BACK ISSUE TO THE FUTURE: Green Lantern: The New Corps #1-2 (1999)
Commentary by Sam S.
DC in the 1990’s was filled with legacy characters, generally more hip, youthful and contemporary replacements for some of the company’s most iconic characters. Outside of Wally West as the Flash, no character exemplified this trend like Kyle Rayner, the Green Lantern that replaced Hal Jordan. Kyle Rayner was meant to be a more down-to-Earth character, having girl problems, hanging out in a coffee shop, and being insecure in his new role. His cosmic adventures were few and far between during his early years compared to his predecessor and Green Lantern: The New Corps #1 and #2 showed what a shame that was.
After a time-traveling adventure where Kyle ended up with a self-replicating GL ring, he set out for the cosmos, determined to revive the defunct Green Lantern Corps of old. In his quest to recruit new intergalactic protectors, Kyle travels to wild, bizarre alien worlds and meets an eclectic cast of characters. Intergalactic truck stops, warlords, bounty hunters and a glowing green Cadillac are all part of this journey, which still ranks as one of my favorite GL tales all these years later. Despite the strange and otherworldly surroundings, writer Chuck Dixon keeps Kyle’s humor and regular-guy-likability. His all too human reactions to his insane circumstances lend to some laugh-out-loud moments.
Still, there’s plenty of gravity to the situation. Kyle and his fledging band of Green Lanterns are facing a terrifying enemy that has committed murder on an incalculable scale and the rookie Lantern squad are nowhere near ready to handle him. There is some warmth and camaraderie between the characters that gives weight to the tragic events that unfold. Seeing a few of these memorable new Lanterns cameo during the later and much-celebrated Geoff Johns run of GL always made me smile. If you’re a fan of Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern, or good cosmic superhero yarns in general, this is an absolute gem.