Monday, May 1, 2000

The Mount: Introduction and Bad Comic Shops

Hello and welcome to The Mount… a new monthly column where I get to talk, discuss, scream and just plain rant about things in the comics world in general or things in certain comics that I find just plain annoying. Why? Because you demanded it! Well, because I demanded it anyway….

For this first column, I'd like to talk about bad comic shops. Or more specifically, MY bad comic shop. I live in a city of 60,000 in Middle of Nowhere Texas. As such, I have no other places I can go to get the new Starman without driving over 120 miles, so I have to go to "Store A".

Store A has the four hallmarks of a traditional bad comic shop…

1.) They Order 75 copies of the New Flavor of the Month, while under-ordering the old

True Story: When Danger Girl first came out, my comic store decided not to order a copy of The Flash, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Robin or any DC books that came out that week except JLA, so that they could afford to order more issues of what Wizard said was going to be "the biggest hit book ever". Naturally the clerks began trying to push the book on everyone who walked in the door… even the kids who just came in to buy baseball cards. It's like at McDonalds, where they ask if you want a "Nice Hot Apple Pie" TM, no matter what time of day it is or what you are ordering.

The same thing happened when Fathom first appeared and then later with Tomb Raider. Of course each of these books has gone on to become a huge hit. Tomb Raider in particular has gone on to be successful, but I credit the four big things the book had in its favor from the very beginning. A popular game series to build on and mass marketing… And the other two? Put it this way… I doubt that many people are buying it for Dan Jurgens' brilliant writing.

And even when there isn't a special new T&A comic coming out, they typically order only one issue each of some monthly books and specials. This leads into….

2.) Can't/Won't Get Subscriptions or Special Orders on a Steady Basis

This past month, "Shop A" didn't get even ONE copy of Detective Comics or Legend of the Dark Knight, both of which I have been subscribing to for over a year. I ordered a copy of The Sandman:World's End trade paperback 6 months ago… and it still hasn't show up. My Starman figure? I gave up on that after two months and got one on-line for a fraction of what they charged me. Speaking of Starman, that's a pretty good way to lead into…

3.) Outright Hostile Clerks

Don't get me wrong. I've clerked before and I do realize that there are days when you become convinced that you must have been a mass murderer in a past life and that having this job where you must deal with an endless line of fools is your punishment.

I realize that its not easy having to tell a group of kids for the seventeenth time that day that no, you do not have any new Pokemon cards, there will be no new Pokemon cards until next Wednesday and would they please stop having their moms drive them up to the store every hour to check thankyouverymuch?

That said, is it really that much trouble to ask you to have to get up from the computer where you are hunting for photomanipulated images of Agent Scully in a Jean Grey costume for one second so I could inquire about my subscriptions? Could you please not roll your eyes when I ask about special ordering a Morpheus action figure? And I don't expect you to smile or dance for me when I come in the door, but if you could please refrain from saying "You actually read this?" in a condescending, "What a loser" tone when you see the copy of Birds of Prey in my file, I would really appreciate it. After all, I somehow manage to refrain from commenting upon how your inability to get a date might be tied to your apparent belief that a 44-18-38 figure on a 5'8 woman is normal.

4.) The Quarter Bin is Larger Than The Archive Section

This may not be a bad sign per say. It is all-dependent, like many things, upon the contents and distribution. Here is a rough breakdown of the contents of "Store A's" quarter bin (about sixty short boxes).

--- 10% Old Issues of Gen-X
--- 12% Old Issues of Gen 13 Boot-Leg
--- 16% Old Issues of various Rob Liefield Projects
--- 32% The Last Six Issues of What was the Flavor-Of-The-Month about a year ago. (Wow! Fathom #1 for a buck!)
--- 10% Issues of Spider-Man: Year One
--- 17% Old Issues of various Rob Liefield Rip-Offs
--- 2% Stuff you'd consider buying as a cheap alternative to toilet paper.
--- 1% Actual Readable Comics.

