Four Letter Nerd

Author - Bill Clark

Bat for Brains: A 4LN Interview with Scott Snyder!

I really got into comics right around the time that New 52 started, and I was pulling every Batman & Bat-Family book that there was. Unfortunately, slowly but surely, I lost interest in those books. All but one… the Batman proper book by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. It easily became my favorite comic that was being published, and not long after that, it became my all time favorite comic. I have every issue except a #1 first print, I picked up the second print not realizing it. Soon, I started to explore Scott Snyder’s work before Batman. I picked up The Black Mirror, a story from his Detective Comics run. This was seriously one of the darkest Batman stories I had read since Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, I couldn’t believe the things that were happening in this book.

Not longer after I became a Scott Snyder fan boy, we started FourLetterNerd and I set a goal for myself; I somehow wanted to interview my favorite writer. I even wrote an early article talking about how Snyder was the Stephen King of Comics. I wanted to talk comics with someone I admire, someone I aspire to be like, and one of the people that has made me want to become a comic book writer, or a writer in general.

This week Scott Snyder released his new ongoing Batman series, All Star Batman, and I was able to sit down and talk about this book with him. I was beyond excited. I had achieved my main goal with FourLetterNerd, and I couldn’t be more excited and stoked to share this with you. Guess my unabashedly biased reviews got me somewhere Stephen Andrew.

Below you will find my interview with Scott Snyder!

Scott, after having written Batman for so long, do you feel like you understand who Bruce Wayne is at this point, or do you find that you’re still exploring his psyche?

Scott Snyder: I have so many questions about him, he’s so deeply fun to explore. I write each arc like it’s going to be my last one and I would always say to Greg [Capullo,] or whoever I was working with, “You know, this might be the last one…” [laughs] And try to make it something that would make me feel good leaving it on each time, making it personal and about things that you feel passionately about. With that said, with this one I felt like it was almost a new beginning are sort of deciding not to do just one story that was different, but instead do an entire series of stories that approach Batman’s mythologies, and villains, and Bruce and all of it from a completely different angle. Where it wasn’t necessary a big epic storyline. I wanted to be able to break it down into separate prisms of series where I could say I want to do this villain with this artist, and this villain with that artist. So in doing so, we will have this whole new perspective on Bruce as well. Where all of these things are sort of looking at him as a character that I didn’t expect, like his relationship with Alfred, the whole Robin mantel. All of the stuff that wasn’t really in the outline for the book has been emerging. And I really feel like, really hope, it’s some of my best work. So, I’m really excited to see what you think.

 

Will this version/depiction of Batman/ Bruce differ from one we saw in you New 52 run, or will he be inherently the same?

Scott Snyder: I always see him as the same character, New, Non, Pre52. I mean for me I think it’s more you just have a version of the character in your head and it’s almost like your own creator owned version in your head. I was talking to Tom King (Writer of Batman) about this and you know, it’s almost like if you’re doing rebirth, or New 52, or anything, it’s sort of your vessel. The thing with Grant [Morrison], whatever he was doing on Batman, it was always his Bruce. So, I see him as one long consistent conversation almost between me and the mythology of the character that way it differs from the 52 version. But, this series I’ve made a really big effort to be a shock to the system for the readers given what I have been doing with Greg [Capullo] because I tried to do that every arc with Greg. The last thing I wanted to do was for it to seem like I was playing it safe given all the risks we took doing Batman proper.

 

Are there any artist that you are excited to work with?

Scott Snyder: Oh yeah! So many great artist. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Danny and Dean for just doing incredible work on the feature, but also Declan Shelvey and Jordie Bellaire who are doing the backups and the Robin History with me. Paul Pope has become a good friend and I can’t wait to work with. Sean Murphy who is one of my dearest friends in the world, you know, he and I have worked together before and I can’t wait to bring him over in the Batman world. We always joke around about it, but in his creator owned works there is normally a character that is like me, who is like “Draw Batman! Draw Batman!” It’s a joy being able to bring artist in that haven’t had the spotlight from a major book and you can help them, and feel very inspired by them both as people and as talents. So for me, it’s the opposite as what I was doing on Batman, in some ways, and in others it has very similar DNA. The similarities are, I like big bombastic over the top high stakes stuff. I always have. I try to make each story very personal to me, where every villain is sort of re-examined in away that hopefully positions them in a modern and scary but true to core, and slightly tweeked. But maybe something more contemporary. And being outside of Gotham for the story allows me to do wilder takes and experiment a bit more and not be so concerned about what’s happening to the city constantly, and it’s in very good hands with Tom. So, it gives me room to breath and think bigger and write crazier.

 

Dean White is doing the colors on this book, and I personally think he is one of the best colorists in the industry. How do the two or you play off each other? Do you mention what colors things should be, or does White just take the ball and run with it?

