RED LANTERNS has sometimes been a bit of an enigma. We have a team full of rage-filled beings, willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill whatever their current goal might be. In Peter Milligan's final issue, we even saw some members questioning what their purpose is supposed to be. Now with a new creative shift in all the LANTERN titles and Charles Soule taking over RED LANTERNS, we're due for some changes and some answers.
Comic Vine: Where do see the Red Lanterns headed? What will be their mission in the universe?
Charles Soule: The way I want to write the series is to give it a tone sort of like a TV show like Sons of Anarchy or The Shield. Where you have essentially this team of kind of anti-heroes, where you have people that do crazy things that you can't believe, but it's all hopefully in the service of a greater good. The tagline I've sort of been using for this is "Bad people doing good things by doing bad things."
The main kind of new addition to the team that will hopefully help make that tone work is Guy Gardner. He's coming over to be a full-fledged embedded member of the Red Lantern Corps. He brings all of his backstory and all of his personality, humor and craziness. It's all going to be part of the Red now. It think that will help to offset the teeth-grinding aggressiveness of Atrocitus in a way I think will create a really great dynamic.
The tone will change a little bit but in a way that I think is going to be really entertaining and fun and people will enjoy reading it.
CV: Will you be focusing on Atrocitus and what's next for him after achieving his revenge against the Guardians?
CS: Yeah. Atrocitus is a gigantic part of the Red Lanterns story. You can't tell a story that doesn't include Atrocitus. When we start, he is basically in a position where he's thinking, "We've spent most of our existence relating to issues that the Greens have had. We get called in as heavy hitters at the last minute to sort of save the day as a big nuclear assault. But where does that get us? What are we supposed to be for?" Some of his Reds are asking him those same questions as the leader so he's trying to figure some of that stuff out.
When the first issue begins, he has a plan that he's going to put into effect. You'll get a sense of what he wants to do and where he's going to take them. When Guy Gardner shows up, sent in as almost a…I think 'spy' is maybe a little strong but certainly, Hal sends him to the Reds on purpose, on a mission to keep tabs on them. He doesn't want to be blindsided by anything that the Reds might do. Integrating those two viewpoints is going to make some sparks.
CV: Is Guy's reasoning going to be clear right away, why he's there?
CS: You're going to see it, I think, a page after the pages shown in the preview. You'll see very quickly why he's there and what he's doing there. It's going to be cool, I guarantee it. The last few pages of my first issue will sort of change things in a way that I think people are really going to respond to or I'll get an earful on the Internet. One way or the other, it's going to be something.
CV: In RED LANTERNS #20, Atrocitus seemed willing to let others challenge him for leadership, how will that work out with Guy now on the team? What's their dynamic going to be?
CS: Because they're both very much Type A personalities, not used to letting other people be in control? Is that what you're getting at?
CS: That's going to come into play immediately. Guy isn't really looking to run the Red Lanterns. Who wants that job? Certainly not Guy Gardner. But at the same time, if you're doing something Guy Gardner thinks is idiotic, he's going to let you know about it. There will be significant conflict between Guy Gardner and Atrocitus. No doubt about it.
CV: Besides Hal, will John and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps immediately be aware of what Guy's up to?
CS: Well, that, I think I'm going to leave for the issue to lay out, when it comes out. It's certainly something that the dynamic of who knows, how they know, why they know and when they know - all of that is going to be an important part of the Red Lanterns storyline. You can see how that could be a little tricky since Guy is essentially undercover and not everybody knows he's undercover.
CV: On the cover to issue 22, you can see Guy still has his Green Power Ring. Will he try to wield both rings?
CS: I'm going to leave that for the book too. Sorry I can't give you more answers. It all gets explained in the issues in a way I think is pretty cool. I don't want to spoil too much now.
CV: How much of a role will Guy have in this book? Will other Red Lanterns also play big roles?
CS: You'll still see all of the other Red Lanterns. I should say I'm focusing on the ones that are sort of sentient, the ones that can think. I think it's tough to write a book that's all about just screaming rage monsters. The ones that are the core cast are Ratchet, Rankorr, Skallox, Bleez, Zilius Zox, Atrocitus and Guy Gardner. The ones we've seen, up to this point, as the thinking talking ones that have personalities and different power sets.
As far as whether or not we see them, yeah, we see a lot of them. Guy Gardner is a big part of the book. I would say he's certainly one of the leads. When you take on a team book, it's a 'team book.' I think it's doing a disservice to the work that other people have done in creating those characters and obviously the readers to not treat them that way. Everyone gets their moments. Certainly with that big a cast, not everyone's at the full front of each issue at every moment but you can bring them out and pull them back. Hopefully it'll all work out nicely.
CV: Rankorr believed the power of Rage can be used for good. Will he still pursue that idea after the events of issue #20?
CS: He's definitely going to be an interesting part of the book because he has powers that none of the others have. How those work and how their used is going to be a big big part of the book going forward. Plus I like him because he's British, from his origin. I'm thinking of him as almost a space John Constantine. Which is kind of a funny character to write.
CV: Are we going to see more of Dex-Starr?
CS: Dex-Starr…I was wondering when Dex-Starr was going to come up.
CV: He's gotta come up.
CS: Yeah, I think Dex-Starr is one of the coolest things about the Red Lanterns and it would be idiotic of me not to use him. He does something pretty cool in the first issue. Then he continues to have a pretty sweet role going forward. I like Dex-Starr quite a bit, just like everybody else does. He's a cool, weird space cat.
CV: That's good to hear. Thanks a lot. We're looking forward to seeing what you're going to do with this book.
CS: Alright. Thanks so much.
Be sure to check out Charles first issue. RED LANTERNS #21 is on sale June 26, 2013.