Green Lantern Writer’s Final Arc Challenges Law Enforcement Ethics

Robert Venditti’s Green Lantern swan song is a debate on justice in the universe.

Comic book scribe Robert Venditti has been writing the flagship Green Lantern title since taking over the series in 2013. Over the past five years, he has remained on the title despite two line-wide relaunches and taken the Emerald Warriors to new heights, but as with all good things, it must now come to an end. Venditti spoke with IGN about how he intends to end his lengthy Green Lantern run with a story that brings back the Darkstars, an interstellar police force that challenges the rules of law enforcement and justice that the Green Lantern Corps is built on.

If you’ve been reading Venditti’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series, then you already know that he’s been seeding this final story by re-introducing the conniving aliens known as the Controllers who, you guessed it, control the Darkstars. Not unlike the GLC, the Controllers enlist different beings from across the cosmos to wear the powerful Darkstar armor and use it to dish out their brutal brand of justice. This allows Venditti to explore themes about policing, law enforcement, crime, and how criminals and victims are treated.

In order to illustrate the difference between the Darkstars and the GLC, Venditti is utilizing the tragic narrative of Tomar-Tu, the son of respected Green Lantern veteran Tomar-Re, who chose to execute a surrendering murderer so they would never get the chance to kill again. That’s not exactly in line with the Green Lantern’s way of due process and rehabilitation, and so Tomar-Tu now sits in prison, but when the Darkstars show up, he may find that their philosophies align.

“It’s about the nature of the human spirit,” Venditti explained of the coming story. “We all make mistakes, and we all do wrong, but we can’t lose sight of our ability to learn from those mistakes and become better people. The Darkstars have just given up on that ideal altogether. The way they see it, there is no chance for someone who’s done bad to become good, so we’re just removing them from society. That’s their approach to law. Whereas the Green Lanterns still believe in that capacity to learn and become better, and there’s still that hope there. And that’s kind of what drives the two and separates them as police forces.”

The Darkstars not only present a philosophical challenge to the GLC because they offer the universe a different take on justice, but a personal one because Green Lantern Corps leader John Stewart used to be among their number.

“It is a challenge, but as far as previous loyalties or any of those things go for someone like John, he is a leader of the Green Lantern Corps. Nothing’s gonna change that,” Venditti said.

Exit Theatre Mode

In addition to the Darkstars’ armor redesign — which purposely sports a cold, closed helmet instead of the open-faced Green Lantern uniform — they will be packing some serious upgrades that Venditti said would include “surprising abilities that are gonna make them uniquely challenging for the Green Lantern Corps” and also adding that “the Darkstars present a challenge with their powerset where the battlefield isn’t even really a battlefield anymore, and John Stewart has to find a way to combat these new abilities that they have, and fight an enemy on a whole different level than he’s ever really had to fight before.”

In order to truly make the Darkstars an epic threat worthy of ending his Green Lantern run, Venditti is using three smaller story arcs to tell one overarching, mega-sized story. It starts with the two-part “Darkstars Rising” prelude that begins in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42 (out April 11), followed by a four-part arc that really kicks things into gear, and then there will be a final three-part arc that brings the whole Darkstars storyline, and Venditti’s whole Green Lantern run, to an end with Issue #50. And although this is primarily a Darkstars story, Venditti hinted to expect elements from his entire run make their way into his finale.

Joshua is IGN’s Comics Editor. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.

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