Saturday, July 7, 2007

Five Reasons Why, As A Kyle Rayner Fan, I'm Not Upset By The SinestroCorps Special

Just got this comment in one of the earlier threads...


I had to reread that a couple of times because, even though this line of thought was originally about Black Canary, I just read the Sinestro Corps Special and I'm pretty devastated over what's become of Kyle Rayner.

I'm having a hard time trusting DC at this point.


I'm a big Kyle fan too (he was the character who basically got me into comics) and I think that was one of the best written comics from ANYONE in years and the first time I've seen Kyle done right in a while. So here's a my list of five things I actually liked about the story that involve Kyle.

1. Kyle as an Outsider

While it was always a lot more prominent during the early Marz issues, Kyle has always been a character apart from any group he was in - usually latching on to one or two members to socialize with outside of work. In the Titans, he mostly spent time with Donna off duty even before they became an item. In the JLA, he really only hung out with Wally West and, when he was a member, Connor Hawke. So I like Kyle's mental monologue during his first appearance in the book about how happy he was to finally feel like an actual part of something... only to wind up being seperated from the other Lanterns by being turned into a living power battery by The Guardians. It's a good character statement that rings true.

2. Kyle as the most human Lantern

On that note, I love Kyle's insistence that other Lanterns NOT stand on ceremony and letting them know that he is, in fact, only human - no pun intended - and not an angel, as one Lantern insists. Given that one of Kyle's biggest worries about having his powers was that it would put him apart from normal people (well... at least until Winick took over and turned him into Happy Power Godboy), I thought that was a nice moment as well.

3. What Kyle Fears Most

Kyle does have a number of fears about being a Green Lantern. Of course Sinestro preys upon one of the biggest here - fear of loved ones dying because of one of his enemies. We don't know for sure that Sinestro is telling the truth but it's plausable enough - even to someone who isn't being physically and mentally tortured by the most evil beings in the universe - that it's enough to get Kyle thinking "Wait... who COULD be next" But what's really interesting is how Sinestro, in order to total win Kyle over, takes advantage of one of Kyle's other biggest fears - Merging with Parallax.

Seriously - how many times has it come up that Kyle feared going the same way Hal did? He lived in the shadow of everything Hal did during all of his heroic career. It was refered to in a flashback in one story near the end of Ron Marz' original run as Kyle had a series of nightmarish hallucinations. It was refered to by Mark Waid when Kyle wondered about the Batman "take out the JLA" protocols and pointed out that a Green Lantern going crazy WAS a legit concern when they were voting whether or not to kick Batman off the team. And then there was all of Rebirth, where Kyle is seeing all of his friends being possessed by The Spirit of Fear itself...

Getting Kyle to think he was responsible for his mother's death was the fingerhold. Tossing him into the lion's den with the baddie who was responsible for so much suffering, knowing full well that he needed a host? That was the handhold.

4. Sinestro viewing Kyle as a credible threat.

In Rebirth, Sinestro didn't view Kyle as being worth his time in a fight - an estimation that Kyle proved wrong and which we see in flashback at the start of the issue. While I'm sure there is some petty revenge in Sinestro coming after Kyle first (Kyle DID brand the symbol of the Guardians into Sinestro's back), there are also several practical considerations.

First, Kyle is - technically speaking - the most powerful of the Lanterns. Taking him out of the fight early would be a tactical advantage.

Secondly, Kyle is something of a symbol to all the rookie Lanterns who consider him the most powerful among them and the best of the best. His sudden disappearance puts fear into the ranks just before The Sinestro Corps show up en masse to layeth down the smack.

Thirdly, just how big of a mindfuck will it be to everyone - Guardians included - when their Torchbearer shows up batting for the other team? That's going to demoralize and freak out all the rookies who aren't already shaken - to say nothing of Kyle's fellow Lanterns from Earth.

5. Further Erosion of the Winick Green Lantern run

Call me petty if you will, but I am somewhat gratified that it turns out Kyle coming up with the name "Ion" was a result of being merged with a big green willpower being and not because of any actual wish on his part to use that codename seriously. It also means I can now write off a lot of bad characterization as Kyle being possessed.


I understand your concerns and I won't spoil for you all - but i have it on high authority that Kyle is going to come through this alright. :)

Logically, I can think of a few ways that he can get out of this on his own - the big one being that as the only Green Lantern of Earth who is used to overcoming his fears on a daily basis, he'll have a better source of leverage to eventually force Parallax out once The Big Yellow Bug is distracted. But it's only been one issue. We shall see.


