Green Lantern: Five Artists To Take Over Post-Johns and Mahnke

Lost a bit in the announcement that Geoff Johns and all of the other Green Lantern writers are leaving their respective titles in May was the announcement that Doug Mahnke, who has been drawing the series since Ivan Reis left to draw Justice League, will be off Green Lantern as well.

The workhorse artist whose resume includes previous stints on Action Comics and Final Crisis, will reportedly follow Johns to an as-yet-unannounced title where they'll work together. That leaves Green Lantern as arguably the biggest, most exciting opportunity since the launch of the New 52 for a good creative team; while Superman has been open a couple of times, that book has been troubled for years, with only short, infrequent bursts of greatness since about 1997. Green Lantern, meanwhile, has been an audience and critical favorite for nearly a decade.

Besides that, while Reis and Mahnke are solid talents whose stock has risen after quality runs on the book, neither of them is Greg Capullo. Green Lantern has, to this point, been unmistakably the Geoff Johns show, and so the right artist could walk in and really set the tone for the future of the series without drawing the same (likely unfavorable) comparisons that the writer will almost inevitably get to Johns.

So, who are some solid choices to take over the title? Read on, and then check out our list of prospective writers, too.

Aaron Kuder

Having put in some time on Green Lantern: New Guardians and now doing some cover work for DC, including an upcoming Superman, the Amory Wars and Spider-Man artist has moved up in the world quickly at DC.

Could he be poised to step up to the big Green Lantern stage?

It's hard to say with any certainty, but it doesn't seem far out of line. Kuder is representative of something that DC doesn't have a lot of right now: promising, young talent who aren't yet in a position to make a ton of demands but who will nevertheless turn out wok that's virtually guaranteed to impress.

That said, why would you want to scavenge a great artist from within the Green Lantern line when you can reach outside of it for help?

Justice League Flashpoint AnimatedAndy Kubert

He's been a go-to guy for DC on big event stories for some time now, but with Before Watchmen wrapping up, could we see a return to monthly comics for Andy Kubert?

It doesn't seem far out, especially since he's worked with Johns before (on Flashpoint).

Of course, deadlines could be an issue, which might put Kubert in the position of emulating the model that Marvel Comics has had success with of late (and, to a lesser extent, DC has tried with Jim Lee's Justice League), alternating with another monthly artist. In recent times, Kubert has been that fill-in artist, doing an Action Comics story that gave Rags Morales time to take a breather and get caught up.

Morales's run on Action, meanwhile, is ending as well - could it be time for him to return the favor?

Constantine New 52Renato Guedes

This one's a bit of a common-sense link between yesterday's installment and today's. Should Robert Venditti, who was slated to write Constantine with Guedes on art but reportedly left the title to do some other, big, unannounced project at DC, turn out to be the writer on Green Lantern, there's a bit of a logic to it that Guedes, who was replaced with Ray Fawkes when Venditti was replaced by Jeff Lemire, would be an ideal candidate for the art chores.

The two were already planning on working together, presumably already have a rapport, one assumes that Guedes is committed to a certain amount of DC work as a result of the Constantine contract.

Of course, any or all of those factors might not be true. Still, to say "Venditti/Guedes move from Constantine to Green Lantern" is a headline you're likely to see soon? I wouldn't bet against it.

Dan Jurgens

Jurgens, who was in some ways the Geoff Johns of the '90s with notable runs on Superman, Justice League and Teen Titans (often overlapping), has been working pretty on ongoing titles at DC consistently since the end of 52, when he took on the art chores on Geoff Johns's Booster Gold run.

DC, in fact, seem to have used him a bit as a utility infielder for a while at the start of the New 52, giving him a stable writing gig (in Justice League International, where he could continue a bit of what he was doing with Booster Gold) but then giving him both additional writing work and art jobs that all seemed to dead-end after an arc while the publisher retooled the title in question. He was brought on to keep Green Arrow alive while the company figured out what they were doing with it after a bad launch; then he did the same with Superman (which he also wrote, like Green Arrow, with Keith Giffen) and finally was tasked with trying to put The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man on life support. In spite of having done some really solid work on that title, it was too tall a task for virtually any writer/artist to achieve, and that book is one of a handful being cancelled in May.

Could we see him on Green Lantern a month later? It's hard to imagine DC doesn't have plans for his next project.

Aaron Lopresti

Another artist who finds himself homeless following the cancellation of Sword of Sorcery in May.

Lopresti, too, has had some dicey luck in the New 52, going from Justice League International to Sword of Sorcery, but he's generally enjoyed good reviews and it seems that DC is committed to the artist. He had some success with high action on the Brightest Day tie-in Justice League: Generation Lost, which was effectively a prequel to JLI, even if none if it "counted" later because of Flashpoint.

The downside? Lopresti has really shone on Sword of Sorcery; his work is just begging to be put on a book with a female lead. Sticking him with Hal Jordan, especially a version of Hal that's just come off ten years of non-stop myth-building and who has no supporting cast to speak of, might be a waste of that talent.