can't trust the guy in the foxhole next to you?
That's basically the thrust of the story. And we're going to see how that continues to affect the corps in the next few issues.
Nrama: So we've got this issue of trust, and this somewhat justified grudge against the Green Lanterns. Are those the situations that drive the main themes of the story?
Jensen: Yeah. But a key theme at the center of the story — and this affects the Green Lanterns and the villains; this isn't just a story about the villains — surrounds this idea of, how far will you go to win this war?
For years now, the Green Lantern Corps has been led astray, as the Guardians would do anything to accomplish whatever end they thought was best. And the corps came upon dark times, and has since been trying to rebuild itself.
But now the Corps is faced with an enemy in the Durlans that literally will do anything to defeat the corps. So it's kind of an inversion of that.
And in order to defeat the Durlans, the Green Lanterns are going to have to go to some pretty extreme measures themselves.
So there's this almost ageless question that maybe doesn't have an answer, which is, how far will you go to win the war? Will you go to these great lengths? Or is there a point where you need to hold back? And the Corps is going to be faced with that very directly.
Nrama: There's also been a lot of preparation on the part of the Durlans, right? And these Durlan Ancients that we've met?
Jensen: Yeah, the Green Lanterns are faced with a foe that's spent years really penetrating the Corps, attacking them from the inside, and destabilizing them. They have no one that they can trust. They're in as bad of a place as they can be.
Now is the time that the real war is starting, and the Durlan Ancients, who have been sitting in their temple, gearing up all the machinations of the war are finally on the march.
And part of it too, with these Durlan Ancient monsters suiting up and gearing up for war — there's just something cool about a giant monster getting into a suit of armor.
The Durlans will do anything to enact revenge upon the Corps for what they view as the destruction of people. And it's going to play out in a very big way.
Nrama: Can you tease anything about what's coming up in Green Lantern Corps and the whole "Uprising" story?
Jensen: A giant space battle, betrayal, huge, huge battles, John Stewart, Fatality, Von Daggle, Hal Jordan — every key character is going to face making decisions and taking actions that impact the future of the Green Lantern Corps in very big ways.
Nrama: What's in store for the Green Lantern Corps the rest of this year?
Jensen: I think, at the end of "Uprising," people are going to see that it seems like the Corps has gone through their darkest hour, and that things have changed in monumental ways, and it will seem like it couldn't possibly go any worse for John Stewart or the rest of the Lanterns, but even after that, they're going to have to dig down deeper.
The Corps is going to continue to evaluate what their mission is, what they can accomplish, what they're all about — and figuring out a new mission without Guardians in place to guide them — who's going to be leading the Corps, and there are a handful of new, very big, very scary villains.