IGN Comics: When they first saw the teaser for Blackest Night at the end of the issue, I think everyone simultaneously screamed in excitement and cursed over having to wait until summer 2009. What should we expect from the Green Lantern book in the meantime?
Geoff Johns: In the meantime we'll continue to explore everything that we just touched upon, the first thing being the first new law of the Book of Oa. The formation of the Alpha Lanterns follows this first new law. Something happens that triggers the Guardians to unveil the second new law, but in order to do so they have to create the Alpha Lanterns. And it will become clear why in the Alpha Lantern arc. The Alpha Lanterns are kind of like the police of the police.
IGN Comics: So the Alpha Lanterns are a subsection of the Green Lantern corps?
Johns: Yeah, they're kind of like Internal Affairs.
IGN Comics: Speaking of the new laws, in both the latest issue of Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and the Ion special, it was mentioned that the Guardians will pass a total of ten new laws into the book of Oa. Will we learn about some of these mandates anytime soon?
Johns: You'll see them unveiled over the next year, year and a half.
IGN Comics: Will they be as drastic as the first law, which authorized the use of lethal force against the Sinestro Corps?
Johns: Some will be as extreme as the lethal force mandate, and others might not at first make sense, but you'll eventually see exactly why the Guardians are doing what they're doing.
IGN Comics: What about the various new emotional spectrums? Obviously, we've seen the Green and Yellow corps, and you established the Zamarons and the violet spectrum early this year. Will we see or learn anything about the Red, Indigo or Orange Corps anytime soon?
Johns: In the later half of 2008, we have an arc called "The Rage of the Red Lanterns." That's when we begin to explore all the powers that are out there.
IGN Comics: It seems like, although there are seven different emotional spectrums, the various emotions fall into two categories, the good and the bad. That said, we've already seen that even though they represent love, the Zamarons don't exactly have benevolent intentions. Will fans be surprised to learn where the armies that represent emotions like Greed and Fear fall in terms of the battle between good and evil?
Johns: Yeah, I think emotions, no matter what they are, can be both good and bad. The whole point is that there isn't a whole lot of black and white; there has to be a balance, and when it comes to law – our laws in the United States are not based on emotion. They're founded on logic, which is the same route the Green Lanterns will take. Because your sense of justice or law can be clouded by a single emotion. That's kind of what we're exploring – what those emotions mean and what kind of power they lead to, and how the different rings affect the different bearers.
IGN Comics: As awesome as the scene was, it was tough to judge just what exactly was going on in the Blackest Night prophecy scene in the beginning of the issue. Is this a battle between two sides, or are the seven corps very much on their own?
Johns: I can't really reveal that at this time. But the cool thing is that we know where we're going with this. I know what's going to happen up until issue #55, and I know where we're going with this whole storyline. The fun thing is that I can tease it, but the bad thing is that I can't wait to get there.
IGN Comics: Let's talk about the scope of this story for a minute. Most writers wouldn't even dream of tackling a story the size of the Sinestro Corps War, and now, by all indications, it seems like Blackest Night will be even bigger. How do you plan on not only establishing all the players that will factor into the Blackest Night event, but also fit everything into the eventual story?
Johns: Just like we established all the players in the Sinestro Corps War over the past two years, I'll be establishing all the players that will factor into Blackest Night over the next year and a half, and also where Hal is going, where John is going, as well as Kyle and Guy. Now with Peter Tomasi on Green Lantern Corps, the books aren't going to necessarily crossover, but they'll be a little bit more tied-in and a little bit more in a shared universe. So the next year and a half is about exploring Hal and the Corps to come. And really, I'm not too worried about fitting everything into Blackest Night. The way I have it broken down, I think it'll only be one issue longer than the Sinestro Corps War. I might change how I break it down, but right now it's only one issue longer. And there's a couple of other things I have planned, but that stuff also isn't happening until 2009
IGN Comics: One of the strongest aspects of this whole storyline, and one of the reasons fans ate it up like they did, was the overall structure and the lack of unimportant tie-ins. Will we see a similarly tight structure in Blackest Night, or will this be a larger event?
Johns: That'll be determined. Obviously the story is bigger in scope, but naturally, if there are any tie-ins or specials, we want to keep an even tighter reign and creative quality on them. One of the best parts about the last few years in the DC Universe – and Marvel, for that matter – has been seeing what works and what doesn't work. And as a fan, when I was kid, I hated useless specials and tie-ins. I don't want to do specials unless they have a purpose. They have to be at least character-based and flesh out a character. Like I really enjoyed working on the Superman Prime special, because I couldn't have done much with Prime in the Green Lantern book. So if we can do specials like that – you know, things that matter – we will. I actually have a whole outline, and I know what we're going to do, I just don't want to talk about it that much.
IGN Comics: Can you talk about how you and the other writers came together to give this story its tight form and structure?