NOTE: This study has a 1% Margin of Error

So what can we do about it? We the poor and downtrodden trapped in the middle of nowhere? Well, you might try the comic racks in the bookstores at the mall. Granted, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton aren't likely to carry some of the odder titles or anything outside of the big three (DC, Marvel and Image). However, if you're looking for your core heroes (IE: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern), odds are you can easily get them at a decent bookstore. Nation chain bookstores can also be a lot more reliable about special ordering Trade Paperbacks than small stores. Depending on your area, the store may in fact have a very large TP collection in their store. I was able to get The Sandman:The Wake from a Barnes and Noble in Dallas after "Store A" took four months to tell me my order got canceled somehow.

On-Line comics shops are also becoming popular. However, I can't speak about them, since all the ones I looked at were credit card only and I don't have one. You might want to consider that option if you can afford the shipping costs.

Or you can just complain to the manager about the rude clerks. Complain about poor service. Complain about poor stock. And then get a column in a magazine and complain some more and encourage a bunch of other people to complain with you!!

Or not.

Of course that's just my opinion. I might get sued if I say the rest.

All I Have To Do Is Dream... - Green Lantern #121-124 Review

Written by Ron Marz
Pencils by Terry Banks
Inks by Don Davis, Cam Smith, Greg Adams and Andy Smith

(WARNING: Spoilers Contained Within)

Back in GL #120, HEAT members everywhere had a field day at the end of the issue. Kyle had been surprised and shot and for months comic boards across the net were treated to endless complaints of "The ring has a fail safe that prevents its users from being wounded." Well, Hal's ring did. It's been shown time and time again that Kyle's ring doesn't have that feature.

It was shown that Kyle's landlord Radu has known for a long time that Kyle is Green Lantern. And various people did say "Oh, Kyle's so stupid for not being able to hide his secret identity better". Actually, I think all that proves is that Radu is a lot smarter than most of the people in Metropolis. Think about it, Jimmy Olsen has worked with both Clark Kent and Superman for ten years now…. and never even thought about all the many times Clark Kent disappeared and Superman showed up. Radu managed to figure out Kyle's identity by accident, going on only two things; the fact that Green Lantern was the guy who showed up each time a supervillian tore up his apartment building and the fact that Kyle's girlfriend looked a lot like that Darkstar woman… and they were both named Donna.

But then the piece de resistance was when Kyle was tended by the best healer he knows…. Donna Troy. Wait? Is that Donna? Her skin looks awfully Green to be Donna… oh good Lord… Can it be possible? Can it truly be possible that that idiot Ron Marz can't even remember which heroine is which anymore!!! Oh, what a horrible horrible writer…. why doesn't DC fire him?? Oh, Kyle is evil… Kyle is bad…

Yes, there were people blaming Ron Marz for what was apparently a coloring mistake…. or was it a mistake? It turns out, the combination of Donna's body with Jade's skin coloring was a rather clever bit of foreshadowing the next few issues….

Part One: New World

When Kyle wakes up, he finds himself in a strange bedroom. He looks out the window and sees other Green Lanterns flying around… and all the buildings have Green Lantern insignias on them. What's more is that Jade (who dropped Kyle like dog doo sometime back when he admitted he was uncertain as to his feelings for Donna Troy some months back) is in his bed, acting very friendly for an ex-girlfriend. In fact, she says they're married. Groggy as he is, Kyle very quickly realizes that something is not right… one way or the other. Jade very quickly tells him that they got married, Alan Scott helped Kyle to find a way to get his ring to copy itself like the old Silver Age ones and that Kyle rebuilt a new Corps on the planet of New Oa. In other words, everything that Kyle has wanted to do with his life in the last thirty issues or so and screwed up has actually come to fruition… so why doesn't Kyle remember any of it? The two agree to keep Kyle's apparent memory loss a secret until they have time to think about it more deeply, the two having just gotten an important summons from Ganthet, the last Guardian.

Ganthet asks them to check on a missing Green Lantern who has not reported to him in some time, suspecting that the Controllers may be responsible for his disappearance. They assemble a team to go with them, made up of Senn Rendle (a Durlan shapeshifter), Shraash (a legged whale-man), Tomar-Bor (a young Xudarian who sees himself as Kyle's "Kid Lantern") and a jellyfish like creature with an name that cannot be said by anyone who is not of his species: so they just call him Lenny.

