SDCC [Chapter I, Verse V]: Are fans ready to turn ‘Lights Out’ on this New Green Order?

They couldn’t decide whether the next Highball would be Green or Blue. So fuck it.

When I bought my ticket for San Diego Comic Con, I hadn’t been baptized into the church of all things geek yet, so I had only planned on going one day. I did, however, plan to spend the entire weekend over there, so I could check out all the cool stuff going on around the convention center. This isn’t my first time here, congregants. But, when Comic Con rolls into town, there was no way the Minister was missing out on this massive geeky makeover.

First things first. I made my way to the Interactive Zone, right in the parking lot at Petco Park (home to the celler-dwelling Padres), and made a straight bee-line right to the DC booth– err, tent.

There were signings by several different artists and writers throughout the weekend, so I got my Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 signed by one of my favorite writers, Scott Lobdell. He was also doing quick caricatures of fans as their favorite hero. Fortunately — or, unfortunately, depending how you cosplay it — I was “dressed” as the ill expensive Gabeinamask-Man. Yup, basically the normal me in a Lone Ranger mask. Lobdell dared to draw that — complete with a working power ring!

Leave it up to DC to steal all my great ideas for new heroes.

There was also original art on canvases throughout the tent that were up for auction, all going towards DC’s “We Can Be Heroes” charity, where they help “Fight Hunger in the Horn of Africa.” The charity has already raised about $2 million, so I suppose it’s working out pretty well — until one of the Flash’s Rogues gallery get their dangest mittens on it.

Also up for auction, were 8 cars themed as the 7 members of the Justice League, and 1 that had all 7 of them as splash art (by the amazing Jim Lee) across the side. All the pretty pieces portrayed each character only the best a car can. The BatNObile had batarangs next to the driver’s seat; the Cyborg Cy-on had television screens in the interior; but, of course, the Green Lantern Geo one was the best! It had a built-in power battery in the back seat, and the GL oath was imprinted onto a sheet of glass that glowed green, illuminating the words.

If only I had an extra couple thousand dollars laying around…

Batteries not included (in reference to the cardboard fantasy).

Speaking of Green Lantern, anyone who knows anything about me knows the Emerald Knight is my favorite; GL was the first comic I ever picked up, and fell in love with. Needless to say, I went into Comic Con this year excited — and a bit nervous — about the DC panel, Green Lantern Recharged!, in particular.

Just as I stated in my review of Green Lantern #21, your homie was skeptical about Robert Venditti once I heard he was taking over for the Demi-God of Green Lantern, Geoff Johns. But once the books started to hit, and the quality was there, I thought maybe — just maybe — we were over this. Did I not get the memo?

Look. I’ll be the first one to put a flaming bag of dogshit on his front porch if he does anything to ruin my childhood character. (Did you do it to Ryan Reynolds? — Editor Moody) Yet, after spending just a few minutes in the panel, I didn’t feel Recharged. No, I felt Depleted. Just the whole vibe from the Green Lantern Hour felt like a good number of fans were still in their grieving period.

The security at Hall H was quite tenacious this year.

Even as the crowd’s energy was up for the introductions, their attention began to sway once any of the panelists began speaking. There was a complete lack of stage presence from this New Green Order, and perhaps it was a more for a lack of confidence than general excitment. Sure, in comparison to Troy Baker (what up, Rev?), these fellas are writers and artists; not exactly the live entertainment of choice. Still, this panel felt more like a college lecture than an SDCC party. About 4-minutes in, Venditti’s droll voice began to lose the room. So, another panel member jumped in with: “Should we say what the [new Green Lantern story arc] is actually about? Do you guys wanna know?” and the crowd began to cheer as if nap time had finally ended.

Venditti hinted at the plot for the upcoming story-arc, Lights Out. “There’s something affecting the batteries,” he teased. The entities are coming back as plot devices as well, something we haven’t seen since Blackest Night and *grooaann* Brightest Day.

