Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern, Ion)


Kyle Rayner is a superhero from the DC Comics universe, known for most of his publication history as Green Lantern, a member of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps, and at times as Ion.

Created by writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks, Rayner first appeared in Green Lantern vol. 3, #48 (1994), as part of the “Emerald Twilight” storyline, in which DC Comics replaced perennial Green Lantern Hal Jordan with the younger Rayner in order to attract younger readers.

Following Jordan’s return to Green Lantern status in the 2004-2005 limited series Green Lantern: Rebirth, and the 2005 crossover event Infinite Crisis, Kyle returned to his alias of Ion. After the events of the Sinestro Corps War, Kyle returned to being a Green Lantern again.

The last Green Lantern

Kyle Rayner’s father is a Mexican-American CIA agent named Gabriel Vasquez (Green Lantern vol. 3, #150), who has worked under various codenames including Aaron Rayner and currently the identity of Raymond Hauser. When Gabriel’s deep-cover work threatened his wife and infant son, he was forced to sever all traceable ties with them, and even conspired with Miora Rayner in fabricating a domestic violence incident to explain their abrupt separation. To Gabriel’s regret, the resulting absence from his family’s life and lack of his financial support forced Kyle and his mother into a rather modest lifestyle.

Before he acquired a Green Lantern power ring, Kyle Rayner was a struggling-but-gifted freelance graphic artist. He lived and worked in Los Angeles initially. After Hal Jordan, grief-stricken over the destruction of his home town of Coast City, went on a mad rampage killing the members of the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe Rayner was found by the last surviving Guardian Ganthet. He was given the last Green Lantern power ring that would allow him to conjure any form of matter or energy through sheer force of will. Ganthet’s reasons for choosing Kyle to bear the ring have never been made completely apparent, aside from Rayner having been in the right place at the right time: prior to bequeathing the ring upon Rayner, Ganthet simply utters, “You will have to do.” Rayner then moved to New York City.

His girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, helped Kyle train for his new role as a superhero, but was later murdered by the supervillain Major Force.[1] Kyle developed relationships with Donna Troy, and later Jade, the daughter of Alan Scott.

Kyle grew up enamored with Superman and Batman, though had only a passing knowledge of Earth’s various Green Lanterns. This soon changed, and he found that the Green Lantern ring was the ultimate expression of his fertile imagination. While in battle, he often used the ring’s power to create constructs of just about anything his artistic mind could imagine: other superheroes, anime characters, mystical characters, mechas, futuristic weapons and original characters from his comic books. While some questioned the practicality of those constructs, they often made Kyle an unpredictable and formidable opponent.

Justice League

Rayner joined the superhero group the Titans for a brief time, during which he dated Donna Troy, but eventually became a member of the Justice League (JLA).[2] He initially clashed with the Flash (Wally West) early in his career. West had grown up with Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern and he had reservations about Kyle replacing Jordan, but he eventually became one of Rayner’s best friends and biggest supporters. Surprisingly, another of Kyle’s biggest supporters amongst the League was Batman, who often treated him with more respect than he showed certain other League members. Rayner also formed friendships with the Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Scott’s daughter Jade, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), and Green Lantern (John Stewart).

Oblivion

During the 5 Week Event “Circle of Fire,” it was discovered that a cosmic entity named Oblivion is the embodiment of Kyle’s fear, unknowingly created when he first received the ring. It wasn’t until later that Oblivion came to “merge” with Kyle. The Justice League tried to stop Oblivion, but during the battle, Kyle was sent back to Earth to get reinforcements. When he reached Earth, Kyle recruited Power Girl, The Atom, Firestorm, Adam Strange, and the Circle of Fire — ostensibly a group of Green Lanterns from alternate realities and different time periods. In reality, Kyle created all of these Green Lanterns. The Circle of Fire consisted of Kyle’s late girlfriend Alex (who, in an alternate timeline had received the power ring instead of Kyle), a pair of juvenile siblings, a descendant of Wally West and Kyle Rayner who possessed both the Flash and Green Lantern’s powers but could only use one of those powers a day, a reprogrammed Manhunter robot, and a Green Lantern from the Middle Ages.

