According to Tony Bedard, the death of Kyle Rayner's girlfriend Alex DeWitt wasn't a cheap stunt. Rather, the horrific event from the epic "Emerald Twilight" storyline served as a necessary wake up call for Hal Jordan's successor as he started his tour of duty as the primary protector of Sector 2814.
The writer who launched DC Comics' Rayner-starring New 52 series "Green Lantern: New Guardians" told CBR News that his upcoming miniseries, "Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax" -- illustrated by Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold -- harkens back to "Emerald Twilight," but at a point when Hal Jordan doesn't yet realize the full power of Parallax, the ancient being that embodies the yellow light of fear that has possessed Jordan's body. When Brainiac collects Hal and Kyle for his experiments, the Parallax entity goes into remission, leaving a remorseful, de-powered Hal to deal with the consequences of its murderous actions.
In talking with Bedard, the writer explained how the offspring of a major yet currently obscure "Crisis on Infinite Earths" character comes into play in his story, how Kyle and Hal became best friends in this reality and why he ranks Kyle as the greatest Green Lantern to ever wield a ring.
CBR News: When we spoke about "Convergence: Speed Force," you mentioned that one of the things that you really enjoyed about Grant Morrison's run on "JLA" was Wally West's relationship with Kyle Rayner. You also talked about Wally being a grounded superhero and that elevating to him to the level of your Flash. Do you have similar sentiment towards Kyle?
Tony Bedard: Yeah, totally. While Hal Jordan was the first Green Lantern that I read about, and I'll always regard Hal's costume as the best superhero costume ever, Kyle is who I personally regard as the best Green Lantern character. I mean, Hal is this fearless test pilot, which is a great qualification for earning the ring, but "fearless test pilot" is a little hard to relate to. Kyle, on the other hand, represents what would happen if you or I received the ring. He's the "everyman" GL, but he's also, unexpectedly, uniquely suited to sling the green. As an artist, he can visualize and imagine better constructs than anyone. Being an artist also makes him more in touch with his emotions than other Lanterns, which was ultimately the key to him mastering the whole emotional spectrum. At the end of the day, I think Kyle is more dimensional, more multifaceted than Hal, Guy or John. Hal may have more willpower, but Kyle can do things no other Lantern can.
Beyond your own passion for the character, do you think Kyle showed he was a worthy successor to Hal during the events of the "Emerald Twilight" storyline?
Honestly, it seemed that Ganthet chose Kyle at random to receive the last Green Lantern ring, but in "Green Lantern: New Guardians," I tried to spin that a little and suggest that Ganthet recognized Kyle's potential. Also, considering how power-crazy Hal went, maybe giving the ring to a bit of a slacker was the right move. [Laughs]
Kyle had a lot to learn, but he wasn't the type to instantly abuse the power he'd been granted. And with his girlfriend Alex to guide him and serve as his moral compass, Kyle was off to a pretty great start. I remember reading those first few Ron Marz issues and totally loving Alex. She was shaping up to be an amazing character, the one who makes Kyle grow up and become worthy of his new role, which is also the reason that I never regarded her death as a cheap stunt. It hit me hard when she got killed, and it was Kyle's wake up call.
Hal is also featured in this story. What is the relationship like between Kyle and Hal at this point? The solicitations tease that Hal is not in a good place -- both physically and mentally.
Hal is on a cosmic rampage as Parallax when Metropolis is suddenly covered by a dome and whisked away to another planet. With his power rendered dormant, Hal is himself again, and the crushing realization that he murdered the Corps and the Guardians is almost too much to bear. So Hal locked himself up in jail and remained there, punishing himself for what he did. Kyle visits him all the time, trying to get him to realize that Hal didn't do those terrible things, Parallax did. They don't yet realize the true nature of Parallax. They just see it as a separate personality that took over Hal. Kyle has become Hal's best friend, trying to rally him out of depression. That friendship is sorely tested when the cities are set against each other by the entity that snatched them.
Can you share how the yellow light of fear affects Hal in this miniseries?
Well, back when Hal was first Parallax, he didn't even realize that Fear had anything to do with it. The whole idea of the Emotional Spectrum and the Entities that represent each color hadn't yet been introduced. Since we are picking up from that moment in time, "Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax" deals with Parallax as a Fear Entity. It's more like another personality takes over Hal, and Kyle tries his best to bring Hal back to his senses before he wipes out everyone. This doesn't mean that the Fear Entity isn't behind all this -- just that Hal and Kyle don't realize it or even discover it.
"Convergence" gives us a really cool opportunity to see battles that would otherwise be impossible. Is it safe to say we'll see Green Lantern confront Parallax in this series? Or is it as the very title teases -- are we going to see a Green Lantern/Parallax team-up?
You're going to see both. The main external conflict is between Metropolis and Electropolis, home of Lady Quark, Lord Volt and their daughter, Princess Fern. These are fairly obscure adversaries, but that's okay since the focus is on a more internal struggle: Kyle's attempt to essentially save Hal's soul as the Parallax identity reasserts itself and makes Hal a threat to pretty much everyone. Kyle's not giving up on Hal, even when he goes back to being the scariest dude to ever wield the Green light of Willpower.
Princess Fern is the one attacking Metropolis in this series. She has plant powers like Swamp Thing and will prove surprisingly capable against Kyle and Hal. It's one form of Green power versus another. Also, Fern's soldiers wield electrical weapons that tend to scramble a Green Lantern's ability to concentrate and effectively use their ring. But, again, the external conflict isn't quite as important as Kyle's struggle to save Hal from himself.
Does "Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax." tie into the other "Convergence" titles, or the main series?
"Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax" stands on its own. While it's certainly part of the bigger "Convergence" picture, our focus is on Kyle's struggle to redeem a mass murderer who used to be the greatest hero in the universe. The idea that anyone can be redeemed, that you can always turn your life around, is a very powerful notion. At the same time, Hal/Parallax has enough power to quickly dispatch Metropolis's enemy city and even go after whoever brought them all to this desolate combat planet. But doing so may cost him whatever's left of his soul. That's a lot of meaty conflict to explore with two of my all-time favorite comic characters. And with some great artwork by Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold, I think it's going to be well worth checking out.
"Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax" by Tony Bedard and featuring art by Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold, debuts April 15.