The six arrive at the planet and begin to search for the lost Lantern. Jade and Kyle find him… impaled on a firey staff in a tomb. They turn around to see Effigy; a young man given the ability to create and shape fire by the Controllers. Effigy stuns Jade with a fire blast, forcing Kyle to chase after him alone. Kyle manages to knock Effigy down for a second, during which time Effigy refers to Kyle as "Amnesia Boy." Kyle begins the chase again, wondering how Effigy knows about his apparent memory loss, only to run into a whole Effigy Corps….

Part Two: Stand In The Fire

The Effigy Corps is a bit of a sightgag for long time Green Lantern readers. Among the various members, empowered by the Controllers with the same fire controlling powers of Effigy are Fatality (the Green Lantern hunter), a Manhunter robot, some of the old Darkstars who had working suits after GL 75 when the Darkstars all but quit… even Sinthia, Grayven's Henchwench from his attempted invasion of Rann in GL 75.

Anyway, a massive firefight ensues (pun very much intended) between the Effigy Corps and Kyle and Jade. Thankfully, the other four GL Corps Members show up and hold off the Effigies long enough for Kyle to snare Effigy and the six to make good their escape,

Back on New Oa, Kyle wants to question Effigy more about his apparent amnesia, but Ganthet refuses, saying he can handle any questioning that needs be done. Later that night, Kyle sneaks into Effigy's cell and talks to him. He asks point blank if what is going on is real. Effigy responds, "No, of course it's not real." He then tells Kyle that he can't tell him what really is going on unless they get away from New Oa, because the place has too big a hold on him there. Kyle reluctantly frees Effigy, and after fighting through the new Corps, they go into deep space. Once there, Effigy reveals himself as a part of Kyle's subconscious. New Oa and everything in it is a whole world created by Kyle's imagination: a dream of everything he wishes his life was. Something has caused Kyle's conscious mind to revert into that world and is trying to get him to live in that world while ignoring the reality. His subconscious was aware of the fact that this world wasn't real, and Effigy was brought forth as a symbol of that message, since Effigy himself is a symbol of what Kyle might have become had he gone down a different path. Effigy creates a fiery door, Kyle steps through and wakes up screaming in bed with a shocked John Stewart looking on.

Part Three: In Control

John begins to explain that Donna had to leave to deal with some Titans business and that he was called in to watch Kyle. Kyle begins to tell John about his dream and then he recalls that right before he fell asleep, he was seeing Donna with green hair and skin: perhaps his subconscious attempting to make him happy by combining the two women he loves and illuminating the problem of having to choose one.

Kyle then begins to fall in and out of a series of flashbacks of alternate worlds, realities and dreamscapes. We see the JLA fighting him as he dresses in a Parallax style costume. He wakes up again, and tells John about the latest dream. John speculates that it's possible the Controllers are manipulating Kyle's mind, having both the power, the opportunity (they blasted Kyle with some unknown ray when he fought Effigy some months back) and the motive, since they would love to see the last of The Guardian's Servants disabled forever. Kyle decides to go find the Controllers and find out what they are up to. After falling into another dreamscape (where we see Jade and Kyle dressed like a warrior and princess from an Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars novel), John tells Kyle where he thinks the Controllers main base was when he was a Darkstar.

On the way to the base, Kyle has another hallucination, this time of Hal Jordan flying alongide him to help in the fight. As he clears his head, he is attacked by Effigy, but Kyle notices that his newest enemy seems different: "The lights are on, but nobody's home." Kyle quickly determines that The Controllers did something to Effigy that gave them more control over his mind. However, the same process that turned the formerly hot-tempered Effigy into an obedient servant also made him more listless and easier for Kyle to quick think his way around. After beating Effigy, Kyle blasts his way into the Controller's main room and says "Let's Talk".

Part Four: Control Freak

After shrugging off a new illusion the Controllers tried to force on him (he was tipped of by the fact that wheelchair-bound John Stewart was walking), Kyle asks why the Controllers did what they did. Quite simply, the being Kyle calls Effigy was the test for the Controllers new brand of footsoldier that they would use to institute total universal order. When they encountered Kyle fighting their prototype and winning, they determined that he might be a threat, so they infected Kyle with a mental corruption that would take his imagination and turn it into a prison, sucking his consciousness into his fantasies. Kyle is then zapped into unconsciousness.

