Writer Van Jensen On The New ‘Green Lantern Corps’

The Green Lantern Corps has taken some severe blows: Betrayal by the Guardians, forced to question their choices by the First Lantern, and the attack of the Third Army. So where do they go from here? And what does it mean for John Stewart, the new central character of Green Lantern Corps? We sat down with Van Jensen, co-writing the book from issue #21, to talk about where the Corps goes from here.

Gamma Squad: The Green Lantern books just wrapped up two huge events that really shook the Corps. Where do you go from here?

Van Jensen: We’re picking up from several giant events, a trail of devastation, really, where the Corps has been broken apart in a lot of ways. We’re looking at what’s the new status quo. Hal is taking over the Corps. Not just him, but so many characters are in new roles and have so many responsibilities placed on them. How do they handle the pressures? The threats across the universe, when most of the universe views them as a dangerous force that causes them a lot of destruction.

Gamma Squad: How will Hal handle leadership?

Jensen: That’s something explored in the main book to some degree. It’s a challenge, because he has a great drive to serve, but at the same time he’s a total loose cannon. He’s very much the guy to deal with the threat himself, because he doesn’t work well with others, and he doesn’t want to put others in danger.

Gamma Squad: How’d you choose who to focus on, and why?

Jensen: Really early, the big focus, we decided, was going to be on John Stewart. He’s had a strong presence, but hasn’t been the leading character of a book in the new 52. It’s exciting for me because he’s a character I’ve long enjoyed and admired. He’s had a horrific history; he’s got the destruction of two planets on his conscience. He’s also in his background as an architect and Marine in a unique place to rebuild the corps. He wants to rebuild it, but he also feels betrayed by it. He’s asking himself if he wants to dedicate his life to rebuilding or doing something new.

Gamma Squad: You also work as a journalist and editor. How does that work influence your comics?

Jensen: Taking on the Green Lantern Corps affects the amount of sleep I get! (laughs) I was a crime reporter and editor, and it really helps with dialogue, listening to the way people speak. Currently I edit Georgia Tech’s alumni magazine, and there’s all sorts of extremely experimental stuff in the science going on there right now. I want Green Lantern Corps to have an SF edge, and that science is food for thought for developing plots and ideas.

Gamma Squad: We got a look at some of the paths not taken for John Stewart recently. How is that going to affect him and his relationship with Fatality going forward?

Jensen: He’s in an really interesting place with his relationship to Fatality. She’s completely gotten over the anger she’s held against John for so long. For him, he is committed to her, and interested in the relationship. But she’s a constant reminder for him of his past failures. The First Lantern really brought that raw emotion up to the surface, right there, right in his face. His relationship with the Corps echoes his relationship with her.

Gamma Squad: Anybody new or old you’re looking forward to introducing?

Jensen: We’re going to see a handful of new characters, and that’s really exciting to me. That’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. There are a lot of existing characters, though. I went through the special issue profiling all of the Lanterns, I reread the past decade or so of books, and there are just some really really cool characters out there. One character who will have some focus is Salaak. He was the right hand man to the Guardians, so he takes their betrayal harder than anyone. But at the same time the Corps doesn’t trust him, so he’s in a really awkward new position. It’s like dealing with fallout, there’s a lot of raw emotion that characters are trying to deal with and process, and that’ll come through in major characters and minor ones.

Gamma Squad: Will there be any crossover between the books?

Jensen: There’s definitely going to be a very tight continued relationship between these characters. At a point in the future, we’ll see these books cross over with each other, but they’ll come together in minor ways. The big thing is focusing on this as a shared universe. The way that all of the Lanterns relate to each other is important, and there’s some really neat stuff being explored that fans will like a lot.

Green Lantern Corps #21 hits stands June 12th.