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Brew's Crew: Kyle Rayner, the White Lantern

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 02/20/2014 - 12:30am, updated 02/20/2014 - 1:51am

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This character is fast becoming my favorite in the DCU, as if you cannot tell from my reviews. With the advent of the New 52, some things have changed about his story, so never take a DCU look-see as New 52 canon. At this point, even your humble Brewmeister is sometimes confused. Onward!

Kyle Rayner was created by writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks. He first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 3, #48 (1994), as part of the “Emerald Twilight” storyline, in which DC Comics replaced Green Lantern Hal Jordan with Rayner, who was the sole Green Lantern for years until the late 1990s. During this period he was also briefly known as Ion.

Following Jordan’s return to Green Lantern status in the 2004-05 limited series Green Lantern: Rebirth, Rayner returned to his alias of Ion. After the events of the “Sinestro Corps War,” Rayner returned to his original role as a Green Lantern officer, along with a promotion to Honor Guard Illustres of the Corps.

After the War of the Green Lanterns, when DC reboots their heroes’ reality, Kyle resumes his functions on Earth, using his signature creative constructs to save construction workers caught in a construction accident. Elsewhere in the universe, red, indigo, violet, and yellow power ring bearers are decommissioned, and their rings set out for Sector 2814 (Earth). After saving the construction workers, the four rings approach Kyle, each claiming him as their new bearer.

Confused by the appearance of the rings, Kyle is soon ambushed by the decommissioned bearers' peers who have tracked the rings to Kyle and have come to retrieve them.

As Kyle fights the four Lanterns, a blue ring appears claiming Kyle as its bearer. Soon afterwards, Saint Walker (another favorite) appears having tracked the ring's trajectory and helps Kyle reach Oa to try to understand what is happening. On their way an orange ring reaches Kyle, with Saint Walker claiming if the orange ring had come to Kyle and since only one orange ring exists, it means that its former bearer must be dead.

On Oa, Kyle tries to talk to Ganthet, only to discover that the Guardians have removed all emotion from him, and Ganthet now acts just like all the other Guardians of the Universe. When the Guardians try to capture Kyle and forcibly discover what turned the Green Lantern into a magnet for the different Corps' rings, the six rings impose themselves on Kyle, turning him into the first entity to bear all the seven Lantern Corps' rings.

Despite some initial success, Kyle's body is eventually unable to keep up the strain of wielding all of his new rings, with five of the new rings destroyed after a few moments, leaving just the orange ring along with his green ring. Ganthet attempts to remove Kyle's green ring and dismiss him from the Corps, but the ring itself reacts violently to this attempt to remove it. The orange ring is revealed to be a construct of Glomulus who asks Kyle for help, with the other ring-bearers arriving to either assist or attack Kyle.

When the Guardians forcefully strike down the Lanterns save for Glomulus, Larfleeze himself shows up and attacks the Guardians. Accompanied by Sayd, Larfleeze attacks the Guardians, but when Kyle hears Sayd imply that there is a way to restore Ganthet to normal, he joins forces with the other ring-wielders and flees the Guardians, essentially resigning from the Corps while retaining his ring. Talking with Larfleeze, they learn that the rings were drawn to Kyle due to the actions of a mysterious space ship that has just entered this universe Larfleeze sent Glommulus to investigate it as he was able to resist the "compulsion" of the source that tried to remove his ring due to his prolonged contact with it, and the new team resolve to investigate this new threat.

When they are attacked by the mysterious and powerful “Archangel Invictus,” who claims that all who wield the rings are evil, Kyle sends out a message to the other ring-wielders by convincing his ring to tap into his own emotions of hope, fear and compassion to "tune in" to the appropriate “wavelength.” Learning of Invictus' past history with Larfleeze, Kyle is able to trick him into letting the ring-bearers go by claiming that they will kill Larfleeze for him.

With his ring low on power, Kyle returns to Earth with Bleez to recharge his ring, Bleez suggesting that Kyle will need protection from the Guardians after his expulsion while retaining his ring. Although he fails to reach the Blue Lanterns in time to save them from the invading Reach, Kyle is able to led the New Guardians to fight Larfleezeand Invictus, subsequently learning that Sayd was responsible for turning him into a 'ring magnet' in the hope that he would be able to bring the seven Corps together to save Ganthet, as both the only person who loved Ganthet as much as her and the only person able to wield all the powers of the emotional spectrum. Despite learning the truth about their origins, the New Guardians split up as they feel that the circumstances of their origin have tainted the team from the beginning regardless of Sayd's motives.

Attempting to track down Hal, Kyle meets Carol Ferris just as they witness a news report about Hal and Sinestro's fight with Black Hand, prompting Carol to re-don her Sapphire ring to help Kyle battle the Black Lanterns, only to find nothing but conventional zombies. Although Kyle's ring states that Hal was apparently dead, Carol rejects this idea as the link between her heart and Hal's which she is aware of through her ring is still intact. Through a vision from her ring, Carol realizes that Kyle must unite the powers of all seven Corps to stop this latest threat, despite Kyle's uncertainty about his ability to channel the powers of rage or avarice even if he has already accessed the powers of hope and fear.

Carol is able to contact Atrocitus to help train Kyle to harness the red ring of rage by arguing that Kyle will use that power against the Guardians. He attempts to provoke Kyle's rage by reminding him of the death of his girlfriend Alex after he got the ring, but when this fails Kyle instead feeling grief rather than anger, he takes Kyle to witness a group of people being threatened and executed in another country, Kyle's anger at this provoking the activation of the red power within him, also turning him disturbingly cold towards the desecration of Alex's grave.

Although Arkillo and Larfleeze are able to help him harness the powers of fear and greed, it takes a confrontation with Ganthet to help Kyle harness the power of love, as Kyle accepts his refusal to harm Ganthet despite what he has become due to his fatherly regard for Ganthet. With his powers at their peak, Kyle resolves to led the Guardians in the confrontation against the Third Army. When the villainous First Lantern is freed, he began to drain off all the Lantern Corps of their emotions, minds, and memories of the various beings present with the intention of seeing their life choices had changed them. Kyle failed to fight off the First Lantern that also has the powers of the white light and drains his emotions. The First Lantern teleports him back to his old home, leaving him weak. Later, Carol locates Kyle, who resists from his critical weak state, while Kyle and Carol arrive at the planet Korugar's grave when Sinestro rages to attack them blaming everyone for his home planet being destroyed. Sinestro demands Kyle revive Korugar with the White Lantern ring's abilities, but Kyle is unable to do so. Sinestro flies off vowing to kill the First Lantern, while Kyle and Carol later team-up with Green Lanterns Simon Baz and B’dg.

In the final battle, Kyle and the reserve Lantern Corps attacks the First Lantern, and he is finally destroyed. Afterwards, Kyle travels to Earth and helps other people with the White Lantern's miracle power on his own. However, he is confronted by Saint Walker, who convinces him that he has to visit his own father, considering that Kyle has not seen him since the First Lantern's attack. Later, Kyle arrives in Arizonaand reunites with his father in his filling station.

After the events of the Lights Out saga, in which Relic destroys Oa and the emotional spectrum, Rayner is believed dead after sacrificing his life to kill Relic. It is later revealed that he is in fact alive and still the White Lantern, and his survival will be not be revealed to the Green Lantern Corps.

A great character and a great book. Try it!

 
 

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