Green Lantern: Essential Comics About Kyle Rayner | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

Introduced in the 1990s, Kyle Rayner has gone on to become one of the most popular Green Lanterns. These iconic DC comics bear witness to this.
It was in 1994 when DC Comics abandoned Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern. His replacement was a young artist called Kyle Rayner, who quickly went on to be one of the most popular DC characters in a matter of a few years. Even though Jordan returned in the DC continuity along with several other human Green Lanterns, Rayner continues to enjoy popularity as a White Lantern and a key player in the DC Universe.
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Like most of his comics show, Rayner is very passionate about saving the world. Even though he abides by the morals of the Corps, he is also willing to bend the rules when necessary. These traits, in addition to his sarcastic sense of humor, make him a highly likable character who has enthralled and entertained readers for nearly 30 years.
After a mysterious cosmic villain called Oblivion attacks Earth, Kyle Rayner is shocked beyond belief as he drew a similar imaginary character during his troubled childhood. To counter Oblivion’s offensive, Rayner recruits heroes like Atom and Firestorm along with Green Lantern supporting characters like Circle of Fire, who are a collective of alternate power ring-holders such as a medieval knight and Rayner’s late girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt.
The origin of Oblivion along with characters like DeWitt makes the story a deeply personal one. Readers also get a closer glimpse at Rayner’s past as he struggled to grow up without a father, which is why he views both Hal Jordan and Alan Scott as father figures who can provide the leadership and guidance that he lacked as a child.
This was the issue that marked the debut of Kyle Rayner as the new Green Lantern (replacing Hal Jordan as the holder of the ring). After Jordan falls prey to dark forces and turns into Parallax, a cartoonist called Kyle Rayner is granted the last remaining power ring.
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As Rayner embraced his new identity in the aftermath of Emerald Twilight, his version of Green Lantern dominated the 1990s and early 2000s. Parallax became a major recurring villain for subsequent Green Lantern comics. It’s for such iconic changes that Emerald Twilight would make for an essential collector’s item.
Green Lantern’s best villain Sinestro arms himself with yellow power rings to rule the universe through fear. As the Green Lantern Corps plan to wage a war against Sinestro’s forces, Rayner’s powers are significantly weakened. Sinestro overpowers him and even breaks his will by making him revisit his father’s death. If this wasn’t enough, he also reveals early on that he infected Rayner’s mother with a virus that killed her.
Yet again, this is a deeply personal story as Rayner’s deepest fears are explored. As a wearer of the power ring, a Green Lantern is expected to not show any signs of fear. But as readers find out, Rayner’s childhood does trigger him at times. This only made the character more humanized and relatable for audiences.
Green Lantern: Rebirth features several iconic characters from the Green Lantern mythos but most importantly, it resurrects Hal Jordan. As opposed to Emerald Twilight, Rebirth‘s Hal Jordan is finally freed from the control of Parallax. Even though Kyle Rayner continues serving as a Green Lantern, Jordan’s resurrection shows how many human Green Lanterns continue saving the cosmos side by side.
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Rayner gets his moments to shine. A major scene includes his duel with the alien Green Lantern Kilowog over a misunderstanding. He also discovers new facets about his ring such as its ability to take over his free will. With such aspects, Rebirth definitely adds more context to Rayner’s abilities with the ring.
This Justice League comic issue from the 2000s imagines a world where all Justice League members lose their powers due to unknown reasons. When Kyle Rayner’s ring runs out of power, he becomes an ordinary person who can be mortally wounded by his enemies. This drives him to increase his physical strength as a vigilante without superpowers.
His obsession with becoming a hero despite his loss of powers shows his sheer determination at saving Earth in some way or the other. Readers would have never seen him in such an avatar. He’s confused and restless but still a Green Lantern at heart.
As the Guardian Krona goes rogue, he ends up using Parllax’s forces to telepathically control several Green Lanterns. This is where Kyle Rayner steps in along with his human allies like Guy Gardner and John Stewart.
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The crossover series tests the limits of his powers as he is compelled to fight off Krona without his ring (lest he loses all self-control). On a personal note, this storyline also deals with the issues that Rayner and Soranik Natu have in their secret relationship. He questions his love for Natu while reminiscing on the death of his former lover Jade.
In Blackest Night, the personification of Death itself becomes a powerful Green Lantern villain. Known as Nekron, the villainous force reanimates dead Lanterns and makes these ‘zombified’ versions devoid of all emotions.
In the events building up to the final showdown, Rayner serves as a Green Lantern Honor Guard along with Guy Gardner. Rayner ends up questioning his duties and the orthodox nature of the Guardians and the Corps. This is evident when he breaks the rules of “no relationships between Green Lanterns” and dates Soranik Natu. Further, Gardner and Rayner also don’t believe in merciless violence despite the Guardians wanting them to massacre their prisoners from Sinestro Corps. Such moralistic dilemmas provide more depth to Rayner’s character and showcase his still-developing heroism.
JLA/Avengers pits the members from each team against each other as they are drawn into a massive cosmic battle. Eventually, the two teams get together to restore balance in the universe with magical artifacts from both Marvel and DC Universes. Kyle Rayner’s own lantern is one of these objects.
As for the “Marvel vs. DC” battles, the Green Lantern has the spotlight on him when he engages in intense combat with Scarlet Witch and Vision. In addition, Iron Man and the Carol Danvers version of Ms. Marvel are some of the other powerful Marvel characters he fights during the conflict. Eventually, he creates a weapon from his ring based on Iron Man’s plans to defeat the antagonist Krona. Rayner’s powers and the latter’s technological prowess help turn the tables in their favor as it is one of the heroes’ earliest victories in the series.
Evil’s Might was set in the Elseworlds Universe that reinterpreted the origins of iconic DC characters. For instance, this three-issue limited series took place in 1888 with Kyle Rayner working as a political cartoonist under Alan Scott. When Rayner stumbles upon a magic ring, he uses it to protect the immigrant masses in America. Scott’s moral ideologies and violence put both characters in direct conflict against each other.
The comic is an amusing spin on Alan Scott’s origin with Rayner taking up his place. Rayner’s altered period costume also stands out as he dons a black Zorro-like mask and a purple cape. This comic illustrates Kyle’s close ties to other, more established versions of Green Lanterns such as Scott and proves his own character is as worthy of attention as his peers.
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Shaurya Thapa is an Indian freelance journalist who mostly dabbles in writings on cinema, music, and human interest features. When it comes to Screen Rant, he writes lists on a wide array of subjects ranging from international films to mainstream Netflix series and comic book trivia. He also hosts a podcast called ‘BhindiWire’, an Indian parody of IndieWire.


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