Kyle Rayner: Where Do I Start?

2829979-kyle_rayner_white_lanternStepping into someone else’s shoes can be an inauspicious feeling. Just ask Kyle Rayner.

In 1994 DC Comics set about tearing down the decades-long presence of Hal Jordan as its chief Green Lantern and to stick a new, more youthful hero in his place — and that hero was Kyle Rayner. Created by Ron Marz and Darryl Banks, Rayner had some big green shoes to fill — and the always fervent comics fanbase was quick remind him of that. But now on the character’s 18th year of existence he’s come a long way, and in many ways, matured to be a very different, and very popular Lantern — not just of Green, but of all colors.

In this week’s Where Do I Start?, we look at the one-time Green Lantern — now White Lantern — and his uneasy growth into being a hero. Leave your H.E.A.T. membership at the door.

Green_Lantern_Baptism_of_FireGreen Lantern: Baptism of Fire: I’m purposely skipping over Rayner’s debut and instead going for the next arc, “Hero Quest,” which sees Rayner trying to learn the ropes of being the hero and going to the likes of Captain Marvel, Flash, Wonder Woman and Batman for a few pointers. This one really elaborates on Rayner’s artistic creativity and his ability to employ it with the Green Lantern ring in new ways.

JLA, Vol. 3: Deluxe Edition: Some people might overlook this, but I’d argue one of the best representations of Kyle Rayner, especially as a Green Lantern, was in the pages of Grant Morrison’s JLA run. From beginning to end Morrison showed Kyle as a great rookie hero standing next to heavyweights like Batman, Superman and the others. Forcing myself to chose just one JLA volume representative of that, I’d go with this one collecting the Starro and “Crisis Times Five” arcs, especially for Rayner’s banter with Batman and his epic meeting with Vertigo’s Sandman.

emerald-knightsGreen Lantern: Emerald Knights: At the time this arc on the Green Lantern series was a showcase for the returning to a pre-Parallax Hal Jordan via some time travel mojo, but reading it today it perfectly illustrates how the then-current Green Lantern of Earth, Kyle Rayner, measures up to Jordan’s heroic feats.

Green Lantern: Power Of Ion: Due to not being the most popular iteration of Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner has the rare ability to change dramatically over time — and this arc by Judd Winick, Dale Eaglesham and others sees him transformed into the uber-powerful Ion. This story really pushes the idea of a normal human being being unexpectedly given the powers of a god and having to deal with that; unlike his predecessor Hal Jordan, we see Rayner use it to re-energize — literally — the Green Lantern Corps, revive the Guardians and see his destiny finally come forth.

Green Lantern: Circle Of Fire: Remember when Brian K. Vaughn wrote Green Lantern? Me neither at the time, but now I do — and I’m glad I did. This collection brings together an overlooked 2000-era mini-event comprised of a two-issue miniseries and five one-shot comics that Vaughn, along with an array of other writers and artists, create a unique team-up with Rayner, Firestorm, Adam strange and some others against a new threat named Oblivion. Although a team-up, over the course of these seven issues it really cuts to the core of Rayner’s character and in many ways continues to resonate with him to this day.

Green Lantern: New Guardians, Vol. 1: The Ring BearerAs of the “New 52,” Rayner’s primary whereabouts are in this ongoing series as Rayner is tasked to unify the various colored Lantern Corps into one unifying force. This initial volume really sets it off, with Rayner leading a ramshackle team of lanterns from the various corps — including the Orange Lantern Larfleeze. Like the earlier recommended  Green Lantern: Power of Ion collection, this story again shows just how pivotal Rayner is to the future of the Green Lantern Corps and its multi-colored sister groups. This story is still ongoing in the new issues of this series, but this first volume is a good place to start.



  1. Thanks so much for this. I’ve always liked Kyle but so many of his showcase stories are from a time I wasn’t reading and those older trades can be be ordered/described in a pretty confusing way. Great article.

  2. Who?

  3. I agree with your assessment of New Guardians. I think the book is a great vehicle for a likable and relatable character such as Kyle. Very well written and excellent readings selections.

  4. Hero Quest was probably what cemented my love for Kyle as a character. Before that he was real good but after that arc I added Green Lantern to my box at my local comic shop. It and the Flash were the only DC books I was buying at the time.

  5. Kyle was the first GL I read and he is still my favorite. I would love for him to get back with Donna Troy. They were my favorite superhero couple. I also liked Kyle more as a starving artist who lived in the city he seemed to have more character and was more connectable. He is still awesome.

  6. Power of Ion was probably my favorite Kyle-centric story. It really showed how this rookie hero given the power to really make a difference would act. Then Superman goes Intervention on him. But it was nice Kyle never went mad with power, probably the only guy to get those kind of powers and always keep his cool.

    Is New Guardians any good? I thought the premise of the series sounded really hokey when I first heard about it and never picked up an issue.

    I’ll have to see if I can find a collection of Circle of Fire.

  7. Thanks for this article! Kyle Rayner is my favorite GL, but I had no idea there was a BKV story out there about him! You definitely earned whatever % iFanboy gets from the Amazon link there 🙂

    I fell completely in love with Kyle based on Judd Winick’s time writing him. The Power of Ion is one of my favorite character arcs in comics. The Superman scenes in particular are unforgettable moments.