Okay. Before I start, I first want to say that, as a long-time fan, I don’t hate what’s going on in the Green Lantern universe right now. In terms of writing at least, I actually quite enjoy what Robert Venditti, Charles Soule and particularly Justin Jordan are doing on their respective books. The art is a bit hit-or-miss for me, but Walker and Hennessy on New Guardians is a highlight, despite Rayner’s goddamn mask. Overall, the story in these books is grand, title-sweeping, universe-threatening stuff. In other words, it’s very “Green Lantern.” But that’s not entirely a good thing. The current Relic storyline, in my opinion, is... okay; I’m enjoying it, but I’ll be damned if the premise doesn’t feel like Blackest Night/Brightest Day/First Lantern: Part III. Again, I admire what the artists and writers are doing within that framework, so the problem I have is not with the talent behind the titles, but the direction in which they have taken it.
What made Geoff Johns’ run so great at its start was the depth and almost childlike sense of wonder with which his main character rediscovered the universe. There’s a great scene during Rebirth, I think right after Hal gets his ring back, where he says something like, “Space feels so big again...” and I think that’s exactly what this series needs to recapture, not by expanding, but distilling its lore.
A Note on Basic Structure
I’m personally not a fan of the structure with Hal at the top and the rest of the cast uncomfortably trying to squeeze (like Kilowog in that chair of his) into their similarly ill-fitting roles. So here’s what I propose: put Salaak at the top, with a series of veteran lanterns beneath him, notably Kilowog. It would be a much more bureaucratic style leadership, but also less august, with paperwork and filing constantly being done in the background and Salaak using his anal-retentivity to drum the corps into what he thinks is a well-oiled machine. Admittedly, this is like how it was at the end of Johns’ run, but without the “little blue glass ceiling.”
A fun mini could be a story about a green lantern recruit relegated to office work, seeing him or her shadowing Salaak, in a sort of interstellar Office Space way, with a very Douglas Adams-y tone. But that’s just a sidebar...
The main title would go to Hal, of course, but he would be partnered with the new Simon Baz. This could be Emerald Dawn III, with Baz playing the young, brash and impressive upstart to Hal’s experienced “Sinestro” role, replete with, not a smug, but wry attitude to this new kid. At the same time, it could show shades of the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow series by O'Neil and Adams, but making that journey more galactic in scope. I think this direction plays a bit better with Hal’s reluctant responsibility rather than shoe-horning him into the leader of the corps.
Green Lantern would also be the “superhero book” in the GL family (with Baz almost as an unwilling sidekick), as much as it focuses on being “odd-couple buddy space cops.” It would also help Baz establish his own character without being swallowed up, like Stewart once was, amidst a barrage of other, stronger characters in JLA. This is where I would shift Justin Jordan, had I my druthers. Ooh, or can you imagine Snyder on a book like this? ‘CAUSE I FUCKING CAN!
Green Lantern: GLC
With a title nod to shows like Law & Order: SVU and CSI: Miami, this would be the new look for the Green Lantern Corps title. Playing on its military underpinnings, this would follow the Corps, but in a more insular way, putting a smaller, tighter, black ops team in the spotlight. This could be the Uncanny X-Force meets X-Factor of the Lantern family of books, combining a wet-works/SWAT team physicality with a sort of private detective take on interstellar crime, drug and “human” trafficking, political assassinations, etc.
Ideally, I’d build the team with Vath Sarn as the strategist, Soranik Natu for forensics, Hanu as the heavy and maybe even Arisia as a sort of group conscience. The team would be led on the ground by Guy Gardner, with tactical support from Oa by John Stewart, whose strengths would be played to in his new role as “Architect of the Corps’ Military Machine,” not only by becoming head of training, but also being responsible for designing its new, more proactive and hands-on approach to crises. Bring Soule, Venditti right on over to this one and color me happy!
Green Lantern & The Guardians of the Universe
I think this formerly-New Guardians book should be re-imagined as a modern-day Mosaic. It would focus on the Templar Guardians’ psychedelic discovery of the universe alongside Kyle Rayner, whose past travels through the multiverse (which I’m going to assume is still somehow part of the New 52) and artistic approach to life would lend itself to a visually dynamic, introspective yet mind-expansive storytelling style. Placed in the hands of a creator like Wiebe, Lemire or hell, Morrison, and that shit would sell like gangbusters.
Green Lantern: Corps
This would follow the other corps, and could be developed into almost a “Green Lantern Presents” or even a new take on “Green Lantern Quarterly,” with an anthology format, each time exploring the sometimes intersecting adventures of the Violet, Blue, Indigo, Sinestro, Orange and Red corps. It could be a great avenue for emerging creators in the industry or more well-known talent to hop into the universe for set periods of time. Obviously, these other corps would feature in the main Green Lantern books, but I do think there needs to be a stepping back from the other ring-bearers at this point in time; this appears to be a bit like where the new direction is going in “Lights Out,” but it would be less drastic and allow fans of those characters to get a regular healthy fix. This would consolidate both Red Lanterns and Larfleeze.
I admit the thematic thread between the titles is much looser with this direction, but I certainly wouldn’t mind allowing each book to stand out on its own for a little while, without necessarily building into some huge event. I think it’s time for Green Lantern to take stock, draw in a bit and focus on itself, while simultaneously showing how uniquely dynamic its mythos is. This kind of storytelling is exactly the deep breath fans like me need before jumping into another crisis, like what’s budding at the heart of the Relic storyline.
But hey, I’m just a big fan and remain a firm reader. Thanks for indulging me my fan fiction, I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, and feel free to tell me what you would do with the Green Lantern books in the comments or over on Twitter. I’d love to hear your thoughts!