When he wakes up, Kyle's ring has been taken and he is strapped into some part of an assembly line: a machine that changes beings into Effigies. The Controllers decided that since Kyle's willpower was too strong to be easily dominated for long by the "corruption", he'd serve them much better as an Effigy slave. Kyle is naturally not happy about the idea and pulls himself free of the wires hooking him up to the line. One of the Controllers tries to trigger a hallucination in Kyle, but this time it doesn't work. "Give someone a little poison a couple of times… eventually they become immune to it. Whatever that gunk you put in me is, I've learned how to resist it."

The stunned Controller commands the Effigy troops to be released on Kyle. Running like mad, Kyle knows he has no chance of finding his ring before the Effigy clones catch up with him. Trying a long shot, Kyle closes his eyes and tries to will the ring to come to him. The gamble works, and Kyle proceeds to easily destroy the machines the Controllers use to make their slaves. When an angry Controller asks an Effigy why it did nothing to stop Green Lantern from destroying the gestation chambers, the servant replies "We were not instructed to do so."

To even up the numbers problem, Kyle creates energy duplicates of Jade and the other Lanterns from his first dream. With the numbers a bit more even, Kyle's makes quick work of the Effigy Corps, forcing the Controllers to admit the battle lost. But they tell Kyle that next time they will not underestimate him so greatly and that as formidable as he has proven himself, he is just one man. The issue concludes with Kyle flying back to Earth, his thoughts turned toward making the dream a reality… finding a way to copy the ring…. get Jade back… build a new Corps.

I was prepared to really hate this arc. I really was. The hero trapped in a fantasy world of his own making idea has been done to death and done much better (Alan Moore's "For the Man Who Has Everything" and the Batman:TAS episode "Perchance to Dream" come to mind). Also, most of the first part of the story seems to have been contrived to put Kyle back in the position of "the new guy who has no idea what he is doing", something which far too many writers (Marz especially) seem to rely upon. In other books, such as Titans #6, Kyle is shown operating on his own with great efficiency.

In JLA, Kyle has even been shown taking positions of command and leadership in the field! (see my review of JLA: World War III elsewhere in this issue for more on that)

It is rather sad when in a character looks better in other people's books than in his own and it's doubly sad here. I also wasn't too fond of Effigy being made into a mindless "Borg" for the Controllers. He was a pretty good villain with a lot of potential and personality. Hopefully the new management will bring him back, free of the Controllers hive mind influence.

That said, despite the fact that we've kind of seen this whole plot before and that Kyle is still getting cast as the hot-headed rookie after all this time, I really did like this arc. Of course, I like any story that encourages the idea that free will and imagination will beat conformity any day of the week. But on reflection I think that I'm don't like this story for what it is, but for what it sets up: A new beginning with a newly changed, stronger Green Lantern. Because the idea of a Kyle Rayner who is fully aware of his legacy and is going to find some way to rebuild the Corps again somehow…. well, to quote Kyle at the end of the arc…. "I might not know that the future holds… but I can't wait to see where we go from here."

My vote: 7 out of 10

Catwoman #80 - A Review

Written by Bronwyn Carlton
Pencils by Staz Johnson
As much as I hate to start my works with the words of another (something I’ve found only the pretentious do), I think it fitting to quote Dorothy Parker in regards to Catwoman #80.
“This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