Scott Snyder: Danny I have worked with for a long time, because he was on Batman with me and Greg, but Dean who is new to me at least, and who I have admired for a long time, I just made it a point to talk and we wound up having similar sensibilities and  taste in music and so we really got along. What I always try to do isn’t so much tell them specifically what I want but to tell them what the book is about and say Listen, I want this story to really feel like, say, this is the end of times, the end of society, and the end of all these kinds of restrictions we put on ourselves that we use to hide who we really are, those are going to fall away. I want it to feel like this quante beautiful landscape we have never been in before, but also kinda threatening and oddly scary like Halloween on a farm but with bright blue skies, and you never know what’s in the cornfield. That kinda stuff, and I’ll say that and they will come up with something that is incredibly vibrant and enhances those ideas tremendously. There really aren’t words that describe what these guys have done on this book, so I would just encourage people if you pick it [All Star Batman #1] up, and you like what they are doing, just tweet them both, or on Instagram, because colorist and inkers are often total unsung heroes and are letterers of the books, and editors I suppose. [Laughs] Go find them and tell them what a great job they are doing.

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I think a lot of people would define your writing style as horror, so I’m curious, do you identify as a “horror” writer?

Scott Snyder: I’m really proud to be known as a horror writer. I wear it really proudly, horror is my favorite genre if I had to pick one, by far. I grew up on horror movies and I don’t know if it was wanting to see the cool kids get attacked [laughs] or it it was something deeper at first when I was little but they always spoke to me. Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites, Frankenstein is my favorite book, so yeah I think at horrors core, it’s about a very pure form of conflict. It’s you up against something like a monster, or something that is a reflection or extension of your fears about yourself or the world around you, when it’s done right or well. It’s almost like a burned down, turned up to 11 volume form of the best kind of conflict and drama, so yeah!


Any plans for Scarecrow?

Scott Snyder: I do. I do have plans for him. I actually had Scarecrow in this arc. But then I realized I didn’t think I was doing him justice because he came and went pretty quickly. I just feel like he deserves a bigger role if I’m going to do something with him. So I do have an idea for something down the line. This series is truly ongoing where you know I start with John for five issue and then I have some one shots and two shots with Jock, Paul Pope… and then I have Sean Murphy and this big story and then I would really like to do this one with Lee Bermejo. So I have plans to stretch for almost two years, at least a year and a half. Which is as much as I ever had on Batman Proper. So my hope is to keep it going and do stuff about all the villains. You know, all of them big and small. I would love to do something with Scarecrow, I had an idea for fear gas in issue three but just thought it wasn’t right to knock him out of the story that quick.  

 

Just real quick, Batman with a chainsaw is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

Scott Snyder:[Laughs]  Thank you! They tried to cut that at one point. My editor Mark, who is one of my best friends, was like “Listen to me, there might be like one thing that might be a little bit too dark for people, and that might be the chainsaw.” I was like “We are not moving or getting rid of the chainsaw, no matter what.” I really fought him on it and he was like “Whoa, whoa, whoa, OK alright.”

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It’s fun, and it’s silly, and it’s grindhouse; but, it’s the spirit of the series, which I think is that Batman is going further than he’s gone before with Two-Face, and you never know what’s coming form the corners of the page. You don’t know what villain is going to pop up, which hero will pop up, even completely certain of an unfamiliar situation that ultimately is landscaped by a psychological projection of what’s going on between these characters. So, having a chainsaw is almost like Batman is willing to sort of shock you and be even more aggressive and badass than you expected, but what comes back at him a few pages later, is even worse, and it’s raising the steaks in the bet that Two-Face is making with him every few pages.

 

Final question, in the show “Gotham” they introduced The Court of Owls last season and it appears as if they’ll have an ominous presence on the story this season. How does it feel to have created something in the Bat-verse that’s impact is so significant it’s being adapted to live-action?

Scott Snyder: I can’t even begin to tell you.. When Geoff Johns told me they were doing that, I was out in Burbank [California] and he was like “I have something to show you.” And he showed me clips from the promos from the season two introduction of them and I almost teared up because I was so excited. So, it’s a huge thrill honestly, and DC has been incredibly kind to us about it. But Greg and I had one stipulation, we wanted to be Owls in the back, giving the thumbs up wearing the masking and everything, no, no, we are very grateful. When I started Batman, or even Detective Comics, six or seven years ago, I never thought in a million years I would be doing it this long or have been able to be so embedded in the mythology and able to create characters and anything that would stick. It’s hugely rewarding, and cant thank the fans enough for all their years of support and letting us do everything we’ve done in the books.

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Thank you so much to DC Comics, and Scott Snyder. Be sure to head to your local comic shop and pick up All Star Batman #1 which is on shelves now, and if you are in the Middle Tennessee area, head over to Game Cave 2 and pick up this book! You don’t want to sleep on this series.

All-Star Batman (2016-) #1

4LN Comic Review: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1

Series: Suicide Squad
Writer: Rob Williams
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion

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Summary from Comixology: “Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive! ”

Man, what a coincidence that this comic is coming out right before the Suicide Squad movie hits theaters on Friday, you would almost think that was planned or something. But seriously, it makes perfect sense to drop this comics this week. You have people picking it up this week out of hype, and next week, if people like what they see, hopefully they will come into a comic shop and pick this book up. I personally think this is a great starting issue, as well as a great jumping on point for literally any level of a fan. Life long Suicide Squad fan, this book is for you. Just saw the trailer and want some light reading, this is the book for you.

