As the real world begins to resemble the apocalyptic worlds of science fiction, one of the most optimistic groups of heroes in the galaxy is colliding with the hard law of apes. BOOM! Studios and DC Comics have teamed up for Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern, a new crossover mini-series by Robbie Thompson and Justin Jordan in which the avatar-like Universal Ring falls into the literal hands of ape archaeologist Cornelius on his Earth from the Planet of the Apes universe.
Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern is only the latest crossover between BOOM! and DC. Previously, the two publishers brought its YA franchises together in Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy. Later, ‘60s icons Batman and Robin met Steed and Emma Peel of The Avengers, then last month saw the Saturday morning team-up of the ages in Justice League/Power Rangers. The frequent collaboration enabled the moment, with science fiction the next logical common ground.
“When another opportunity arose, we had to take it,” BOOM! editor Dafna Pleban told Inverse in an email. “And since so much of the Planet of the Apes mythos has to do with the balance of fear and reason, the core of the Green Lantern mythos became a really interesting lens to use to tell a story that works for both licenses.” That, and, as Pleban admits, an ape reaching for a Green Lantern ring was “too good to pass up.”
With Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #1 available now, Inverse caught up with writers Thompson and Jordan about what to expect when apes and corps meet in Green Lantern/Planet of the Apes.
There’s some continuity gymnastics needed for the Green Lanterns to appear in the Planet of the Apes universe. How much of a challenge was it to get these universes in sync?
Robbie Thompson: It’s definitely a lot to juggle, but fortunately Dafna is a total badass, and she, along with [associate editor] Alex Galer, did an amazing job of wrangling these two universes into a cohesive unit. They worked hand in hand with the great folks at DC as well. My preconceived notions about crossovers were mostly worrying about limitations, what we couldn’t do and so on. But at each step, both BOOM! and DC never really took anything off the table, and in fact, they kept adding pieces along the way. It was a blast to shape the story with them all. And the most important piece was when they brought on Justin, who came in loaded with such a deep knowledge of both franchises and experience writing Lanterns.
Justin Jordan: Fortunately, [we all] came up with an idea that both made a lot of sense and tied them together in a way that was really organic. Since the Apes universe is on a closed time loop, as you know if you watched the movies, it means it was possible to treat it as its own thing. An alternate timeline that someone found useful.
Cornelius wielding the Universal Ring already looks like it’ll be a lot of trouble. What kind of storytelling opportunities presented themselves when you agreed on this plot event?
JJ: You know, I haven’t planned it, but a lot of my stuff has had a theme of asking, “What do you do with power?” My run on Green Lantern: New Guardians was basically that. But even things like Strode and Shadowman had this theme about what the powerless do when they become powerful. And the situation on the Planet of the Apes Earth is pretty much tailored to explore that theme. There’s a quasi-religious leadership that is actively suppressing people, there’s ape protests in the background, and we have Cornelius being pushed to bury the truth about. So, throwing a weapon of infinite power into this world is like tossing a match into gasoline.
RT: We were drawn to Cornelius as a character to focus on because he’s so sympathetic. Part of it is the writing of his character, and part of is [Planet of the Apes actor] Roddy McDowall’s performance. What happens to a character that’s relatable and kind when they’re touched by a corrosive, consuming power? He felt like the perfect vehicle to explore that and Justin nailed Cornelius’s voice and brought his arc to life.
Sinestro is perhaps the quintessential Green Lantern villain. But what made him interesting for the crossover as opposed to other possible Lantern villains?
RT: Early on when we started talking about Hal [Jordan] being in the book, the next logical step was to bring in Sinestro. I mean, he’s Sinestro! Their dynamic is perfect, and it was too much fun not to put the two of them in the Planet of the Apes universe. He’s also tied to the Guardians and the Lantern lore in a specific way that made him the most organic for the story we were setting out to tell.
JJ: For me, the big appeal is that he is, to a certain extent, a dark mirror of Hal Jordan. There’s enough parallels there to show how the same sort of intentions, the drive to make the universe a better place, can show themselves when given the power to do so. But happily, he ALSO shares some parallels with Cornelius, who in turn also shares some qualities with Hal. So, on either side of Cornelius, we have these examples of who he could become with this power he suddenly has.
Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #1 is available now. Issue #2 releases on March 8.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.