This group was split up to handle different crises caused by Oblivion, or in some cases to search for a way to defeat him. Eventually they all realized that Kyle had created the Circle of Fire because he needed help. When they realized this, they decided that the created Green Lanterns should return to Kyle’s mind. Doing so made Kyle unlock more power from the ring that he hadn’t used before. In a confrontation with Kyle, Oblivion revealed that he was a distillation of Kyle’s doubts and darker impulses, made manifest through the power of the ring. After facing up to this, Kyle was able to defeat Oblivion and restore the Justice League.

Ion

For a brief period, Kyle achieved godhood as Ion. This was after he absorbed the energy Hal Jordan had left in Earth’s sun during the Final Night incident, energy which had merged and grown with energies released after Oblivion’s defeat. With his new powers, Kyle could bend time, space, and reality. Kyle could even be in many places at once. Kyle’s trans-godlike powers had drawbacks: Ion was one with everything, but Kyle Rayner could no longer sleep or separate himself from the overwhelming responsibilities. Rather than sacrifice his humanity, Kyle abandoned omnipotence, bleeding off the vast power, recharging the Central Power Battery on the planet Oa (the headquarters of the Guardians), and helping to create a new group of Guardians in the process. Before he purged all of the power, though, he modified his ring. Once again limited only by his willpower and imagination, Rayner’s ring can still affect yellow, does not have a set time limit on its power, and is keyed directly to him. Kyle modified the ring so that it would always return to him, and so that it would always have a lifeline of power available (although the ring still required charging to get up to full power).

After the brutal beating of his young assistant and friend Terry Berg, Kyle went on a lengthy self-imposed exile into space. Before leaving, he placed John Stewart, recently recovered from his paraplegia and given a new power ring, into his spot in the Justice League. On his return, he discovered that Jade had begun seeing someone new, and was doing so in his own apartment. He left New York and spent some time trying once again to find his place on Earth, and ended up staying with his mother for a brief time.

Green Lantern: Rebirth

After being tricked into believing his mother had been murdered by Major Force, Kyle fought with the villain. Knowing Major Force was essentially immortal, Kyle decapitated him and shot his head off into space.[3] Feeling that he was a danger to those he cared for, Rayner once again left for the far reaches of space. During the events of Rebirth, he returned with Jordan’s corpse and insight into the true nature of Parallax, risking his life to save Jordan when everyone else had practically given up on him – an action that, according to Jordan, proved that Kyle was worthy of the mantle of Green Lantern, whatever the likes of Sinestro claimed. This also established a close bond between the two, as Jordan took Kyle to Edwards Air Force Base after their fight with Parallax for a joy ride with one of the base’s jets. With Hal’s resurrection, Kyle no longer operates on Earth. He was given his first official Green Lantern Corps assignment from Kilowog just before Infinite Crisis during the Rann/Thanagar War, and met with the Guardians later, along with Guy Gardner, about his role in the Corps. There, he is given special status amongst the Guardians, who consider him the “Torch-Bearer,”[4] the Green Lantern who carried the legacy through the Corps’ darkest period.

Infinite Crisis and the Return of Ion

In Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor reveals that had the Multiverse continued to exist after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Rayner would have been a native of Earth-Eight.[5] When Jade dies during the Infinite Crisis Rann/Thanagar War Special, she transfers her power to Rayner, catalyzing his transformation into Ion.[6]

In the series Ion: Guardian of the Universe, Ion seemingly destroys a fleet of starships and violently attacks two Green Lanterns, but Kyle has no memory of the destruction and only learns of his possible role in it after being attacked by a bounty hunter. Upon visiting the fleet’s wreckage, Kyle loses control and finds himself near the sentient planet Mogo, also a Green Lantern. Once there, Kyle converses with former girlfriends Alex, Donna, and Jade and fights Major Force. Kyle realizes that as Ion, he is able to channel the green energy of both the Starheart and the Central Power Battery. This new energy is called the “Ion Power”.

The Guardians forbid the Green Lanterns to leave Oa to help Kyle but do not mention those off-world. Kilowog contacts Hal Jordan to check on Kyle. Jordan finds Ion destroying a planet and after scanning him with his ring, he discovers that the rampaging Ion is in fact Alexander Nero. Kyle catches up with Jordan, and Nero claims that his connection with Kyle and new powers are the result of a third party’s interference.