In this issue, the Squad consist of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Boomerang, and leader Rick Flair Flag. This issue is a great “origins” story for the team. We don’t get flashbacks of who Harley, Deadshot and Boomerang were before joining the team, we just know they were bad. We don’t see action ready combat hero Rick Flag fighting overseas, but we do know shit hit the fan for him and he’s now in Guantanamo Bay for terrorism. And, we find out that in the last months of President Obama’s presidency, he finds out about Amanda Walker and Task Force X. For those unfamiliar, Amanda Walker is the government agent that leads the top secret task force.

I think Rob Williams does a fantastic job capturing the feel of these characters. Williams really seems to understand the characters of the team, and he does a fantastic job capturing the dialogue between them. I love how he has Boomerang singing soccer hooligan songs while in combat. Speaking of combat, the fight scenes are absolutely intense in this book. Boomerang slices a guys hands off, Harley and Deadshot shoot a guy in the head (each hit a different target) and the Suicide Squad has no problem detonating a bomb in a metropolitan city.

I really enjoyed the art in this book. It was very clean, but also had a gritty feel to it. A lot of dark colors and dark tones were used, which is important in a book like Suicide Squad. Everything seemed very well-organized on the pages, and the panels were easy to follow. There were a few pages that I just really enjoyed solely because of the page layouts and how the book flowed together. Philip Tan also did a fantastic job on making people look real. What I mean by this is, when looking at President Obama, I knew it was President Obama, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do in the comics medium.

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If you are excited for the movie, or just want to read a book about super villains doing badass shit, then this is totally the book for you. Williams and Tan do a wonderful job at bringing this team alive on the pages. Don’t sleep on this book, and for $2.99 what do you have to loose?

Music Pairing:

Harley Quinn being a badass is awesome, and I feel like you could safely call her Miss Murder. AFI is the perfect fit for a book like Suicide Squad, and their song Miss Murder does a good job as the soundtrack.

4LN Interview with “Hot Damn” Writer Ryan Ferrier

I picked up Hot Damn on a whim, because I thought the cover looked cool. It was a guy covered in tattoos falling into hell. I’m covered in tattoos, and practically on my way to hell, so how could I not love this? Hot Damn is seriously one of the funniest comics I’ve read in a long time. (You can read our review of issue #1 here.) The main character Teddy is a great party animal, his hell sponsor Costello is diabolical and looking out for his own best interest, and his group counselor, Abaddon, is how you would imagine every youth pastor at church camp, he’s trying way to hard to be cool. (Heads up, this interview is potentially NSFW so read on at your own risk…)


4LN – This comic has a lot of interesting takes on theology. Were you raised in a religious family, and if so, does this impact your views on Heaven and Hell?

Ryan Ferrier – I wasn’t raised in a religious family at all, no. My Scottish parents grew up with the church (my father catholic, my mother protestant) but they didn’t stick with it. I went to public school, etc, and my exposure to anything religion-based was minimal and discovered on my own as I got older. As for how this has impacted my views on Heaven and Hell, I think as a whole, Hot Damn approaches these things from the aspect of how we as a culture and an ingrained part of our day-to-day see it. We absolutely don’t want to mock, ridicule, or make these things the butt of any jokes. We simply want to take the collective idea and popular representation of these things and deconstruct/reconstruct them. Given all the pieces of life we’re playing with, how can we have some fun with them in harmony, and explore some common areas, is kind of the question that has driven Valentin and I through the course of the story. The human-emotional things we’re tackling in the story are really applicable to everyone, whether religious or not.

But, surely, everything in my life and upbringing influences and impacts my views on the subject matter, whether it’s conscious or not. It would be tough to say otherwise. With Hot Damn though, I think we’ve tried to remain as thoughtful of “the other side” as best we can. Even though some of the scenes say quite the opposite!

 

4LN – I honestly haven’t laughed this hard while reading a comic in a really long time, and I know that you and Valentin Ramon have worked together before on D4VE & D4VE2, so how do you guys play off of each other as a creative team?

RF – The collaborative sync that Valentin and I share is truly remarkable. It’s a very, very natural similarity to the point where it’s almost creepy. It’s as if our brains are linked, unknowingly. There’s a very organic (barf, why did I use that buzzword?) workflow in place between he and I, and there isn’t a lot of back and forth, honestly. We both know how each other works, and what each other likes, and it just fits perfectly. We obviously think very alike and share very close thought processes, interests, and views, so it makes things very simple to work with. Valentin is a genius and I will forever work with him, if he allows it.

 

4LN – Abaddon might be one of my favorite characters in this series, mostly because he reminds me of almost every Youth Pastor I’ve ever met. He’s just trying so hard to be cool, where did the inspiration for this character come from?

 

RF – I love Abaddon! All of the demons in Hot Damn are named after actual demons, and Abaddon is often considered one of the worst. With that in mind, we made our Abaddon one of the best. The point of Hell being this therapy session you can never leave, and the actual act of these sessions being worse than any physical torture, yet the actual process is very calm and friendly, so we made Abaddon–the leader of these sessions–this very inviting, supportive character. I think we approached Abaddon as a personality to be very sinister in that he looks like a Baphomet, but is so kind and inviting; he basically coaxes you into confessing and realizing your sins. It’s awful when you think about it. But, like Satan, Abaddon’s heart and relative well-meaning is pretty genuine. He’s a nice dude.

