To celebrate the relaunch of the DC Universe with 52 brand new #1 issues, IGN is doing an interview series with the creative teams behind this historic comics event. For the month of September, IGN Comics is your place to go behind the inner workings of these new books and find out what to expect from the new DCU.
We sat down with Green Lantern writer and all-around DC Comics mastermind Geoff Johns to talk about his plans for Hal Jordan and Sinestro.
IGN Comics: In many ways Sinestro has been the star of the book for quite some time, did you plan that or did it just gradually happen as you continued writing?
Geoff Johns: Actually this was always the long-term plan. If you look back, I forget which issue it is, but I did a little bit of a flash forward and showed some events in the future. One of them is Sinestro with the ring. It's actually in the book. It was one of the earlier issues where I planted it. It was really subtle so it's hard to see.
IGN: Yeah, that's one of those reasons I need to re-read the run within a week.
Johns: Yeah, one of the cool things about it is because he used to be a Green Lantern people thought it was a flashback, even though every other image was a flash forward.
IGN: My next question was going to be when you got the idea of giving Sinestro his ring back, but you sort of already answered that.
Johns: That was probably some time around the Sinestro Corps War. Just like, how could he ever become a Green Lantern again? Because at that point you're like, was he ever truly a Green Lantern? Did he ever truly believe in it? Did he ever truly want it? And what would have to happen to get him to become a Green Lantern again? And the truth was that it was just very interesting to dovetail the stories of Hal, who's been over aggressive and diving into everything head first non-stop, ignoring everything else around him and not really thinking about the consequences or thinking things through, but wanting to do nothing but be a Green Lantern.
And then there is Sinestro who wants to do anything but be a Green Lantern and then just put them both in a place than you never thought they'd be. Hal doesn't have a ring and Sinestro does. That's got to really make Hal mad and frustrated and even Sinestro isn't happy about it.
IGN: What aspects of Sinestro are you looking to explore by putting a ring on him? And conversely, what are you looking to explore by taking Hal's away?
Johns: I want them both to take a really good look at themselves. Because when Sinestro has that green ring on he's forced to look at himself. What he used to be, what he became, what that ring means -- does it mean anything? And the fact that the arc explores Sinestro having to go back to Korugar to take care of the mess he made. Will he admit that he made a mess? How does Korugar react to him as a Green Lantern again?
IGN: Is redemption even an option at this point?
Johns: I think as Sinestro says, he doesn't need redemption. Redemption is too simple for him. He's much more complex than that. And Hal's going to find out that he's much more complex than he lets on. Hal just doesn't like to stop. Hal's biggest problem is that if he stops to think about who he is and what he is doing, it's going to mess him up pretty good. He's always moved and jumped and gone into the fray just because there is so much stuff that he doesn't deal with, that he doesn't want to deal with, and so long as he keeps moving he thinks he can avoid it all. And that's all subconscious to him but that's really what the story is about; taking a good look at yourself. What is good? What is bad? How relative is it? Is redemption even real? What does it even mean?
IGN: How will the Corps react to their one time nemesis joining their ranks again?
Johns: Well, they don't know yet. All they know is that Sinestro got a ring on his finger and the Guardians too him away. We're going to see that reaction though; it's not going to be pleasant for Sinestro.
IGN: Do you have any interest in exploring Sinestro and Soranik's relationship?
Johns: We'll eventually get there, but for now the book is going to focus on Hal and Sinestro.
IGN: I haven't read Green Lantern #1 yet so this might be moot, but with Sinestro taking center stage, how much of Hal will we see in the comic?
Johns: Yeah, read the book. [laughs] Yeah I think you'll be surprised actually. It's one of the things we wanted to keep under wraps, that Hal was in the book so much, because it makes it more unexpected. Hal's role in the book is not at all what people would expect, and that's what the whole point is to the new 52; our favorite characters in stories that you've never seen them in. Or takes on them that you didn't quite think about.
IGN: You talked before about how pretty much everything you've done in Green Lantern up to this point is still intact, how do you go about making that accessible in a new #1 book?
Johns: I tried to make it as accessible as possible. Really everything you need to know happens in that book. And thankfully the movie introduced Sinestro and Hal Jordan to a lot of people who didn't know who they were. And we've got the animated series coming out this fall, so hopefully the awareness for Green Lantern is pretty high up there. But I think the book reads well standing on its own.
IGN: And now that Hal doesn't have the ring any more, is there going to be time for Hal and Carol to sort out their relationship?
Johns: You have to read the book. [laughs] It's pretty funny. Hal is such an idiot. He just is. Both between Green Lantern and Justice League #1, this guy really needs to get his s*** together. That's why I like him. He's not stupid; he's a smart guy. He just reads people very wrongly. But the Hal and Carol stuff is front and center in the first arc. Hal is a character himself and where he's going is definitely a part of the book. Like I said before, it's all about Sinestro and Hal. It's really character driven between those two guys -- it's a cosmic odd couple.
IGN: Assuming Hal at some point gets his ring back, will things ever be the same between him and the Guardians?
Johns: Nothing will be the same between Hal and anybody from here on out.
IGN: You mentioned the plant you had of Sinestro with the ring earlier on, are you catching up to how far you've plotted or do you still have more stories to come?
Johns: I was just talking to Brian Cunningham, he's my editor on Green Lantern, and right now I have enough stories to fill up probably another 2 to 3 years at least.
IGN: Wow, that's awesome.
Johns: It's just this character. I've been writing him for a while now but these characters and the mythology of Green Lantern, the tapestry of stories that you can tell and weave together is kind of never ending. And the fact that we can turn it on its head right now and explore it in a whole new direction is pretty great. As long as I'm creatively jazzed and people are psyched about the book then I'll be around.
IGN: Anything else you want to add about what's coming up in Green Lantern?
Johns: Just that we are taking the characters to places they've never been before. That we'll shed a light on a side of them that maybe some of us never knew they had, and at the same time we'll still have that great cosmic action and cosmic conspiracies and mysteries. One of the future arcs is called The Secret of the Indigo Tribe, where we learn all about who founded them and what they're really about. We'll be exploring a lot of different aspects of the Green Lantern mythology, but the whole time there will be a far more focused beam in on Sinestro and Hal as characters before anything else.
IGN: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Geoff. Can't wait to see what happens next.