With Nero in tow, Kyle confronts the Guardians and asks what they knew about his becoming Ion, why Nero was wreaking havoc as Ion, and why they ordered the Green Lantern Corps to not assist him. The Guardians claim they ordered the other Green Lanterns not to help because he needed to pass one final test for them to be sure he can handle his power. They explain that they had planned for Kyle to hold an honored position among Green Lanterns as their Torchbearer, the next evolution of Lanterns, but that he now possesses the power to revive the Green Lantern Corps, should it ever be destroyed again. The Guardians tell Kyle that he will no longer be required to patrol, but will be called in during situations that the Corps cannot handle by themselves. The Guardians admit that they only know that some unforeseen enemy has set Nero on a path of destruction to Oa. Nero unleashes a massive amount of energy, but Kyle dissipates the energy into what is presumed to be a “pocket universe”.

Back on Earth, Kyle is met by a mysterious Monitor, who tells him that he is supposed to be dead.[7] Kyle discovers that other enemies, like his old nemesis Effigy, are being put on his tracks. The captured Effigy could only say that Kyle’s location was given to him in a subliminal way, and, as the Guardians discover while interrogating Nero, the knowledge of the enemy himself was expunged by his minions’ mind.[8]

Kyle returns to the planet scorched by Nero while using his name, and clears his reputation. Later Guy Gardner meets him to tell “bad news” about his mother who’s in a hospital dying with no known medical cause. After comforting her, Kyle is once again contacted by a Guardian who tells him he must return to Oa at once. Before leaving Earth, he is assaulted by two superpowered individuals, a male and female who claim to be the Atom and the Flash respectively (both are characters from DC’s Tangent Comics event). After a brief fight, “Atom” gains the upper hand and knocks Kyle out. They then place the Lantern previously seen at the end of Infinite Crisis on his chest. After a brief flash, the Tangent Universe’s Green Lantern appears, holding the Lantern.

Kyle awakens in “the Bleed,” encountering the two children that found the Tangent Comics’ lantern, as well as aiding Captain Atom, who is still sporting the Monarch armor, in a battle against Daemonites. Kyle enlists Captain Atom’s help in escaping the Bleed, re-absorbs the Tangent Comics’ superheroes back into the lantern, and returns to the Guardians of the Universe, who send him on a mission to sector 3388.

At a satellite base inside of an asteroid in sector 3388, Kyle discovers a number of dead Qwardian Weaponers, as well as an alive Donna Troy. Able to find Grayven, and battle him, but unable to make him confess anything on the mysterious conspiration, he’s again faced by one of the Monitors, and once again spared,[9] his future to be reconsidered again.

Returned home, he tries to reanimate his mother’s dead corpse using his powers, but after a tearful farewell she refuses resurrection, asking Kyle to let her pass. He agrees, and he is left again in mourning in his new home, unable to sort out his life and the mysteries surrounding his recent encounters.

The Sinestro Corps War

Sinestro reveals to Kyle that he was responsible for his mother’s death and infected her with the sentient virus Despotellis and killed her in a plot to break Kyle’s will so that he could serve as Parallax’s new host. Sinestro also reveals that Ion is actually a benevolent energy entity, similar to Parallax, that thrives on willpower and that Kyle was unknowingly its current host.

The Sinestro Corps confront Kyle, who has his powers drained out of him by Sinestro himself, and is immediately taken over by Parallax. Parallax then clothes itself in a new uniform which appears as a combination of the Sinestro Corps’ uniform, Kyle’s original Green Lantern costume, and the armor Hal Jordan wore as Parallax. Parallax’s possession also turns the hair on top of Kyle’s head gray, just as it turned the hair on Hal Jordan’s temples. Parallax returns to Qward with the Sinestro Corps and is inducted into their ranks, becoming one of the Anti-Monitor’s heralds.[10]

In Kyle’s body, Parallax captured Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart and brought them to Qward. Before bringing them, Parallax made Hal relive one of the only times he ever felt fear: when his father died. Parallax also elaborated that since invading Kyle’s mind, he now has nearly infinite creativity to call upon in his deeds. [11] During the battle with the Green Lantern Corps, who arrives to Qward to rescue the captured Lanterns, Parallax murders Jack T. Chance and crushes his Power Ring before it can find a replacement. During his fight with the Earth Green Lanterns, Parallax revealed that Kyle Rayner’s “twisted desire” was to be the last Green Lantern again and special. He is stopped from murdering Guy Gardner by the intervention of the surviving Lost Lanterns and the Ion entity. The Embodiment of Fear is now leading an advance group of the Sinestro Corps, readying to attack Coast City. It is also suggested by the Guardians of the Universe that Kyle is no longer destined to be Ion following his being taken over by Parallax.