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4LN – Can you elaborate on the meaning of Abaddon, and why the counselor from hell is given this name?

RF – Our version of Abaddon, though a small part, is an important one, so we wanted to make sure his name had some weight. Abaddon is a real demon (well, as “real” as you believe demons are), and depending on what you read, he is a pretty damn gnarly sonofagun. It only felt fitting to re-imagine him in our story as a very kind soul, albeit one responsible for your worst undoing.

 

4LN – I think one of the most entertaining parts of this comic are the background images; testical strippers, suicide bombers, catholic priests… where do you get the ideas for the citizens of hell?

RF – With the exception of only a few notes from my mind, that is very much Valentin’s work. That’s his twisted mind conjuring up such atrocities. He loves conceptualizing and bringing to life the most ridiculous stuff. I love seeing the bizarre stuff he cooks up splatter onto the page. I aspire to reach his level of absurdity and brilliance.

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4LN – Teddy doesn’t seem like that terrible of a person, he actually seems pretty smart. In issue two when he meets Maria, we find he is pretty self aware. He knows people are just at his party for drugs and self gratification. Where did you get the inspiration for teddy’s character?

RF – I think the most dangerous kind of person is the kind that doesn’t seem terrible, that seems smart and confident, but their records indicate the exact opposite. Teddy is a terrible person and he knows it, which is why he’s now in Hell and trying, desperately, to reverse all that. For him in particular it may be a delayed “oh crap” moment, but from the get go we wanted to make Teddy the worst, most unlikable character we’ve ever dealt with, and turn him completely around. We wanted to go further with the theme of redemption. Teddy isn’t being mistreated, or treated unfairly, in Hell. Everything he’s going through is very well earned and deserved. As for inspiration, there’s a little bit of me in there, and a little bit of people I’ve known in there, albeit amped up to 1,000. Teddy is the product of a lifetime of focusing on life’s negativity, to a fault. He’s a lot of flaws in our personalities personified. He’s certainly a walking, talking cautionary tale.

 

Lightning Round (a series of quick and random questions)

4LN – So, I follow you on twitter and have noticed that you are really into metal music, which we seriously love here at 4LN. So, I gotta ask, is the name a reference to the Every Time I Die album, Hot Damn?

RF – Every Time I Die is one of my most favorite all-time bands, current or otherwise, hands down. I’m a die hard ETID guy. Oddly enough, the title of Hot Damn, which was not the original title, came more from the expression and the imagery it conjures, mixed with a little Hell-ish double meaning. That came first, for me internally, and it wasn’t at all a reference to the (incredible) album. Though the coincidence is not at all lost on me. There’s actually an ETID reference in the first issue during the possession scene; we talk about Keith Buckley and one of his lyrics in particular.

 

 

 

4LN – What show have you been binge-watching on Netflix lately?

RF – I actually haven’t been binge-watching much lately, to be honest! The last thing I really marathoned was Daredevil Season 2. I don’t watch much TV (I don’t have any cable at all) and only stream stuff here and there. I’ve been making good use of my WWE Network subscription though, which is a damn time vacuum if you’re not careful.

 

4LN – Which character from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia do you think you relate to the most?

RF – Rickety Cricket, easily. I’m not confident enough to come close to the original/main cast.

 

4LN – Best concert you have been to this year?

RF – I haven’t seen any live music this year, sadly, though I’m seeing Charles Bradley and Ghost in a couple months (separately, of course, though imagine the crowd at that show if it existed). The last great concert I saw was Morrissey in Salt Lake City last year.

 

4LN – What’s your all time favorite metal album?

RF – All time? That is near impossible for the genre. I could make a top 10 list and it still wouldn’t come close to being succinct. Like…what kind of metal are we talking here? Thrash? Hardcore? It seems unfair to put, for example, Converge and Metallica in the same eligible field. Or Dillinger Escape Plan and Faith No More. It’s just too broad a category, and there’s too much to choose from, you monsters. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

Wow. Geeze. Okay. Ummm…this is insanely difficult. And it changes daily, I’m certain. I think…if I were to be somewhat objective about it, for me personally, and for where I’m at now in life with my interests, Deftones’ Around the Fur was a huge influence for me. But then their subsequent White Pony record pretty much redefined metal at that time and moving forward. But there’s other metal records I love more. I could listen to QOTSA’s Songs For the Deaf literally any time. God, this is difficult. Mastodon’s Crack the Skye is one of the finest metal records ever made. But how do you say that and not acknowledge any Pantera record or …And Justice For All? Or immediately think about DEP’s Option Paralysis, or Miss Machine, for chrissake?! I can’t do this. Don’t ask me to do this. It’s too hard for me.

Okay fine, Deftones’ White Pony for all time. This question is killing me.

 

My HUGE thanks to Ryan for chatting with me, and make sure you guys head down to your local comic shop and pick the first 4 issues of Hot Damn! #4 just released yesterday (08/03) so make sure you get caught up before the finale drops!

