SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps" #17, on sale now.
Almost since the start of the New 52, Kyle Rayner has been an army of one. As the universe's sole White Lantern, the former Green Lantern has been wielding the powers of all seven colors of the emotional spectrum. But even as those days appear to be going away, another, forgotten Lantern Corps looks poised to not only make its comeback, but to become instrumental to the future of the DC Universe.
Seven Rings One Man
In the introductory issues of "Green Lantern: New Guardians" back in 2011, we saw Kyle Rayner becoming a "magnet" for rings from all six remaining Corps that he wasn't a member of. Wielding the combined powers of the powerful pieces of jewelry, he eventually became the White Lantern, a character central to all seven Corps, able to utilize the abilities of all seven spectrums without the need to utilize their corresponding rings as conduits for their powers. With three other Green Lanterns from Earth (Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart) also running around the DC Universe, it was a clear attempt to give Kyle Rayner his own identity instead of being just another Green Lantern.
Kyle's time as the White Lantern came to a head during the war with Relic, an enemy powerful enough to destroy the Green Lantern homeworld of Oa, as well as another entire Lantern Corps (but more on that in a bit). He ultimately sacrificed himself to destroy Relic, but soon came back from presumed annihilation, keeping in line with his healing powers as a White Lantern. For a time, even that role as a White Lantern was put on hold when he co-starred in the year-long "Omega Men" series that plunged him, powerless, into the depths of the forbidden Vega System.
But with DC's Rebirth fully underway, Kyle Rayner has begun to be pulled closer into the orbit of the other Green Lanterns once more. His abilities as a White Lantern were called on to save Hal Jordan in "Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps" #10, when Jordan had merged with the essence of the Green Lantern emerald energy in what could only be described as dying in the same was as speedsters getting sucked into the Speed Force. Kyle's White Lantern ring was able to ultimately pull Hal Jordan back out, even as Kyle's powers felt more ill-defined than ever. That turns out to have been a warm-up, though, for what was still to come.
My Blue Valentine
When Geoff Johns began to introduce new Lantern Corps into the DC Universe, the first brand-new creation was the Blue Lanterns, wielding the power of hope. Founded by Guardians of the Universe Ganthet and Sayd, the planet Odym held their central battery as their primary function appeared to be to super-charge the rings of Green Lanterns. They also had one of the more unique methods of recruiting new members. The first Blue Lantern, Saint Walker of Sector 001, inducted Brother Warth of Sector 002. Warth would then find and induct a member from Sector 003, and so on.
With a slow method of expanding their ranks and a power that mostly assisted to prop up other heroes (Blue Lanterns could still fly and protect their users without another Lantern present, but it took a Green Lantern to let them create energy constructs and more), it was almost a matter of time before tragedy struck the Blue Lanterns. First, their planet of Odym was ravaged by the Reach, the deadly foes of the Green Lanterns that Blue Beetle used to be connected to. Then, Relic besieged the Blue Lanterns as part of his path of destruction through all of the Corps. When the dust settled, the Blue Lanterns were a Corps of one with only Saint Walker still alive.
DC Rebirth Is All About Hope, Right?
With the DC Rebirth event about bringing hope back into the company's line of titles, it was inevitable that at some point the literal personification of hope would need to reappear. That's exactly what we get in "Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps" #17 this week (by the creative team of Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Wright and Dave Sharpe), as Saint Walker arrives to give a warning that the universe needs hope more than ever (presumably to help fight off the invasion of the "Watchmen" characters down the line). And then, with no warning, Saint Walker hijacks the life-energy powers of Kyle's White Lantern ring, seemingly trying to resurrect the entire Blue Lantern Corps.
Except, at least for now, they don't come back. Saint Walker warns Kyle and the Guardians that he "felt a presence. An intruder barring [his] path." But while the Blue Lanterns are yet to be reborn, there are still lasting effects. Kyle's White Lantern ring shatters into seven different rings, six of which promptly zoom off to find new hosts. And the seventh? Well, Kyle Rayner is a Green Lantern once more. It's a big reversal for the character, even as it brings him into a costume and power set that more readers will understand and presumably warm to.
"Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps" #17 is resetting one character, even as it gives the readers hope (if not the DC Universe just yet) that another whole group of characters may return before long. DC Rebirth is, after all, all about hope. It just looks like its characters may have to wait a little bit longer until we get it back in full force.