As reported earlier, DC Comics has announced their new lineup for the Green Lantern family of titles and they’re going for new blood. Geoff Johns was the engine powering that franchise and three out of four writers aren’t just new to the Lanterns, they’re still relatively new to DC. Here’s the line-up:
Green Lantern: Writer – Robert Venditti; Artist Billy Tan
Green Lantern Corps: Writer – Joshua Hale Fialkov; Artist – Bernard Chang
Green Lantern: New Guardians: Writer – Justin Jordan; Artist – Brad Walker
Red Lanterns: Writer – Joshua Hale Fialkov; Artist – Alessandro Vitti
Larfleeze: Writer – Keith Giffen; Artist – Scott Kolins
You have to admit, giving Venditti Green Lantern is a helluva make-good for pulling him off the Constantine re-launch. His X-O Manowar work is probably compatible with the general GL setup, so I can see where DC is coming from. Quite a jump in profile from Demon Knights to Green Lantern, though. Billy Tan has been around a lot longer than you think, dating make to the mid-90s with Top Cow. He’s never really had one “big” run to associate him with a particular title, but he’s had stretches on Avengers and Uncanny X-Men.
Fialkov gets plenty of critical attention, though he’s traditionally more of a horror/suspense writer. Bernard Chang’s solid, been around forever, but stuck on second string projects in the New 52. Alessandro Vitti, is the real “new guy” of the art group. He’s popped up at Marvel in the last couple years.
Justin Jordan is Michael Jordan’s nephew, a 6’2″ point guard in his senior year of high school and starting to get some attention from college recruiters… what? Sorry. Wrong Justin Jordan. This Justin Jordan is that one that burst onto the scene with The Strange Talent of Luthor Strode over at Image. He picked up Shadowman at Valiant and two “dead man walking” titles at DC in the form of Deathstroke and Team 7 (OK, Team 7 was a launch, but it was pretty obvious that concept wasn’t going to fly from the get-go). Brad Walker’s been in the Action Comics art rotation and, more appropriately for a Green Lantern title, did some work on Guardians of the Galaxy.
Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins, you should already be familiar with. They’re probably the most known quantities to fandom.
So what are we looking at here?
Outside of Giffen, the writers are much better known for their indie work and none of them were at DC prior to the New 52. Two of them are currently writing for Valiant, which may or may not be a coincidence. Outside of Kolins (and the newer Vitti), it’s experienced artists who haven’t really been strongly associated with a particular title.
So it looks like either DC is going to see if the Green Lantern family can succeed on the characters or they’re looking to build some new stars. Venditti, Fialkov and Jordan have never sniffed the monthly sales that the GL line was getting… but they were on third tier books. Their artists have been around higher sales, but weren’t necessarily the primary draw.
Of course, any time you’re talking New 52, you have to ask if the writers are going to be allowed to write or if they’re following an editorial outline? In the current system, a 5-book block is going to have several issues in crossover each year, besides instructions to set up the crossovers.
The Larfleeze title is interesting. It would seem to be a spin-off/out from the recent Threshold title and boasts the two creators most associated with DC. Really, Giffen/Kolins is in sharp contrast to the other lineups and it will be interesting to see how retailers react to this lineup. Remember, new teams and new titles are all about pull lists and retailer reactions for the sell-in.
A note to DC, though. That promotional art you’re using? You probably think that fuzzy effect looks cool and is supposed to be distortion from the energy of the rings. What it really looks like is a low-res scan. It’s especially ridiculous on the White Lantern. I hope that’s just a Photoshop filter you can remove, otherwise you should probably have it re-inked.
All and all, there are some interesting choices on these teams and it doesn’t look like blatantly commercial casting. We’ll have to see how it gels.