The centerpiece of the Green Lantern news revolved around new villain, Relic. “I’d like to think of [Relic] as a sympathetic villain, like his methods may be questionable, but I would hope the people understand where he’s coming from, and he’s what he’s doing. He’s not an inherently super-powered individual, his abilities are derived much more from science, and he’s going to present a very unique threat to all the corps,” Venditti stated. Personally, these are my favorite kind of villains; like Sinestro, these are villains who think they have the universe’s best intentions in mind. Bad guys who think they’re the good guys.

Another ominous, cryptic quote came from Red Lanterns (and Swamp Thing) scribe Charles Soule. “There’s actually gonna be, in the aftermath of it, some very big status quo changes across all the books. There’s gonna be a very big moment pertaining to the story across October. Each individual issue has something very major that going to have lasting repercussions . . . that are gonna be very unexpected for the readers.”

Despite the bad spot these fellas were placed in (following lengthy, terrific runs from Johns and Peter Tomasi), there’s certainly potential here. And who doesn’t like rooting for the underdog? It’s not about re-inventing the wheel. It’s about building on what Johns and Co. have already laid out for them, and doing their mightiest to keep these beloved characters true to their core. At the same time, the new breed deserve applause for introducing a seemingly impressive new villain, and running with new types of stories (terrible recruits) without the yellow fear of shake things up.

Ayyyyy Guyyyyyyyy!!!!

One of the great, new ideas from the NGO is helping define just what makes someone eligible to receive a green, or violet ring? Is the Willpower limited to those who already look like crazy-buff soldiers? Does Love only count if it’s romantically towards another person? What about an intense love for one’s planet? Or family? With all the wars thinning out the numbers of those who “have the power to overcome great fear,” we’re left with is what Venditti refers to as “The Bad News Bears” of Willpower. Despite the epic destruction Johns has left for our favorite intergalactic “cops in space”, Venditti and the new staff aim to deliver an interesting, unique new take on these stories and worlds.

And, surely, it’s going to take a damn eternity for Lantern fans to get over the absence of Mr. Johns. But, is the old guard ready to move on? If our power rings’ aura from the Q&A was any indicator, the answer’s a resounding “No.”

Other highlights from the Green Lantern – Recharged! Q&A:

I won’t take credit for this one, tho!
  • Are you going to do any more Tales of the Corps, like in the Geoff Johns era? “Those are great stories, I loved them as well, but we’re planning on writing these back-stories in the actual books.”
  • Are you going to redo the Blackest Night and Brightest Day? “No, we’re not redoing anything; we’re building on these great stories that have come before us.” Is Alan Scott being tied into these stories? “No, he’s going to remain in Earth 2.”
  • Will Blue Lanterns be a part of the next story arc, and will Saint Walker be getting his own book? “Definitely. As far as [Walker], I don’t make those kind of decisions, but as of now there are no plans for that.” Will there be a White Lantern oath? “That’s a great question! We’ll get on Justin [Jordan, New Guardians] for that.”
  • Is Black Lantern Hal Jordan going to make a come back? “I’d have to say no. There’s no plans for that.” Story-wise, there’s been a lot of space stories with Hal, but are we gonna see any of his more intimate, Earth-based life? “Yes. As a writer, we make plans with stories pretty far in advance. So although not in the Lights Out story arc, we will be exploring that in the future.” (So, apparently Venditti plans to be on Green Lantern for quite a while.)
  • Will we be seeing Thaal Sinestro in the future? “We can’t really talk about that.” Well that last response is pretty cryptic. . . But come on. Sinestro is Hal’s arch-nemesis. That’s like asking if Batman will be seeing the Joker in the future.

So needless to say, like most Comic-Con panels, it’s a bunch of people coming up and asking for spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. And to be fair, comparing Venditti to Johns is almost unavoidable — seeing Green Lantern wasn’t a household name until Johns brought him to the forefront. Most readers have never picked up a Lantern book until after Rebirth, so maybe the Geoff Johns era is all they know.

Oh, and my favorite question in the Q&A, wasn’t about comic books at all: Can we see some Kyle Rayner in a live action movie? “Sure, we’ll get right on that.”

I’m holding you to that, Venditti, or else it’s Lights Out.

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