I don´t think I can do four posts in one day so we will probably have to skip the FLASH FRIDAY post for this week but since I finally did manage to do the obligatory Marvel post before a DC post I wanted to put it up on the blog just in case. And to have some new content. I don´t know what my next post will be but don´t be too surprised if the next DC post is not the next part of this story but rather a remembrance post in honor of the great. late Bernie Wrightson as he did the bulk of his work on DC titles.
Coming back to the story at hand it was a team up between the three new versions of The Flash, Green Lantern and Green Arrow who had all taken up the hero mantle of their predecessors after their death - well temporary death as it later turned out - and in one case after the original had gone rogue. I´m talking about Green Lantern Hal Jordan here who had gone over to the dark side as Parallax and butchered the entire Green Lantern Corps. Well, he left some stranded in the vastness of outer space without ring power and some of them survived but no thanks to him. He didn´t care if they lived or died so he might as well have killed them given the chance. In any case the three heroes are taking a vacation together mainly to smooth out the problems between Wally West and Kyle Rayner with Connor Hawke as the operating conseglieri or mediator if you will.
And Wally West had any right not to like Kyle Rayner. I remember back at the time when Kyle was introduced into the DC universe he brought a lot of new readers to the title but a lot of old readers left - me included - and not only because of the disparaging and stupid way in which Hal Jordan´s entire history as a hero ( and also the complete Green Lantern Corps ) was wiped out for a cheap sales gimmick. Most of the newbie readers who were Kyle Rayner fans accused the older readers of just not being open to change and in some cases that might have been true but there was more to it. Now here somebody will probably come with the old - and absolutely incorrect - argument that you like the version of a hero you encounter first the most and since you get attached to that version it will always be the one you prefer. That kind of school of thinking has always be around and I don´t think at this point in time they can ever be taught otherwise.
How I know that this is not true ? Simple. When I started reading comics Hal Jordan was Green Lantern. There were some other Green Lanterns in the comics but Hal Jordan was always the Green Lantern of earth. But Hal Jordan is not my favorite Green Lantern. Anybody who has read this blog for a longer period of time knows that my favorite Green Lantern is Guy Gardner. Whom I didn´t read until my military service got me stationed in Munich where they had a real comic shop with a lot of american comics. And at that time the Norbert Hethke Verlag published the first issues of the Keith Giffen / J. M. DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in Germany for the first time. So you might say that this was just a fluke.
But it was the same with the Flash. When I started reading comic books Barry Allen was the Flash. But my favorite Flash is Wally West. And the first time I read his adventures as the Flash was at the same time when I first met Guy Gardner. Now you might say that this is the common factor and that this is the reason why I like both versions of them better than their previous incarnations. Which might be true but then it goes against the argument that you like the first version you encounter the most since this was more than a decade after I first encountered the original heroes.
Talk about a late bloomer. And then there´s the matter of Green Arrow. Okay, I know some people will write some nasty comments about this but I never liked Connor Hawke. But not because I hated him but because I had no real interest in him as a character. I was always an Oliver Queen guy. Ever since he evolved from a´the cheap Batman knock off with a bow and arrow you might know from BATMAN - THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD carton series into the social consciousness of the Justice League he was my man and the best series he ever had was LONGBOW HUNTERS followed by the Mike Grell penned series that DC is now finally making available again for a new generation in trade. That is the best Green Arrow you will EVER read.
Okay, now that we have debunked the myth that you always like the first version you read the most you might ask where my dislike of Kyle Rayner stemmed from and the answer to that is very simple. Like the readers who defended him so vehemently he just didn´t get it. And that is one of the reasons why I could understand Wally West. Because Kyle Rayner didn´t get him and never could. He didn´t come in where Wally West came in.
He didn´t start out as a kid sidekick and had to work his way through the ranks. He did not have to work hard for years to earn the trust of the superhero community that he could take up the mantle and be as capable as his role model had been. He didn´t have to defeat his predecessor´s worst enemy in a baptism of fire during which he even surpassed him. He did not have to go through all of this to become a hero so he never could understand what being a hero really means to someone like Wally West.
And that is the second reason why I never liked Kyle Rayner. Because he didn´t get it. He did not get it what it means to be a hero and especially a Green Lantern. On most planets when you were chosen as the acting Green Lantern of your space sector your old life was over. It didn´t matter if you were a doctor or a banker or a factory worker from the moment that little green ring slipped itself on your finger Green Lantern you were. But not Kyle Rayner. Despite now being the only Green Lantern for the entire universe he still treated it like a job that you could do eight hours of the week and then do something else like he would pursue his art stuff. Where he also never quite succeeded which should be no surprise to anybody who had seen his ringslinging. The two laws of design I always believed in are Form Follows Function and Keep It Simple and it is clearly apparent that with his needlessly over elaborated ring creations Kyle spends way too much energy on looks and not enough on great ideas.
Okay, back to Kyle Rayner´s new role of hero, his defenders would say that he was thrown into it without a handbook and that he had a really rough start with his dead girlfriend stuffed into a refrigerator which started and entire feminist movement. But it´s not like he later made much efforts to find said handbook. I mean there was a storyline where he finally thought about asking some other heroes for advice how they go about their heroing stuff - but that was in issue 72 and he had become the new Green Lantern with issue 51. so for two years and a half he was only winging it ? And it was not like ALL the former members of the Green Lantern Corps were dead and he couldn´t ask them for advice. Gnort was still around, Guy Gardner was still around and even if he didn´t want to ask him for help which excuse did Kyle have for not talking with John Stewart ?
No, people may call Kyle Rayner the torchbearer and say that he kept the Green Lantern Corps alive when nobody else did but he never understood what a Green Lantern is and what he can do. The two most significant moments in that regard were in a Justice League Of America story where the new Lord of Dreams had to explain to him that that ring he has on his finger is basically a wish ring from the fairy tales and in GREEN LANTERN REBIRTH when his ring suddenly spoke and Kyle Rayner said : " I never knew you could speak. " to which the ring simply replied : " You never asked. " Which is something every reader of the old GREEN LANTERN comics knew. Yep, the ring is like an Encyclopedia Intergalactica which can tell you anything you wish to know provided you ask the right question.
Rest my case. Anyway, here is the first part of the crossover and over the years Wally West has learned to work with Kyle in the JLA and they even gained some kind of friendship although I doubt Kyle will ever understand what a pauper he is compared to someone of Wally West´s Airwolf - ness.
Teresa Ganzel 60