Catchy title isn’t it? I am sure that everything I am about to write has been written before. Yet, I still feel compelled to write it. Perhaps I am just being a contrarian, because he is just beloved at this time, but Geoff Johns really pisses me off.
I am sure he is a wonderful person, I do not know him, nor does he owe me money. And I honestly do like his writing. Yet his incessant need to take huge leaps backwards baffles and infuriates me. What I am referring to is the huge back seat given to Kyle Rayner (and Wally West for the same matter).
There I was, a hyperactive comic kid. And since I was able to read and grasp concepts, I knew a few adamantine rules: Wrestling was 100% real, Han Solo was the coolest man in the galaxy and Green Lantern was the best superhero ever (with only Thor coming in a very close 2). I grew up reading the adventures of Hal Jordan, be it solo, with the JLA, or the Corp. And all this hero worship culminated in the destruction of Coast City and the rise of Parallax.
Then you get this punk, Kyle Rayner, slinging the ring. Like this right-place-right-time idiot could ever compare to Hal freaking Jordan?!
And I will be damned if the strangest thing didn’t happen to me. He won me over. Like the original Spiderman, here is this young man, not much more than a boy, granted these amazing abilities. And he was fallible. He was relatable. He made mistakes and came back from them. He suffered loss. He fought, tooth and nail to come out of Jordan’s shadow and grow into his own hero. And through the years Kyle became more and more my favorite Green Lantern. Whether he was fighting crime or taking learning lessons from the Lanterns of old over a beer at Warriors, Kyle was a hero through and through.
He won the respect of his peers, and even Batman. He has juggled cosmic power and his freelance art.
He rebuilt the Corp. He brought back the Guardians. He kept the emerald beacon light burning.
He was a hero I wanted to read and know. And then came along Geoff bloody Johns, and his rebirth of Jordan.
I was not like the other comic nerds, I did not rejoice when Jordan came back. Because I knew there was no way ‘they’ would allow Jordan to be around but not the spotlight like Alan Scott. I knew it was only a matter of time. They would not just let Jordan be the Specter. So, Jordan is back and gets the Green Lantern book. And Kyle gets put in the Green Lantern Corp. Sure they call him “Torch Bearer” and Honor Guard. But through the Sinestro War, the War of the Light, and Blackest Night, little by little all that was Kyle got stripped away. He was given lateral promotion and work titles, which in time led to nothing. People dropped the honorifics. They forgot the land they stood upon, the power in the rings, their very lives and existence was due to this back alley rat.
Now he is back to being the kid. Gardner, Stewart, Jordan, all see him as “the kid” again. There was a scene in the rebirth when Jordan is commenting on the other Earth Lanterns style. And Kyle was perceived a kid and artist who was never happy with his constructs, always fixing. And it made Kyle look like a joke.
So here we are. Kyle is the wishy washy second or third stringer little brother tagging along. Not the man who inherited Ion’s Godhood. Not the Man who brought back which was once lost. Nor any of his other worthy and heroic accolades. Nope, he is just the whipping boy who had the misfortune to not be Geoff Johns favorite. And the same can be said for Wally West. Wally was great, but he was not Barry. So you better move over, because here comes Geoff John’s mighty pen of yesteryear.
Do I love Hal and Barry? Yes. But there comes a time when things must progress, not regress. And the last few years of DC feels like the 50 reunion tour of the Rolling Stones or Hulk Hogan’s 100 come back to wrestling.
Lord only knows what is going to happen during the reboot. I just hope Tony Bedard champions Kyle and gives him the proper respect he is owed. I hope Green Lantern: New Guardians is worth it. I hope it portrays the hero that Kyle is.