(CBR) The various Lantern Corps of the DC Universe have been having a rough 2013.
Under the pens of the current Green Lantern creative teams, the Corps fought, and were nearly destroyed, in the "Lights Out" event, which introduced the villain Relic and the idea that there is a finite amount of emotional energy in the universe. Suffering in the aftermath of Relic's threat, a situation exasperated by the poor decisions of the now-deposed Guardians of Oa, the Green and Red Lanterns receive another shock in February as Atrocitus and brand new Red Lantern Supergirl threaten the balance of Sector 2814.
Joining forces to discuss their giant-sized collaboration on "Green Lantern/Red Lanterns" issue #28, writer Robert Venditti and writer Charles Soule spoke with us about the flip issue, why they decided to make Supergirl a Red Lantern -- and the correct pronunciation of "Atrocitus."
CBR News: There's a lot of stuff going on in both books at the moment, so who was it that had the initial idea to do a flip-book combining the two issues in #28 into one large issue, rather than do a regular crossover or other tie-in or event?
Robert Venditti: Want me to take this one, Charles?
Charles Soule: You should do it, because it was your idea and you should take full credit for it -- whether it ends up being a terrible disaster or not, it was all your idea! [Laughter]
Venditti: We really all came up with the idea together for how the Red Lanterns would end up getting Sector 2814 and the story behind it. In the first storyline, Charles had started out by having this idea that the Red Lanterns should get their own sector; we just started talking about it and had a very cool creative moment where we came to the same exact conclusion together: "Wouldn't it be cool if they got 2814?" We had this story we thought would be really fun, and now it's just a matter of getting people to read it!
I think the important thing is the content was there first, and then we [thought] of a way to get it into as many people's hands as possible. The idea of doing it as a flip book rather than doing it as two issues, separated by three weeks -- we just were trying to give everyone the story at once at a great price. They're getting twenty pages for free, because they are getting both "Red Lanterns" and "Green Lantern" for $2.99, and it really showcases what both books are about -- and brings more attention to "Red Lanterns," because Charles is doing such a fantastic job over there. We thought this would give retailers a tool to hopefully expand the readership on "Red Lanterns" and "Green Lantern" in general -- and have some fun with it! I talked to DC about that, there was a huge presentation we did with print costs and everything! [Laughs]
At the end, they decided to take a shot on it; we're pretty psyched about it, and hopefully fans will like the story!
Now, we're calling it a flip book -- is this a case where there's one overarching story, or are there two very distinct separate parts, a "Green Lantern" part and a "Red Lanterns" part, bundled together in one issue?
Soule: We decided what we would do with the flip [book] was tell a coherent story about one issue both Lantern Corps are dealing with, but also use as an opportunity to introduce new potential readers to some of the plotlines that are bubbling along in those books. You might be a "Red Lanterns" reader not getting "Green Lantern," but you'll see the cool stuff Rob's doing and want to check it out. Conversely, if you're not reading "Red," you may want to check that out. The idea was to introduce one side to the other, so to speak, so there's some stuff not related to the overarching story. However, there's basically a MacGuffin -- there's a new Red Lantern who pops up in the beginning in Rob's half who we follow through the story into the "Red Lanterns" half, and see how all these Corps and people deal with this new Red.
Venditti: It's such a huge discovery that happens with this new Red Lantern that it mandates, despite all the plotlines going on in the books, that this is a situation they have to deal with immediately, because of what it could mean and the potential repercussions of it. That's how the Red Lanterns and the Green Lanterns come together. I will also point out that there's a unique bit of synergy as it comes out the fifth. That Saturday is February 8, 2014 -- so it's 2814!
Was this an accident, or has this been marked on your calendar for years, with you thinking, "Someday..."
Venditti: [Laughter] I wish I could take credit for that! It was actually a happy accident, pointed out to me by a retailer friend who is having a party in the store that weekend. It just so happened our story coming out then deals with the very issue of sector 2814.
Talking about the new Red Lantern, Tony Bedard spoke recently about how Supergirl is going to be a Red Lantern and join the Lantern corner of the DC Universe. Was this idea something you two and Tony had come up with together? Why include Kara in the Lantern universe at all?
Soule: I was at the Superman group summit, I think right before New York Comic Con, just a couple of months ago. We were talking about the Superman group -- it's always fun when working with these characters to shake things up. To do things people wouldn't expect, but do them in a way that makes sense -- that when you think about it, you go, "Oh, I want to see how this works out." A good example of that was having Guy Gardner join the Red Lanterns in the first place. He's the Lantern who it makes sense to have on that team. Of the Superman group, Kara has some rage issues. The way that she's been depicted in the New 52 so far is that there's a lot she's resentful about: Her cousin is Superman, the fact that she basically woke up and realized her planet was destroyed. There's a lot of stuff she's been working through, and the idea of bringing her to the Red Lanterns is to explore and develop that and see what we can do to help her with this -- I call it a therapy session. A very strange therapy session! [Venditti laughs] When she leaves the Red Lanterns, I think the idea is that they really developed her in an interesting way, and not the way you would expect. I really like the way it's developing. Tony is doing a lot of cool stuff, I like writing Supergirl -- she's a really fun character, and I think people will be pleased.
Will Kara be part of the "Red Lantern" supporting cast, or will she be a character who pops in every now and then from Tony's book? Soule:
No, she's a Red Lantern. Red Lanterns are not the kind of people you want to shuffle around, they're dangerous, and you have to keep an eye on them -- and Guy Gardner feels fairly responsible for her. He's not the reason she's a Red Lantern, but at the same time, she's someone that he wants to keep an eye on, so she's there, she's part of the cast, for sure.
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