When you think of the greatest Green Lantern of all time, which one immediately comes to mind? If you said Hal Jordan, then that’s just unfortunate. Hal Jordan is a great superhero, and as the character who was the first, all-new GL of the Silver Age, he has defined the franchise for almost 50 years. But he’s not the greatest Green Lantern of all time. That honor belongs to the man who carried the power battery and mantle as “the last Green Lantern”, Kyle Rayner.
Kyle Rayner took over the role of the Green Lantern in the DCU in 1994 after Jordan, possessed by the alien parasite Parallax, destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. It was a controversial switch to say the least, since Jordan was a beloved character, and Rayner was a brand new creation at the time he took over the Green Lantern title. Over time, Rayner became a fixture in the DCU as a member of the Justice League, and many fans warmed up to the character. I was never a fan of the Green Lantern concept until Rayner took over the role, so I’m biased towards him over Jordan as my GL of choice. I’m probably in the minority here, but I think if you look at the facts, a definitive case can be made for declaring Rayner the greatest Green Lantern of all time.
–Kyle Rayner became a Green Lantern with no forewarning, as did Hal Jordan. Rayner, however, did not have the benefit of guidance from the Guardians of the Universe, as Jordan had when he became a Green Lantern.
–While still a rookie superhero, Rayner joined the “Big 7″ iteration of the Justice League, which is hands down the greatest JLA line-up of all time. During his time with the League, Rayner played an integral role in saving the entire universe from the greatest threats the heroes had ever faced, including invasions from villainous angels and Mageddon, an ancient, apocalyptic weapon that nearly destroyed the entire universe.
–From the outset of his career, Rayner displayed far more creativity and skill with his power ring than Jordan ever did by using it to create far more powerful and elaborate energy constructs. Mecha suits and massive spaceships beat eggbeaters and boxing gloves any day.
–Most importantly, as the last of the Green Lanterns before Jordan’s resurrection, Rayner kept the legacy of the GLC alive for years, a fact that was recognized by the Guardians when they named him their “Torch-Bearer.”
Add up all those facts and you have a very compelling argument in favor of Kyle Rayner as the greatest in the long line of Green Lanterns. Agree or disagree? Have your say in the comments section. Please be gentle–I bruise easily.