The character of Green Lantern for the majority of his creation has been one of great ideas, but not necessarily great ongoing stories. With the exception of Dennis O’Neil & Neal Adams’ landmark run on the character in the 1970s, he has largely been ignored by writers until the turn of the millennium, when his character received a new lease on life.
The 1990s are arguably a nadir in the mediocrity of storytelling for this character. When DC finally took notice and did something about it, the fans did not necessarily approve of the end results. Perhaps it was too far in the other direction, but the creation of Kyle Rayner as a replacement to Hal Jordan, was something widely condemned by the fanbase. It turned particularly ugly for then writer Ron Marz, who was tasked with ushering in this new Green Lantern, take Hal Jordan off the table and try to replicate the successes of stories such as “The Death of Superman” and “Knightfall”. There was even a ridiculous online campaign to restore Hal Jordan as the ‘one, true Green Lantern of Sector 2814’ (um… Guy Gardner, John Stewart, or even Alan Scott) and the restoration of the Green Lantern Corps along with Ron Marz’s removal from the title. They would claim victory when Hal Jordan was brought back in the early 2000s, but this group of lunatic fans are best ignored and avoided.
Ron Marz was unfairly, and disproportionately to blame for this material. Darryl Bank was always praised for his artistic talent, and editorial never truly shouldered their fair share of the blame. The failure of the character’s traction should never be just on Marz alone.
Kyle Rayner is a fantastic concept, a great character, and we got a good number of solid stories featuring him, once he got his sea legs. The first couple years of Marz/Banks on Green Lantern are fairly forgettable, but the character seems to come into his own by about Green Lantern (Volume 3) 75. While fans were not necessarily supportive towards Kyle, the one thing they wanted by this point was a team-up with Hal Jordan. Not Hal Jordan as Parallax, that had already become stale; they wanted Kyle and Hal as Green Lantern.
Enter a quirky twist of time travel, where a Kyle Rayner travelling back from the 30th Century accidentally lands himself in the past, where a newly minted Green Lantern by the name of Hal Jordan is fighting Sinestro (who you will recall is dead in the present day). Through another twist where two wrongs end up making a temporary right, Hal travels back to the present with Kyle, where he learns the world he is fighting for in the past is not one he imagined.
For a short seven part story, this thing packs a lot of a lot of big moments into it. While perhaps not a multi-layered portrayal of either leads, it nonetheless gives us an opportunity to see how an original Justice League member would see the current day DCU; he has his own replacement, his best friends are dead, and he will soon learn about his own ultimate, sinister fate. Additional team-ups with the Justice League and Connor Hawke Green Arrow add to this story, while the seeds of mistrust between Batman and Hal Jordan are continued. It is a fun romp beautifully illustrated by Darryl Banks & Paul Pelletier, this story has a whimsical Silver-Age feel, while still being rooted firmly in the modern era. Hal’s actions are not without consequence, in any time period, and the mantle finally passes onto Kyle.
That said, this is just a fun Green Lantern tale, whether you root for Hal, Kyle or both.
Collects: Green Lantern (Vol. 3) 100-106 & Green Arrow (Vol. 2) 136