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4LN Interview with Writer of Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, Robert Venditti

We got the chance to sit down and talk with comic book writer Robert Venditti (for the third time) about his upcoming DC project, Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, which hits shelves tomorrow! Be sure to grab Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 because we promise, this won’t be a series you will want to miss. So, without further ado, our interview with Robert Venditti!

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Are you excited to be working with former comic collaborator Rafa Sandoval?

Robert Venditti: Absolutely! I have worked with Rafa before for about 5 issues during X-O Manowar for Valiant. It was a great collaborative relationship, and he does so much so well. Especially when it comes to cosmic/sci-fi/space-oriented books. He does a lot of alien races, and a lot of ships. He’s fantastic when it comes to design, and those kinds of things. When DC told me about Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, I asked if I could have Rafa Sandoval on this book. I just love working with the guy, and DC went and got him.

How does working with Ethan Van Sciver compare to Rafa Sandoval?

Robert Venditti: Ethan is somebody that I’ve worked with in a very limited capacity. We did one issue of Green Lantern together, during my run, but he’s somebody that brings so much weight and experience to the title. He’s an artist whose synonymous with not just Green Lantern mythology, but with the concept of Rebirth. And so to be able to work with him, who literally co-created a lot of the stuff that we are going to be dealing with, he has such an enthusiasm and a love for the characters. He’s very knowledgable and easy to talk concepts with, and if you are writing a book as part of the Rebirth initiative which embraces the long legacy of the DCU. I can’t think of a better artist to have on that for Green Lantern than Ethan, because in a lot of ways he represents that legacy. Him and Rafa together are just a great 1-2 punch… I couldn’t be happier.  

How does Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps work with the theme of Rebirth? (Are you bringing back classic elements/characters while moving forward)

Robert Venditti: Absolutely! Yeah, I mean, that is Rebirth in a nutshell. It’s to embrace the long legacy of these characters, and embrace everything that has come before, but push forward and look towards the future and new directions as well. That’s exactly what we are doing. When you look at our opening arc, it’s going to be Hal and the Green Lantern Corps vs Sinestro and the Sinestro Corps. It’s green versus yellow. It’s will versus fear. These are concepts that go back to the earliest beginnings of the Green Lantern mythology. We are embracing that, but we are also doing some new things with that. If you read a lot of the books of the Rebirth books that are already on the stands, you’ll see that that is what the incentive is pretty much about. It’s a concept that I feel I am really suited for and it’s something I’m really excited about, and I hope people are excited for the stories when they see them.

 

Will Hal continue being a rogue lantern and using his  power gauntlet, or will we see the return of the iconic leader that we have been so used to?

Robert Venditti: When we open the Rebirth issue, Hal is in the possession of Krona’s gauntlet, and it has an affect on him where it’s changing him into a being of will. So what that’s beginning to do will have a profound affect on the series going forward. But what he does aside from that is he makes a decision with the Green Lantern Corps absent, he is going to reclaim his mantle as Green Lantern and be the last green lantern in the universe. He’s going to try to go find the corps, find out what happened to them, save them, and bring them back. Hal doesn’t know what the situation is yet, but he’s going to go searching for the corps and trying to protect the universe while he does it, all while being the standard bearer of the Green Lantern Corps. Coming into that at the same time, with the void of the Green Lantern Corps being absent, Sinestro parking War World in Sector Zero and becoming an established police force in the universe. So now you have Hal and Sinestro sorta on this collision and that’s where our story is going to begin.  


Are you excited to write different members of the corps besides Hal?

Robert Venditti: It’s such a diverse cast, you know? So many different lanterns who have been introduced over the years and one of the things that I’m doing is really trying to embrace that wider taprecy of DCU, with all the various planets, cultures and civilizations. And the lanterns who often times come from those cultures and civilizations. And with each of those civilizations comes different lanterns and with different character point of views. The diversity of that is what can really separate the Green Lantern mythology from a lot of other mythologies.  

With all the different characters in the Green Lantern series, will we see the return of B’dg?

Robert Venditti: [Laughs] I get a lot of B’dg and Ch’p questions. Yeah, B’dg is still there and he’s on the table, but I’m not doing a B’dg centered story anytime in the near future. But yes, B’dg is definitely still around.   


4LN: My personal favorite Lantern is Kyle Rayner, do you have any special plans for him?


Robert Venditti: Yup! Yes we do, it’s interesting. I don’t mention Kyle a lot in interviews, and we haven’t shown him in a lot of promo art, because what we are doing with him is really secretive. So when he does get introduced, it’s going to be for a very significant reason. To do something that only Kyle can do. And where the story then goes from there, it’s going to take a turn in a different direction. Kyle is definitely going to be there, but I have to be more secretive about him and other things because of what we are doing.    

4LN: What has been your favorite part about writing Green Lantern so far?

Robert Venditti: I would say just being able to work with these characters in the cosmic nature of the DCU, which is really the Green Lantern’s domain. There are so many worlds, so many different space race villains, and space race heroes, and alien cultures, and all these types of things. It’s such a rich history, and so much imagination, all these elements being introduced by different writers over the decades, so to be able to have all of that to play with and to mine for stories… It’s just a huge honor, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. It’s always enjoyable.

 

We’d like to thank Robert for taking the time to chat with us! Below we have some previews of Hal Jordan & The Green Lanterns Rebirth and Issue #1!

