Posted by BIG TeTe & C.F. Arnold on Friday, June 11, 2010 Under: Who Would Win in a Fight?
So let me ask you, do you enjoy the redundant cliché that encapsulates the stereotypical Boy Scout super hero or would you prefer an edgy artist with an actual emotional arch to deal with? Kyle Rayner didn't ask to become Green Lantern, he wasn't chosen, but when fate intervened in his life he stepped through the minefield of his inhibitions to become, in my opinion, the greatest Green Lantern in the history of DC Comics. Now, when I say the greatest I don’t mean that has been the lantern the longest, or even that his heroic accomplishments surpass any others. I am simply implying that from Green Lantern 50, when Kyle was given the ring, until the decision was made to bring Hal Jordan back from the ashes, the actual Green Lantern book was more enjoyable and profitable then it had ever been.
Riddle me this comic fans: did you know with the other Green Lanterns in the lead the book had already been canceled twice before? Listen, I know with the current state of DC continuity it’s difficult to grasp, but before Geoff Johns was writing him, Hal Jordan was just another prudish uptight super hero with a personality that made him sort of a diet Superman. Kyle Rayner was different in the fact that he initially didn’t want to become a super hero and that he always seemed to be struggling with inner turmoil. Nonetheless, when faced with adversity regarding the love his love and his inspiration (Alex) being stuffed in his home refrigerator, Rayner didn’t lose his cool. He didn’t become a sociopath super villain (like Jordan). Rayner faced adversity, and in that moment made the decision to once and for all channel his inner willpower and use his ring (which once upon time was the last lantern ring) to help his fellow man to the best of his ability.
Listen, Hal Jordan is and will forever be synonymous with being the “Green Lantern,” but as a person is he really that cool or interesting? Truthfully, the only thing that makes him interesting is in the fact that he was once a villain and also dead. But much like Batman’s initial response I find it difficult to so easily pardon Jordan for his sins. Look its comic books and continuity comes and goes, but as a reader I find the whole spectrum of human emotions matching various spectrum's of lantern rings to be a rudimentary metaphor that dials comic books back to the 60’s. For the most part Kyle stood alone and for the most part he kept a title going for over seven years without being branded one of DC’s flagship heroes. I will always respect Hal Jordan, but will always prefer Kyle Rayner.
Respect the classics man. Hal helped usher in the Silver Age of comic books. He was one of the first comic book heroes to not wear a cape (predating even Spider-Man). Hal continued to break the mold by being a predominantly sci-fi based character. So "cliché" is not his forté. If by boy scout, you mean someone who plays by his own rules and has a complete disregard for authority, then yeah, OK. Or do you mean he is a boy scout because he is a strong competant individual that doesn't backdown or waiver from the responsibilty bestowed upon him? Hal Jordan was chosen by the ring to be Green Lantern because he is the person on the planet earth with the greatest amount of willpower. Kyle was given the ring, because he was the first person Ganthet saw stumble out of some bar.
Before Geoff Johns Hal's adventures in GREEN LANTERN were filled with a full cast of characters and thought-provoking story lines. The second series, as written by Gerard Jones, showcased not only the journey of Hal Jordan reclaiming the old Green Lantern glory, but also highlighted fan favorites John Stewart and Guy Gardner. While the first 50 issues after Kyle took over the series, all we got was solo Kyle, a paper thin character that no one knew or ever wanted. What's worse, is with him being solo for all those years we lost a major point of enjoyment from the Green Lantern mythos, (which has always been) the corps! Face it, the best issues of Kyle's reign as the series star was issue #'s 100-106, WHEN HAL RETURNED!
Look, the only reason DC brought Hal back is because Kyle couldn't cut the mustard. They gave him ION powers, re-introduced OA and brought back the original writer, but nothing worked. Flash fact: Green Lantern has been more enjoyable and profitable since Hal's return; starting with REBIRTH, followed by SINESTRO WAR, all the way to the upcoming feature film in 2011. The retcon of turning Parallax into an evil entity of yellow power origin was pure comic book genius on Johns part. The fact that Hal went through such trials makes his overall arc that much more interesting. And the depth in the story telling of the color spectrum/emotional spectrum is a form of meta-text that I doubt was even contemplated in a format that aimed at young adolescents (and is ultimately a different argument for a different time). I will never respect Kyle Rayner, but I will always think he is a cool slacker dude that wears a GL ring.
Tags: "green lantern" "kyle rayner" "hal jordan"
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