For the second time in three years or so, writer Robert Venditti presents a Green Lantern #50. This time it's Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps #50, with artists Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona.
The issue is not only special in that #50 is always a milestone issue for a comic book title -- but because it marks Venditti's final monthly issue on Green Lantern, a gig he took over in 2013. Given the twice-monthly schedule of DC's post-Rebirth universe, that gives Venditti more than 80 issues of the monthly comics, plus all of the added stand-alones that tend to come along during all that time.
"In some ways it feels like a long time, but in other ways it feels like it just started," Venditti told ComicBook.com. "But 85 issues with some annuals and one-shots in there, that's a long time in the modern era to be able to have an unbroken run on a character. I'm very fortunate to have had that happen and very proud of where we have been able to end up with the series."
Following on the heels of nine years with Geoff Johns, and a run that completely reinvented the Green Lantern Corps mythology, few readers expected DC to camp out on another writer for a long run right away -- and neither did Venditti, who told us he took it essentially a story at a time.
"It being a monthly, serialized medium, I kind of go into it where I really hope I get to do twelve issues, and then I really hope I get to do 24 after that, and then after that, it's all gravy," Venditti said. "When I started X-O Manowar with issue #1, which was the first monthly comic book that I had ever written in my life, there's no way that I would think I would ever go to fifty issues plus another six in annuals and specials. Same thing with Green Lantern: you come on board and you hope that you'll be able to stick around, but you never know. I feel very fortunate to be able to put together a run that spanned that sort of time on characters as high-profile as these, and hopefully I've been able to put, to some extent, my own stamp on it."
That wildly expanded mythology, as defined by Johns and fleshed out by Venditti, has left the Green Lantern Universe far better off, but sometime has made series star Hal Jordan feel like he never spends any time as Hal, focusing instead all of his attention on being a superhero. Dealing with that reality is something that has been happening in the final arc of Venditti's Hal Jordan comic, and pays off in today's #50.
"It was a very personal story for him," Venditti said of Hal Jordan in the final arc. "I knew that going in, because it was going to involve Tomar-Tu, which is somebody Hal has had a good relationship with recently. Certainly Tomar-Tu's father was a mentor of Hal's, and Hal sort of views himself as a mentor for Tomar-Tu. To have [Tomar-Tu] break bad and become the first Darkstar and to try and start up this entirely new corps that are diametrically opposed to the way the Green Lanterns do things -- the story had to deal with where Hal would fit into that and how he would feel emotionally about his friend being the one that represented this new adversary, and the philosophical conflict that goes hand-in-hand with the physical conflict of this final arc and the extent to which Hal has had the same thoughts that Tomar-Tu has had sometimes about crime: 'wouldn't it be easier if we just killed these guys once in a while?...' It really kind of put Hal in the middle of all of that, which is where we wanted him to be."
Besides dealing with the almost generational threat of Tomar-Tu, whose father was a Green Lantern when Hal first joined up and who was one of the first Lanterns recruited when Hal was bringing a new team together, characters and concepts from earlier in the run -- including General Zod, the New Gods, Hector Hammond, and more -- were reintroduced in the finale, building to something that felt all-encompassing.0comments
"That's kind of how my mind thinks when I build out these kinds of stories," Venditti admitted. "The only example that you'd really be able to see for something like this would be X-O Manowar, where I did 56 issues of that and as we went into our final arc, you saw me start to bring a lot of elements back. I think that final issue, I was referencing things that had happened all the way back in issue #1 and in #12 and #16 and those kinds of things. It's just kind of the way my mind works -- the way that I build those puzzles out. I try to make every issue stand on its own within a story arc, and I try to make each story arc stand on its own within a series, and then I try to make the entire series be linked together the way the story arc would be linked with its individual issues."
Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps #50 is on sale now at your local comic shop, or on digital comics retailers.