Let me state right here at the beginning; this comic is a definite miss. I wrote this column with two purposes in mind. First, to save you all from spending $2.00 that might well go to a much more worthy comic. And second, to ensure that the people involved in writing this comic never work for DC Comics again.
A bit harsh? My friend, I do not blame you for thinking so. I would have thought so too, before I’d read "Kitten in a Cage".
I bought this comic after hearing about it from a friend, who not only works in a comics shop and gets the previews a week in advance but it also one of the more dedicated Catwoman fans out there. She got my attention by declaring that she was not buying the book anymore, for the foreseeable future. After that, I knew I had to find out what happened to make her make such a strong declaration.
For those who haven’t been keeping up, this comic is the newest part in an arc where Catwoman tries to steal something, actually gets caught and is sent to prison. Or in this case, a special Women’s Correctional Facility right out of a WIP Movie (That’s Women In Prison, for you non-bad movie fans out there).
Let me ask you all: What is the first thing to come to mind why you hear the name Catwoman? Just think of the name… Cat plus Woman. Obviously, we are dealing with a woman who is very cat like; both in body and personality. Someone agile, cunning, graceful and fiercely independent. A dedicated Bat-fan would say you were right on the money. You could even ask a non-comic reader and they would probably come to that conclusion.
Explain to me then why, through the better part of this issue, hardened, experienced thief Selina Kyle spends the entire issue sobbing, crying and protesting her innocence rather than staying quiet, pretending to get with the program, learning how things work and then planning the fastest method of escape possible?
Bronwyn Carlton who spawned (I refuse to call this "writing") this story has apparently never read a Catwoman book…or indeed anything with Catwoman in it before. That is the only logical explanation I have for why Selina is acting like the Linda Blair character in Chained Heat (A classic WIP movie). In fact, the only reason I even bothered finished reading this was the hope that Warden Sybill Danning would show up and escort Selina to her office for some "harsh discipline".
On an ironic note, do you remember the many people who cheered DC’s dismissing penciler Jim Balent, who had done all of the first 77 issues of Catwoman with no breaks? Most of these people doing the cheering said that Balent’s work, which tends to exaggerate certain parts of the female anatomy to rather unrealistic proportions (even for a comic book) was sexist and degrading to women. I wonder what all those people will say about this issue…
This issue features a six-page long scene that involves Selina and several other inmates going into the shower, a fight breaking out and Selina being thrown into solitary confinement, totally stark naked. The whole scene is just pure T&A, lowering this comic yet another level. Still, Staz Johnson does deserve credit for one thing: I believe this is the first time in the history of the Comics Code Authority, that a CCA Stamp of Approval has been placed on a book featuring a five-page fight scene between a large number of women clothed in nothing but a thin layer of moisture. Hats off to Staz for his amazing creativity in keeping things decent!
No. This is not some elaborate April Fool’s Day joke…this whole book truly does read like a bad X-rated fanfic (with the lesbian scenes removed) or a Cinemax movie at one-in-the-morning. The only good thing I can think of to say about this book is that it took-up valuable paper that might otherwise have been used to print "Pat Buchanan For President" posters.

My vote: 1 out of 10

A Treatise Upon Kyle Rayner's Ring

It has long been believed that the ring of Earth’s newest Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner is the first of a new model. After careful study, it is my conclusion that this is not strictly true. It is my intent to prove in this treatise that Kyle’s ring is closer to the standard model issued to the Green Lantern Corps in the past than has been previously believed. First, let us examine some of the differences between the GL Corps rings (hereafter-called Ring Alpha) and Kyle Rayner’s ring (hereafter-called Ring Beta).

I. The Beta Ring has no Yellow Weakness.

The most obvious difference between the two is that Ring Beta lacks the most famous of the Green Lantern’s weaknesses: that is, the ring cannot effect things that are yellow in color. There are two ways to explain how this is possible.

A. The Weakness is Removable

The first, and I think most likely explanation is that Ganthet reprogrammed the ring so that it no longer had the yellow weakness. Some fans might remember that the yellow impurity of the ring was often described as being “necessary” for the powering of the ring. That is to say, the Guardians could not remove the yellow flaw without the ring ceasing to function.

However, I could not find any discussions of the yellow flaw being described as “necessary” that occurred After the Crisis on Infinite Earths. As such, this fact may or may not still be valid in the Post-Crisis continuity. (Lord Knows most other things about the Green Lantern continuity have been changed Post-Crisis.)

For the purposes of this Treatise, we shall presume that the yellow impurity to the ring is a programmed flaw and not in any way “necessary” to the ring’s proper functioning. This can be determined by two examples.

