Since appearing in the Green Lantern 80th Anniversary special back in June, Kyle Rayner has been conspicuously absent from comics. To be fair, Grant Morrison’s “The Green Lantern” makes no bones about being Hal-centric (though is also surprising, as Grant Morrison was a huge advocate and proponent of Kyle during his initial well-received “JLA” days), so it’s not completely unexpected. As such, and without even a Green Lantern Corps book anymore to deposit him (and all of the other estranged GLs)… he appears to be a character without a home.
For those unaware, beginning with “Emerald Twilight” in 1994 and concluding with “Rebirth,” ending in 2005, for 11 years Kyle Rayner was the only Green Lantern in comics. Alan Scott was quickly shuffled into the moniker of “Sentinel,” John Stewart was made into a Darkstar, and Guy Gardner went on adventures with a then-dead Sinestro’s yellow ring (later, his Vuldarian Warrior days). He was the guy carrying the torch for more than a decade, a literal “Torce Bearer.” Not only did he basically bring Hal back from the dead, he also resurrected the Guardians (who history seems to often incorrectly paint that Hal killed… he did not, they very clearly suicided in GL Vol. 3 #50) and repowered the Central Power Battery, single-handedly making it possible for the Green Lantern Corps to return (which it did, in “Green Lantern Corps: Recharge”).
Now, for a generation, perhaps two… Kyle was their guy, for better or worse. It is true, many pre-existing Hal Jordan fans felt slighted, and those who have been around the books long enough remember the HEAT days (Ha’s Emerald Advancement Team) whose dreams and desires would one day become fulfilled at the hand of Geoff Johns.
In any case, 2020 is a very different time than 1994. It’s also a very different time than 2005. Hell, 2020 is also a radically different time than 2019. But should any of this take away from Kyle’s contributions to not only Green Lantern the mythos, but the aforementioned two generations of fans? Most would say “absolutely not.”
Now, there is the question of where he would go in a new DC comic today. There appears to be this general idea since “Green Lantern: Rebirth” that Kyle Rayner could only ever be placed in an ensemble cast book. We saw that in multiple volumes of “Green Lantern Corps,” we saw it in the “Countdown” books, we saw it in “Green Lantern: New Guardians,” we saw it in “Omega Men.” There was only one time Kyle was given a shake in a solo run, and it was Ron Marz’ “Ion” series, that was actually supposed to be an ongoing before Geoff Johns decided to yank Kyle out of that and make him a regular Green Lantern again in “Sinestro Corps War” where he would then proceed to go on to… basically blend into the background in the aforementioned ensemble books.
So where would he go? If not a solo book, why not a partnered up book? Kyle has always thrived in Earth-based stories, so let’s start with that. It has to be something that he can go and do these crazy adventures, ringslinging (whether it’s a Green ring or a White ring or something else is beside the point), but then at the end of the day he can still visit New York and have coffee at Radu’s before maybe working on some art. Who would the partner be? Kyle’s always had a pretty vibrant romantic life… so perhaps a romantic partner? If Jade is brought back, a rekindling there would surely raise some eyebrows. Donna Troy, round two? Soranik? Maybe putting it back on with Carol? Or romancing Jessica Cruz?
What it shouldn’t take is 20 Deposit Casinos to make it happen. But we’ll see what they do as Grant Morrison wraps up his current run.