As seen in the one shot “Parallax” issue (released September 19, 2007) Kyle is currently trapped within his own mind. He is able to witness all that Parallax says and does from a third person perspective, but is unable to stop it. Kyle’s personality watches Parallax’s actions from inside the prison that his own imagination has constructed: his mother’s empty house. The only fixture in the house is an old painting of uncertain origin and authorship that had belonged to Kyle’s mother. As Kyle watches Parallax battle Hal Jordan and the Lost Lanterns a manifestation of the fear enity comes to pay him a visit. In the realm of his imagination Kyle is able to “transform” into Ion, and engage the parasite in battle. After being blasted back by Parallax and losing his Ion form, Kyle forms a power ring, places it on his finger, and appears in his original costume. Although he puts up a valiant fight, Parallax is too much for him and Kyle is defeated. Parallax taunts Kyle with his deepest fear: failing the people who depend on him, especially the women in his life. Many of the women in Kyle’s life have died or come to harm because of their association with him and this causes Kyle to struggle with feelings of guilt and responsibility. The latest to die was Kyle’s mother, killed by the sentient virus Despotellis on the orders of Sinestro. It was the grief and guilt that this revelation caused Kyle that allowed the Parallax entity to possess him. Sneering, Parallax mocks Kyle’s helplessness and turns to depart but the enraged artist grabs a pencil and stabs the creature in the eye with it. Parallax, unfazed and unhurt, taunts Kyle once more with the hopelessness of his position and disappears. Left alone, Kyle is about to smash the painting in frustration when he notices his mother’s signature in the bottom corner and realizes that she secretly painted it years ago. This deep and unexpected connection with his mother gives Kyle hope, the very thing he most needs to overcome his fear. With renewed faith in himself, Kyle walks into the painting and ends up in a field walking towards a bright, green star.

Green Lantern Again

After threatening Hal’s brother and family in Coast City, Parallax is confronted by Hal Jordan. Surprisingly, Jordan actually manages to beat Parallax consistently, but loses the charge in his ring before he’s able to defeat him completely. While visibly weakened, Jordan becomes absorbed by Parallax in addition to Rayner, and Parallax takes a new physical form with a bright yellow costume; a sign that he is a creature capable of inducing great fear.

Meanwhile, fellow Lantern John Stewart orders Honor Guard Lantern Guy Gardner to retrieve the painting (Kyle had discussed the painting in the Sinestro Corps Special, as well as the Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax one-shot) of a little boy in a field, which was hanging in his Kyle’s dead mother’s house. As Guy returns and shows the painting to Parallax, it visibly shifts his demeanor. Jordan, the beacon of green light that had come to Kyle inside his mind, assists Rayner in fighting Parallax exhaustively until they finally break free from the fear embodiment’s grip.

Just as the now-separated Parallax creature counterattacks the Lanterns, ousted Guardians Ganthet and Sayd arrive with four Lantern Power Batteries, and they proceed to entrap Parallax within them all. Ganthet explains that his final act as a Guardian is to make Rayner a new power ring. The Guardian asks Rayner if he is willing to downgrade himself to a regulation Green Lantern after serving as host to Ion for so long. Kyle quickly agrees and the four officers then take their batteries, recite the oath, and recharge their rings.

The four Green Lanterns then split in two directions; Hal returns to Coast City in order prevent it from being destroyed again with Kyle by his side, and John and Guy head to New York City to battle the Anti-Monitor, Superman-Prime, and the Cyborg Superman. As Hal and Kyle battle Sinestro, Sinestro momentarily gains the upperhand after one of the Manhunters absorbs their power ring’s energies. After the Green Lantern Corps defeats the Cyborg Superman, the Manhunters immediately deactivated, with Hal able to take one of the robots’ skulls to absorbs Sinestro’s power. With three of them powerless, Hal and Kyle immediately engage Sinestro in combat, with the two Lanterns emerging as the victors against the despotic Korugarian.

After the war he’s assigned to the Honor Guard, as Guy Gardner’s partner, and sent to counsel Sodam Yat, the new Ion. Kyle and Guy decide to move to Oa, giving them better access to performing their duties. Kyle places his mother’s painting on the wall of his new Oan apartment.

The Ion is now stated as unrelated to the Starheart Power given to him by Jade: such sudden spike in powers enabled the Guardians to temporarily bond the Ion entity with Kyle. With the loss of the Ion entity, he’s returned to the powers and abilities of a standard Green Lantern.