It is well within the powers of a Guardian (Post-Crisis, anyway) to remove the Yellow Impurity.. In Green Lantern #19 (3rd Series), the tale was told of Yalan Gur; then Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 (the sector Earth is in). Yalan was widely considered to be the greatest of the Green Lantern Corps at that time. There was an occasion where he was nearly killed by a yellow beast of some kind. This incident left the Guardians wondering if it was wise to take the chance of loosing their best and brightest to a manufactured weakness.

They removed the yellow weakness from Yalan’s ring. Sadly, the virtual omnipotence eventually drove him mad with power and the Guardians were forced to add a new weakness: one to wood. Yalan was later beaten to death by a number of peasants wielding wooden weapons. In his death throes, his spirit fused with his lantern and the lantern fused with the Starheart. This lantern later became the lantern of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern. This story clearly illustrates the possibility of a Guardian being able to remove the yellow vulnerability from a ring.

B. The Weakness is Psychological in Nature

The second explanation is based upon an idea long used in literature and comic books. This idea has been used so many times in fact, I cannot pinpoint exactly from whence it first came. For the sake of this treatise, it will be referred to as “The Phantom Tollbooth Law of Ignorance.”

At the end of the book, the hero Milo is told that the quest he just completed was impossible. When he asks why nobody told him that before, it is pointed out to him that if he had known his quest was impossible, he would never have been able to finish it.

This is how Kyle’s ring seems to have worked within regards to the Yellow Weakness. In GL 53, Kyle fought Mongul, whose skin pigmentation is yellow and who was using a yellow-beamed energy weapon with no apparent problems. As Kyle held off Mongul’s blasts, the following exchange happened between Superman and Kyle.

Superman: “How are you shielding yourself? There’s a weakness against yellow in all Green Lantern’s rings.”

Kyle: “Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of it.”

Superman: “For that matter, Mongul’s pigmentation is yellow. You shouldn’t be able to affect him either.”

Kyle: “All of which is news to me…”

It has speculated before amongst Green Lantern fans on the Internet that the Yellow Weakness may be entirely psychological in effect. The ring is powered by the mind of the bearer. It has been shown in the past (with Kyle Rayner as well as Hal Jordan) that the ring can project objects based upon the bearer’s subconscious if they are not careful. With that as fact, it is not too far a stretch to think that a perceived weakness would affect the functioning of the ring.

Consider this: One of the first things that a Green Lantern is taught upon receiving a ring is that the ring cannot affect anything that is yellow. As they go through training, they are taught ways to deal with objects that are yellow in indirect manners. Throwing a boulder at a yellow spaceship with a large green catapult, for example. By the time a Lantern is fully qualified to monitor their sector or world unaided, the idea that yellow can hurt them is deeply entrenched in their minds.

Kyle Rayner did not receive any of this special training nor was he told of the ring’s weakness. True, Ganthet could have removed the weakness altogether. But there is also a strong case for the Yellow Weakness being at least partly psychological in nature. Kyle Rayner’s fighting Mongul is a good example of this. By the time Superman had found Kyle, he had already fought two supervillians including Mongul and had no problems with the color yellow. When Superman tells Kyle that what he is doing should be impossible with the ring, Kyle basically shrugs him off, noting his ignorance to the weakness and that apparently it isn’t really a problem for him. Kyle’s lack of formal training will play heavily in our next section.

II. The Beta Ring Lacks Many of the Alpha Ring Features

The Beta Ring is severely limited in the number of powers it provides compared to the Alpha Ring. Here is a short list, starting with the Beta Ring.


Energy Object Creation and Manipulation
Limited Healing
Protective Shields
Space Travel
Universal Translator
Creation of an Energy Twin
Remote Control of Ring


Energy Object Creation and Manipulation
Limited Healing
Protective Shields
Space Travel
Protection from Mortal Harm
Universal Translator
Creation of an Energy Twin
Mind Tampering
Remote Control of Ring
Ring Duplication
Ring AI/Database

Again, there are two explanations as to why this is so.

A. The Yellow Weakness Also Adds Powers to The Ring.

Given that the Guardians were easily able to remove the Yellow Weakness from the ring of Yalan Gur with no fear of depowering him, this possibility can be safely ignored.