 

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4LN Comic Review: Green Lanterns #1

Series: Green Lanterns
Writer: Sam Humphries
Pencils: Robson Rocha
Inks: Jay Leisten

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Summary from Comixology: “RED PLANET” Chapter One

New Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz promised to protect others in brightest day or blackest night, but as “Red Planet” begins to rise, the partners find themselves confronted with an unimaginable threat from Bleez and the Red Lanterns!

THEY SAID IT: “I am psyched for GREEN LANTERNS!” says writer Sam Humphries. “Myself, Simon, and Jessica are all new to the DC Universe. We’re gonna have a blast exploring it—if we don’t destroy it first.”

I’ll be completely honest, I’m not normally a big fan of Sam Humphries.  I went into Green Lanterns expecting to feel indifferent about the book, since I’m not reading many of his books.  The main reason I picked this book up so I could have seven books to review for my yearly Seven for Seven (I review seven comics in seven day, just for the hell of it). In spite of that, this book wasn’t grim.

The main lanterns in this book were both introduced during The New 52, Simon Baz was introduced in the 2012 free comic book day special, and Jessica Cruz was introduced in Green Lantern #20, but both were quickly forgotten, but it’s rewarding that they have now returned and will hopefully bring with them interesting points of views for the Green Lanterns Corps. As many know, Simon Baz is Muslim and was viewed as a terrorist, and struggles with persecution from his religious beliefs. An interesting addition to the backstory of Jessica Cruz is the introduction of her struggling with anxiety. With her being a new character for millennial readers, it only makes sense to give her anxiety since that’s so common with today’s young adults. I think if done correctly, Humphries can use this to become an extremely relatable aspect for the character.

Robson Rocha does a really good job with the art in this book, and that’s one of the most important things for a Green Lantern book. The writer and artist have to be as creative as possible, since the rings can construct anything the wearer can imagine. Humphries and Rocha do a great job bringing the rings to life. There are also a couple pages in this book that are absolutely brutal and grotesque, in addition Rocha does a wonderful job of making the unbelievable come to life, and in comics, that is much needed.

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If you are new and looking to get into DC or are a fan of Buddy Cop movies than Green Lanterns is the perfect book for you. Simon and Jessica have very little background due to being almost entirely new characters, and Sam Humphries is an entirely new writer for DC Comics, so the three of them make an interesting combination. Conversely, if you are a longtime fan of Green Lanterns, I would recommend waiting for Hal Jordan and The Green Lanterns, because that title will focus on more of the characters we know and love.

Music Pairing:
This Will Destroy you is perfect “background” music for this book. There are no lyrics, and it’s just instrumentation. So it’s easy to follow along with and not get distracted by the band.

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Han Solo #1

Series: Han Solo
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Mark Brooks
Colors: Sonia Oback

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Summary from Comixology: “Everyone’s favorite scoundrel gets his very own series! Han is given a top-secret undercover mission for the Rebellion- rescuing a number of informants and spies. His cover for the assignment? Only the biggest and most infamous starship race in the galaxy! You know- the race Han has dreamt of winning his entire life. Will he keep his mind on the mission? And can he manage to pull it off while keeping the lead? Best-selling author Marjorie Liu (X-MEN) comes to the Galaxy Far, Far Away along with superstar cover artist Mark Brooks (ULTIMATE X-MEN) in his return to interior art! Face it, readers- there aren’t enough scoundrels in your life!”

I’ve been fairly excited for this book.  Ever since the announcement of the new Star Wars books, I think everyone has been anxiously waiting for a new Han Solo story. After the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens I personally feel like I need to know even more than I already do about the life and times of Han Solo. Han Solo #1 does a wonderful job capturing the mood, look, and attitude of our favorite scoundrel.

Marjorie Liu does a superb job at matching the tone the original movies. The book takes place after he was awarded his money for rescuing Leia and then destroying the Death Star, which has made him one of the most wanted men in the galaxy.  This is why Han remains so reluctant to help the Rebellion again. After some convincing, Solo decides to help save three rebels under the disguise of being a pilot in the race he’s always dreamed of winning: The Dragon Void.

Mark Brooks, this books artist, is absolutely incredible. His work looks almost identical to the characters in the movie, it’s great seeing such realistic looking characters in a comic book. Brooks also does a wonderful job with his attention to details and character designs. With such a vast universe of life forms, Brooks makes each supporting and background character look truly unique and rare, which is much needed in a Star Wars book.

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If Han Solo is a character you love, or you are just looking for a new book to read, you are going to want to jump on this book. Liu and Brooks make a fantastic team, and do a wonderful job at capturing the tense and unknown feeling of watching the franchise for the first time. This is going to be one hell of a ride, and we are going to see if the Millennium Falcon will be able to run the Dragon Void as quick as it ran the Kessel Run.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, Star Wars theme.

4LN Comic Review: Titans Rebirth #1

Series: Titans Rebirth (One Shot)
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund

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Summary from Comixology: “Friends. Teammates. Titans. Donna Troy, Arsenal, Garth, Lilith and Nightwing were all that and more until a mysterious force erased their memories, forcing them to forget what they could accomplish together. Reunited with their memories returned, the Titans must destroy the interdimensional demon that broke them apart and threatens reality itself.