  1. I agree with you re: all this points. Kyle is my boy, and, like you, he is the character that brought me into DC in the first place, and I've been loyal to the character for years. Winick's run? Check. Taking a backseat while John Stewart gets the Green Lantern spotlight in JLA? Check. Taking a bigger backseat because the higher-ups at DC decide to finally bring back Hal Jordan as a Green Lantern proper? Check.
    It's been a long time since a comic has affected me as much as the Sinestro Corps Special, so there's no questioning the level of quality storytelling, and while I do have high hopes that Kyle I know and love will survive, I still was fairly crushed to read a story in which the character is hurt so badly and treated so poorly (and the cynic in me can't help but think about how much Didio is apparently not a huge fan of a lot of what came out of DC in the 90s).
    Kyle Rayner was my character before he became Didio's, Johns' or Van Sciver's. I know he's DC's character first, but still . . .

  2. Have faith, Brother.
    It's always Darkest Night before the Emerald Dawn. ;)

  3. On Point #5-- I'm banking on Kyle having normal Lantern powers at the end of this one. I can't imagine him accepting the whale back after this one. I wouldn't say Ion is a possessing force, but I do think we can say it smoothed out some of his more notable personality flaws during the Winick run and the last maxiseries. And that's not a bad thing, if he's not flawed in certain ways he's just not as interesting. I just hope they find a way to ensure the thing somehow wasn't inside of him during Rebirth, because I want that one to be Kyle on his own.
    Beyond that, every point is so true! I read that special and could only react with "OMG what a cool plot idea!"
    I don't get how so many people are missing the obvious signposts that this special wasn't about making a permanent change, it was about setting up a plot, and that plot was Kyle had Parallax inside of him, how does he get rid of it?
    I've been losing my patience seriously with the worryworts. Its like no one wants any drama or adventure anymore!

  4. Does this mean that to further parallel Paralax Connor will shoot Kyle?

  5. If it will get Connor a chance to actually DO something again, I'm all for it. :)
    Speaking of which, have they even HAD a scene together since Winick took over Green Arrow?

  6. Re: Kyle's personality flaws and Point #5
    You misunderstand me, a bit. I don't mean that I hope how Kyle became a somewhat more together and less thoughtless oaf during the Winick run is retconned away as "being bonded to Ion". I was refering to the whole "getting lost to hubris" thing that happened after Kyle became Ion leading up to GL #150.
    My take on Kyle is that he's the most human of all the Green Lanterns of Earth. He's the one who is the most concerned about losing himself to his power, simply because of what he thought had happened to Hal. Kyle would ever have needed Superman to say "You're getting a God Complex" to realize something was up. The fact that he had stopped sleeping and was thinking about saving people on the other side of the galaxy in the back of his head while making love to his girlfriend would have been enough.
    Truth be told, I actually thought Kyle worked through most of his issues during the Grant Morrison run on JLA. I was practically cheering during World War III (the first, GOOD one) where that Third World Old Gods weapon that inspires despair an a loss of confidence hits Kyle first...
    ... and Kyle shrugs it off, goes to town and Wally - who even as a friend always gave Kyle a hard time about being mopey and angsty about not being as good as Hal even as he told Kyle he was no Hal Jordan and never would be - sees all this, asks Kyle about how he got his powers back and Kyle says something to the effect of "It tried to make me afraid. I got over it."
    Wally: You're really starting to sound like Green Lantern.
    Kyle: Yeah. Starting to feel like him too.
    And there's no worries about Ion being in Kyle during Rebirth. That whole "torchbearer" thing didn't happen until after Rebirth was over and done with. Rebirth was ALL Kyle.
    I can understand the worrywarts, though. I mean, it's not like either of the Big 2 have a good track-record of late regarding doing big crossover stories JUST for the sake of drama, adventure and fun. It always has to be "the story that will rip the Internet in half". And while I've long avoided the Green Lantern boards at, I'm sure the HEAT members are cackling about how Kyle is finally going to die.
    Just like he was going to die in Infinite Crisis. And Identity Crisis. And Green Lantern: Rebirth...
    Still, I guess even trolls need to dream.

  7. (Ick, posting twice for typos)
    No, I don't think I misunderstood you, you're talking about the same things I meant. To be human he has to be flawed in certain ways, not entirely. Winick's Kyle had trouble for me because everything worked out much too well for him, and he managed to solve everyone's problems. Superman had to take him aside for "doing too much."
    Whereas, under Marz and Morrison, Kyle could be discourage, broken down, a little selfish, a little childish sometimes, even as he grew into being a hero. The point was that he had to reach down inside himself, gather all of his courage and push through all of that crap to be heroic. As he grew as a character, that got easier, but when Winick took over it seemed to me that he took away the overcoming aspect of Kyle's character. It was too big a leap and the effort to be heroic was too much of the appeal to Kyle.
    Johns restored it when he explained defeating Parallax, actually, as a two-fold method of recognizing fear and then pushing through it.

  8. While I don't really think human = flawed, I do think we're on the same page.

  9. I can't recall one. But I also stopped reading the series around when the all the mini-series build-ups to IC were happening. Same as Outsiders...

  10. That'd be a no, then. Last time I remember them talking was in Black Circle Saga where they introduced Amon Sur and even then I think that was in Ben Raab's half of the series.