B. The Powers are There. Kyle is Just Ignorant As To How To Use Them.

This seems highly likely, considering several incidents.

1. The Man-Child Who Could Fly

In GL #51, Kyle never thought to try and use the ring to fly until it was suggested as being possible by his girlfriend, Alex. She told Kyle that the strange ring he had that put an odd costume on him made him look like a Green Lantern. The shock-stricken Kyle (well, how lucid would you be after a blue midget in a red dress gave you a green ring outside a nightclub?) then remembered the superhero Green Lantern, thought about flying and promptly began levitating off the ground.

2. Energy Double

While it has never been implicitly identified as a true energy double (IE: a green energy shell used to hold a person’s life force) Kyle has used structures that might be energy doubles in the past.

In JLA #15, a ring projection shaped like Kyle’s head appeared, warning Superman and Batman not to destroy the copy of the Philosopher’s Stone that Lex Luthor possessed since doing so would trigger a chain of events that would end with Darksied’s conquering the Earth.

In Green Arrow #126, Kyle used an energy double (albeit a very stretchy, Plastic-Man styled double) to question a jailed suspect. The double quickly changed into an Alien (as in James Cameron’s Alien) but still maintained Kyle’s voice.

3. Remote Control of Ring (or “Use the Force, Kyle”)

Until recently, Kyle showed no ability to control his ring from a remote distance as an old Corps member could. That changed in GL #124 when Kyle, captured by the Controllers and stripped of his ring, reached out with his mind and tried to will the ring to come to him before he was found by the Controllers flame-powered enforcers. This marks the first time that Kyle has use a power that has been limited before to the old Corps rings that could not be replicated by another power (as energy doubles could).

4. Protection From Mortal Harm

Kyle has been snuck up on and assaulted, near fatally wounded and just plain shot more times than someone with a ring that is supposed to prevent sneak attacks should. The most recent of these occurred in GL #120, when Kyle was shot in the back by an assassin. However, if we consider the effects of the Phantom Tollbooth Rule, the ring may not have this function because Kyle was never told that the ring would stop him from being seriously wounded.

5. AI / Ring Database

The ring has also shown no signs of having the sophisticated AI that the old Corps rings had nor of the database that a Green Lantern could access for information. However, this is quite easily explained. Imagine that the AI for each ring was a computer on a network, with the Central Power Battery of Oa acting as the main computer of the network. With the Main Battery’s destruction, the database should have been rendered in inoperable.

6. Other Powers

As for other powers Kyle has shown no inkling of being able to use, these are easily explained by the “Phantom Tollbooth” rule. For example, Kyle has never had any occasion where he could believe that his ring could be used to alter another person’s mind. Nor has he ever thought of using the ring to become invisible. That leaves only the ability to create duplicate rings from his ring, which is not all that unusual. The ability to create copies of a ring was limited to very experienced Green Lantern’s who had large amounts of willpower. It was several years before Hal Jordan was able to copy his ring unaided. I think we can all agree that Kyle lacks that will at this time.

III. Charging Differences.

The Alpha Ring provides unlimited power for 24 hours, after which point it must be recharged.

The Beta Ring functions more like a rechargeable power tool battery (like the battery for a cordless drill, for example). Once it is fully charged, it can be be used as much or as little as is needed until the ring needs to be recharged again. It can take days before it needs to be recharged, or hours depending on the amount of energy expended by the wielder.

It should be noted, as Desaad observed in GL #91, that the Beta Ring Battery appears to be wired directly into The Source (the energy field from which all metahuman power comes) as opposed to the Alpha Ring Batteries, which were indirectly wired into the Source through the Central Power Battery on Oa. The Beta Rings appear then to run on Direct Current, while the Alpha run on Alternating Current.

IV. Conclusion

Taking the Phantom Tollbooth Rule into account, there is no logical reason to assume that Kyle Rayner’s ring is any different from those of the classic Green Lantern Corps, save that his Battery is plugged directly into The Source and that his yellow weakness has been removed.

A Special Thanks Must Be Made to The Green Lantern Corps Website. Their website was of invaluable help in compiling a complete list of Green Lantern powers and in research some key issues. Give them a look see!