Countdown and the Challengers From Beyond

In Countdown, Weeks 49-47, Kyle Rayner is among those ‘anomalies’ listed by the Monitors as being dangerous to the Universe, and so he is on their list for termination. Also on the list are Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, and Jason Todd.

Kyle briefly appears in All-New Atom #15, once again carrying a Green Lantern ring (through his narration, Rayner makes it clear that he is no longer Ion, stating that he “has to change [his] business cards”). He now joins Donna Troy, Jason Todd, Bob the Monitor, and the Jokester in the Countdown Presents the Search for Ray Palmer. This story takes place after the events of the Sinestro Corps War, though it was started while the war was still ongoing in the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comics. Kyle’s new uniform is an amalgamation of his previous Lantern uniform and elements of Hal Jordan’s uniform, as well as his original mask.

Rayner and Todd have a stand-offish relationship, mostly due to Kyle thinking Jason is trying to get romantically involved with Donna, and vice versa.

So far, the group has traveled to the WildStorm universe and a new version of the Crime Society’s universe, the Batman: Red Rain universe (where the Dark Knight is a vampire), the Gotham by Gaslight universe (a Victorian-era Gotham), the Superman: Red Son universe, (where Superman crash landed in Russia instead of America), as well as the universe of reversed genders. In the Red Rain universe, Kyle is bitten by a vampire, whose vampiric energy taints his ring, but is cured by the Earth-19 version of Dan Garret, the Blue Beetle.

When the challengers finally locate Ray Palmer (on Earth-51) Bob attacks him, revealing his acts of assistance to be a ruse. Kyle escapes with Ray, who reveals that it was the deceased Earth-51 Ray Palmer who was meant to stop the great disaster, not him. The two are then attacked by Power Ring and evil versions of Booster Gold and Supergirl. While the battle between Monarch and Superman-Prime rages, the hand of the Source urges the Challengers to go to Apokolips. With the help of Earth-51’s Monitor, Nix Uotan, the group manage to leave before Superman-Prime tears open Monarch’s armor, obliterating that entire universe.

After Darkseid’s defeat, Kyle joins Donna, Ray, and Forager in becoming border guards to the Multiverse.

Powers and abilities

As a Green Lantern, Kyle is semi-invulnerable, capable of projecting hard light constructions, flight, and utilizing various other abilities through his power ring which are only limited by his imagination and willpower. Kyle’s constructs are much more elaborate than those of any other Green Lanterns, often fading into view like a sketch refined into an illustration.[12] Eventually, he is able to utilize his skill as an artist to manipulate the pigments within his constructs, making them appear realistically that even Alan Scott were amazed of what Kyle can do with his ring’s creations. When bonded with the benevolent Ion symbiote, Kyle as Ion is capable of much more elaborate usage of his imagination which can extend to the manipulation of reality. In possession of the more sinister Parallax entity, Kyle is theoretically capable of similar feats to Ion, including manipulation of time and space.

Alternate versions

In the Elseworlds tale Green Lantern: Evil’s Might, which takes place in 1888, Kyle Rayner is a political cartoonist working under the pen name “Rain or Shine.” Formerly an associate with Alan Scott and the Bowery Greens, Kyle broke off his ties with them when Alan killed a seventy-two year old shopkeeper named Angus Kelly. Kyle uses the magic ring he found inside the lantern for the benefit of the immigrant masses of New York. Kyle dies near the end in a showdown with Alan Scott, but not until he absorbs Alan into his ring and combines it with Alan’s jewel piece. He then takes the bits and pieces of the Statue of Liberty and puts them together, and finally gives Carol his ring and dies in her arms.

Kyle is also a member of the Green Lantern Marine Corps in Superman: Red Son.

In the Elseworld’s story 1001 Emerald Knights Ibn Rayner is a young sultan being led astray by his evil vizier, taught life lessons by hearing the tales of Al-Jor-Dhan.

A female version of Kyle named Kylie Rayner resides on Earth-11 and is part of that worlds Justice League.

In Superman & Batman: Generations, he takes on the role of Green Lantern when Alan Scott decides to retire. In the sequel, Superman & Batman: Generations 2, he is nearly beaten to death by Bruce Wayne Junior, as the Batman. In 1997, he is viciously attacked by Sinestro, before fleeing to the White House.




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