THEY SAID IT: “Grayson and Donna were a couple of the characters I first worked on at DC, so it feels like a homecoming for me,” explains penciller Brett Booth. “I’m beyond happy!”

WARNING: Do NOT read this issue until after you read DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1!”

This is a book I picked up due to the recommendation of a friend, they said this was one of the best books they have read in a while, and I personally really like Dan Abnett, so I figured I would give it a try, and I’m also trying to read all the Rebirth one shots. I don’t know why DC is doing this, but all of their books are so goddamn emotional! I get it, you guys are killing it with these Rebirth books, but come on, let me have a book that doesn’t choke me up.

Take heed of this warning, if you haven’t read Rebirth #1, you need to stay away from this book, and stop reading this review, because there WILL be spoilers starting below.

Remember how in Rebirth Wally West plays a huge role with getting Flash to remember him? Remember how damn emotional and rough that was? Well, that’s just how Titans Rebirth is. This entire issue is about Wally getting The Titans to remember who he was, and in those memories, we see flashbacks to the most intimate moments between Wally and each character. The interaction between Wally and Nightwing had to be the most emotional, followed by his memories with Lilith Clay. Imagine if all the people you loved forgot you even existed, imagine a world like Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, that’s been the world that Wally West has been living in for the last few years.

Dan Abnett has been putting out superior work the last few months, with his work on Aquaman and Titan’s Hunt has been fantastic, and now that he’s bringing out favorite Titans Back, I’m just more and more excited for his work. I think DC did a great job by signing him to an exclusive deal, which is fairly rare for DC to do. Abnett is a fantastic add to their creative department and, I think with his work on just this book alone, I am unbelievably excited to see where he’s going to take this book, and I have a feeling it’s going to become a great mystery read.

I have no shame in saying that I wasn’t very familiar with the artist, Brett Booth. But after some quick research I discovered he’s worked on Spider-Man and X-Men for Marvel, and he did a bit of work with James Robinson on Justice League of America. Booth does a fantastic job of capturing the raw emotion, and the feeling of remembering something when it hits you like a dam breaking. His line work is incredibly clean, and even in the multiple fight panels, and splashes, everything is still extremely clean, and easy to follow. Which is not an easy task.

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If you are looking for a read that will put a smile on your face, and possibly even a tear in your eye, then this is the perfect book for you. The cast of characters have so much history together, and there is so much pre-existing history, but it’s still a great jumping on point for any new reader. It’s good to see Wally back, it’s good knowing that people remember him, and it’s good knowing that The Titans are going to figure out what happened, and they are going to do it together. And hopefully, Wally and Lilith will end up together…

 

Music Pairing:
Two Years by Have Mercy is really the only song I could play while I was reading this issue. It just fit perfectly. It’s about loosing the ones you love, and hoping they will remember you years later. “I had a life, and I had friends. And I miss all of them.” I think this is exactly what was racing through Wally’s mind.

4LN Review: Green Arrow #1

Series: Green Arrow
Writer:Benjamin Percy
Art & Colors: Otto Schmidt
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: 2.99

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Summary from Comixology: “THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OLIVER QUEEN” Chapter One

As Oliver struggles with how he can fight “the man” when his huge fortune makes him the man, he and Black Canary uncover a deadly new threat to Seattle that cuts the Archer to the bone.

THEY SAID IT: “My touchstones are [former GA writers] Dennis O’Neil and Mike Grell, while trying to make the series my own,” says writer Benjamin Percy. “Green Arrow will be a politically and culturally relevant series. Expect stories that aim a broadhead into the zeitgeist, that are ripped from the headlines.”

This has been one of the Rebirth titles I’ve been most excited about. Green Arrow has always been a character that I’ve found interesting, but never really dove into. I read the Jeff Lemire New 52 series and absolutely loved it. So, I was pumped when DC announced Rebirth and that it would be a good starting point for new readers. Of all of the Rebirth one-shots Green Arrow has been my favorite (but damn was Titans good), except for when Black Canary calls Oliver a Social Justice Warrior… Cause you know, SJW’s are really annoying (I.E. Tumblr). But, the more I thought about it, Green Arrow has always been a SJW, and that’s what makes him interesting. He’s always dealt with social commentaries such as drugs, race, and sexual harassment which were tackled by the character in the 60’s/70’s. This is just Benjamin Percy’s way of bringing the character back to his roots, and honestly, as much as it pains me to say, I’m excited to see the SJW version of Green Arrow.

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(From Green Arrow: Rebirth #1)

What I really liked about this issue is that it reminds me a lot of Batman: Court of Owls, and I mean that in the most positive way. Green Arrow and Black Canary have stumbled upon a secret Seattle society (say that 10 times fast) which buys and sells homeless people on the black market. It’s a really cool concept and has the potential to be a very memorable story. What’s unique about this version of Ollie is we see how much he struggles, how he doesn’t have friends, and how he’s almost a lost soul. Ollie has lost a lot of things over the years, but one of the most painful things was his iconic relationship with Black Canary, but with this issue and the Rebirth special, that relationship is slowly rebuilding.

