Geoff Johns is ending super successful ‘Green Lantern’ run

Feb. 11, 2013 | 3:50 p.m.

The illustration for the cover of "Green Lantern" No. 20, due out in May. It is the last issue written by Geoff Johns. (DC Entertainment)

"Blackest Night" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado. (DC Comics)

Geoff Johns, with DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, was named DC's chief creative officer in 2010. (DC Comics)

Geoff Johns, whose work on “Green Lantern” brought the character out of relative obscurity to the top tier of DC Comics’ slate of superheroes, announced Monday that his run would end in May with Green Lantern issue No. 20.

Johns’ tenure at the helm of “Green Lantern” began in 2004 with the six-issue “Rebirth” series, which brought longtime Green Lantern Hal Jordan back into the corps, reinstated much of the Green Lantern’s earlier elements (including Guardians of the Universe and archenemy Sinestro) and set the stage for Johns’ ever-expanding suite of characters.

Johns announced his decision in a post at DC’s the Source, in which he spoke of his contributions to the Green Lantern mythos.

“It’s hard to imagine a Green Lantern universe without characters like Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Saint Walker, the Indigo Tribe or the rest of the gang anymore,” he said, briefly touching upon the characters created during his run, largely due to the introduction of the emotional spectrum, which sparked the highly successful “Sinestro Corps War,” and “Blackest Night” story lines.

Showing the people behind the masks has long been a priority with Johns.  The star DC writer spoke to Hero Complex in 2011 as DC was introducing an all-new origin story for the Justice League.

“One of the lines I used in my script is, ‘They’re not gods, they’re the Justice League,’” he said. “So what are the people like behind the masks, and how do they interact. Really the three words I use for what we’re trying to do are heart, humor and heroics.”

Since “Rebirth,” Johns’ work on “Green Lantern” has been largely responsible for taking a series of declining relevance and turning it into one of DC’s flagship comics. It currently is the 16th-highest-selling comic in America, with three spinoffs.

The “Green Lantern” film, which Johns worked on as co-producer and creative consultant, was met with middling reviews. But the fact that a hero whose main weakness was the color yellow ended up with a major-motion-picture adaptation says something about Green Lantern’s rise in status.

Johns also thanked the artists with whom he worked during his “Green Lantern” run, among them “mad genius” Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and “superstar” Doug Mahnke.

Although Johns will be leaving the flagship Lantern title, it’s certain he’ll be revisiting the characters, at least to some degree. Johns, chief creative officer at DC Entertainment, has a number of other titles, including the upcoming “Justice League of America,” which, conveniently, includes Green Lantern Simon Baz.

As for issue No. 20, Johns did little to temper expectations for his grand finale.

Green Lantern No. 20 will bring “the bizarre return of Hal Jordan, the final fate of Sinestro, the revelation of the First Lantern,” Johns said, “and an ending I hope pays off everything we’ve ever done and ever created with Green Lantern.”

– Morgan Little

morgan.little@latimes.com

Twitter: @mlittledc

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