Johns: Well I wrote the whole main storyline, and then I talked with Dave Gibbons about what scenes he was going to cover in Green Lantern Corp, and then we'd go back and forth on his scripts. I read every script that was connected to this, went over them and gave notes. Dave's an amazing writer, and the fact that I got to work with him on this was a godsend. For me, he's the best Green Lantern Corps writer. I mean, even his stuff from twenty years ago we still use today. But it was great working really closely with all the writers. Like Tomasi did the one issue of Green Lantern Corps with Prime and Sodom Yat, and we worked really close together on it, and he delivered a killer script. I mean, the whole experience was really pleasant, and I think we learned a lot about what works in one of these crossover events. It wasn't perfect, but we're really happy with how it all turned out, and we'll strive to do even better.
IGN Comics: It seems like Peter Tomasi played a big role in Sinestro Corps War, both behind the scenes as the initial editor and later as a writer of the Green Lantern Corps title. With Tomasi staying on board the GL Corps, will you guys continue to work in tandem to move both titles towards Blackest Night?
Johns: Well Pete's going to tell his own stories with Guy and Kyle, and it'll deal with the aftermath of the Sinestro Corp War, but obviously, Blackest Night is about the Green Lantern universe, so his book will be involved.
IGN Comics: Where will Sodom Yat appear?
Johns: He's staying in Green Lantern Corps.
IGN Comics: Can you talk a bit about establishing that character? It seems like you've always had an affinity for Daxamite characters, and now with his exposure to lead, he's really turning into a unique addition to the Green Lantern Corps.
Johns: Yeah, Pete really gave him a unique back story and really got inside of him in that Green Lantern Corps issue, and I think he has great handle on the character. I love the character, and I love the fact that he's the most powerful Green Lantern as Ion and a Daxamite, but he's got a huge Achilles Heel. You take that ring off, and the lead poisoning would kill him in a matter of minutes, Ion force or not. His ring is programmed to halt the lead poisoning, and if it's removed, then he's going to die.
IGN Comics: He's really developed almost into Mon-El with a Green Lantern ring.
Johns: Yeah, he really has. He's a little more in your face than Mon-El.
IGN Comics: What should we expect out of the Sinestro Corp now that their leader is imprisoned? We saw another legendary Lantern villain, Mongol, show up at the end of the Green Lantern Corps epilogue. Will he rise to a position of leadership?
Johns: Just because Sinestro is being held on Oa and the heralds are gone, it doesn't mean that the Sinestro Corp members will just give up their rings. They're all in hiding. It's the same as the Taliban, almost. And you'll see Mongol in the Green Lantern Corps title for a while.
IGN Comics: Out of all the heroes and villains that shined throughout this story, I think Hank Henshaw rose as the most tragic and complex. Can you talk at all about how you decided to approach the character from this perspective?
Johns: Well he's someone that I just looked at and thought, psychologically, what could this guy possibly want in this stage of his existence? I know they've brought him back and killed him like eight times in the comics, so I just kind of came to the idea that he can't be killed. So it just seemed obvious that if he can't be killed, then that would be the one thing he'd want. That last scene with the Manhunters fixing him up, you see that even when he's just a chunk of head, he's still fine.
IGN Comics: The moment with the tear coming from his eye was great.
Johns: Yeah, Ethan kicked some ass on that epilogue scene. He and Ivan are very much my creative partners on this. I don't think Green Lantern has ever had this many great artists working on it at once.
IGN Comics: Will both artists continue to play a role in the book and in Blackest Night?
Johns: I think Ethan will always have a stamp on Green Lantern, and he'll always be involved as long as I am, because he really invented Green Lantern's new look. He invented that flashing badge and the energy signatures and all that stuff. He kind of gave it a really distinct look, and I'm sure when they do the movie, they'll take all that stuff he did. And Ivan has grown leaps and bounds, and as you saw in Green Lantern #25, he's A-List. And he delivers more work in one year than most A-List artists do in three.
IGN Comics: Future Green Lantern artist really have their work cut out for them thanks to Ivan and Ethan.
Johns: Yeah, it's going to be a tough act to follow. But that's our job – to make this book the best book possible. And we're just getting started. I plan on staying on this book for a long time.
IGN Comics: Speaking of the other colored corps – one of the reasons fans loved the Sinestro Corps War was the use of recognizable villains like Hank Henshaw and Superboy Prime. Will we see other recognizable members as part of these other corps?
Johns: A lot of them will be new characters. We'll be introducing new stuff, but at that same time, of course we'll have characters that are familiar. That's part of the fun of it.
IGN Comics: A couple more specifics about the Blackest Night. First, is it safe to assume that the Black Lantern Corps will represent death?
Johns: Well if you look closely, everything you need to know about the Black Lanterns is there in those two pages.
IGN Comics: Has the Anti-Monitor been transformed into the Black Lantern battery, or is he still a living and active being?
Johns: He's the power source. He's not exactly comfortable right now.
IGN Comics: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Geoff, and congrats on the success!
Johns: Thanks a lot, Dan. It's always a pleasure.