Benjamin Percy does a fantastic job at capturing the sarcastic and smart ass tone that Oliver has, but he also does a wonderful job of writing a story that’s dark and gritty (reminiscent of the Kevin Smith era for the character). Besides that, Percy does a fantastic job of pacing this issue and making sure the twist and turns surprise you like a roller coaster you’ve never been on. Like most #1 comics, this leaves off with a big cliffhanger, and it’s one of those that you just don’t want to believe (like how in the f**k is Captain America in Hydra?!?!?!?!?!).

I want to take a minute and talk about Otto Schmidt’s art. How have I never heard of this guy? He’s a perfect blend between Jock and Andrea Sorrentino and that’s a combo you don’t want to mess with. I absolutely loved his uses of orange, purple and red to blend it all into a beautiful 24 page book of art. This is truly one of the most beautiful books from Rebirth that I’ve read so far. Percy and Schmidt make a truly fantastic creative team, and I can’t wait to see the rest of this story unfold.

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Be sure to pick this comic up next time you head to your LCS, because this is not a book you are going to want to sleep on. If you hate the direction that Arrow has gone, then this needs to be your new Green Arrow fix. You wont regret it. And be sure to keep coming back this week for our Seven for Seven comic book review, seven new reviews in seven days.

Music Pairing:
This is a pretty heavy and intense read. So you are going to want to jam some heavy tunes to this read. And I can’t think of anyone better than the great Every Time I Die.

4LN Comic Review: Batman #1 (2016)

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Matt Banning
Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Summary from Comixology: “I AM GOTHAM” Chapter One

No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight?

CAN’T MISS: Superstar artist David Finch returns to Batman alongside writer Tom King for this five-part storyline.”

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I have anxiously been waiting for this book since Tom King’s announcement as the head writer for Batman. King’s work on Omega Men, Grayson, and Vision were all truly brilliant, and his first issue on Batman was one hell of a ride. The issue starts with a young boy looking out a window of an 747 airplane as it approaches it’s descent into Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman and Commissioner Gordon are having a rooftop meeting, and that’s when the issue picks up.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but this is seriously one of my favorite Batman issues in a while; and, that’s coming from an unabashedly biased Scott Snyder fan. You seriously need to make sure you pick this up while you are at the LCS today or tomorrow, because I’m predicting this to be a huge series, and another long run on the character.

It’s wonderful seeing David Finch back on Batman, this is where his best work shines. Finch did a fantastic job capturing the emotions between both Batman and Alfred. Besides the intimacy that Finch captured, the action scenes in this book were fantastic. There were two splash pages focusing on the new design on the suit, and they were absolutely stunning. Jordie Bellaire and David Finch seriously make on of the best artistic teams in comics. It’s hard to believe that this is the same David Finch who worked on Detective Comics and Wonder Woman (New 52). His work on those books weren’t bad, they were actually beautiful, but the art in this book is just so much more different than what we have seen form him in the past.

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I think we all expected this book to start with a bang, but I don’t think it would be as emotional as it was. It wasn’t as devastating as DC Rebirth #1, but man, this issue was still rough. There was a particularly emotional moment when Batman asked Alfred if his parents would have been proud of him. I didn’t think this issue would be THAT much of a tug on my heartstrings, but damn if it was. Besides the emotional aspect to this book, King also introduces two new characters (It’s not a spoiler, they are on the cover) and its uncertain if they are heroes, vigilantes, or villains. Either way, these new characters definitely have a certain vibe to them that makes it feel like they will be a serious threat to our beloved caped crusader.

If you are a Batman fan, Tom King fan, or just looking for a new series to get into, Batman #1 is a fantastic jumping on point. This will be a wonderful issue to pick up if you are a lifelong Batman enthusiast, or just jumping into the world of comics. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. And, if you are in the middle Tennessee area, go pick this up from our friend Dave at The Game Cave in Hendersonville, and tell him 4LN sent you!

 

Music Pairing
I actually struggled with figuring out what music would fit this book best. Then it hit me, “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings really fit this book. It’s just a fun sound that has some noise rock/distortion vibes to it. So it’s easy reading music.

Donald Glover joins cast of “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

This is really exciting news for any and all Spider-Man fans. There has been an online petition, rumors, and tweets to get Donald Glover to play Miles Morales, Spider-Man from the 1610 universe, also known as the Ultimate Universe and there is a chance that all the praying will pay off.

 

Tom Holland from Civil War will be returning as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Michael Keaton starring as a  villain, Marisa Tomei as the beautiful Aunt May (Never thought I would say that..), and Zendaya as the female lead. What role will Donald Glover be playing? Well, at the moment we don’t particularly know for sure, but there is a fantastic chance that he will be the fan favorite web slinger Miles. But, typically, Miles is portrayed as a younger character, which makes him so unique and relatable for all readers that were not white.

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If you aren’t familiar with Donald Glover’s work, he was in The Martian, Community, 30 Rock, and Magic Mike XXL. He’s also extremely successful as the rapper Childish Gambino.

I for one am hoping ad banking that Donald will be on the silver screen as Miles Morales. Donald Glover has already worked as this character before, on The Ultimate Spider-Man TV show. What do you guys think? Will he play Miles or some other character? Sound off in the comments!