Monday, June 9, 2003

Looking To The Stars: Blinded By The Light!

I was a big Green Lantern fan when I was a kid for a number of reasons. For one thing, he was the only Superfriend with brown hair. Silly, but when you’re four years old you latch on to anything that connects you to a hero. I also liked the color green, so that was a part of it too. Later on, I liked that he had a power that depended on a strong mind and imagination: not being bigger or stronger. He even saved Superman a few times… And I mean the Bronze Age, planet-juggling Superman! Even at the tender age of 8, I knew anyone that Superman counted on to save him was someone to be respected.

Green Lantern is also the character who got me back into comics. I was working in a bookstore my Freshman year, unpacking materials for the magazine rack when I saw an issue of Green Lantern. At least, it SAID “Green Lantern” on the cover. I didn’t recognize the guy with the weird costume, weirder mask and… black hair? Das is nicht ein Hal Jordan!

Long story short, I became a fan as I tried to find out what happened to “my Green Lantern”. Yet unlike many who grew up with Hal Jordan as a hero, I came to appreciate Kyle Rayner as a character. And it is with a great deal of interest that I read Green Lantern #165 a few weeks ago to see how Ben Rabb was going to handle the title. And while the jury is still out on where he is going with things, I’m content to give him a chance… which is a lot more than I was willing to do during the universally loathed “Black Circle” storyline.

Still, some fans, including Mathan Erhardt, George Gebhart and even the Dark Overlord Daron himself were confused by certain elements of this reintroduction into the Green Lantern mythology. Looking at their questions, I can understand why. Rabb’s previous work has made great use of that extensive mythology, but editorial has been a little lax with referrals to back issues. In fact, the only back reference in the whole issue is to the Black Circle story-line, which I don’t think anyone has forgotten… no matter how hard we try.

With that in mind, I present this quick FAQ in regards to their questions and others I have heard around the shop.

Q: Why are there any former Green Lanterns left at all to answer Kyle’s call for recruits? Didn’t Hal kill all of them off?

A: Not quite. Hal fought all the ones that stood against him and killed a number of them, but a few survived. He wasn’t facing the entire Corps, however. There were members who were unable to respond to the call of the Guardians or were otherwise occupied. This was shown in GL #56, when Kyle met a Green Lantern whose ring became worthless after the destruction of the Central Battery on Oa.

Q: Kyle refers to his last attempt to rebuild the ranks of the Corps being a total bust. When did that happen?

A: See the two-part “Green Lantern: The New Corps” miniseries by Chuck Dixon, if you must. The story honestly wasn’t very good and was just an excuse to get Kyle out of the way while Ron Marz did some solo stories around Jade in the main title. Basically, Kyle went into space, handed rings out to some aliens, and then took them all back after one of them turned out to be evil.

Q: What happened to all the aliens Kyle gave the rings to in that story?

A: There was an entry about them in “Green Lantern Secret Files #2”, forming a peace-keeping body called “The Corps” to replace the Green Lanterns, but they never appeared in an actual story.

Q: Why not?

A: Either Chuck Dixon and Ron Marz both left for CrossGen before the idea could be developed, or (more likely) the story and characters really weren’t popular enough to warrant further development.

Q: So can’t Kyle track them down and ask them to join again?

A: Don’t talk to me. Talk to Ben Rabb or Bob Schreck.

Q: (To quote Daron Kappauff) When the hell did Kilowog even come back from the dead?

A: Legacy: The Last Will And Testament of Hal Jordan HC.

Q: How?

A: Well, it’s complicated. Short answer is that some of the other surviving Lanterns made a deal with some magicians, who brought Kilowog back to life as “The Dark Lantern”.

Q: The Dark Lantern?

A: To quote the entry in GL Secret Files #3…

The enigmatic being known as Dark Lantern seemed strangely familiar – at least to those closely acquainted with the legacy of the Green Lantern Corps – when he first made his presence known on Earth.

Some speculation suggested he was a creation of the diabolic Qwardians, denizens of the anti-matter universe opposite to our own and worshipers of evil who remain bitter enemies of any Green Lantern.

Other observers, noting the mystic runes etched on his gargantuan body, suggest he was an arcane agent of the Empire of Tears; black magicians thought imprisoned by the Guardians of the Universe long ago. Given his raging enmity for Hal Jordan, the Dark Lantern could also be a former foe of the Green Lantern of Sector 2814.

Regardless of his origins, this twisted creature possessed an ebon scythe with which to finally exact revenge upon Jordan’s friends and family… as well as the scattered remnants of the once great Green Lantern Corps. His ultimate role in the future of the Green Lantern legacy has yet to be fully revealed.

Q: So that’s why Kilowog looks so funky now?

A: Yes. He was brought back to life to become a wrathful agent of vengeance and remove all traces of Hal Jordan and his legacy from the universe.

Q: So why is he so buddy buddy with Kyle?

A: Got me. Until this issue, the two have never really met. Although Kyle did befriend a construct of Kilowog in GL 3-D Special and he likely heard a lot of stories about him from John Stewart and Guy Gardner, the two never met in the flesh before this issue. However, there’s no reason why the two shouldn’t get along, save that Kilowog’s goals might include destroying the Corps. Best guess is that something must have happened off camera that let the two become friends.

Q: Why in the name of all that is holy is Kilowog doing Tai Chi?

A: My best guess is that he’s fighting to control the angry impulses that brought him back to life.

Q: By doing Tai Chi?

A: It is very soothing and peace-inducing.

Q: How would you know?

A: I took a class in it as part of my undergraduate studies. Want to make something of it?

Q: Uh… no.

A: All right, then.

Q: Would it have killed them to explained all that to this of us who didn’t shell out $25 for the “Legacy” hardcover or those who missed the Secret Files?

A: I don’t think so, but that’s me.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt Website.

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