Exclusive Interview: Charles Soule Tells Us Why It’s Better To Be Red Than dead; Hints At Things To Come



DC’s Green Lantern line has been and continues to be in upheaval, both creatively and in the books themselves, since the announcement by longtime GL architect Geoff Johns that he was leaving the franchise.

When #21 of Red Lanterns hits shelves in June, Charles Soule will take over as writer of the book with Alessandro Vitti as artist.

Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer chose a quiet corner of Ysmault to chat exclusively with Soule about the future of the Red Lantern Corps.

Cosmic Book News: Charles, you take over Red Lanterns with #21 after great upheaval in the DCU with the Third Army and the First Lantern and great upheaval in the title line with mass creator changes. What state will the Red Lanterns be in when readers open issue #21?

Charles Soule: You’re absolutely right. Not just the Reds, but the whole Lantern universe has gone through some significant changes. As we open in #21, the Reds are trying to regroup, to determine what their purpose should be. Are they simply the Green Lanterns’ attack dogs, there to save the day whenever willpower needs a little boost from rage, or can they be something more – something uniquely their own?

CBN: I have not heard a lot about Atrocitus post-First Lantern. Is he still in charge of the Red Lanterns and what challenges does he face now?

Charles Soule: Atrocitus is always going to see the Red Lanterns as his own. No matter what happens, that’s his Corps. However, he’s facing a little insurrection in the ranks, as some of the other Reds start to chafe a bit under his leadership. As we’ve seen, though, Atrocitus is not the sort of guy you want to cross, and that will play out not just in #21, but through the next long while in the book. Seeds planted in #21 will reverberate through the Red Lanterns for many issues to come. So don’t miss it! (laughs)


CBN: The big news is that Guy Gardner will be coming over to this book. Is that a temporary or permanent status and will Guy be wearing a green or red ring?

Charles Soule: One thing I’ve felt is important to see is what Guy would be like if he wasn’t desperately trying to get the red ring off his finger the moment he put it on. In his other appearances as a Red, the ring has been treated as this poisonous element that needs to be purged as quickly as possible. However, that’s a very Green perspective on the whole thing. I mean, Atrocitus doesn’t feel that way, Rankorr doesn’t feel that way … I wanted to see a Guy Gardner who embraces his rage — and he’s got plenty, believe me.

CBN: Any leftover Peter Milligan story threads that will be tied up, or is this a whole new ballgame?

Charles Soule: I’m starting from where Peter left things, but he did a great job of leaving the slate pretty clean for me. I like Rankorr a lot, so he’ll be around, and I also really liked Peter Tomasi’s Mean Machine — they show up (in a way) as well. But it should work as a great jumping-on point for new readers as well as people who are familiar with the title. Even if you’ve never read a Red Lanterns book before, and you have no idea how they work, #21 will set you up right.

CBN: Rob Venditti told CBN a few months ago that while the Green Lantern books will remain individual, at first at least, the group of titles will also move forward together with common threads. How does that work?

Charles SouleRob has created an amazing new villain named Relic, who’s simply too big to be contained in one book. His story will begin to echo through the GL books over the next few issues, culminating in a full-on crossover where many of the core Corps members interact. It’s going to be awesome — Rob has the Greens well in hand, as do Justin Jordan and Van Jensen. That event works just the way a good crossover should, in my opinion — it’s set up to allow for fantastic set pieces, logical interaction between people from different books, and changes the game to a significant degree so that everything moves in a slightly new direction going forward. I’m really happy to be part of it.


CBN: Several voices have said there is no prominent female Lantern. It seems Bleez is a perfect candidate to build on.  Will she be an important part of your story going forward, and how?

Charles Soule: They’re all important, but Bleez is definitely going to play a big part. I think she’s an interesting character in many ways — her sexuality is a huge component of how she’s been depicted thus far, and there’s nothing wrong with that, to my mind. When you look back at her origin, that aspect of her character was originally used almost as a weapon against her — it was something she was exploited for. Now, though, she’s turned that around and made it a source of strength. She uses the tendency to objectify beauty as a weapon — underestimate Bleez because she’s gorgeous and she’ll use it against you all day long. To sum up: I dig Bleez and I want to give her a lot of cool moments.

CBN: Any new Red Lanterns or cosmic big-bads on the way to the book?

Charles Soule: Right now, I’m working with the existing cast, plus Guy. I think they have some internal issues they need to work through before they can fight anything too external — although Relic is certainly looming in the background. Give it time, though. I think the direction I’m working towards will be pretty clear by the end of #21, and we’ll see a lot of development as the run continues.

CBN: I know it’s early, but how has it been working with Alessandro Vitti? What does his art bring to the table?

Charles Soule: I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Vitti at C2E2 a few weeks ago, and we were able to speak for a bit about how we’re going to make one hell of a book out of all this. His design sense is phenomenal, which is something that will be particularly useful in a book set in outer space — lots of cool spaceships and creatures to figure out.


CBN: Any favorite Lantern tales or characters from the past that may be finding new life here?

Charles Soule: I like Chaselon — my editors will tell you that I’ve tried to work him into every issue so far, in one way or another. We’ll see how that plays out as the story continues; I just think his design is awesome. Crystal body with weird tentacle limbs? Sign me up! (laughs)

CBN: Any other projects current or in the future you would like to promote?

Charles Soule: Sure, and thank you for asking. I’m a few issues into my run on Swamp Thing, and so far the response has been really gratifying. If you aren’t reading that, but you like character-driven creepiness with a giant plant dude at its heart, then by all means, give it a shot. I also have a creator-owned title, Strange Attractors, which just hit from Archaia. It’s a grounded, intelligent sci-fi thriller about two geniuses, one young, one old, who devise a method involving complexity theory (the Butterfly Effect, basically) to turn all of New York City into a giant engine. Their purpose in doing this is to try to save the city from a huge oncoming crisis — but the old guy’s more than a little nuts, and the young guy’s inexperienced and, well, young. It’s out as a beautiful hardcover from Archaia right now. If you like stories like Inception or Neal Stephenson’s work, you’d probably dig Strange Attractors too.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Charles Soule for taking time from his busy schedule to answer the questions of our nosy M.E., who wears no rings. Also thanks to Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski of DC who helped make this interview possible.

“Red Lanterns” #21 is on sale June 26th!